If Love and Hip Hop, Real Housewives of Atlanta, and Bad Girls Club don’t do it for your drama quota, the Oxygen Network now has something else to offer your taste for real life, Atlanta style. Welcome to your T.V. rapper Shawty Lo and his ten, yes ten, baby mamas and their collective 11 children. If that doesn’t peak your interest, the producers throw in Lo’s 19 year old girlfriend. ‘All My Babies Mamas’ will air as a one hour pilot on Oxygen on a date yet to be determined.
A petition to stop the airing of the show has been started on Change.org by author Sabrina Lamb. On her petition Lamb says, “Could you ever imagine a one hour spectacle where 11 children are forced to witness their 10 unwed mothers clamor for financial support, emotional attention, and sexual reward from Shawty Lo, the apathetic father?” Critics of reality shows based in Atlanta complain that these shows portray black Atlantans as ghetto and unaware of true social issues.
Atlanta is known as a Mecca for African-Americans, and has even grown to be a city atop the list of black travelers. But many fear that these shows can lead to a misconception of Atlanta, leading to a decrease in tourism and college attendance for starters. So is Shawty Lo’s show just a continuation of misguided depictions of Atlanta’s well known, or has producers really hit the bottom of the barrel in the name of ratings? The trailer shows a father very involved with his children, and mothers that have love/hate relationships with each other. Sure the situation seems dysfunctional, but in argument the only difference between their arrangement and say that of the women of ‘Sister Wives’ is the lack of marriage certificates. In truth reality shows are less reality these days, and more Jerry Springer like scripted occurrences that happen to fit in the lives of the “actors”.
“All My Babies Mamas” can be viewed as a demeaning picture of black women, or it can possibly be viewed as a wakeup call to black women. The women on the show are definitely not the only “baby mamas” in Atlanta and their situation is far from unique. It’s arguable that placing their family in front of millions of viewers on a weekly basis can be detrimental for their children, and relationships with each other, but one would hope the risks were discussed before filming began. Could a young woman, no matter the race, not view this show and learn a bit about self? She can take away life lessons about loving oneself to a level where what she will accept quickly weeds out those suitors not applicable. She may even learn that love, self-respect, and mutual respect for each other should always precede a baby.
One could only hope that the producers of reality shows begin to consider their true impact on society. But so as to not die from holding our breath, we should begin as society to find the lessons in all we encounter, even the wretched.