I’ve been a fan of Shaunie O’Neal for a long time. Since her early career days as an entertainment analyst for Insider and Access Hollywood, I’ve respected her business acumen and drive to be seen as something other than a “Basketball Wife.”
Which is why it’s time for her to get the hell out of dodge and drop the show with her reputation intact.
I don’t say this because of the typical criticisms you may hear concerning the show, such as it “portrays women of color in a bad light.” Personally, as I’ve said in a previous article on Clutch, these women don’t represent me, they represent themselves, and I refuse to stake ownership in their actions.
It’s time for Shaunie to leave because she’s obviously ready to leave.
Just like that bad marriage that you hold on to for dear life, anytime you have to consult your pastor to determine if you should leave or stay, you already know that answer.
“How long will they go on like this? How many times do the women, cuss, fuss and get mad,” asked Bishop Ulmer of Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, California. “Do you resolve this frustration when you see these women clawing at each other? Is it worth you walking away from?”
“I have really strongly considered walking away. Do I walk away and love the ladies from the distance,” Shaunie responded. “I feel like there’s nothing else that I can do. At this point I can no longer defend it; I can no longer stand by it.”
This comes after she voiced palpable contempt at her friends’ behavior and promised that they would get their act together:
“As this group has been blessed with strong, smart, independent, sassy women with as much passion as vocabulary, there’s NO excuse for physical violence. So the cast, SHED Media and Vh1 have done a gut check, to stop allowing physical violence demoralize the show and impose a no-physical violence policy.
“Personally, I almost didn’t come back to the show, but I thought it was important for this to be said as some of the past actions this season I have not agreed with, it’s not what I stand for and never have. So moving forward, we have agreed to better the show, still with plenty of drama and fun (how can we help that?!) but with a more responsible attitude all around. This is important for me specifically as an executive and what I do and don’t attach my name to, as a grown woman, and as a positive role model to my kids.”
To make a long story short: She’s embarrassed, she’s fed up, she’s done…but she’s still making her own money. Her obvious need for that to continue ensures that she remains a huge part of the problem – the one she claims not to want. She consistently throws a rock and hides her hands, while her henchmen do the dirty work. She has never once tried to stop a fight, never once spoken up in earnest for one of the women being bullied. Note that Meeka Claxton was done worse than a dirty dog last season and as long as the ratings kept rolling in, we didn’t hear a peep from Shaunie. She has always instigated from the sidelines while the checks roll in – and people have noticed.
Quite honestly, for an executive producer and mother of five, it’s a very bad look. Not only because it’s juvenile behavior, but because it’s obvious that she’s exploiting her “friends” for profit. Does she adore Evelyn and Tami? I’m sure she does. Does she grin a little bit inside every time they act a damn fool? Probably.
The “Queen Bee” knows that she’s better than the image she’s presenting to the world and no amount of money is worth jeopardizing future opportunities that don’t revolve around jumping across tables and hurling wine bottles. She’s a strong beautiful, woman with the world at her fingertips and I, for one, look forward to what she does next.
Let it go, Shaunie.