Without a doubt, this is one of the most devastating things I’ve ever watched. About 3 minutes in, I turned to the love of my life and said, I can’t. I can’t watch this. But he knows me well, and patiently waited for me to get it together emotionally, and press ‘play’ again so I could sit through a pilot episode for a show that is reportedly coming to the Oxygen network (yes, Oxygen… the network that we kinda thought was all about women and femme empowerment until they started airing The Bad Girls Club). All My Babies’ Mamas is a new reality show about rapper Shawty Lo, his ELEVEN children… and the TEN women with whom he created those children… AKA alllllllll his babies’ mamas. I thought that Lady Gaga video teaser was ratchet; I thought Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta was ratchet; but this pilot takes the ratchet cake that’s been baking in the oven of… well… all these babies mamas, lmao! The ratchet is so strong, I had to create a pop culture theory around it y’all. So watch the pilot episode above and join me inside for another meeting of PITNB’s popCULTURE CLUB: theoretically putting the “culture” back in “pop culture,” one post at a time…
Did you watch it? Are you still living? Or are you, like, “outgoing… and angry”? OMG. Y’all this video made me so uncomfortable, and at the same time… I can’t remember the last time I laugh/cried so hard. Not to get morbid, but I’m honestly glad my Mom isn’t around to see this ish. She might’ve missed the election of President Barack Obama, but I don’t think she could have, like, continued to have faith in her people after this one. LMAO. Okay, let me not speak for my Mom. I do not think that I can continue to have faith in my people after this one… lol. I kid, I kid. I love black people. And you should too. And as much as I DON’T want to make this a race thing (mainly because I don’t wanna hear *those* kinda comments from um non-black people, lol) I can’t help but be hella embarrassed. I’m embarrassed because, obviously, this show will enforce many stereotypes about and against my culture– and I don’t use the word ‘stereotypes’ loosely. There was a time, not too long ago, when Black men were literally murdered all over the South (and the North too), largely because of the stereotype of the Black Mandingo who can’t control his ginormous penis and his wild, primitive sexual urges. So there’s that to be worried about with All My Babies’ Mamas. Stereotypes are real, and they sometimes come from a real truth, but they can also be deadly, when internalized. And all of us internalize cultural stereotypes of some sort every day.
But I’m also embarrassed because I’m not completely opposed to watching this show! If it’s meant to be entertaining, it’s serving its purpose. I’ve admitted before to having a very liberal sense of humor. I believe jokes about rape can be funny, depending on delivery and context. I love racial, insult comedy. And I was LMAO throughout MOST of this video. Here are some of my favorite quotes:
He was givin’ them out like presents– every Christmas a child was comin’ out (Wanna-be-Bougie Baby Mama RE: Shawty Lo)
I would describe myself as outgoing… and angry… (Baby Mama From Hell)
Like I tol’ her yesterday, don’t start no sh-t ’cause I’ma choke yo ass out (Fighter Baby Mama RE: Baby Mama From Hell)
You like them anoresick-ass broads (Fighter Baby Mama to Shawty Lo RE: the new girlfriend, Ashlin)
Me and him will get married one day… [looks down and around, bites inside of mouth, seemingly unconvinced of this statement] (Ashlin, RE: Shawty Lo)
I’m finna’ (translation: fitting to; translation: about to) name all my kids… (Shawty Lo FTW!)
So the bottom line is, I’m torn. The feminist/daughter-of-activists/sane person in me believes that no human being on the planet should watch/support a show where women gladly take on Baby Mama monikers like they’re the friggen Seven Dwarfs (Angry Baby Mama, Boss Baby Mama, Jealous Baby Mama, Sleepy Baby Mama). However, the Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta fan/trainwreck-loving, pop culture consumer in me cannot wait to see more of this ultimate ratchet.
I was so torn, in fact, I had to seek help from my friends. They weighed in on the Rihanna/Chris Brown situation, and they had plenty to say about All My Babies’ Mamas. Here was the Facebook prompt (because sometimes I have Facebook prompts):
Everyone. We need to talk about Shawty Lo’s new reality show ‘All My Babies’ Mamas.’ I wanna blog about it, but first I need words…
And here’s what my trusted friends & family think:
Y do we nd to talk about it..hes smart making alota of money and watching baby mommas fight..and what do we do? We watch it and sooo does america… (Paul)
Oh bejesus. My eyes. I’m not sure what’s going to be better: Joe Burden on Love and Hip Hop: New York or this. I haven’t been excited for two shows like this in a loooonnnnggggg tiiiimmmmmeeeeee. y. Baby mama from hell said: “I will describe myself as outgoing and…angry. Outgoing…and mean. I would consider myself outgoing and patient.” LMAOOOOO (Iris)
I can’t even wrap my head around this AND why would anyone give him a reality show. I think this one takes the cake for me and I’m done with reality TV lol. (Sheila)
It’s to the point where people are conjuring up ways to start a reality show and whoever compiles the most ratchet ideas is the winner. I am a fan of trash TV, I loooove the entertainment. However, this is complete foolery and it is proof that people are trying to become relevant be any means necessary. For 10 ‘baby mamas’ and one girlfriend to be in agreement to magnify their way of life is a little unreal and discerning… I am rarely speechless. Not only am I speechless but I am also worried about the cycle that these future gloried ‘baby mamas’ will create. (Corene)
one of my friends on twitter said something to the effect of “if it’s an honest exploration of poly relationships, maybe. but if not, no.” so the *generous* part of me wants to be like, well maybe this is a documentary-like exploration of a so-called “nontraditional family structure” (and i hate that word b/c obviously what the fuck IS a “traditional” family structure esp when the nuclear family as we conceive of it today *really* was codified only since the Cold War or so) and its dynamics and how relationships are negotiation? and while that’s inevitably part of it, even the center of it in a way, the rest of me knows this is playing up to some shuck and jive “black folks are irresponsible and black men are lavicious beasts and black women are dub as fuck look at those niggers they can’t even do family right” type sensibility. so yeah. i’m not gonna watch it but what the fuck does that matter, it’s not like they’re gonna stop doing it anytime soon. *shrug* (I’Nasah)
(my response to I’Nasah) I’Nasah, for a few seconds I had that thought. Like, okay. The reality is we live in a world of babymamas (shouts-out to me). Those women are babymamas, Halle Berry’s a babymama, friggen Jessica Simpson is a babymama. Hella people are married, but have children from previous relationships, etc., etc. So in many ways, this is just another example of a *non-traditional* family. Would we be mad if they gave him a show and he only had 2 or 3 babymamas (that’s kinda… average… and T.I. has a show), and if not… then what’s the LEAST number of baby mamas he’d have to have for this show to be less ratchet, less embarrassing (let’s be real… as black people… we’re a little bit embarrassed right now)? I dunno…
The premise of the show seems like a hate crime to me. I’m sorry I can’t be more articulate. lol. (Rickey)
I have no words (Karen)
Have you seen Sister Wives? (Emma)
(my response to Emma) Emma, I haven’t but I thought about it. Shawty Lo isn’t married to ANY of these women. None of them seemed to care (or even cared that he was clearly cheating on them all, all of the time), HOWEVER, they do this thing at the end where they talk about how they’re really just one big family. A big happy family… and I think that’s ultimately how shows like this get made. As Corene said it’s all about the ratchet, but there’s gotta be some pretense of family values too (like the Kardashians). It’s weird as fuck!
I have returned. First of all, why is this pilot so ratchet? Are they really using Mac cameras to do the private interviews? Somebody help us. Second of all, CONDOMS WORK. BIRTH CONTROL WORKS. Third, “I would describe myself as outgoing . . . and angry.” Me too. Fourth, between this and RHOA I can’t deal with this part of Atlanta. It’s really really official. Fifth, “Anoresick.” Sixth, HE IS NOT CUTE. Seventh, I’m taking a rest here. Eighth, all the children are mostly girls? Intriguing. Ninth, E’creia is still with the man she cheated on Lo with…. but she’s controlling Lo’s bill still to this day. Lord help us. Tenth, Oh. I’m mistaken. E’creia’s no longer paying the bills. A NINETEEN YEAR OLD IS. Very good. All is well with the world. Eleventh, Condoms still work. So does birth control, typically. *falls out* (Rickey again)
I think the difference between something like Sister Wives is that its an actual practice. If you want to live a certain lifestyle then I am a firm believer that you should do just that. I think the world looks at it differently when you ‘fake your happy’. There is no way those women are happy knowing that at one time the father of their child was cheating on them with someone they are now agreeing to do a business deal with. Lets call it what it is. Polygamy is a way of life that is not for everyone but if you choose to live that lifestyle then own that lifestyle and dont configure this life similar because of pure circumstance. Accept the responsibilities that come with the lifestyle you choose. Having three children that are the same age is proof that this is not a way of life for anyone but him. (Corene)
I think baby mommas are part of an actual practice at this point. It’s becoming fairly acceptable for men with money to have multiple children with different women as long as he supports them (I’m thinking of Lil Wayne, Mick Jagger, Nicolas Sarkozy, many NBA players). I think its safe to assume that most of these women were aware that he was sleeping with other women while he was with them. You would have to be pretty naive to think that wasn’t happening…especially the second half of the moms. My takeaway from Sister Wives was that raising children and having relationships are hard and that things are never perfect. Aside from cultural and religious reasons for their marriage, the Sister Wives seemed to feel like their lives as mothers were improved by being part of a team of moms and there was empowerment in outnumbering their husband. But the Sister Wives aren’t supposed to be with anyone but this one man and are ultimately subject to his rules. I can’t really tell from the preview if Shawty Lo’s accountability and responsibility toward his mommas and children is any less than that of a polygamist husband. And while I can bet that this situation is less than ideal for the moms, it seems like they have financial support and companionship on a level that many unmarried women do not. I agree that ownership is totally a key element here! It looks like the mothers of Shawty Lo’s children are owning the situation and working as a team to get their needs met. To me, that is better than allowing him to get away with fathering their children and not being involved with the consequences of his actions as twisted as it is… But yeah, rules, consent, and ownership seem pretty ambiguous here as compared to polygamy. I’m really curious to see how they navigate this! (Emma)
“I think baby mommas are part of an actual practice at this point.” I am on the floor dying. LOL (Corene)
#theyshouldanevagaveyoun*ggasmoney (Ángela RE: this)
~’halle berry is a babymama’, yes indeed, however, thats not embarrassing or necessarily irresponsible. She’s grown and can handle her own. This fellow obviously has no regard for whether we deem him to be irresponsible or ignorant or ‘just another black dude with a bunch a kids’. These mothers have to deal with all of this anyway with him and the other women so why not make some money of their own and maybe be on a couple of magazine covers if the ratings are good…it’s all about the ratings! I didnt watch the trailer and I will not watch the show. Let us not support this and maybe it will go away…just maybe. (Michelle)
Okay. What do you guys think about All My Babies’ Mamas? Worst reality show ever, in the history of everdom? Or your new guilty pleasure?