Television

Here Comes Honey Jigaboo Boo

January 07, 2013

Multiple Pages
Here Comes Honey Jigaboo Boo

Cable TV’s Oxygen channel was founded in part by Oprah Winfrey, but it appears to have finally jumped the shvartze with a proposed program called All My Babies’ Mamas. Originally slated to appear in the spring, the one-hour special now hovers in reality-show limbo due to a torrent of protest from outraged Pundits of Color. Their chief lament is that the show unfairly attacks, demeans, and stereotypes the black community despite the fact that it is, well, a reality show starring real black people. Really black people.

Atlanta-based rapper Shawty Lo (born Carlos Walker) is the man whose loins produced all those babies from all those mamas—eleven babies and ten mamas, to be exact.

According to Wikipedia:

When he was a teenager, he sold drugs and mugged people. By the age of 15, Carlos had fathered his first child….After a decade of selling drugs, Walker decided to turn his attention to music and began performing as Shawty Lo.

Mr. Lo is currently dating a 19-year-old girl whose womb has yet to sprout forth with the rich, humid fruit of his seed, but to be fair, she’s roughly the age of his oldest child, so give the young lady some time. This teenage lass was scheduled to appear alongside Shawty, the babies, and the mamas—the latter of whom were tagged with wacky handles such as “Fighter Baby Mama,” “Crazy Baby Mama,” “Jealous Baby Mama,” and “Shady Baby Mama”—on this TV extravaganza which, unlike all of those mamas’ babies, may soon be aborted.

“The outrage has little to do with the show being unrealistic and everything to do with it being far too realistic.”

One segment of the promotional trailer (the full version was yanked from YouTube shortly after the media blacklash occurred) shows Shawty struggling to remember all his chilluns’ names.

In a press release that was pulled from their website after the controversy erupted, Oxygen had described the show thusly:

This bold new series shows every second of the drama-filled lives surrounding a unique “modern” family unit, as they navigate their financially and emotionally connected lives. As the household grows, sometimes so does the dysfunction, leaving the man of the house to split his affection multiple ways while trying to create order…but sharing your man with several opinionated women is bound to create issues.

The resultant blacklash was even funnier than the show’s description. Boyce Watkins in the Huffington Post called the program “an insult to Black Parents Everywhere,” adding that “11 children with 10 women is like spraying your sex organs in every direction without thinking much about the target.” On the esteemed MyBrownBaby website, Nick Chiles said the show impeded black America’s “upliftment,” predicting that “anthropologists will one day point to Shawty Lo (aka Carlos Walker) and ‘All My Babies’ Mamas’ as the cultural nadir of America, the moment when we ceased to have a functioning moral compass….” Black radio host Morris O’Kelly issued a statement that “As a respected African-American media professional I can not [sic] in good conscience allow this program to move forward.” And the Chicago Tribune‘s Clarence Page offered up an exasperated “Lincoln freed us for this?

As a strong, young, black, urban, empowered female George Soros fistpuppet on change.org, a certain Shericka Johnson wrote a petition that included the following passages:

We do not need another reality show that shows our people in a bad light. Our community needs to stop watching this nonsense and boycott these companies that are owned by white folks….This is not a hate petition against Shawty Lo and his “baby momma’s”. We simply will not support ignorance in any way, shape or form.

Speaking of “ignorance,” Ms. Johnson’s petition ignores the fact that without the behavior of Shawty and his Mamas, those “white folks” wouldn’t be able to show them in a “bad light.”

Another change.org petition, this one by yet another outraged-by-reality black woman named Sabrina Lamb, starts off with the all-caps injunction “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” Sadly, Ms. Lamb seems to mean there are too many TV shows like this rather than pondering the idea that Shawty Lo has too many children with too many women. She calls the program a “ministrel [sic] show” that “exploits and stereotypes Black children and families.”

It’s worth noting that several current reality-TV shows depict white people as something far less than paragons of virtue and restraint. There’s the disturbingly popular Here Comes Honey Boo Boo—filmed, like All My Babies’ Mamas, in Georgia—which appears to exist merely to mock a dysgenic clan of mayonnaise-chugging lard-bottomed rural tards. There’s the unacceptably successful Jersey Shore, which recently completed a six-year run depicting East Coast Italian Americans acting like, well, East Coast Italian Americans. Jersey Shore’s time slot was recently filled by Buckwild, featuring a posse of unhinged and dissolute West Virginia youths. Former West Virginia Governor and current US Senator Joe Manchin sent a letter to MTV in protest of Buckwild’s alleged disparagement of Appalachian culture, but it didn’t prevent the network from launching the show last Thursday. Apparently the media’s Powers That Be aren’t swayed by white people and their silly little anti-defamation campaigns.

And although there are other reality shows that deal with prodigious white breeders—among them Jon & Kate Plus 8, 19 Kids and Counting, and even the snow-white polygamist Utahns in Sister Wives—none of these programs seemed to strike nearly the same nerve as All My Babies’ Mamas, especially since the show hasn’t even aired yet and may forever remain stillborn.

Part of this may be due to the fact that these variants on All My White Children represent a relative cultural rarity—white women produce fewer children per capita than black women, and while only a quarter or so of white babies are born out of wedlock, the black quotient hovers somewhere around 70%. While some might attribute the latter statistic to the unpleasant legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, this doesn’t explain why the black illegitimacy rate was only around 22% in 1960. But one must never question whether the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s and the ensuing perpetual welfare state may have played a role in destroying black familial solidarity.

It’s hard to argue that All My Babies’ Mamas constitutes stereotyping since it shows actual people rather than fictional caricatures. Yet while watching snippets from the show’s trailer, it occurred to me that these hyper-fertile real-life modern-day ghetto pigs are far more degraded and enjoy far less “upliftment” than such self-consciously shuffling black stereotypes of bygone eras such as Stepin Fetchit, Mantan Moreland, and Uncle Remus. No one needs to defame these characters because they defame themselves.

So it appears that the outrage has little to do with the show being unrealistic and everything to do with it being far too realistic. And therefore it must never see the light of day, lest people get the wrong idea—in other words, the right idea.

 

SUBSCRIBE
For Email Updates


Comments


The opinions of our commenters do not necessarily represent the opinions of Taki's Magazine or its contributors.