Reality TV

The Good, The Bad, and The Ratchet: What Has Reality Television Done To Hip-Hop?

To the new generation of lost souls/Student loans, iPhones, reality TV shows/It shows a host of wise but blind drones. — Joey Bada$$ feat. Ab-Soul,  “Enter the Void”

We can’t escape reality television and hip-hop has seemed to jump right into bed with it.  BET, WE, Bravo, Oxygen, and the reality TV champion VH1 are making millions off of hip-hop themed shows. In addition to making a profit these programs are making lots of enemies. Countless petitions have been created online calling for the cancellation of shows like “Basketball Wives” and “All My Baby Mamas.” But it’s hard to pull the plug when millions tune in each week.

Reality television is either the greatest marketing tool ever, or another way for a culture to lose gray matter. Whatever the reason, hip-hop been infiltrated like The Carter There was a time where actual  programs came on, and then MTV hit us with “The Real World.” The show had it all; the educated militant black man, the angry black woman, the naive white girl, and the white guy who just wanted to be heard. However from one came many.

The Good

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Who’s House……MTV’s Run’s House was very reminiscent of a modern day Huxtable Family. Viewers met  Rev Run the husband, the father,  and minister. Sure, he is hip-hop royalty, but he is a father first. We watched the Simmons children evolve before our very eyes.  We watched Jo-Jo (the eldest son) trying to make it as a rapper with Team Black Out, daughters Angela & Vanessa becoming entrepreneurs, and coming into their own under the watchful eye of an over protective father. (Later getting their own reality show) Rounding out the family Justine and Run’s children, Diggy and Russy. Justine the matriarch of the family, tried to hold the fort down while keeping Rev Run in check. In season 6, we were introduced to Miley the daughter they Simmon’s adopted after Justine faced the loss of a baby.

The family hustle

How can you not love T.I’s call for a “Family Meeting” on VH1′s “Tiny & T.I: The Family Hustle”?  From incarceration, raising a blended family, the first family of the south  allowed viewers us to see another side to the “Rubber-band Man.”   We watched as T.I and Tiny taught their cildren valuable lessons on hard work and ethics. The show introduced us to the OMG Girlz, a great marketing too,l and it probably gave T.I a boost in sales with his new album “Trouble Man:Heavy is The Head”.

The Bad

Diddy knows how to put on a show, and”Making the Band” did not disappoint. We got laughable moments from the contestants walking to Juniors for cheesecake, to the contestants giving us laugh after laugh trying to impress Diddy. But the downfall of the show was the actual band. The sales were lackluster, the album was not great, and to top it off where are they now? Most of the contestants have went back into the underground mix-tape scene or the independent road to success. But a brief moment in time Diddy had us glued to the small screen wondering what antics were next. It allowed Bad Boy to have a resurgence and got viewers talking and vying for a chance to meet the man who some say will hold you in a contract for life.

The Ratchet

Just when you thought television could not sink any lower, VH1 gave us “Flavor of Love”. Can you believe hoards of women fought to get in the house to canoodle with Public Enemy’s hype-man Flava Flav?  The dramatic women, bottles flying,and the cat fights were endless. This show produced two spin offs “Charm School” and “I Love New York”. It catapulted other women into the 5 second of fame limelight Shay “Bucky” Johnson, London “Deelishis” Charles, Tiffany “New York” Pollard, and Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander.

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Mona Scott-Young and the “Love & Hip-Hop” series has caused many to raise some serious eyebrows about what the show is perpetuating. In an earlier article Catfights and Consequences  allhiphop.com looked at all the bottle throwing, love triangles, and arguments that take place on the series. In an interview with creator Mona Scott-Young stated the purpose of the series was to give a behind the scenes look at women in the industry. Have you gathered that from watching the show?

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The 3rd season of Love & Hop premiered on VH1  and the antics did not  disappoint. Arguments fights and foolery were at an all time high.

The show leads to a lot of stereotypes of minority culture being amplified. Women are lacking self-esteem, need validation through material objects or a man, and belittle the next woman trying to make it. The men are amused by the antics pit women against one another and capitalize off the entire venture.

What may have started as a good product has now spiraled out of control and it may be too late gain control. Only time will tell.

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