We all know reality shows don’t always portray a positive image of women, but until recently fans had a few limited options: refuse to watch the show or complain. But after a recent petition to boycott Basketball Wives forced VH1 and the show’s creators to reexamine the fights, bickering, and negative portrayal of black women on the show, fans finally felt the power of their collective voice.

Now, just days after VH1 debuted yet another catty reality show, fans are exercising their rights to speak up. Recently a petition to boycott the show, Love in Hip Hop Atlanta hit the web and viewers are demanding VH1 “stop dealing crack and tell true stories.”

The petition explains:

After we made a ruckus about Basketball Wives, sponsors began to pull ads. Well, it’s that time again, folks!

While we should respect the perceptions and experiences of the men and women featured on “reality” television shows, networks are airing stories that could be very helpful for people to hear, but they’re telling these stories in EXTREMELY dangerous ways.

We all know premium digital crack rock is ‘slanged’ in digital hoods other than VH1. We also know the problem is not just TV–it’s a big, mean, social monster that we’ve gotta shoot down one non-violent bullet at a time. Nevertheless, somebody’s gotta be the face of this lovely movement. And since VH1 has chosen to give us yet another beautifully-blinged jewel of commercial exploitation (Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta), they might as well be the face of change. By the way, shout out to all African Americans who received Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta as their Juneteenth gift! You won and lost at the same time!

As we work toward national- and local-level change, let’s tell VH1 and their sponsors (again) why people from a broad range of backgrounds will NOT stand for the exploitation of the lived experiences of people who may not even know they’re being exploited. This isn’t a “Black or White” thing, this is a HUMAN thing…and we should all understand.

P.S. That “turn of the TV/your kids’ TV if you don’t want to watch” argument doesn’t work here, VH1. A good number of the kids who are most at risk don’t have the luxury of living with parents who can just “turn off the TV”. Why? Because their parents are out working multiple jobs (thanks to this lovely thing called poverty); one or both parents are on drugs, dead, or in jail; or they’re raised by ill grandparents, relatives who aren’t that interested in their future, or foster parents who abuse them and only foster to collect a check.

While the petition to boycott Basketball Wives caught on, it’ll be interesting to see if VH1′s critics will be able to exert the same influence over the network and Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’s creators.

Stay tuned.

*Read more about the petition on the Change.org website.

  • http://allerinharper.com Erin Harper

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • RAYA

    THANK YOU SO MUCH TELL ME WHERE TO SIGN!!!

  • M

    @RAYA the link to sign the petition is at the very end of this post (before the comments)

  • http://agreeneyedchica.wordpress.com agreeneyedchica

    Are we mad because we feel exploited, or are we mad because a light has been shone on how some people really do act? I remember being told as a child, “what happens in this house stays in this house, don’t be sharing the family’s business!” Is this an extension of that? Are we mad because VH1 had the nerve to expose our dirt? No, not every Black person acts like that, but many do. I know because I’ve witnessed it myself. I just feel it’s time we take ownership for our part of the problem. The problem isn’t VH1, it’s within our own communities, our own families, it’s in our own dysfunction. And until we own up to our dysfunction and do something about it, it’s only going to get worse. I’m kinda glad some people finally have a mirror to see just how ugly they act. I’m kinda glad some people can see themselves in these “characters” and will be inspired to change. Just my humble opinion…

  • Anon

    Expose our dirt?

    These shows are media hit jobs with low production costs and thristy broads, not an educational tool.

  • http://allerinharper.com Erin Harper

    No one should be exploited in this manner. As I said, it’s not a black or white thing. It’s a HUMAN thing. The point of this petition is to tell stories in socially responsible ways. It doesn’t mean you have to lie. Some people might be dissuaded from participation in sexual exploitation/pimping if we hear the ex-pimp mother on this show talk about the dark side of the game instead of shucking and jiving with a glass of moscato. This little thing called poverty has kids raising themselves. We’re shooting loaded guns at them.

  • iQgraphics

    i saw some white woman get her hair pulled out on vh1 the other day.
    this is an attack on women in general.

  • Roz G

    I agree that we need to take ownership and I think this petition is a small, yet important start. For one, it has already initiated the dialogue that “Hey…maybe this is not okay!” Perhaps some of the characters will “look in the mirror” or a viewer will “relate to a character” but is this an appropriate method for self-reflection? Does anyone truly believe that this show will inspire people to evaluate their self-worth or boost morale? This is not a set up for an intervention…it is purely for entertainment. And at whose expense? The willing participants? Believe it or not, it is possible that they really don’t know any better. Our impressionable youth? Can they differentiate between VH1′s version of reality and their daily reality? Look at the evolution of the reality shows. At some point, we must draw a line. Or watch our own demise.

  • http://www.jessicasimien.com Jessica

    As long as women and men are willing to sign up as cast members, there will always be these types of shows. You can’t expect a network to accept responsibility for what people are willing to do to get their 15 minutes of fame.

    Just as BBW continues, this show will too. It’s sad to say, but it is not going to change until people stop allowing themselves to be exploited.

  • London

    The same way that blacks protested the menstrual shows in the 1920s that depicted Afro-Americans with exaggerated facial features in the watermelon patch shucking and jiving in rags, is how blacks should protest these menstrual shows now. DON’T TUNE IN. Kudos to this petition, but blacks really have to stop watching and supporting these shows. I know so many people who say they are “never going to watch Vh1 shows again,” but then the next day everyone and their mama knows what happened on the Love and Hip Hop show. Vh1 will forever continue to create shows like this if the ratings stay high.

  • Socially Maladjusted

    P.S. That “turn of the TV/your kids’ TV if you don’t want to watch” argument doesn’t work here, VH1. A good number of the kids who are most at risk don’t have the luxury of living with parents who can just “turn off the TV”. Why? Because their parents are out working multiple jobs (thanks to this lovely thing called poverty); one or both parents are on drugs, dead, or in jail; or they’re raised by ill grandparents, relatives who aren’t that interested in their future, or foster parents who abuse them and only foster to collect a check.

    How low is it to invoke the struggles of impoverished people, who they clearly couldn’t give a damn about, to justify censoring the content on an idiotic tv show.

  • Omolade

    The argument here is so stupid its un-fucking-believable How does this show affect you like seriously? if you hate it so much then don’t fucking watch it! the show is clearly called love and hip hop not love and gospel so what the fuck did you expect to see? stop ruining it for everyone else that wants to watch the show! and another thing the argument about children watching the show is so irrelevant. the parent is responsible for what the child watches dummies!

  • NewLook

    Where’s the petition. I can get you 10 signatures tomorrow.

  • tight lipped mary

    petitions…please i signed the one BBW and it is filming for next season.
    i just don’t watch.

  • Ms. Information

    Minstrel not menstrual…

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    “P.S. That “turn of the TV/your kids’ TV if you don’t want to watch” argument doesn’t work here, VH1. A good number of the kids who are most at risk don’t have the luxury of living with parents who can just “turn off the TV”. Why? Because their parents are out working multiple jobs (thanks to this lovely thing called poverty); one or both parents are on drugs, dead, or in jail; or they’re raised by ill grandparents, relatives who aren’t that interested in their future, or foster parents who abuse them and only foster to collect a check.”

    –perhaps the makers of this petition should focus their energies working on the problems they outlined in the postscript instead of getting some silly t.v. show cancelled.

  • http://allerinharper.com Erin Harper

    Does “Boycott” not imply don’t watch until they can tell stories that people can learn from? If so, maybe we need to be more clear…just asking.

  • http://allerinharper.com Erin Harper

    It was a step toward change. We can’t give in so easily. I was disappointed too after signing and writing articles and the show was still on. HOWEVER, dollars were pulled and all of a sudden they were showing therapy scenes to try to be more balanced. Still not enough, but no reason to grow apathetic.

  • http://agreeneyedchica.wordpress.com agreeneyedchica

    I’m not saying that the show should air and I’m not saying it shouldn’t. I love the intention behind the petition. I apologize if I came off as being against it. I’m just encouraging others to also see that these types of shows are showing us that we have a serious problem in our communities. After we get the shows off the air, then what? Yes, no one deserves to be exploited, but at the end of the day that is someone’s real life. Whether the show is on or not, that woman is still going to be proud of having been a pimp. And there are many more where she came from. There are still going to be children raised in dysfunctional homes where this type of craziness occurs everyday. I just want to encourage everyone to not only sign the petition, but begin to think of ways that we can each contribute to solve this important issue. Because of this, I have made a commitment to get involved with a local mentoring program for young woman in the urban community. I want to be a good example and help another young girl grow up to be a respectable and successful young woman.

  • http://cupofjo-jo.blogspot.com bk chick

    I peeped that too..smh.

  • Jess

    omolade, you are truly part of the problem, and the reason why reality trash like this is keeps being made.

  • Omolade

    No hunny I am simply a viewer you on the other need to calm down it’s a tv show boo it’s not that serious

  • Z-London

    Agree with Omolade. You killed me with ‘love and gospel’
    People are acting as though this one programme is being broadcast on every single channel 24/7. There are other options. Explore them. Also, the website you are using for the petition is intended for human rights issues. Why hijack its good and noble cause for this trivial pursuit? Other petitions on that site can’t be solved with the push of a remote control button. Yours can. If you cared so much about these children and their impoverished backgrounds, do something to tackle that first. Like Socially Maladjusted mentioned it is low to drag their very real struggle into this. Anyway as BBW taping their 4th season has shown, petitions like this do nothing. Have fun signing in vain :)

  • The Comment

    “This bytch is shaking the table ya’ll!”

  • TurnItUp

    Hold up…to boycott against Basketball Wives, I understand. It is negative to portray black women in a negative light with the fights. Now this Love & Hip Hop Atl..how is this show getting under people’s skin so much. It’s entertainment for adults. This show is not airing on ABC Family for a reason. As adults we know problems exist within relationships, a woman somewhere has a crazi mother-in-law, a friend wanting you to leave your cheating man, hoes exists, and on and on! So with this show, is it a little bit too close to home? I mean really what is the problem? As adults simply don’t watch and surely you know not to allow your kids to do so. Not boycotting, yeah turn over a table or two…sitting back relaxing and enjoying my guilty pleasure. #TurnItUp

  • http://beautyinbaltimore.blogspot.com beautyinbaltimore

    omolade The argument here is so stupid its un-fucking-believable How does this show affect you like seriously?

    If you think this sort of trash doesn’t play a role in your life when going for job interviews, the way you are treated in restaurants, upscale clothing stores and random interactions, hun you got another thing coming.

    Black women avoid allowing yourselves to be exploited. I know we are in a recession but your dignity should not be on the clearance rack.

  • Overseas_Honeybee

    Exactly. If you really want to make a point – STOP WATCHING IT. No petition needed. These “shows” would not be on if folks weren’t tuned in. As long as there is an audience VH1 will keeping cranking out this crap.

  • Omolade

    I know for a fact this show doesn’t affect me boo! Regardless of whether this show airs or not I’m gonna be treated the same way. Why is it that those that watch jersey shore, mob wives, bad girls club etc are not boycotted or held accountable for their race. If you wanna make a difference channel all your energy into real issues like getting equal opportunities, racial profiling etc. stop making generalisations just because these women who happen to be black choose to act ratchet doesn’t mean all black women are ratchet. If you dont like the show then turn off the tv have a seat and read a book mmkay hunny.

  • Twee

    Well that’s a part of it. Let’s hope the same people that sign the petition are the same people that aren’t watching it. This bring about an opportunity to talk about it which can also bring change, rather VH1 follows through with anything or not. I look at the whole natural hair movement for instance I come from a city where natural hair has always been embraced so I’ve always felt that people should just go natural and folks will follow forget the whole team natural thing. But a lot more people are aware, talking about it and embracing their hair due to the platform. Same with this telling a few of my friends that I don’t watch the show may get them to change their minds about but utilizing a large platform like the internet via this petition will get a larger group of people to turn it off.

  • Z-London

    Uhhm, when did I mention race once in my comment? I refrained form doing that because Erin stated that this wasn’t a black or white thing but a human thing. And don’t ask me why Jews do this and don’t do that. I wouldn’t know cos i’m not jewish. The point i’m making is that people should channel their passion about some tv show into other more urgent issues. Also, note to Erin if this was a ‘human’ thing like you stated, this wouldn’t be your first and only petition on that site and you would have gone after other shows that portray humans in a bad light as well.

  • Nadell

    (sigh) These petitions and boycotts are becoming pretty redundant & repetitive. The simple solution….STOP watching it! sheeesh

  • melinda

    Why should viewers that are somewhat entertained have to watch sommething else? There are people who kind of like these shows for one reason being that it is ENTERTAINING! I do not like the content of these shows but the truth is I watch it because I think its funny and entertaining…

  • Anon

    Wait,hold up. So… folks are supposed to fix MASSES of dysfunctional adults (all of these social issues are not due to being poor) before even attempting to get horrendous programming off of T.V.? YOU go take care of poverty, we’ll take care of the show.

  • Anon

    Some women change their minds way to quick when something like is shown as tacky. And then bring up “community change”.

  • Keiko

    “Why is it that those that watch jersey shore, mob wives, bad girls club etc are not boycotted or held accountable for their race.” - They get the benefit of the doubt – Meaning – our society doesn’t view non-Black people as one big group. They get to be though of as individuals.

    Just because these women who happen to be black choose to act ratchet doesn’t mean all black women are ratchet. – Yea, we know that, but our society doesn’t feel that way.

    *BY THE WAY – I HATE THE TERM ‘RATCHET’. THE SLANG MEANING DOESN’T EVEN COME CLOSE TO THE WORD’S ACTUAL MEANING. A BETTER TERM WOULD BE ‘WRETCHED’.

  • My Sister’s Keeper

    Omolade, look at the language you use to convey your point. I bet you were doing all kinds of neck and eye rolling while typing too. Clearly these shows have not been a positive influence on you. Maybe these shows have affected you in a manner you truly will never be able to realize. Either way, some of us want better and we should stand firmly in demanding it.

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