Why We Need Love & Hip Hop Atlanta
As of late, a hot topic in the world of social media and hair salon dialogue has been VH1's latest masterpiece of buffoonery - Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.
While most people are loving the drama-filled weekly episodes, there's another audience cringing at the "embarrassment" that they say this program puts black women through. Check out Dr. Nsenga K. Burton's article "Why Love & Hip Hop Atlanta Needs to Go" featured on The Root (www.theroot.com), explaining why the show should be taken off the air. I say leave LHHA on the air -- we need this program because the embarrassing situations played out by the characters are not a race issue -- they are however, a HUMAN issue.
All of us, no matter the race, class, religious belief or social ideology -- have been cheated on, lied to, taken someone back after heart ache and betrayal, had or know someone who's had an abortion, and been on the not so pretty side of the relationship coin. This show can easily teach the naive about discernment and deciphering between one's character and one's personality. As LHHA has often displayed, a man or woman can have an awesome personality and have a shitty character and/or set of values. That's why I love this show - it makes us watch and hopefully, learn from their mistakes and misadventures. So, why is this show so painful and embarrassing to watch? Because we can relate to it. We see ourselves in some capacity, or at least know someone who can relate to a person on LHHA. And yes, it is embarrassing to watch these things take place on national television, especially when you see yourself and your mistakes being played out by the players/characters on the show.
Life is but a stage, isn't it? I think that we need this show as a platform to show us how NOT to be, if anything. I can easily see elements of myself in some of the characters and also those of White friends, Asian friends, gay/straight, cute/ugly, wealthy/poor friends, who have all been through similar if not the same situations. They may look, speak, dance, eat and fight (or not) differently than these people, but the common denominator is sex, lies, character flaws and the ups and downs of life. We all go through it.
I personally think that this has nothing to do with the black community -- it goes way beyond that. Hip Hop is a culture that extends beyond race, political beliefs and social class. Hip Hop culture itself is fueled by the misogyny that gallivants its cheating, egotistical ways and rears its ugly head onto ANY media program that relates to the music that is Hip Hop. Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE Hip Hop. Metaphorically, Hip Hop represents the embarrassing relative who constantly promises to do something, but never actually follows through. You learn not to rely on them but to love them for who and what they are, even if they shit on you from time to time - they are fam.
If the viewers watching the show have such a limited world view as to recognize that ALL people who act like this don't necessarily look like the people one the show, then the show isn't the problem. It's the person watching the show that needs some work. Whether it be through education, self reflection, therapy or mentor-ship, it's time for people to start taking responsibility for the way they perceive themselves instead of blaming social problems on television and ENTERTAINMENT. Art imitates life and vice versa -- it's just one big spin cycle rotating with no one to blame but ourselves. LHHA is entertainment as shameless and trifling as it might be. This show is meant to cause higher ratings, not a revolution.