op-ed: do shows like “love and hip hop” paint a bad mental picture into the minds of black america?

October 26, 2016

I won’t even sit here and lie to you. I used to watch reality tv shows like “Love And Hip Hop” faithfully. That’s until I realized this is not a good reality for my mental stimulation. Let me explain what I mean. Every week I tuned into LHH I saw every negative black stereotype imaginable. Loud and ignorant black women ready to fight on sight, sneaky black men constantly cheating on his beautiful black woman, black men with two or more baby mama’s who can’t get along, black women with tons of surgical work done to her body (because, obviously, someone told her that her original body wasn’t good enough). The list goes on and on.

This is all for entertainment purposes right? Wrong (at least in my opinion). The stuff they’re letting us view every week are engraving into our mind’s the negative views the world has on us. Watching my people act a fool of themselves year after year for money is mentally draining. I’m not blind to the fact that situations like this happen in real life (not always as crazy as reality TV portrays them, but it does happen). However, the glorification of it all is maddening.

The black women you know in real life who may have a loud mouth and a bad attitude could be struggling internally. The black men who constantly get a woman pregnant, and can’t really love anybody may have seen his father treat women the same way. So now the cycle that was put into his mental image as a child continues through adulthood.

By Jasmin Pierre*, AFROPUNK contributor

You also never know who is secretly struggling with depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, or drug related issues in addition to these stereotypes. You don’t believe me? Well just think about this. Who in their right state of mind wants to constantly stay in drama? We see the stereotypes on TV, but rarely do we see the underlying mental health issues that can follow behind them. The black community still sweeps that under the rug.

Some people may read this article and think I’m hating on these people getting their money. I see those type of comments all the time when someone questions the reality TV world. However, my words don’t come from hate but from observation and concern. This comes from year’s of watching the same storyline over and over again. My thoughts come from seeing black women writing Facebook post soon after “Love And Hip Hop” goes off to say “black men ain’t shit”.

Or when a black man glorifies a woman on the show with breast implants that sit almost to her neck, with a matching big ass, but degrades a natural woman’s breast and ass because it’s not perfectly shaped like the ones on reality tv. My concern comes from the fact that we’re so eager to tune into these shows to get our weekly dose of stereotype, but not caring what really causes them.

I’m not going to tell you to stop watching “Love and Hip Hop”. That’s up to you. I’m just telling you to actually sit and think about what you’re watching. What we constantly watch is what we process into our mind’s. What we process into our mind’s can coincidentally become our lifestyle.

*Jasmin Pierre is a 27-year-old mental health activist and author of the new self help book “A Fight Worth Finishing”. She is from New Orleans, Louisiana. Jasmin is constantly fighting for the rights of those suffering from major depressive disorder. She inspires to become a life coach and continue writing to encourage others to never give up.

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