In case you haven't heard there is a new reality show called "All My Babies Mama's" on the Oxygen Network. It consists of Atlanta based Rapper "Shawty Lo" (real name is Carlos Walker), who has 11 children by 10 different women. And to think he is the same age I am (36), and has had the time to also have a successful hip hop career and even had his record label D4L signed by rapper 50 Cent's G Unit Records.
Now in the last week, there has been a lot of talk on how this show on how it portrays negative stereotypes but lets be real about this.
I have never watched any of the "Love & Hip Hop" shows, "Real Housewives" or Kardashians shows either. Just not my thing but any of you who are Facebook friends of mine can see that my playlist for Spotify has some questionable and vulgar hip hop on it. or if you live in northern Will County, you've probably heard loud explicit rap music from my car or home. I've been a hip hop fan ever since my elder brother brought home the Sugar Hill Gang's "Rappers Delight" all those years ago. So since I live in a glass crib I'm not going to throw stones at this brotha.
And for the record Shawty Lo is your run of the mill southern rapper (I'm listening to him on Spotify as I write this), he's not awful, nor is he great (though "Dey Know" & Pocahontas" are catchy and are growing on me), but he has had his share of hit songs and collbaorations with some of the best rappers around including Twista, Wale & Gucci Mane.
My wife used to watch TLC channel's "Sister Wives" and it was only slightly better than the concept of Shawty Lo. Its the story of a polygamist named Kody and his "wives", though he was only truly married to one of them. The whole thing seemed less than repectful to women but then again who am I to say with my music taste. Anyway I used to sometimes watch "Sister Wives" and to me some of it was just ridiculous but like I said, I'm not a fan of reality TV. For people that like it, cool with me, I'm a sports nut, I follow some bad teams religiously (all Chicago teams except the Cubs), and it may seem like a waste of time but thats my thing, my escape. Obviously these shows have some staying power because they get ratings, viewers and sponsorships. But I can choose not to watch them.
But if you think back to Jerry Springer shows (which I was in the studio audience for one during freshman year of college almost 20 years ago), this is no different. The NAACP and everyone else can say how bad this is and its negative influence but think of so many other things in out society that are just are bad on different levels.
What about the dangerous streets in our city and surrounding areas? True the lifestyle shown on the show represents part of the issue but so much more is at fault and will be at stake if we don't work on the education system and find a way to have effective but not over policing.
For me the proliferation of fast food and the lack of decent and afforable food is way more important than some average rapper and his questionable lifestyle in a show that may provide enterataining for some.
But again as I said, I've been a hip hop fan for a long time and have lived through the "Gangsta rap" days, the "East Coast vs West Coast" fueds and I never took it as more than drama with the music. And all kinds of people declared hip hop was a negative influence and my own father still thinks "those dudes have no talent" but I'll be down with hip hop till I'm six feet deep and I have friends who are really into reality TV, so nobody's perfect and its not the lfie of anyone I know personally so no big deal to me.
Though some people choose to live dramatically (trust me I work with someone like that), and that's their thing but like anything else (including that Honey Boo Boo show), I don't have to watch and neither do you.