Let’s get one thing straight — black women are multidimensional. At any given moment, there are millions of unique black woman experiences happening, most of which will never make it to mainstream media. It’s safe to say, however, that the narrative that consistently does make it to mainstream media is that of the unstable, vindictive and violent black woman. From Omarosa to Kenya Moore to Natalie Nunn, watching black women perpetuate and be victims of physical, verbal and emotional violence has become an American pastime.
Enter Mona Scott-Young, the creator of the Love & Hip Hop franchise, that basically markets in messiness. I mean, the main story line for two franchies (Atlanta and New York) has involved women fighting over a man who is cheating on them both. And this is not to reduce these women to their dramas. Life is complicated. But the Love & Hip Hop franchise is designed to be a pressure cooker that brings out the worst in its cast; volatile people are placed alongside other volatile people — some of whom have personal vendettas — and filmed constantly for several weeks. That is not presenting black women as multidimensional. That is the human equivalent of a cockfight. And yet Scott-Young, in a recent issue of Essence Magazine, makes a tremendous leap in logic, tying her brand to self-acceptance and self-love;
““I want us to be represented in every shape and form—the good, bad, ugly—because I feel only with full acceptance of everything that comes with us will we ever really embrace ourselves and love ourselves fully,” she said in the April issue of ESSENCE. “When we are still hiding and ashamed of a piece of who we are, we can never fully become who we are supposed to be.”
And, despite the criticism she has received from those that say she is perpetuating the stereotype, she says that those shows don’t define her or represent her own personal beliefs. As a matter of face, she has two more shows in the work, one of which is as WEtv program that profiles Black female attorneys, and she also serves on the board of GrassROOTS Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to build the well-being of young girls.
“Sometimes I hope that with that work starting at that age, maybe they’ll never end up across from me for a casting,” she said of GrassROOTS Community Foundation. “I am always trying to provide opportunities that will allow them to live a different life. But how do we get to these women prior to that?””
Yeh, Okay Mona. Because the Love & Hip Hop franchise is a non profit, right?
Look, Mona Scott-Young has found a lucrative hustle that advanced her career. And the cast members of Love & Hip Hop know what they’re getting into and are paid handsomely for it. But don’t insult our intelligence by trying to make the franchise anything other than what it is — putting black women’s (and men’s… I’m looking at you Peter Gunz) extreme messiness on display for coins.