I believe it was the mid 90's when “The Real World” aired. I can't remember which season it was, but I remember a young Tami Roman being on the show and she had another cast member kicked off for pulling a towel off of her when she got out of the shower. I don't know if that's when it all began but I do remember several "reality" shows airing, but that was the beginning for me... I was hooked to reality tv.
I will be the first to admit I have watched quite a few reality shows from Basketball Wives to Sister Wives. Some I have kept up with over the years, others I may watch for a season and then lose interest. I can’t quite put my finger on what makes me like one more than the other, wait….. yes I can. I like drama. Yes I said it, I like drama. Even the scripted shows that I have followed for more than one season are dramas. When I read for leisure I read dramas or non fiction, cause who’s life isn’t filled with a little drama?
Have I ever said to myself “Dee you shouldn’t be watching this because it is degrading black women.”? Nope, but I have said to myself what makes them sign up for this show and make a fool of themselves? But I still watched. I even have some of the shows set to record in the event I can’t see them the day it airs. The ONLY show that I stopped watching because I felt it was too much was Basketball Wives, I’m not sure if it still comes on. But it did something to my spirit, so I stopped watching.
This past Monday, Sorority Sisters aired on VH1. When I saw the trailer I felt some type of way. I guess conflicted would be the best word to describe my feelings. As a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., I asked “WHO IN THEE HELL AGREED TO THIS!?!” We (we = Black Greek Letter Organizations) aren’t supposed to participate in this type of “coonery”! I was outraged and I wanted to know who would even agree to be on the show. But on the other hand, I wanted to watch. I wanted to know exactly what kind of foolishness would transpire on the show. I did decide that I wouldn’t support this show. I may only be one person, however it was going to be one less viewer in their numbers. TUH!
So then my Big Sista posted this on her Facebook page the night the show aired…..
Ok so yeah… She has a point here. As I watched a plethora of Greeks post statuses about the show, my prophytes’ words rang in my mind. I felt like a hypocrite. :(
A friend of mine, who is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. stated: “Today made me reevaluate it all man. I was like I’m offended because it’s on my doorstep I shouldn’t have been okay with it being down the street”. I understood her comment. I have watched the news and saw many people affected by natural disasters, and I felt bad for them, but it wasn’t until my neighborhood was hit by a tornado that I understood the amount of destruction it caused.
Members of Greek organizations are not any better than those who are “non-Greek”, we just decided to seek membership into our respective organization for various reasons. At the same token, yeah we think pretty highly of ourselves and the organizations that we belong to. Since we are members of these organizations, who were all founded on premise to help the Black community, why did we not take a stand for the community instead of waiting until it knocked on our front door? Well maybe WE didn’t understand the destruction that it really caused until the tornado tore down OUR neighborhood. For example, Eric Garner and Mike Brown aren’t the first black men to be killed by the police but they are the ones who have stirred up a movement. ALL Black women don’t act like the shows on VH1, ALL Greeks don’t act like the ones on the show, ALL rappers aren’t like the ones on Love & Hip Hop,….. but obviously some do act like that for the cameras.
On the flip side of this issue I can see why the women may have decided to join the cast. As I read the tweets and statuses of people who watched the show these women have career aspirations and businesses. There is no secret that shows like this can propel your career forward. I’ve even looked for some reality stars businesses myself. Also these women are human, they see the life that many reality stars live, going from “being in the strip club” to getting paid for appearances from state to state, and they want that life. Although to many these shows may seem degrading, I have seen the cast members thank the producer for changing their life, the life might I add that we are helping them live.
I also felt conflicted when I watched as WE attacked our sisters who are cast members. No WE don’t agree with what they are doing but aren’t they still our sisters? I fight with my brother all the time but I'll be damned if anyone else fights him! I have supported the boutique of one of the cast members in the past. Although I’m upset she decided to do the show, I also became a little upset when people made rude comments about her & her business that I KNOW she worked hard to establish over the years. She is still my sister, no matter where she pledged right?
There is a lot going on in the Black community right now, and I urge everyone to take a serious look at things. Because the Greek community was so outraged they began to contact the companies who showed ads during the shows' time slot and since then several companies have pulled their ads. This may seem small but it does send a message. Imagine if we started doing that for ALL the shows that degraded the community? Imagine if we just STOPPED WATCHING THE SHOWS?!
After my Big Sistas Facebook post I deleted all the shows that I have recorded and set to record. I know I’m just ONE person, but I think that’s where it starts.
"Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything, They just cry over their condition. But when they are angry, they bring about a change." -Malcolm X