A reality check

The Oxygen Network pulled the plug on a reality show amid moral and ethical concerns.

by Hemang Sharma


An upcoming reality show starring rapper Shawty Lo called “All My Babies’ Mamas” may never see the light of day due to complaints from groups who call the show too stereotypical and irresponsible.

The show would have walked viewers through the chaotic lives of rapper Shawty Lo and his 11 kids with 10 different mothers. What prompted a backlash and caused culture warriors to emerge out of the woodwork and charge right into the fictional and morally bankrupt world of reality TV and demand decency? Well, Shawty Lo is black and so are all his “baby mamas.” Naysayers argue that the show would perpetuate negative racial stereotypes of African-Americans and set a bad example.

Reality TV is undoubtedly the lowest form of entertainment. This is the format that has given shining American pieces of cultural capital such as “Toddlers & Tiaras,” “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” “Teen Mom,” “Jersey Shore,” “The Real Housewives” of god-knows-where and many other gems. Since when did we begin to have a moral standard or expectations of basic human decency from this format of television?

This is where we see uncontrollably obese children, strangers marrying strangers for money, obnoxious New Jersey folks drinking, clueless 16-year-olds bringing children into this world as teens and our country’s most abundant natural resource — rich housewives yelling. Last I checked, most people in these shows weren’t black. None of these shows were cancelled due to ethical issues — in fact, they have become a part of a national conversation. Shawty Lo is a hardworking man, who provides for all his kids. Why do we have a unique problem with this?

I despise reality TV. I enjoy my own life way too much to care about teen moms or pawn stars. But to demand and bully the Oxygen Network into cancelling the show because people suddenly have a conscience is unacceptable. Oxygen TV should let this show run its course and let the ratings be the judge.