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Basketball Wives, Colorism, & The Negative Depictions of Black Women. Time We Call it Out.

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The State of Basketball Wives In a Nutshell

Basketball Wives is on its eighth season and their eighth episode and nothing has changed over the course of the show. As a viewer, who has watched the show since the Royce and Suzie days, the drama has escalated to something that is absolutely unacceptable. They have enabled bullying, they have stated racist comments, and helped colorism flourish. This is not a reach, there are several examples of this and I will elaborate on them later on in this post. Quite frankly, I am beyond dispirited by the deplorable behavior, Evelyn Lozada, Shaunie O’Neal, Feby Torres, and even Malaysia Pargo have shown over time and specifically this season. Yes, Jennifer Williams & Jackie Christie have done their share of foul things too.

Timeline

Let’s look at the timeline of the show. Where do I even begin?

Well, the first season of Basketball Wives (Miami) introduced us to Royce Reed who was a former dancer for an NBA team and an entrepreneur with her own dance company. Royce spoke her mind. She was not dressing like them, she was not participating in the same activities as them, and she didn’t kiss their ass. Furthermore, Evelyn and Jennifer would constantly throw jabs at Royce on the way she looked and the way she dressed. They ostracized her in many ways and she then became the outcast. This is bullying.

Tanya Woods

Next, let’s take a look at the LA branch. Do you guys remember Tanya Williams? Probably not, she didn’t stay too long.

The ladies found her irritating because she was “boring”. I guess having a great vocabulary makes you boring. They also were upset that she did not break up a fight (Malaysia vs Laura). Tanya was flabbergasted that there was a fight happening in front of her. Which makes sense because she is usually around women who have class. Moreover, during an interview she did with Loop 21 back in 2013, she eluded to the fact that there are not many black women behind the scenes encouraging resolution or more positive depictions. As a result, this lets me know that Shaunie O’Neal does not care about the depictions of black women. Yes, these ladies do not represent all black women, but why even have them acting like fools on TV.

Let’s now fast forward to the last season of Basketball Wives and this current season.

OG is a new member of the show, she is a proud Nigerian and she plays professional women’s football. OG reminds me of Royce because she is not quick to agree with the ladies and she formulates her own opinions. Let’s be clear though, OG has not been perfect but for the most part, she has shown viewers that she may be the only real and genuine one on the show.

In recent episodes, OG interfered with some family business between Cece and Kristen, which is never okay. However, what is really not okay with me, is the fact that the other ladies specifically Evelyn, Malaysia, and Shaunie have been having some selective outrage. A couple of seasons ago Evelyn was having conversations with Jackie’s daughter about Jackie, and Shaunie enabled the behavior by not checking Evelyn. So what is the difference?

This season, we have Feby and she recently moved to LA to become more independent and work on her music career. Feby already begins to start issues with OG for absolutely no reason but to fit in with the ladies dislike for OG. Now get this, Feby in one episode was talking so terribly about OG with the other ladies and talking about the way she looks and everything else you can imagine. Feby even wasted her time to write a rap song mentioning OG and then lied about it. When OG confronts Feby, OG gets labeled “aggressive”.

Colorism OR Mean Girls OR Both?

Now doesn’t this rhetoric sound like white people describing black people who speak their mind or have strong passions? Evelyn is able to throw tables, throw drinks, and call Cece “Lee Lee” and yet her behavior is never reprimanded. But you know why? It s because of the blatant colorism towards OG on this show, that I can’t stand. When Latinas or light skin women get angry it is sexy or it is justified compared to when black women or darker skin women get angry, it is deemed “aggressive”.

Some may argue that Kristen, Jennifer, and Malaysia are dark skin and don’t get the treatment. However, Malaysia has gotten plastic surgery to gain European features. Let’s be real. Jennifer and Kristen don’t have strong features and they fit Evelyn and Shaunie’s aesthetic. Not to mention, Kristen referred to OG as Kunta Kinte and the ladies laughed. The words they use to describe OG have never been used before towards any other castmate in Basketball Wives history. Lastly, just because you are dark skin girl does not exempt you from making colorist comments.

Royce, Tanya, and OG are beautiful dark skin women with natural features that did not fit their expectations. Let’s keep that in mind.

I think it’s mean girl bullying and colorism all intertwined. Let me know what you all think. Very curious if anyone feels this way.

Now, I understand that this is reality TV and you should expect some mess. However, it makes the show interesting and impactful if there is some type of resolution. Instead, the drama and the antics accumulate and grow into a disgusting narrative.

A couple of seasons ago, Shaunie said Maylasia had no substance.

Shaunie, sis this whole show has no substance.

Thoughts?

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Ari Lennox, GoldLink Share Award Show Frustrations

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While some recipients of Soul Train awards are celebrating their Grammy nominations, others are reeling from being snubbed. Talented emerging rappers like Megan Thee Stallion and established songbirds like Solange were not among The Grammy’s 2020 hopefuls. The absence of groundbreaking ingénues and omission of experimental artists has left those spurned, and their fan bases, questioning the relevance of once esteemed honors.

After pouring her heart out at the disappointment of not receiving a coveted honor from the Soul Train Awards, Ari Lennox has hinted she could be quitting music altogether. Initially conveyed through a series of now-scrubbed tweets, the Shea Butter Baby songstress said “[Every time] I wrap my head around it I just can’t accept it.” Nominated for Best R&B/Soul Female Artist, Album/Mixtape of the Year, and Best Collaboration Performance, Lennox walked away from the 32nd annual Soul Train Awards empty handed and broken hearted. But she’s vowed “what I will not do is ever be this depressed again.”

Her heart set upon claiming the award for Best R&B/Soul Female Artist, Ari says her disappointment goes beyond losing the trophy. “It’s not just an award. It wasn’t any award show,” she pined. “It was the soul train awards. As you can see I’m [a] big fan of soul music and a huge fan of soul train history.” Gutted by the lack of recognition, Ari’s response has fans clamoring for understanding. After all, it isn’t often that we see an artist publicly distraught over losing at a Black awards show, but that’s a topic for another day. Despite the critical reception of Shea Butter Baby, Ari says she anticipated the cold shoulder, just not at the Soul Train Awards. Now radio silent across all her social media accounts, it’s implied she could feel the same about the 2020 Grammy nominations. On this subject, GoldLink shares her rage.

Loudly decrying the illustrious award show, GoldLink took to Instagram with a long caption to distance himself from the ceremony. “Honestly, its f**k the Grammys til the day I die,” he started. “I am no longer participating in that wild ass slave ass political ass cheating ass game any longer.” Disappointed in the selection of nominees, GoldLink called out The Grammys for a “lack of relevance”. Believing they are too far removed from the pulse of the music industry, he attacked the nomination review committees for omitting international Black artists and undercutting the value of Black art. With absolutely no female rap nominees on the ticket this year and eclectic compilations like The Gift and When I Get Home miscategorized or ignored, it’s easy to share his sentiments. Demanding The Grammys evolves to recognize the full spectrum of Black artistry, GoldLink offered pointed criticism citing the impact such neglect would have on future generations. Saying “WTF do you think these kids learn when you tell them [their] Black art isn’t good enough? Or isn’t noticed at all?” GoldLink took aim at their dated practices. He added “I’ve just gotten to a point after three years of being silent on this topic, that my value is much beyond what closed door establishments have been giving us.” Alluding to Ari’s snub, he chimed “Even how our peers are voting against us. I cannot partake.”

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T.I. and Tiny to Appear on Red Table Talk

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According to an ET exclusive, Jada Pinkett Smith has made space for T.I. to address his recent controversy regarding the invasive lengths of his parenting. But does T.I. truly need another platform to spew his willful ignorance?

After catching heat for comments made during a now-removed episode of Ladies Like Us, T.I. is on a redemption tour. Hoping to regain some favor with the public, he is appearing on Red Table Talk alone and alongside his wife, Tiny. Set to air next week, many are expecting the episode to feature an explanation for his poor judgment but more are wondering if it is truly necessary. With the damage already done and fallout ensuing, what more can T.I. add to the conversation that will not further exploit his daughter? And why was Deyjah not extended an invitation to express herself instead?

As someone who grew up in an oppressively protective household, I identify with Deyjah’s struggle. It is difficult to grow up in a space where you do not have agency over your own body or the license to explore your sexuality. Coming of age within the strict confines of what can only be described as the training grounds for a ‘Proverbs 31 woman’ is something few aspire to endure, Deyjah Harris included. After being embarrassed by T.I. and unsupported by Tiny, Deyjah has taken steps to separate herself from her family or, at the very least, protect her peace. Deyjah’s unfollowing of the immediate members of The Harris fold on social media and liking the posts of understanding strangers has stood out as her signs of rebellion. Still, she has yet to publicly articulate the extent of her trauma which is her right. However, it is my personal opinion that until she is given and accepts the opportunity to publicly condone the wrongs against her, all other persons, namely T.I., should kindly shut up.

While there is no way to confirm whether Jada offered Deyjah an opportunity to begin or continue her healing at the Red Table, to extend an invitation to her abuser is tacky. T.I. has proven time and again that he is a hardened misogynist. He views his wife, her body, and her sexuality as possessions to be exploited and has groomed his daughter for the same abusive treatment through unwarranted gynecological visits. Even during his Red Table Talk episode T.I. will exploit his wife’s pain by rehashing “how they survived, in regards to their marriage.” The man simply does not need another soap box, pulpit, microphone, or stage to amplify his narrow-minded musings. Regardless of the satisfaction we might find in an educational public dogpiling, it should not come by the complicity of another woman or at a woman’s expense.

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Mo’Nique Sues Netflix for Gender/Race Discrimination

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A lawsuit two years in the making has finally hit the streaming titan. Alleging racial and gender discrimination, Oscar winning actress and comedian Mo’Nique has filed a 39-page suit against Netflix.

As the fight for equal pay within the entertainment industry wages on, Mo’Nique has upped the ante by suing Netflix after years of callouts. Claiming the streaming giant attempted to underpay her for a stand-up special in comparison to other comedic heavyweights, Mo’Nique has highlighted gender and racial bias in the suit. Stating that she had a choice to make, Mo’Nique’s decision to stand against Netflix stems from a desire level the playing field. In a post on Instagram, she said “I could accept what I felt was pay discrimination or I could stand up for those who came before me and those who will come after me. I chose to stand up.”

Citing the offers received by Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, and Amy Schumer, Mo’Nique alleges that Netflix’s offer of $500,000 was tawdry at best. The lawsuit states, “When the talent was not a Black woman, Netflix offered to pay, and did pay, astronomically more than it pays to Black women like it offered to Mo’Nique.” Seinfeld’s deal with Netflix was allegedly $100 million for two specials and his interview series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Dave Chappelle’s deal for three specials was reportedly worth $60 million. Both Chris Rock and Ricky Gervais allegedly received $40 million for two show deals. Even Amy Schumer commanded $11 million for a single special. Disrespected by her offer, Mo’Nique’s suit accuses the company of perpetuating the drastic wage gap forced upon Black women in America’s workforce.

Not only offended by having her talent undervalued, Mo’Nique’s suit claims the streaming company’s former Chief Communications Officer Jonathan Friedland used the N-word in a meeting. Friedland was reported by several employees for his insensitive remarks for which he refused to apologize. Even after speaking in front of a Black employees, Friedland refused to denounce his behavior. His lack of racial awareness and sensitivity, Friedland was eventually fired by Netflix.

While Mo’Nique has spoken out to confirm that she is suing Netflix, she asks only for support and love at this time, offering no further comments.

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