Reality TV has devolved into guilty pleasure television, usually at the cost of the characterization of black women. You can choose from many shows that feature a beautiful, loud, big booty black woman who keeps it all the way one hun’ned by cursing you out, beating you down and doing all the things that most women in general deem as disgusting.
Many fail to realize that this caricature is not new to African American culture. She is, was, and always will be known as the Sapphire. Basically, the Sapphire is an ancient stereotype of the black woman being brash, confrontational and sassy. She’s a nightmare for those who don’t know her and an annoyance for everyone that does.
Unfortunately, the Sapphire has become a deity amongst African American culture in today’s society. Take NeNe Leakes, Kenya Moore, Evelyn Lozada or even the grandmother of all reality TV Sapphires Tiffany ‘New York’ Pollard for example and think of how their antics have become social media fodder for the millions of people that watch them. Society has even given these women carte blanche to refer to themselves as celebrities, even though they’re all famous for crude and, sometimes, lascivious behavior.
These women have inadvertently become the most prevalent representation of black women on television and the opportunities to showcase them at their most base behavior continues to grow as more shows are created with them in mind.
One such offering, VH1’s ‘Sorority Sisters’, was another show that followed the same formula. Loud, somewhat stylish women with phat asses and big attitudes parading themselves through an hour of unnecessary drama. But what made this show different was that these women allowed their Greek affiliation to precede them before they introduced themselves. Not that we really needed an introduction because they’re black women on a reality TV show.
We already know who they are.
Well, their time in the spotlight was short lived as VH1 quickly pulled the plug on their show after cries of outrage came from many black Americans and the sororities represented by its cast. There was a petition that went around in hopes of having the show banned and ultimately, after ‘Sorority Sisters’ was cancelled, five of the Delta Sigma Theta cast mates were expelled from their chapters.
To drive home the “reality” of how bad this show was and how much it angered people VH1 has completely deleted all evidence of the show even existing from its website.
Bravo for people finally taking a stand against trash TV!
My only issue is that this really isn’t a victory because all of the other shows are still on. And what this decision teaches us is that the only black women that matter are the ones affiliated with major organizations. Had these women been on a show titled ‘Sisters In The City’ or ‘Sisterly Love’ or some other bullshit title, and their Greek membership had not been a factor, best believe this mess would still be on the air.
But due to protecting the time honored tradition of legacy, class and style that the Divine Nine has always prided itself on this show got the axe, and its cast members are now outcasts.
Do you see what’s wrong with this picture?
I will admit I do watch a few reality TV shows, but I avoid the ones that stay consistent with fabricated mess and drama. Now, I’ve tried to watch ‘Love and Hip Hop’, ‘Married To Medicine’, ‘The Bad Girls Club’ and all of those other horrible shows with horrible people doing horrible things but all the while I would be sitting there wondering ‘Who the fuck is watching this?’
Apparently everyone. And they’re #Tweeting about the drama during the show, after the show, sending mentions to cast members and placing them in the spotlight as heroines for their display of despicable behavior.
I don’t understand why ‘Sorority Sisters’ wasn’t given a chance to introduce us to a new crop of Sapphires since all of our old ones are starting to become a little too repetitive with their shenanigans.
Does this mean that the Greeks are better than everyone else? Because that’s kind of what I’m getting from this decision. And what really does it say about our society when we will immediately fault a show for casting a negative light on an organization but laugh along when these TV shows decide to make a caricature out of an entire population of people?
Honestly, ‘Sorority Sisters’ was no different than any of the other shows because all of those shows are terrible. However the others will remain untouched because nobody will speak out against any of those shows. And the Sapphire will continue to be reborn in the multitudes of black women that sign up to assume her role as Ratchet Barbie for as long as she can keep us entertained.
So, Congrats to Vh1.