Despite its name, reality TV is anything but. Arguments are often set up and tense situations are regularly manufactured in an effort to spark drama, and hopefully garner high ratings. But when on-screen arguments involve black folks, and specifically black men, why is it that we are often made to appear violent and out of control?

In a recent episode of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, former late night host Arsenio Hall got into it with with former Danity Kane member Aubrey O’Day. Apparently, Hall was pissed that O’Day attempted to take control of the task that he was in charge of, and although he held his tongue throughout the project in an effort to keep the peace, when the team got into the boardroom he let his true feelings be known.

After the boardroom, the team retreated to their suite to await Donald Trump’s decision. Although O’Day didn’t rejoin her team, Arsenio’s frustrations boiled over and he continued venting to his teammates, telling them that O’Day wasn’t “going nowhere” in the competition because she was only out for herself.

Although Hall was extreme in his language, his frustrations were valid. However, teammate and New Jersey Housewife Teresa Giudice (who’s known for flipping over tables) said Hall’s outburst was scary and Comedian and Apprentice contestant Lisa Lampanelli described it as violent.

This isn’t the first time black men have been made out to look “violent” because of their argument style.

During the first season of MTV’s The Real World, writer and activist Kevin Powell became the embodiment of the scary black man stereotype when he argued with Julie, the sweet innocent downhome girl. The show painted Powell as overly concerned with race and, of course, perpetually angry.

While these depictions make for juicy TV, they also further the notion that people need to be afraid of black men–all of them. Even the seemingly nice ones, as Giudice says she thought of Hall, can turn on you in a minute.

These on-screen images not only fall in line with commonly held stereotypes, but also set up situations when everyday people transfer their fears of black men onto any and every black man they meet. They also set up situations in which a young man is deemed suspicious because he’s wearing a hoodie and walking in a “good” neighborhood at dusk. As the tragic death of Trayvon Martin shows us, the constant portrayal of black men as scary, angry, and potentially violent can lead to very real and disastrous results.

  • Tonton Michel

    Valid points, it’s always the one with the least familiarity with black people that act like this. But I am more upset about Arsenio subjecting him self to this show, he needs to be back on the TV with his own show again.

  • Glazed ‘Donut

    No matter what black people lashing out will always be seen as violent and angry. Teresa and etc. can do anything they want and everything is fine just the stupid world we live in. I also notice white women when confronted with their lash outs or behavior tend to cry and everyone feels sympathy for their poor behavior.

  • Ocean Blue (LaDreaming86)

    Oh come on, there was nothing violent or scary about Arsenio Hall’s argument. I thought it was great that he ‘put his foot down’.

  • CAsweetface

    The ladies team argues at that level every week the only difference is he seemed jovial the entire season and Aubrey brought out VALID anger out of him that appeared as if he went from 0-60. But valid points about the show and how comments about him being “scary” perpetuate the black male stereotypes.

  • iQgraphics

    Aubrey o’day is looking like the joker with that hair and those eyes… I know his hair is green but… she looks like a relative.
    I’m surprised clay aiken didn’t beat arsenio to the punch

  • pink

    Tonton: Newsflash if producers, and networks were interested in Arsenio having his own show he would have been on tv a long time ago. It’s not that simple to get a show. Maybe since he’s doing Tthe Apprentice; he may get a network to court him. Arsenio has been out of the mix for a long long time.

  • RC


    *moving right along !!!

  • pink

    I’m sure no one cares; and my measly refusal to watch the show means nothing; but I’m boycotting The Appentice. I stopped watching it last year because of Trump’s constant President Obama birther nonsense. I think Trump went way over the top to promote his show by bashing the President. And that pertains to any President. Such disrespect for the office.

  • PGS

    Ummm…..but it is. Black women have husbands, sons, fathers, brothers….so how black MEN are portrayed affects black women greatly, especially when those she loves have to deal with other people’s prejudices.

    Tell Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin’s mom) that the way people view black men and boys isn’t her problem and I’m sure she’ll disagree.

  • PGS

    ITA! I don’t watch/support anything Donald Trump is connected to.

  • RC

    @ PGS

    then black males need to sit down and have these discussions….not black women…..

    ” Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin’s mom) that the way people view black men and boys isn’t her problem and I’m sure she’ll disagree.”

    your absolutely right, that’s HER issue….not mine.

    *moving the F* along……

  • Shirl

    Good gracious RC who hurt you boo? Your comments were insensitive and dumb. All black men don’t share in the blame for what a few may have done to you. You should be embarrassed by what you posted about Ms. Fulton. That was mean, unnecessary and ignorant. When you got checked By PGS you painted yourself as the stereotypical angry black woman.

  • Jen

    I don’t watch this show but the same type of victim behavior she was displaying would be totally unacceptable for any woman of color seeking a position in the professional world. And if you cannot stand to hear the hard truth about your behavior then maybe you should reconsider your behavior. The same instinct that caused the women on the show, most of who display the nastiest behavior 90% of the time, to say that they were scared is the very reason Blacks in the workforce must temper every truth as to not appear scary or angry when someone else drops the ball.

  • Toppin



  • RC

    @ Shirl

    nobody hurt me, ( come up with a better come back). I’m just tired of black women always feeling like we gotta tackle every issue, especially those concerning black males….. let them handle their own damn problems. Ish ain’t even that serious, boo.

  • jess

    tell it RC! And Black men reciprocate nothing. how many times do you see black male-focused magazines discussing how sad it is that the ladies on the basketball wives or love and hip hop are made out to be scary and mean? none. zip. nada. they dont discuss it because they dont care and mainly because they agree. peep brian white, he is by no means alone in his opinion. vut the babying of black men. most have moved on to other pastures than you black women who keep giving them the time of day.

  • Val

    I saw that segment and it seemed really bogus when the Jersey Housewife popped up talking about how Arsenio scared her. I was like; this chick who knocks over tables trying to get at people is all of a sudden some little scared damsel in distress? Get real.

  • QoNewC


    I agree with you completely. Please keep moving on. Youre neither wanted nor desired. Go create some Jim Jones style hovel in Guyana where you and the rest of the Sisterhood of Travelling Dorito Bags can live happily ever after.

  • QoNewC


    No need to tell anyone you leaving. Just go. No one wants you, cares about you, desires you, or needs you. Just keep it moving. In fact gather all members of the Bitter B**H Book Club and shut the door firmly when you leave. Dont come back either.

  • QoNewC

    Aresinio is very gangsta.

  • QoNewC


    Apples and Oranges. Arsenio isnt throwing tables over, throwing drinks, cursing anyone out, fighting in public, etc. You think you can compare what Arsenio did to what any of those chicks of BBW or HWOA do?

    I want you to tell us when the last time you saw a black man acting as violently as black women do on reality TV. The homosexuals dont count.

    Black women have become indefensible in their behavior on reality TV.

  • mamareese

    They all came across as passionate about their point to me. It’s the stereotype that comes with being a black man that puts the other cast members on edge. If you pale the skin and replay the scene it’s just a guy getting emotional about something that upset him…..

  • AlesiaMichelle

    Woah the Producers are definitely on Arsenio’s side…

    Arsenio has been on Aubrey’s case since episode one (before they were teammates) I wouldn’t have used this scenario as an example…

  • Shirl

    RC because I have good black men in my life I can’t fathom where you are coming from. I also have two wonderful sons so when there is some unnecessary black man bashing it bothers me. I know it’s done to black women all the time (we’re loud, have bad attitudes, are the least attractive of all races etc. )but I don’t buy in to the hype. We are indeed Queens! The backbone of our race! Our beauty is unmatched. Don’t let the ignorance of some black males spoil it for all. The good ones are definitely worth loving. There’s nothing more precious than Black Love. Oh and did anybody think that Arsenio may have just been scared of Theresa’s unusually low hairline and lashed out at it. I know I am.

  • QoNewC


    Thanks but no thanks. Im a black woman. Im not anyone’s back bone and Im not a Queen. Some black women have unmatchable beauty and some look like gremlins.

    Dont worry about those women. If they truly didnt care, they wouldnt have commented at all but like the attention-wh*** that they are, they needed to come in here, some say ish and have everyone comment so that they could hopefully segue into colorism, racio mysgony, hip hop, white women, inter racial dating, beings mules of the earth, natural hair, rap videos, Sojouner Truth, weave glue etc. Dont even bother. When they have truly left, we will know by their silence. They still hear talking, they still care. What they want is attention. The attention they never got in high school. The brothers were too busy looking at light skinned girls while they stood in the corner sweating out their Sunday press.

  • edub

    “the brothers were too busy looking at light skinned girls while they stood in the corner sweating out their Sunday press.”


  • Shirl

    QoNewC: wasn’t referring to the physical when I meantioned beauty. When I mentioned black love I meant Loving ones self. I am mom in my little community. The kids come to me when they need to talk, are having problems etc. I can’t do much monetarily but I can be the backbone. Personally I think ALL women are Queens!!! I get where you’re coming from though and your last sentence tickled the hell outa me “while they stood in the corner sweating out their sunday press” haha. So whether you think so or not you my dear are a Queen!

  • modern lady

    Show of hands-before this article, who knew The Apprentice was still on?

  • African Mami

    I came across this on the web the other day. I didn’t know it was on! Once, they started bring this fakelebrities, I stopped watching. I was a STAN for it, when it was regular people, fighting it out on the corporate boardroom. That was hella sexy! Especially, when there was a sista holding it down-not Omorasa!

  • QCastle

    Your a good woman and the community you serve may not deserve you. Thanks.

  • CHE


    L.M.A.O. at you as usual… calling people *attention whores*…..all this from a demon who trolls Black women sites(the ones youre not banned from) to spread your poison to women you hate and women who hold you in contempt…..and you still cant stay away. You really want our attention and love? dont you?. Your life with your Asian husband must suck(poor guy)….because if you hate STRANGERS…well… LOL! Your obvious unhappiness and pain is very enjoyable; Carry on!.

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