'Show Your Love’
Don’t just ‘hate’ on bad TV, show love for good programs
Ronda Racha Penrice Travel & Entertainment Writer | 1/11/2013, 1:28 p.m.
Here we go, again.
Over the holidays, news of Oxygen’s plans to air the reality show “All My Babies Mamas” featuring Atlanta rapper Shawty Lo and his 10 baby mamas and 11 children this spring prompted a public boycott, with some Atlantans taking to Twitter to distribute online petitions against the show. It’s been discussed on radio shows, at work, just about anywhere.
At a local hair salon, the discussion prompted one woman to ask, “Why are we always against something?” Of course, there are many things to protest on reality TV and Shawty Lo and his 10 baby mamas certainly aren’t a good look – especially in contrast to the polished, sophisticated Atlanta image with streets paved with gold for everyone that many would like to project.
But give me a break.
There’s nothing wrong with raising our voices in protest, but it sure would be nice if we showed some love for the few shows that are doing a great job on TV. For example, TV One’s “Find Our Missing,” which premiered its second season Jan. 9, is intent on doing just what its title says and has actually resulted in finding missing black children. How about us letting TV One know that we appreciate the show?
The same with “Save My Son,” TV One’s other actively positive show where well-known educator Steve Perry helps families with troubled sons by staging interventions. Maybe a petition of support would inspire TV One to create a “Save My Daughter” show, as well.
Iyanla Vanzant’s “Fix My Life” on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, has received a lot of positive feedback on Twitter, especially since she kicked off her first season with “Basketball Wives” star Evelyn Lozada after she and former NFL star Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson had a domestic altercation where he head-butted her.
Vanzant also has featured Maia Campbell, who has been battling bi-polar disorder for a long time. And, although “Fix My Life” is a black woman’s show on a black woman’s network, the shows don’t always feature African Americans.
And then there is “Almost Married” on Centric following one-time “Sunday Best” contestants Latice Crawford and Jeff Spain – who fell in love while competing – as they march towards the altar that not enough people are watching.
Oxygen aired the similar show “Tanisha Gets Married,” which followed “Bad Girls Club” season 2 cast member Tanisha Thomas as she and fiancé Clive eyed wedded bliss.
“Tanisha Gets Married” placed its namesake in counseling, which forced her not only to confront her anger issues but also identify the source. Bad behavior may have landed Tanisha on the “Bad Girls Club” in the first place but, for a successful marriage, she had to shed her bad girl ways. Likewise Latice and Jeff are also in counseling because getting to marriage is hard work too. The main difference is that God is a more vocal presence in their lives.
Bounce aired the holiday special “A forever JONES Holiday” showcasing the family gospel group forever JONES, which includes mama, daddy, daughters, sons and even a son-in-law, that could easily be its own series. But where is the demand to make that happen?
The point is this: For every “All My Babies Mamas,” there are some worthwhile shows that need to hear a little noise as well.
For those who follow the laws of attraction, the common belief that you get what you put out might just hold true with TV, too. If we focus only on what we don’t like, then more negativity will continue to darken our path. So why not focus on what we do like?
Even with television, it’s not just up to BET, Oxygen or VH1, even. The audience plays a role. Maybe that means creating a positive TV manifesto and circulating it. It certainly means that we have to be prepared to watch the shows we like and to share that like on Facebook and Twitter and any other forum where television’s top brass might get the message.
To borrow from “Showtime at the Apollo,” when it comes to black television, you need to “show your love.”