Black America is not Shawty Lo

by Tami Winfrey Harris

all my baby mama's

Sometime this spring, the Oxygen network will air a program called All My Babies’ Mamas, featuring someone called Shawty Lo. You probably already know this because a press release and video leak last week (video since removed) caused the heads of good black folk to explode all over the interwebs. You could hear the pop from space. The one-hour special documents Shawty, 31, whose mama named him Carlos Walker, and his relationships with his 11 children, their 10 mothers, and his newest, a 19-year-old girlfriend. Oh, and in the spirit of Flavor of Love, the women on the show will have their identities erased in favor of nicknames like “Fighter Baby Mama,” “First Lady,” and “Bougie Baby Mama.”

Lord, pass me my smelling salts.

The impending debut of All My Babies’ Mamas has been met with some predictable responses: A petition urging Oxygen to shelve the special and a whole lot of people vowing never, ever to let their eyeballs see this shitshow. But two reactions I find troubling: black shame and a heap of demeaning talk about single-parent and nontraditional families.

The “Ban All My Babies’ Mamas” petition, which, as I’m writing, has 73 signatures on, calls for the Oxygen show to be canceled for demeaning black women, girls, and children and stereotyping black men. I have no doubt the show will do all these things. And — make no mistake — the show’s creative team, Liz Gateley and Tony DiSanto, mean for this to be so. Nearly every reality show, from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo to Love & Hip-Hop, is built on the exploitation and promotion of bias and stereotype.

A few months ago, when I spoke to author and media analyst Jennifer Pozner about Honey Boo Boo, she said, “You can almost hear TLC saying, ‘Step right up to the Poverty Voyeurism Comedy Tour!’.” In this case, the message is undoubtedly, “Come see a dysfunctional, black family up close!” Or maybe, “Live, unmarried, over-sexed black women!” Or, “In this ring: triflin’, black sperm donors!” And we know — because racism works this way — that Oxygen’s stereotype-pimping will make black lives just that much harder, as we are judged by the actions of a man and women that have nothing at all to do with the rest of us.

But that doesn’t mean that we have to accept the stigmas that racism foist upon us. A commenter named Tay on Shadow and Act wrote:

This IS an unacceptable embarrassment to the black community, not to mention for women in general. We need to STOP acting like this – and we for damn sure need to STOP acting like this IN PUBLIC. We need to stop condoning this type of behavior with our financial support AND/OR with our silence. We complain about white people treating us like we are all lazy and ignorant and violent and on welfare and constantly out there making babies, etc… BUT THAT IS ALL THAT THEY SEE IN THE MEDIA. And we the black community continue to pour our money into supporting the very idiots (like this moron, and Chris Brown, OJ, pretty much the entire NBA….) who constantly throw us under the bus. The media-driven minstrel show needs. to. stop!!!!

There is a lot wrong with this comment, but let me focus on the idea that black Americans should be embarrassed by this show, that All My Babies’ Mamas is an illustration that African-Americans need to “do better.”


Stop owning the idea of black dysfunction. Stop repeating that “we” act this or that way. Stop believing that every ill-advised or socially unacceptable act of an individual black person (or 20 black people or 1,000) is a blight on the whole of the black community or YOU personally. Stop pretending that all black behavior is endorsed by the black collective. That racist America thinks this way is no endorsement. But taking to comments sections to proclaim loudly your disgrace at how other black people are living is an endorsement of credit-to-your-race type thinking as well as the idea that the caricatures the media treat us to really are representative of our race.

Stop it with the black shame. Shawty Lo is not the black community. If the white guys over on Gawker aren’t hanging their heads over Mick Jagger, his many children, and their mothers, then you can still hold your head high in a world where Shawty Lo and “Fighter Baby Mama” exist.

I know what you’re about to say: “But … but … but … 72 percent of black children born out of wedlock!” Right. The face of family is evolving all over the world — not just in America and not just among black people. Marriage rates are at an all-time low in the United States and across Europe. Rates of cohabitation and children born to unmarried parents are up. And these combined statistics don’t always add up to economic and social decay. (Hello, Sweden!) We need to begin figuring out how to adapt to these changes. And if you want to, you can lament that the changes are occurring. But here’s what you can’t do: pretend that Shawty Lo and his family are representative of single-parent or nontraditional black families. Because you know damn well they are not.

A News One commenter wrote:

I am glad this is coming on. Like it or not that is a pretty accurate portrayal of black ghetto family life. How many articles have we seen black women say a man is not needed in the home and marriage is not important? This show is the end result of that logic and mindset.

As long as men and women remain silent and black women celebrate baby mama ideology this will continue. “I don’t [need] no man” …  the black community is lost.

Society has been branding black families dysfunctional since the days of Django Unchained on through Lincoln and — boosted by the much-maligned Moynihan Report — all the way up to today. And people like the commenter above, KIR12 on News One, are ever-eager to believe we are what they say we are — no matter how many times all those stories about “welfare queens” and the like get debunked. The media and conservative propagandists (of all races, because we have some black ones, too) constantly serve up aberrations like Shawty Lo’s situation as illustrations of dysfunction and then sit back and say, “I told you so.” That’s some sleight of hand, for sure.

But neither impersonal statistics nor reality TV shows have anything to do with the lives of actual black parents, single or married, co-parenting, or going it alone. It obscures the real discussions we need to have about marriage and poverty and policy and instead taints black mothers, fathers, and their offspring.

For the last year, I have been interviewing black women for a book on marriage and relationships. One participant, raised by a single mother following divorce, told me:

“I am a college grad and am currently working on my master’s. [When people] hear my story about being raised by a single mom, I get all these sympathizing looks and ‘Oh wow, you made it!” pats on the back. It is aggravating. Why would I not make it? … My childhood was excellent and not being raised by both parents did not ruin my existence.”

Another sistah, a never-married 40-something who raised three children as a single mother and has recently joyously welcomed her fourth, says, “Life is what you make it. I am just a regular ol’ sister with kids, making it in today’s world. And I have never been anybody’s ‘baby mama’.”

These are real black women, with authentic and specific family lives and experiences. To erase those real stories — and my story as a married black woman, a proud stepmother to two, and a product of generations of married couples — in favor of a racist reality-show caricature is a bigger sin and a shame than Shawty Lo will ever be. (I have to add that I doubt this show will fairly and accurately portray the actual people involved … but, hey, they signed up for it.)

I’m not going to watch All My Babies’ Mamas because it looks like a hot-buttered racist and sexist mess. (Have I used the word “shitshow” yet?) But my aversion won’t be driven by manipulated embarrassment or a belief in the inherent wrongness of black families of any type.

  • Yvette

    First she writes…

    “…pretend that Shawty Lo and his family are representative of single-parent or nontraditional black families. Because you know damn well they are not.”

    Then she writes…

    “Like it or not that is a pretty accurate portrayal of black ghetto family life.”

    I don’t get it. Either they represent Black family life or they don’t. Maybe someone can explain?

  • Chillyroad

    ” My childhood was excellent and not being raised by both parents did not ruin my existence.”

    Of course it didnt ruin her existence but that isnt the point. she doesnt know who she would be if she were raised by two parents. but its about probabilities. You can have a relatively good life with one leg but I bet you would choose to have both. The most incidious thing about what she said is this idea that two parents or rather a father is icing on the cake. Good if he is there but just fine if he isn’t. Notice no one would say children are ok with just dad around. Some how mothers are non negotiables.

    Anyway , I don’t like petitions. People can vote with their feet and not watch it. That sends an even stronger message than 74 signatures.

  • Ravi

    I’m not sure, but I think she is saying the show is accurate in terms of “black ghetto life” but not representative of single-parent or nontraditional black families. The former being a small subset of the latter.

  • ….

    This article still dosent make any sense because she says,

    “How many articles have we seen black women say a man is not needed in the home and marriage is not important? This show is the end result of that logic and mindset.

    As long as men and women remain silent and black women celebrate baby mama ideology this will continue. “I don’t [need] no man” … the black community is lost.”

    But then she basically says there is nothing wrong with being a baby mama by quoting people and using Sweden as an example of how a country can be stable without marriage.

  • Ravi

    I didn’t say I understood the whole article; I was just answering a specific question about what she might have meant.

    Although I’m not quite sure what you are claiming doesn’t make sense either. What exactly doesn’t make sense?

  • Yvette

    @…. Exactly. As my grandmother used to say, she’s talking out of both sides of her mouth.

  • Dw

    Author quote” How many articles have we seen black women say a man is not needed in the home and marriage is not important? This show is the end result of that logic and mindset.”

    I think that a lot of men, a lot of black man that many women on clutch claim to be trolls were saying the very same thing these men have been saying for the longest. This notion of not needing a man for the household with children is toxic. You need men regardless, and your right, with this kind of mindset that is indeed the end result. I mean look at the dude, the man doesn’t even dress like a man to begin with, 31-32 years old or whatever still dresses like a boy and many mature black men well to do upwardly black men in the community knows these are the kind of men many of the black women in the community like to deal with thus these men will steer clear from women, not only black women, but any women who deals with these kind of men.

    To then get pregnant by these sorry excuse for a black man just decrease your chances even more like 80% decrease of ever getting married to a black man that is about something. In many cases many of you women bring about your own social ill and self infliction by dealing with these kind of black men, and you continue dealing with these kind of black men you will always lose. These men know nothing about building up a community, building clinics, banks, nothing! The black men that knows how to do such many of you women steer clear from these men for what ever reason it makes no sense as to why do you women avoid these black men? Why, like what is the real reason? Well for the past 40 years we have seen black woman leadership in the black community and not too many ppl are willing to continue to stay.

    It have gotten so bad that white media and others will continue to making shows like this because that is what many of the ppl in the black community endorse. If black women do not want to be seen as over sexed baby mothers that deal with thugs and drug dealers and child like men then you as a black woman stop dealing with those types because you nowadays trying to talk any sense to many of you women is a lost cause. Long gone of the image of a black woman as the Queen and mother of the earth foolishness, this is how America and other parts of the world view you. Your image is nothing good to look at, but hey, continue being strong and independent and all this other foolishness, shows like this will not stop being produced because many of you women will not stop dealing with these kind of men. Simple! Like black women in America is the only race of woman that I know of that rather live under other people and another race of ppl rule than to uplift the very same men that are in their community that can bring about change, responsibility and put us in a better light, but you women only want these kind of black men when your all used up, have 1-2 baby fathers, or other kids out of wedlock suddenly these kind of black men are more attractive suddenly, but guess what, these black men know the b.s. that many of you women are on and are no longer dealing with the foolishness, or black women all together because of this idiotic mindset many of you harbor. At the rate things are going you women are not going to change n e time soon and the well to do black men are not holding their breath either.

  • myblackfriendsays

    I also wonder if people who actually live(d) in the “black ghetto” would agree that a show about a guy with 10 baby mamas is accurate.

    Anyone, anyone?

  • Tami (Writer)

    To be clear, that is not my writing:

    “I am glad this is coming on. Like it or not that is a pretty accurate portrayal of black ghetto family life. How many articles have we seen black women say a man is not needed in the home and marriage is not important? This show is the end result of that logic and mindset.

    As long as men and women remain silent and black women celebrate baby mama ideology this will continue. “I don’t [need] no man” … the black community is lost”.

    That is a quote from News One. I have asked Deanna to fix the formatting to make this clear.

  • Tami (Writer)

    As I wrote in a response above. It seems the formatting on this page is faulty. This following quote is from a commenter on News One and not me:

    “I am glad this is coming on. Like it or not that is a pretty accurate portrayal of black ghetto family life. How many articles have we seen black women say a man is not needed in the home and marriage is not important? This show is the end result of that logic and mindset.

    As long as men and women remain silent and black women celebrate baby mama ideology this will continue. “I don’t [need] no man” … the black community is lost.”

    I have asked that editors fix this immediately. I understand it makes the post seem contradictory.

  • AM


    Living in the ghetto does not mean having/adopting a substandard mentality! It just means living in an impoverished geographic location! One person comes to mind, Dr. Benny Carson one of the nations leading neurosurgeons, known the world over! He grew up in the mean streets of Detroit, but his mother raised him with a can do mentality. Living in the ghetto is not an excuse to endorse this STUPIDITY! In life, we all have choices, albeit some with more leeway than others.

  • the original lol

    i kinda see where you were going with this but the fact is your logic does not compute.

    you say,
    “Right. The face of family is evolving all over the world — not just in America and not just among black people. Marriage rates are at an all-time low in the United States and across Europe. Rates of cohabitation and children born to unmarried parents are up. And these combined statistics don’t always add up to economic and social decay. (Hello, Sweden!) ”

    if we were talking about middle-class black folk having babies OOW because they chose to and were thus financially , emotionally,spiritually and physically equipped, no problem. that is not the case for the majority in the black community.and you know it.

    you said
    “If the white guys over on Gawker aren’t hanging their heads over Mick Jagger, his many children, and their mothers, then you can still hold your head high in a world where Shawty Lo and “Fighter Baby Mama” exist”

    i wish,however i cannot. the white guy can hold his head high because 1) the majority white dudes are not like Mick Jagger, 2)even if they were,white folk are in the majority and control the media so for every Mick Jagger on tv there are 1,000 white dudes depicted as heroes, good guys, manly men taking care of their families, married to one woman , shaking and moving sh!t in the world. this makes theirimage. we don’t have that. we just have Shawty lo and the rappers on Mtv.3)again, white folk are the majority, they are not at the mercy of another race when it comes to who they interact with and where they get employment from.

  • postracialist

    I think it’s pretty obvious there’s been a copy-editing error and that the “Like it or not…” part is a quote (it’s formatted like one), and NOT the author’s own argument. The sentence to contextualize it is missing.

  • Sasha

    I dislike when people say “My father wasn’t around, I was raised by my mother and I turned out fine” as if this somehow disproves the rule; it doesn’t. They are the exceptions, not the ‘rule’ and even though the universal rule isn’t “you will fail in life without a father in the home you were raised”, statistically that appears to be the case. Kudos to the men and women who were raised in single parent (mother) households and turned out awesome but you are not the norm.

  • Yb

    This post and the comments are going to turn to shit very quickly.

    Well…..Happy New Years everyone!!!!’ Hope the new year will be great for everyone!! :)

  • Ms. Information

    The problem with shows like this is that there aren’t enough good images to counter balance the bad images…white people don’t have this problem, yes you have honey boo bool, but you have hundreds of other images of doctors, lawyers, do-gooders….we don’t —we have Housewives, Love & Hip Hop and now this mess…

  • @Ravi I was responding to Yvette.But to answer ur question it dosent make sense bcuz one minute she makrs ot seem as if theres nothing wrong with being a baby mama and then says that the baby mama mindset is hurting the black community…which is it?

  • EST. 1986

    He is 36!

  • the original lol

    this is what i said in my own comment (where is my comment) , and we have to seek employment and services from them most of the time so we really are at a disadvantage.smh

  • AM

    You are right on the money about counterbalancing!!

    Hey darlllling!! :)

  • kenzy

    wait so he started having kids when he was 12? 0_O I saw the trailer and 3 of his kids are 19 so if he is 31 like the article says just….sweet baby Jesus…who let their 12 year old have 3 kids!!

  • Ms. Information

    @ AM…Happy New Year Mama…and Happy New Year to the Clutch fam…we don’t agree on everything, but that is what makes it interesting ;)….

  • Yb

    I agree with you that there isn’t enough balance in media representation of black people, but I also feel that we don’t support positive representations of us.

    Many black people know world star hip hop and the love & hip hop shows but how many of us watch Black Enterprise featuring black entrepreneurs and Finding my roots?

    Deception with Meagan Good is being promoted but I already hear people knocking it down, saying it doesn’t compare to Scandal. These are the same people on the edge of their seat waiting for next season of Love & Hip Hop.

    It’s like even when we have the chance to see better, we don’t support or even try.

  • Yvette

    Someone up above wrote that he’s actually 36 years old. I don’t know if this is true or not.

  • Tami (Writer)

    But I submit that the majority of black men aren’t Shawty Lo, nor are the majority of black women “Fighter Baby Mama.”

  • the original lol

    where is his daddy?

    i know my own father would have my brother’s neck!

  • Sasha

    I love everything about your comment. It’s easy to hop on the internet and sign a petition showing you’re anti- whatever BUT it in my opinion it is much easier to downright cancel cable/ unsubscribe to that channel or not watch…or it could be more difficult depending on who you are talking to.

    I think it is disgusting for people who regard a father being in the home as a negotiable/ nonessential. My father has been there from day one and I could not ever ever imagine my life without him. He is not a negotiable. Neither is my mother. I cannot even fathom how anyone could regard a parent being in the home as negotiable but I imagine it is easier to say this when you “turn out fine” as a result of being raised by only one parent. Or when you have no father figure at all however I bet people whose mothers had to work 2-4 jobs to keep the lights on and put food on the table and keep the lights on or had a revolving door of men through their lives would not be singing the same tune. There are problems in every home and yes there are people who were raised in two parent homes whose lives turned out to be miserable BUT like I stated in my comment below, to be a product of a one parent home and turn out “fine” is not the norm. Fathers contribute so much to the life of a child and I’m not only looking at this from a financial perspective but an emotional health perspective as well.

  • Ms. Information

    @ YB, I agree…but I think that the vast majority still want the quality that came with the Cosby Show, Different World…Do you think that we are watching the other mess because there aren’t really good shows for us now?

  • AM

    Muah, muah, muah!! Thank you. Happy New Year to you and yours!! :)

  • Yb

    “Do you think that we are watching the other mess because there aren’t really good shows for us now?”

    I think so. I think we are so desperate for any image of us, any representation on screen that we will watch damn near anything featuring a black face. That’s the only way I can understand black people running to go see Django and Tyler Perry’s movies.

  • the original lol

    “I dislike when people say “My father wasn’t around, I was raised by my mother and I turned out fine” as if this somehow disproves the rule; it doesn’t.”

    i’ve noticed what people usually mean when they say that is they are not committing crimes or on welfare,they usually have a job. the problem normally manifests itself in relationships,they tend to not do so well over there.

  • AM

    To add on to Yb’s points,we happen to make the most noise in regards to how our images are portrayed by the media, YET, we are also high on consuming these very shows that depict us in the most negative light. These standpoints are polarizing at best.

    It’s either we take a collective stand and say hey, we are NOT going to watch these shows. Let the ratings tank right on out and fade the shows into oblvion.

  • EST. 1986

    He’s 36.

  • Smilez_920

    @Ms.Information. I say this all the time. For every white ” ratchet ” show there are 5 or more great , well written show. This is not the case for black television . While we do have positive shows on TV most of them are not running on the major networks . Someone mentioned ” Black Enterprise TV show ” , that’s a great show but it’s running on TV one not on a bigger network like VH1 where the demographic is larger .

    I know oxygen says the show is about blended families , which in this case his family is very blended , I just think its the actions of the adults that are making the show negative. A grown woman calling herself the “fighter baby mama”, a 35+ man with a 20 yr gf who clearly is naive . It’s a little too much.

    Yes there are other cultures where the children our born out of wedlock, but I don’t think those cultures have been hurt as much by this trend as our community has. While marriage is not the end all be all , the worst part isn’t the children being born out of wedlock it’s the fact that the father isn’t around to help provide for the child.

  • Tallulah Belle

    Gosh, if that is a picture of all his baby mammas, then he clearly got lucky to land this reality show!! Lord knows he needs the money, the man has a million mouths to feed. I hope they pay him well and he got a good contract with the O network. Before everyone gets all up in arms, I think the terms of his contract and the casts’ compensation needs to be made public. If it’s a good deal, then, let it be. That’s 11 or 12 more black folks off the unemployment rolls. In this day and age, a job is a j-o-b. As they say: Don’t knock the hustle. I mean, folks, if you want dignified programming, read a book. There are still libraries out here. Get off your couch, check out a book, and read it. No one is forcing you to watch this program. As long as they treat him and his family farily, pay them well, and he understands the terms of his contract, whatever.

  • Sasha

    Exactly. Its as if having a job/ being financially stable is the barometer to most people’s measure of “fine” but there is more to “fine” than that. What about your romantic life? I find that people raised in single parent homes have a really hard time connecting romantically with people of the opposite sex for issues that they have with their absentee parent. I’m not saying this is the case for all people, I’m just saying this is what I’ve found to be an oberservation on my end.

  • Chillyroad

    Liars!!!! The obstacles that people like all of you put before positive black people is proof that youre not being very genuine. I can see for my own eyes the way certain black men and women are treated if they don’t uphold the party line. They get abused more than the Shawty’s Lows and the baby mommas of the world.

    Want proof, go to ANY article about Beyonce. She is a positive image of a black woman but of course she didn’t go to Harvard so we must tear her down. SMDH

  • AM

    @ Chilly,

    “The obstacles that people like all of you put before positive black people is proof that youre not being very genuine”

    -Utter NONSENSE. One of the positive people being Beyonce. I am NOT a fan of hers and will NEVER be. Her postive image or lack thereof has nothing to do with it. She is simply not my cup of tea. Please miss me, I’d probably wager the other girls with this dramatic comment.

    “They get abused more than the Shawty’s Lows and the baby mommas of the world.”
    -She gets RIDICULED, NOT abused, as do many people in the public limelight! There’s a BIG difference between the two. All the comments I’ve seen here are of commenters jesting. Stop making a mountain out of a mole hill!

  • EST. 1986


  • myblackfriendsays

    thank you for the clarification. it makes a big difference.

  • Robbie

    Just because times have changed and that baby mama is something common today does not mean that it is right.

    There is a reason why kids need to have both parents in the household. Those that try to say otherwise are lying to themselves. Yes, you can succeed without a father in the household. I turned out fine. But I did miss growing up without mine.

    I don’t want to be a baby mama and put my future kids in that situation. That is why I refuse to date and be friendly with men that don’t share the same family values that I have on relationships, morality, sex, and children.

    I don’t let the media nor friends tell me how to live my life . Eventhough my parents were never married, I came to value the sanctity of marriage and having chidren next.

    No matter how you want to spin this Shawty lo and his right to have all of these baby mamas and children, it is wrong, wrong and wrong.

    The article mentions a woman who’s 40, has four kids wihouth being married, and she says that she is not a baby mama. What a joke!

  • OMG

    OH MY GOOOOOSSHH!!!! I am so tired of people complaining about “we need to watch this or we shouldn’t be watching that.” I’m sick of it! It’s simple as pie. If you don’t like this show or Housewives or Basketball Wives or Love and Hip Hop, then simply TURN THE CHANNEL!! I mean, what’s so hard about that? Look, MANY people are going to watch this show whether you like it or not. There’s a market for stupid shows like this. Just don’t support it if that’s not your thing. I don’t like Mob Wives, Bad Girls Club and some of the other crappy shows out there. I just don’t watch them. Period! I only watch the ones that interest me like Braxton Family Values or Mary Mary’s show.

    When Basketball Wives was the talk of the town earlier this year, people were complaining about Evelyn and Tami’s ghetto behavior but all the while, they were tuning in to watch it every week. It’s like, if you don’t like this so called “ghetto behavior”, then why are you supporting the show?

  • jamesfrmphilly

    my grandmother once told me “we may be poor but that doesn’t mean we have to be ignorant”.
    i have tried to live by that teaching all my life.

  • myblackfriendsays

    I love Black Enterprise Business Report!

  • KayKay

    It looks to me like we have more Shawty Lo’s in the Black community than Barack Obama’s.

  • -A.

    LOL. I love it when my comments conveniently disappear.

    But again…

    Last day of the year and this foolishness is the headlining post. Way to not feed into the hype. Happy New Year! :)

  • OMG

    And another thing. WHO CARES WHAT OTHER RACES THINK OF US! I mean really, are you going to live your life for other people? That’s crazy to me. I could care less what other people think of me because I know who I am. People can think all kinds of crazy stereotypes about me all they want. If other races judge me on how a few black women act on TV, then they’re the one with the problem. It’s stupid to judge a whole race based on a few actions you see on TV or in real life. I’m an INDIVIDUAL. I don’t represent the whole black race.

  • Stanley

    Man, I was about to say the same damn thing.

  • curious

    i actually read not too long ago that countries like Sweden are a rarity. people in sweden treat cohabitation more like a marriage, they aren’t as likely to separate once they begin living together. that doesn’t happen in american homes; most cohabitors eventually seperate, and that can cause more harm than good.

  • ChillyRoad


    I was astounded to read that women from two parent homes have more orgasms than those who came from a single parent home. The irony of it all is that women who come from single parent homes have probably more life partners and at an earlier age too. The way women who didnt have a father around treat sex may have a lot to do with their dissatisfactory sex lives and the types of men they choose to share their romantic lives with. It all goes back to the relationship they didnt have with their fathers.

    So yes ladies, go on about the fact that you were raised in a single parent home and how you are getting your masters degree and how you turned out just fine.

  • Penny

    The concept of this show is disgusting, but honestly, this is nothing new. Where are all of the petitions against Maury Povich, a man who has been putting these types of images out there for years? If people were ever trying to get his “you ARE the father” shows taken off the air, I never heard of it.

    Unfortunately, the petition is like the best advertising for the show. SMH…

  • Kenzy

    well tht speaks once again to the authors of these articles not fact checking which for some reason is often on this site but 17 is still outrageous to have 3 kids

  • marloweovershakespeare


  • Penny

    Instead of just not watching the show or trying to get it banned, why not do something a bit more radical….Like finding out who the advertisers are and organizing a boycott of them?

  • Billy Paul

    Interesting article; however, allow me to add the following:
    - what is the definition of a “proper” family?;
    - is it beneficial today that Colored adhere to a Christian family model?
    - Africa offers a host of different family structures that are quite different than the Christian norm;
    - what exactly is a “marriage” and who defines it?; and
    - society can be structured to support a host of different family structures.

    Be not mislead, Billy is not endorsing the show. On the contrary, he is merely attempting to articulate the boundaries of conversation.

    Further still, one may argue that where a Colored person strictly adheres to an alien way of life (i.e. Christianity and/or Islam) despite its incompatibility with reality, that person may be said to be suffering from negro assimilationist fantasies.

    Happy New Year!

    Carry on, Family.

  • Elegance

    I agree! Fewer men are graduating from high school and more are going to prison, should everyone just accept and adapt to that? Just because things are changing doesn’t mean it’s good.

    As far as her Sweden reference, isn’t university free over there and don’t they have free daycare? Just Googled and yes there are free universities and daycare is free. They get a lot of child care there. It makes a big difference so it is way easier to be a single parent, get educated, and therefore get a higher paying job even if you are a single mom. These single moms in Sweden are probably nowhere near as poor as many of the ones in the U.S. I think I read somewhere that most poor families are headed by single moms, not two parent families.

  • victoria

    Regarding Sweden and single motherhood…

    I have spent long periods in Sweden and Denmark; therefore, I feel I can give a little insight into single motherhood in Scandanavia. Yes, having children out of wedlock is on the rise, but this is because married couples are taxed throughout the a$$. Most unmarried couples live in committed relationships under the same roof and the fathers are very hands on. Moreso than American fathers in my opinion. These families, although not married, hold on the very traditional values and gender/parental roles. Including many mothers not working while the child is young and dads provide all of the financial needs. It is not common for women to have children in their teens or early 20s and dad doesnt play ghost. People dont have multiple kids by multiple partners and shift responsibility on the govt on other family members. I never met, saw, heard of a Scandanavian baby mama/ daddy.

    This article states, ”Rates of cohabitation and children born to unmarried parents are up. And these combined statistics don’t always add up to economic and social decay. (Hello, Sweden!) We need to begin figuring out how to adapt to these changes.” I think the key word is COHABITATION. When it comes to baby mamas/daddies cohabitation is non existant. Clearly, the big difference between Sweden and baby mama/daddy mess is dad’s presence, family traditions, and choosing responsible partners.

  • Tami (Writer)

    Children need loving parents–the more the better. Your comment assumes that 1) every father not married to the mother of his children is absent from his child’s life; 2) gay couples cannot be functional parents; 3) children aren’t left without one parent for a host of reasons other than being born our of wedlock. If a child’s mother or father dies, is that child doomed to a second class life? My parents have been married for 45 years, I cannot imagine having grown up without either of them. That doesn’t mean that women who grew up in other situations are irretrievably broken. How insulting to them to imply that they are.

  • victoria

    Great comment

  • Keepitreal

    We’re headed into 2013 and “they do it too” is still being used, really, Tami? GTFO

  • Tami (Writer)

    First, I should point out that what you describe as an “author quote” is not my quote at all, but a quote from a commenter on News One. My problem is that you are using the logic that racists do: Because these 10 women will date men like Shawty Lo, you write: “If black women do not want to be seen as over sexed baby mothers that deal with thugs and drug dealers and child like men then you as a black woman stop dealing with those types because you nowadays trying to talk any sense to many of you women is a lost cause.” So, you honestly believe that all or even most black women date thugs and drug dealers? And you believe that all or most black women endorse these partnerships? If so, I pity your view of our people.

  • binks


  • Tami (Writer)

    Thank you for your comment. I agree. I think we should be concerned about poor representation of black people in the media. And we should acknowledge that shows like these are going to impact how race-biased people view African Americans. But I think that is very different from being personally embarrassed because we think Shawty Lo represents our community. My comment above that most men in the black community–even single fathers–are not Shawty Lo received unanimous down votes. If we as a people truly think so little of black men and women…if we have bought into the worst the media can portray–then we have far bigger problems than this show.

  • jswindell

    Actually, it does come on both NBC channels (I have DTV) on Sundays in the early morning and at night

  • jswindell

    Okay, the article mentioned Mick Jagger and why white folks are not upset.

    For one, OOW kids are not as common in white communities. Yes, there are some demos where the couple just wanted to be common law or the woman’s clock was ticking but because she’s a high-powered exec or other “career” person, finding a mate is a challenge. Only in recent, has this been celebrated in movies and TV shows geared to a white audience.

    The writer also mentioned Mick Jagger and his kids/overlapping mates. Not in the past 100 yrs. have you ever heard about Jerry Hall (ex-wife) and Marsha Hunt (his Black BM) living under a roof. Also, Mick Jagger comes from what is defined as old money, I think the actual wealth (as opposed to “rich”) goes back 3-4 generations. Mick also went to B-school before even starting the Stones. Have you ever heard about any of those guys going broke in the past century?

    Which brings me to today’s rappers. Only a handful are really good. About half of that handful make the money they deserve. Now, it seems like every month, there is a story about someone filing for Chapter 11, getting garnished or evicted from a home they knew they couldn’t afford.

    Can this be turned around? Hell, yes! My point is that if many of these rappers understood business first, then spitting decent rhymes, then getting involved, there would be no need for these shows. If they wrote or owned any part of their music, that would what e-marketers call ‘lazy income’

    Though there are many Blacks involved with different aspects of business and are successful, this is not a stereotype. It’s like Chris Rock once said “The White man’s gonna be alright”.

  • Catpopstar

    I think this show was meant for non-black people to gawk at black people. Seriously, its like what non-black people think black people are like.

  • Val

    Happy New Year, AM & Ms. Information!

    And I agree. It’s not so much that this image exists, it’s that there are so few other images of ourselves in the media.

    And my concern really isn’t what White people will think of Shawty Lo. My concern is that there are young African Americans who may think of this as the norm and then act out what they see. They become America’s self-fulfilling prophecies.

    And rather than signing petitions, I cancelled my cable about 4 years ago. I refuse to give my money to support this and all the other nonsense on cable.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    IDK, correct me if i’m wrong, but in polygamous families doesn’t the man have to provide support?

  • AM


    -Financial, emotional, mental-all around support.

  • AM

    Could you kindly clarify/elaborate the following:

    “where a Colored person strictly adheres to an alien way of life (i.e. Christianity and/or Islam) despite its incompatibility with reality”

    -My understanding of that statement, I could be wrong is that a two parent household is an alien way of life, and incompatible with reality……

    -Please if you are going to be rude, best if you ignore. Thanks,

  • OMG

    Who cares what other races think of us! Like seriously, are you living your life for others? That’s crazy to me. And if someone stereotypes a person based on what they see on TV, then they’re the one with the problem. We are individuals. The women and men on those reality shows don’t represent the whole race. They only represent themselves.

  • Nic

    I see nothing joyous about being impregnated 4 times by men who didn’t think you were good enough to marry.
    I think it’s sad.
    And the problem with showing black dysfunction in this manner is that to a lot of people this becomes what being “black in America” is all about.
    Like it or not, when the worst elements of black culture are highlighted, you can bet your bottom that it is what people think is typical for black people, and it affects you in large and small ways.
    It impacts how black children are treated in the classroom, it impacts how black people are treated in the workplace, it impacts how you are viewed when you walk through the door for a job interview and it affects how people view you when you walk down the street (sometimes with deadly consequences).
    Racism is not our fault, but also shouldn’t supply racists with so much ammo…it’s really NOT that hard not to put the most ignorant, lowest common denominator on display for the world to see.

  • Anthony

    At the risk of sounding like some redneck, I would rather have Shawty Lo making money on TV than going to jail for non-support or doing something illegal.

    I don’t think this one show will make any difference when it comes to “rachetness.”

  • thinkpink

    @jswindell- And that is the problem. A show depicting educated African Americans comes on early in the morning and late at night when few people are likely to see it. The ignorance comes on at primetime and that’s not a coincidence.

  • thinkpink

    My grandmother taught me the same thing and it has served me well 1000 times over.

  • AM

    @ OMG,

    I get the gist of your comment, but you should care. As an African, I cannot tell you how ANNOYING and FRUSTRATING it is to dispel the myths and lies sold to Westerners about my mamaland. We are supposedly all diseased, at war, poverty-stricken. Even up to this day, I still meet folks who are SURPRISED that we have cars, malls, are educated in classrooms, not under trees. How you are represented is VERY IMPORTANT! It’s not for their benefit, it is for YOUR benefit!

  • MissDee

    Which Africa are you talking about? What do you know about Africa exactly? In Ghana, West Africa where I come from men don’t go about having kids for the fun of it because polygamy is accepted. My father married just my mum and so did his father> My great grand-dad who married two women was considered rich enough to be able to do so. So many years of Christianity and the quest for folks to have a smaller family to be able to properly take care of their household has rendered polygamy unpopular. Growing up it was and still a taboo to be pregnant in your teenage years without being properly married. You’ll be sent to the village for your grand-mum to teach you ‘house sense’ and your education abruptly ended to teach you a lesson. Loads of African women are now marrying late because like women everywhere, they’re more career focused and want to have something to contribute to their nuclear household before they settle down. ‘Baby mama’ comes with a big stigma where I come from. 11 kids with 10 different women? Outrageous!

  • __A

    Oh yea Sweden.

    I really get sick of the “white folks do it too” arguments. White communities are not dysfunctional -yeah I said it – like many black neighborhoods. Black America is not as educated or powerful as white Swedes. Why you all insist on doing this white folks are doing it too when we aren’t in the same place financially or educationally is beyond me. Is it supposed to make us feel good that Swedish people are doing well even with their baby mama baby daddy culture, or are we just not supposed to compare how different life is for baby mama Malin vs baby mama Tania or the alternative system that these people may have in place that provides children with the emotional support that they need.

    The problem with the whole “I don’t need a man” idea is that YOU may not need a man, but your children will definitely be affected by the absence of a father or male role model. Many women who didn’t have fathers themselves are unable to find a positive male role model that will be in the children’s lives. Many people will say people don’t need to be married to have children. They say that children need parents and adults that are about putting that kid’s needs first and being there when needed. Indeed. Maybe Swedes have found a way to provide this emotional support. Black America HAS NOT! You all have failed to come up with an alternative system that overcomes the problems that not having a man in the house causes. What do we have? A bunch of men paying child support and “visiting.” It’s shameful that we have so many men just “visiting” their children. And cohabitation usually doesn’t work well for children.

    People think because boys don’t need to be taught how to hunt and fish and other things that you needed a man to teach that having a man in the house is unnecessary. Children learn many things from their parents. Boys are looking to their fathers and EMULATING them to figure out how to be a man. Girls are looking at their mothers and emulating. Boys look at their fathers to see how a man treats a woman, and girls are looking at their fathers to see what kind of behavior a man who cares shows towards a woman he cares for. A good father knows about players and other scumbags and will hopefully warn his daughter and protect her. Hopefully the daughter was taught well by both her parents what makes a man worthy of fathering her children. Hopefully the son was taught well to know what responsibilities are expected of him.

    You all are delusional if you think these broken “I don’t need a man”, “I pay my child support” families have nothing to do with problems in black relationships. These girls many times turn out to be the women who just have to be with a bad boy. They get infatuated, think they’re in love, pop out a baby by these irresponsible men, and continue the cycle. These boys turn out to be the men that don’t know how to lead. They don’t know how to treat women. They impregnate and walk away.

    And the cycle continues. If you are the child of a single mother and you’re doing great, good for YOU! But you are not the rule. You’re an exception. This pretending that broken black homes are producing great children that go on to get great jobs and raise more great children is worse than the white folks do it too argument.

    What’s sad is that people will be asking “but where the mentors at tho”? There was an article on this site about that.

    Now as for imaging, I’m all for credit-to-the-race thinking. Image is very important. We tell people all the time don’t judge a book by its cover, but that is what everyone is doing. It’s incredibly naive to think that image doesn’t affect how others perceive you. And in this globalized 24-hour news YouTube and World Star Hip Hop world, you should care about what is put out about you. You know there are a billion people in China and India yet I never see any starving Chinese kids on those starving kids commercials. India has a big poverty problem, yet I see way more black kids on those starving kids commercials. I also don’t see that many Latinos on the commercials. It’s mostly black kids and a white spokesperson begging white people to feed these poor little black and brown but mostly black kids. Do you understand what that does to your image? The Chinese and Indians understand that for up and coming nations, it makes you look WEAK to have children that you can’t feed or clothe or educate. And they try not to let these images be seen. Lots of people have image problems. Asian men have an image problem when it comes to masculinity. Black women when it comes to ladylike behavior and black men when it comes to fulfilling the provider and protector role. The difference is that Asian men work on their image and find the most masculine Asian men and throw them in movies and make them pop stars even when mainstream Hollywood keeps casting them as nerds. Black media never try to counter negative stereotypes. They embrace the minstrel show and encourage it.

    I’m sorry that’s all this is a minstrel show. The KKK spent all that time spreading rumors and lies about black people to show us in a bad light. All they had to do was give ignorant black people money and attention because educated black people who know better are just glad to see a black face even if it is buffoonery.

    I’m done with worrying about these types of shows. They will always have support. I just want people to understand that they are bad and impact our image and also encourage the “acting black” is “acting bad” idea that black children, teens, and adults embrace. Someone mentioned that white people like watching and gawking at us in these types of shows. Sure, and black people have no problem with performing for them or seeing themselves portrayed this way either. And you say, oh it’s them. It’s the stereotypical black people not me, but these stereotypical black people are what many people see you as because there is no positive programming to counter it. For every Mob Wives, there’s Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Friends. What we have 5 of these low class shows for every Scandal. You see the difference? It’s like pretending not to notice that the majority of baby mommas on Maury are black even though we make up 12% of the population and pretending that this doesn’t affect our image.

    Of course they’re stereotypes, but you’re naive if you don’t think this stuff affects the way people look at us. Black kids starving on those commercials. Black women always on Maury and fighting on reality TV shows. Black men dominating sports and entertainment but failing in the classroom. All of these things affect our image.

    I’m not saying you should feel inferior because this our image in the media, but I think we should be doing more to counter negative TV and showing more positivity. I wish more people had credit-to-the-race type feelings. Behind these feelings is promoting a positive image of your ethnic group and shame, and a healthy dose of shame is good!

  • thinkpink

    They aren’t the ones with the problem you are. Because those same races have the ability to hire, fire, promote and or demote you. They can determine where you live, make a stranger think you’re a gun toting thug when you’re carrying a pack of skittles and determine by your “ethnic” sounding name on a resume that you don’t deserve a place in their office. Those races can determine you’re a menace to society and shoot you when you’re simply playing your music loudly (jordan davis). Those races can hire police forces to discriminate against you in traffic stops etc. Please think and research your history before you make such a blanket statement. The horrific treatment of blacks in this country under slavery was accepted in part by claims of inferiority by people of other races. It is just more subtle now but ever prevalent.

  • PJ

    This article sounds like a whole lot of excuse making to get black people to just ignore the ignorance of this show. The more you folks keep quiet the more things just get worse.

    By the way, the petition posted is NOT the main one. The main one now has over 2,500 signatures and comments. I don’t know why someone would create a duplicate instead of just supporting the main one:

  • Aloha

    Are we in uproar because it stereotypes and sensationalizes what happens everyday in Black America? This is no different than Cody and his Sister Wives yet everyone loves how supportive and tight they are. Give me a break.

    You know the saying: “Once you go black, you’re gonna be a baby mama” LMAOOOO

  • D.T.

    You are out of your mind if you expect someone to read all of that.

  • Nic

    Lots of people may turn out fine, and even better than fine when raised by a single mother but it is nothing to aspire to and the fact of the matter is, too many women are having babies for men who were never committed to them, never loved them, and will not be a part of their kids lives emotionally or financially.

    Why are so many people intent on settling for that? That is nothing to aspire to.

    I have a great job and education but no way in hell would I want to raise kids on my own just b/c I can afford them and they could turn out ‘fine.’

    I’m sorry, but I don’t need to settle for that and I think black women should stop being okay with men who don’t care about them and wont’ be in their lives.

    And people need to start being honest about the public health issues that result from you sleeping with a man who is sleeping with you and 5 other women. HIV anyone?

  • Nic

    Precisely…not one thinks that Honey Boo Boo is representative of white women but you can bet your ass a LOT of people think black women are just like the idiots on all of the VH1 shows…

  • AM

    Val darling,

    Thanks. Happy New Year to you and yours mama!!! :)

  • KayKay

    I read it all, I especially liked the part about modern day minstrel shows. Black people from rap to reality shows and even movies, a lot of Black people are ready to “shuck n jive” for the money not thinking about how it affects the whole community.

  • __A

    Lol. True. I was going to split it into more than one comment after writing it all but forgot.

  • PJ

    I read every word, speak for yourself!

  • PJ

    Only Sister Wives is not a stereotype that’s pervasive in the white community. No, it’s not the same

  • the original lol


  • __A

    Exactly. A lot of these men ignore that part because most can’t support multiple women and all their children. This is kind of like Sister Wives. Traditionally, I think a man would pay all the rent, pay for all the groceries in the refrigerator, pay for all the women’s clothes and other needs, and financially support all of the women’s children. Many of the men who like to bring up polygamy cannot comfortably support multiple women like Shawty Lo. With feminism, I think many of these men see polygamy as multiple modern working women contributing to rent and the bills, cooking, cleaning, and having sex with them. The biggest thing that they’re interested in is sexual variety. They’re the same men that say women shouldn’t take cheating seriously. I think this is what they would really prefer being able to get married to one woman who excuses the cheating but raises the children and provides emotional support. And cooking and cleaning. How are any of these a good deal for women?

  • Courtney**

    “No one can stereotype you into something that you’re not.”

    Sure they can.

    Example: white person in human resources pulls a resume with the name “Shameka Johnson”. Goes straight to the trash, because anyone with a “ghetto” name surely must act “ghetto.”

    Example: cop pulls over young black male. proceeds to ask him to search the car, because young black men are drug dealing, gun-toting thugs

    Example: pretty much anyone being surprised that you’re so “well spoken.

    Example: being discreetly followed in a public store/area on suspicion that you are going to try to shoplift.

    It’s absolutely absurd that you posit that we can’t be stereotyped into something that we’re not. Not only does that happen, but it happens pretty much damn well near ALL THE TIME.

  • OMG

    @ thinkpink

    So you’re saying that white folks with power who do all of these horrible things that you’ve mentioned in your earlier posts don’t have problems but I do? Are you serious?

  • T.

    But when she says “How many …. the black community is lost”, that’s a quote from someone else, and the point is that Tami (the author of this piece) *disagrees* with that perspective. So it’s not contradictory at all. She is quoting those paragraphs in order to argue *against* that sort of thinking. She isn’t talking out of both side of her mouth at all. Her position is consistent throughout.

  • Courtney**

    It matters when you’re facing a trial and a “jury of your peers” happens to be twelve very white people whom you would never interact with outside of the courtroom.

    It matters when you’re trying to apply for a job and your resume gets immediately discarded due to your “ethnic sounding” name.

    Simply put… “their” opinions of “us” matter because THEY ARE THE ONES WITH MOST OF THE POWER. In an ideal world, sure, they would judge us on our own merits and not compare us against some ridiculously exaggerated stereotype of a black person that gets hyped up in the media. In the real world, it has never worked that way and it will never work that way. So you have to operate your life with the understanding that while it shouldn’t be that way, and YOU personally know that you’re not like that, THEY do not and MANY (if not most) will assume that you ARE that way.

  • the original lol

    thank you for having the patience to type out what i didn’t.

  • OMG

    @ AM

    Exactly! How I’M represented is important. Me! Nene doesn’t represent for me, Evelyn doesn’t represent me, Oprah dosen’t represent me, as well as Michelle Obama. I am my own woman. I can only represent myself.

  • OMG

    @ PJ

    How do you know that this is not a persuasive stereotype in the white community? Are you white? Do you know every single last white person in this country? Do you know what all white people think?

  • PJ

    It can also impact what you think of yourself. I grew up in a 2-parent house and felt loved. I imagine a lot of young girls and boys grow up thinking “I must not be that special because my Daddy didn’t love my momma enough to marry her.” I can only imagine what Shawto Lo’s 50-11 kids think knowing they’re on some kind of heirarchy of importance / waiting list for his attention.

    I guess this also comes down to women making better choices in sex partners and doubling up on protection from unplanned pregnancies so that they don’t have to put more innocent children through this confusion.

  • PJ

    I think that’s what it calls for.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    IDK, how man black males go by the name “shawty”?

  • Ashur

    Health and childcare aren’t the end of it in Sweden. The article also does its readers a disservice by acting like the situations in Sweden and black America are very similar. Legal marriage, yes, is more and more unpopular in Sweden, but many if not most of these couples that choose to have children without a marriage license or a religious ceremony still live and act as husband and wife. This is true throughout Northern Europe and increasingly true in Western Europe. This is not the case in black America where the quoted percentage for out of wedlock births does mostly reflect the living situation for these kids.

  • maxineshawattyatlaw

    And sadly in some instances the stereotyping can lead to death…Trayvon Martin…Jordan Davis. Its absurd to say that we can’t be stereotyped into something we’re not. It happens everyday and the consequences are sometimes deadly.

  • EST. 1986

    I don’t think it is so much that certain men don’t think a woman is good enough to marry, but rather they (men) don’t know anything about marriage themselves.

  • OMG

    @ Courtney

    People are going to think what they want to think regardless of how you dress, act etc. All you can do is live your life. You can’t let other’s opinions stop you from what you want to do.

    If that was the case, we wouldn’t have a black President named Barack Obama. I’m pretty sure he had naysayers telling him he could never be President because he’s black and bc his name is Barack Obama. Had he listen to their negative opinions, he wouldn’t have reached his goal of becoming President.

  • The Revolution is going to be televised!!!!!!!!!

    This show is an abomination!!!! Plain and simple! Of course that is not the depiction of all blacks but you know that blacks are always and have been historically been judged by the lowest of the low of our community, unlike every other race! We are judged by the homeless on the street to the most ghetto of our people, but that is not all we are, but unlike everyone else we are judged by the lowest of the low of our people and of course WE know better, but the stereotypes are perpetuated chronically. We need to shut it down or create and write our own stories or this is what we will continue to get as entertainment and I don’t know about you but I am sick and tired of this. I barely watch tv because of the stereotypes on the small and large screen.

    We need to look at the big picture and understand why this is being perpetuated in the media. Certain people want to keep us as second class citizens, while immigrants who continuously pour into this country are shaping their views of us as a race.

    Think about it. The young men killing each other in our inner cities, the degradation of our people on television and the media. It is time for another revolution people. And no I am not a paranoid person, just someone who sees the big picture!!!!!!!! Wake up people!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mwendwa

    Thanks a lot Miss Dee for your clarity. I agree exactly with you as it is the same case in Tanzania, East Africa where I am from.

  • Christelyn Russell-Karazin

    I’m going to step in, because I know the writer and I know she means, well. BUT! To compare how marriage/family is changing with what’s going on in Sweden is a bit disengenuous. Even though folks are marrying, IT IS SEEN AS A TRAVESTY TO LEAVE YOUR CHILD ALONE AND FATHERLESS. The men that do so are shamed. Tami fails to mention that most black men who impregnate and LEAVE are not SHAMED. Even Tami, who I know wants that best for black girls and women, WILL NOT PUT SHAME ON WHERE IT IS DUE. Her philosopy will simply not allow it. On the other hand, I am happy at HELL to see the comments from folks who ACKNOWLEDGE the OOW problem in the black community is literally killing us. I will now put down the hemlock and do a praise dance. Signed, Christelyn, the founder and organizer of No Wedding No Womb.

  • mr.vicious

    Looks like No wedding No womb isnt working to well is it. How does NWNW fit into your swirling around the world bio book.

  • thinkpink

    @ OMG that’s exactly what I’m saying. It sucks doesn’t it? Blacks are not the majority in this country and whites own or control almost every institution of power. If the media shows all black women as ghetto, angry, uneducated, neck rolling baby mama’s you may be subject to being viewed this way by default. An employer may see a black name on a resume and think ” I don’t want a ghetto black woman in my office before even meeting you. People may approach you in a defensive manner before even getting to know you under the assumption that “you’re a black woman so you must be mean”. Treyvon Martin was killed because george zimmerman saw a thug walking home that night not a candy toting teenager. The stereotype ended up being Treyvon’s problem. He lost his life because of it. YOU and I both know a white kid walking with skittles would still be alive today. The all black men are “thugs” image came from the media, hip hop and television. Obama received an ivy league school and his credentials have been questioned at every turn. The society of black engineers event at my school drew less recruiters than any other career fair. These images effect you whether you want them to or not. Again they’re subtle…so subtle you may not even know they are occurring which is the way modern day racism works.

  • ChillyRoad

    Likewise Ms. Karazin women who have children out of wedlock arent shamed in the black community either. Sorry but women who get pregnant and have children out of wedlock and subsequently “stick around” their own children arent more virtuous especially when you consider that at the end of the day, its mamma who choose to birth the children not daddy. Daddy would probably opt for abortion.

  • Since1989

    yea I do think that more marriages between black men and black women that produce children and not the other way around need to be happening. The fact that most of us view Black America as shawty lo is the same reason why when we do get educated and get money we run to live in the predominantly white community and essentially give money back to white communities instead of helping build up our own communities because of the low self-worth we have of ourselves collectively. Even if every black child today was born to married parents affluent black communities would still cease to happen because collectively black people don’t think very highly of themselves, evidence from the comments, which probably is the main reason why high oow rates exists in the first place. It’s hard to even refer to blacks in America as a community when not one believes in keeping wealth circulating only in our community, like the jews, when there are rarely if none at all black owned food chains, black owned corporations, back owned fitness chain centers, black owned tv network(s), emphasis on s for mutiple, black owned conglomerates keeping wealth only in the community, passing wealth down, employing those mainly in the community, so we don’t have to slave for jobs from white people, like we were slaving on the plantation, only for us to still face discrimination. That is what is killing us. The fact that we were kept out of wealth, power and success from the start which allowed white wealth, power and success to be maintained. White people own the American economy because of the head start they have had, which is what we lack, ecenomic power.

  • Valerie Wilson

    She was quoting someone else in the second quote. So there is no contradiction in her thesis.

  • Kacey

    This piece was pure nonsense! The idea that black people are not affected (and should not be concerned about) our portrayal in the media is ridiculous! To say this is to diminish the power of the media in controlling images and shaping public opinion. Here’s a news flash: We look to the media for information! If the information that people who have very limited (or no) exposure to blacks is getting tells them that we are all neanderthals, then that is how they are going to view us, and when/if they do encounter us, they will treat us accordingly. I have met whites who grew up in environments where they did not interact with blacks and they have admitted that all they know of black people is what they see on TV, so they are always “surprised” to meet black people who do not fit into the images they previously held. Let’s face it — most people are not evolved enough to think critically and skeptically about what they are being force-fed in the media (just consider the numbers of people who watch Fox News and believe everything reported, even though a lot of it is proven to be false). I had a professor whose favorite saying was “The masses are asses” and it’s true. People do not want to think, they want their ideas handed to them in a neat, dumbed-down package, and the media gives them that. To believe that this is not the case shows ignorance.

    And to the 40-something, unmarried “sistah” who just had her 4th out-of-wed-lock child: YOU, MADAM, ARE A BABY MAMA! Stop trying to normalize dysfunction.

  • Wanda

    But you’re lumping all variations of “single motherhood” into one pile, and I believe that is part of the problem.

    Do you think that children raised within a household where their parents were happily married for 12 years and the father suddenly passes away, have the same household and emotional experiences as children where a never-married mother has four children by four different males?

    I work in education, and I witness every single day the outcome differences in between communities where the majority of children are raised with both of their parents living with them, and the dysfunctional areas where the majority of children are living with single mothers, single grandmothers, or are in foster care. It is not even close.

  • Wanda

    You keep talking about “shame.” The very concept of “shame” is over.

    If “shame” still existed, there wouldn’t be all these reality tv shows.

    These young people out here are having unprotected sex at 11, 12, and 13 years old, and little girls who do not know any better are getting and staying pregnant.

    I also have good students who don’t get pregnant themselves, but have to leave school to take care of their mother’s new baby.

    SMH…the entire culture is upside down and folks are talking about “shame”?

  • Wanda

    Reality television has done more to damage how we are portrayed and perceived than any other form of media ever developed.

    To see us on tv constantly yelling, screaming, arguing, punching and weave-pulling on multiple shows, is far worse than what we dealt with in the past during the Stepin Fetchit and Amos N Andy days.

  • Wanda

    This “Shawty” character is 36 years old and his oldest child is 19. That means he was 16 years old when his first child was on the way.

    How would he know at 16 who “is good enough to marry”?

    How would the most-likely teen mother in this instance know anything about marriage either?

    Marriage is cultural, it is not biological.

  • EST. 1986


  • OMG

    I just wish men and women would be more responsible when it comes to sex. If you’re not ready to be a mother or a father or if you don’t want kids then wrap it up, get on the pill, Depo shot or something. Or better yet, no sex at all. This will avoid a lot of unwanted pregancies.

  • terry

    they will air it anyway thats how they make their money

  • OMG

    So you’re saying the child would be better off aborted than to be born out of wedlock? Wow…… just WOW….

  • lulz

    shame was what kept 90% of the population in check in the olden days,-get a clue!

  • Rochelle

    This makes it even worst. He should not have had a child at 16 either. That child should have been aborted, like many other children of teen mothers. It just shouws that he started making poor decision from the time he was a teen. So was the mama, but it is clear that she probably had nothing going for herself anyway so just being a mother was her ultimate and final goal.

  • Pilar abril

    Curiously, how does one man realistically fulfill his role as a father to 10 different kids living in 10 different households and inevitable conflicts with 10 different baby mamas while working on his music, touring, and promoting himself? To me a non-traditional family may include unwed parents, blended families, or families with two dads/moms. This arrangement is is just plain irresponsible. America isn’t set up for what is basically polygamy.

    “Rates of cohabitation and children born to unmarried parents are up. And these combined statistics don’t always add up to economic and social decay. (Hello, Sweden!)”

    Nope, those combined statistics don’t “always” add up to economic and social decay. In Sweden, no, but in America, yes, at least economically. Sweden is not America. It is a highly racially and ethnically homogenous country that has a different history, different cultural attitudes, and different laws/policies that allow for non-traditional families, especially single-parent households, to thrive. What works there doesn’t necessarily work in America.

    At this time America isn’t a high-tax welfare state that provides a safety net that is enjoyed by the Swedes. There is no universal healthcare, you must pay-out-of pocket for higher education, you get less benefits when unemployed, there are no gov’t run child care facilities, no paid mandatory maternity leave, and mostly crap public transit systems that forces virtually everyone outside of NYC to buy cars and cars are basically money pits. Single parent households are 6 times more likely to live in poverty and be vulnerable to all the ills that often accompany it.

  • Pilar abril

    Or rather stop normalizing casually having the biggest commitment you can ever make – children. If you are not even at a point where you would commit to the father or mother – whether that’s legal marriage or commitment without the legality – why the hell would you go on to have a child with that person? You marry the wrong person, you can get a divorce, but that child is forever. People, abstain from bringing a child into the world so carelessly and thoughtlessly.

  • BlueCornMoon

    You’re right! I’m a teacher in a big city & in one k-8 school they actually had a nursery for the kids’ babies.Some belonged to girls 10-13yrs old !. Great to keep them in school to get education but MY GOD why don’t we do better by our kids? In some areas no good male or female role models. Boys look up to rappers, foul language, drug selling, neighborhood thugswith guns firing at anyone who looks at them wrong & they don’t care where their bullets go or who they hit. Little kids have been killed & they don’t care. They have baby mamas all over & breed like roaches; girls look up to weave piled upon weave loud ignorant acting women/girls who dress like tramps with tattoos above buttcracks exposed by skin tight low rider pantsArguing & cussing in the street..One young girl in Walmart had this tattoo in bold capital letters across her upper chest in full view,” TRUST NO NIGGA FEAR NO BITCH”. Like you said there’s no shame about anything any more. People (white folks included,Redneck reality shows & Honey boo Boo anyone?)flaunt their ignorance & depravity all over the place.Dirty laundry everywhere with everyone finding an excuse for it to be accepted because “society’s changing now”.It sure is ! Black kids killing each other with guns every day. Just heard that Philly had 3 murders in 3 hours, the first happening in the first half hour of 2013. Lulz is right! Shame did keep 90% of folks in check. I grew up in the 60s during civil rights & parents taught us how to behave& not to shame ourselves & our race by acting like what white bigots thought we were.Now manhy of us don’t give a @#$%. Martin L King must be rolling in his grave. Those leaders had such class back then. Now we’ve got a smart black president & a really classy First Lady & some folks think it’s a license to act the fool instead of looking at them as role models.

  • nona

    Happy New Year, YB!!

    This shall be my only comment in this post! :D

  • lg

    If you aren’t ready to financially and emotionally care for a child, you shouldn’t be making them. That means protected sex, every time, or NO SEX, no matter what age you are, no matter what race you are. The single woman who is “joyous” about having her 4th child should be ashamed of herself. That’s right – ASHAMED. I wouldn’t dream of shaming her kids, but she’s old enough to know better. She needs to get herself spayed.

  • BlueCornMoon

    CHILD, YOU’REPREACHING THE TRUTH !! I’m sick of buying hair stuff in Asian bss. What do those folks know about OUR HAIR ?? WE ought to have control of this industry. Yes, lots of white women go in those same shops,but those shops tend to be mostly in or near OUR communities. I try & buy as many hair products as I can from black owned companies. Qhemet Biologics,Carol’s Daughter,CURLS. Back in the 70s-80s there used to be several black owned beauty stores in this area. The best known one, the one I & many colleagues went to vanished at least 10 yrs ago. The owners either retired or passed away & I heard their kids didn’t want to keep it going & I guess there were no family members or other blacks interestedor available, so it went under. That was before the Asians came in. It’s a shame but every immigrant group that comes in starts out living & working in our communities, sticking together, opening businesses,making sure their kids behave, study hard, & get good grades. The families save their money & when they’ve got enough,they move UP & OUT, leaving the black folks right where they started.
    I blame a lot of this on the fact that many blacks,once civil rights laws were passed & integration happened, abandoned our traditional culture with its coping skills,values,faith & work ethic that enabled King & other leaders to develop in the first place. They didn’t pass down the stories of our history & struggles to their kids. Among my old classmates that were kids in the 60s, those that kept those values have avoided the drug & social problems & have successful kids who now have TWO PARENT FAMILIES of their own as the norm. Those that did divorce still managed to be successful & have kids that made it. Faith had a lot to do with it,too. At all our reunions there’s always prayer & someone testifying how faith has helped them thru life’s problems. They’re all still in the church. No one ran around shooting up the neighborhoods. And we always have conversations about this very topic & how far our folks have fallen.

  • ruggie

    I wouldn’t be too quick to write this guy off as nothing more than a disgrace and embarrassment. Shawty Lo is the opposite of an abandoner (yes there are nuances to the dismal black marriage rate). The show raises the questions of how he maintains his family life, is it a chaotic ghetto mess, or more like polygamy. How does he stay involved in all those sub-families of his, is he the only “baby daddy” of each of these women, or do they have children by other men, and how the children regard each other.

  • Foster C. Garvin

    Did the author really need to state the obvious to US? We know Black America isn’t Shawty Lo. Duh..

  • Foster C. Garvin

    This clown appears to be supporting his children, so, while I may not agree with the way they came here, or of his overall lifestyle, hey.. Be a father to your kids.

  • isolde3

    Wanda, how is Tami lumping all variations of single motherhood into one pile? Where did she do that?


    I’ve been reading you for years before you ever started writing here, and while I appreciate the effort, this is more of a CFC/Racialicious/ Ta-Nehisi Coates blog piece. On this forum, themes about racial stereotyping and non-traditional families are more likely to get lost in the shuffle the minute you utter the words “single” and “mother.” From what I’ve seen (and I could be mistaken) this site doesn’t run a lot of pieces on non-traditional families that are positive or non-hetero-normative. Usually, to me anyway, it feels like the stories about single mothers revolve around poverty and despair or how it’s an affront to men everywhere to give single mothers father’s day cards. I mean I’m sure there are great black gay and lesbian couples raising awesome kids, but we don’t really hear about them here. I bet you or Renee from Womanist Musings would know who to recommend to expound on these perspectives, if you haven’t already done so yourselves.

  • OMG

    @ Rochelle

    OMG! Your comment scares the f#ck out of me. You said, “the child should have been aborted like so many other teen pregnancies?” Huh? Really? I swear, some of the comments on here blow my mind!!! I am so glad known of you women are my mother with that crazy mentality. You rather kill a child because you don’t want to be a teen mother or like someone said in another post about aborting a baby because they don’t want to be embarrassed of having a baby out of wedlock. Sooo…. you guys are okay with KILLING a fetus but are ashamed to have a baby because you’re not married, etc. etc. WTF???? If some of you guys are so ashamed of having a baby out of wedlock, then why are you having sex before marriage? Waiting to have sex until you’re married can fix that problem. But nooooo, it’s too many hypocritical people out there who express that they want to be married before they have kids but all the while they are putting themselves at risks of having a baby OOW by having sex BEFORE marriage. That doesn’t any make sense to me and it is full of hypocrisy.

  • Courtney**

    You did not register my point and in fact, have even sort of proved it for me. I didn’t state anywhere that their opinions/power/judgements/etc. should “stop” us from doing what we want to do. But it SHOULD be a FACTOR in how we present ourselves in certain settings. No, it’s not fair. No, it’s not right. But the risks in not doing so are too great. The way you are talking, you wouldn’t have “the talk” with your black teenaged son about how to conduct himself around police because HE knows he’s not a gun-toting thug, and HE knows that he’s not a drug dealer, so gosh darnit there’s no need for him to mind all those extra p’s and q’s… and that sort of Pollyanna thinking could lead to him being accidentally shot while handcuffed in custody.

    And even your example, President Obama has had to be exceptionally mindful – moreso than any other President – about how he talks about so-called “black issues.” Remember the outrage when Obama said something as innocuous as “if I had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin?” Obama has never been allowed a fraction of the breathing room any of the white presidents (looking at Bill Clinton in particular) have had to explicitly state their support for black people. Obama has gone around singing the praises of Latino people, our friends in Israel/Jewish people… he has specifically campaigned in front of every possible demographic in an affirming way except black people. I recall his speech toward black groups being some sort of patronizing “we need to do better” isht.

    I am not saying we need to internalize their opinions of us. I AM saying we need to understand that, fairly or unfairly, rightly or wrongly, their opinions CAN and DO affect our lives, whether we admit it or not.

  • Wanda

    Reality television has done more to damage how we are portrayed and perceived than any other form of media ever developed. It is FAR worse than the rap videos.

    To see us on tv constantly scratching, yelling, screaming, arguing, punching and weave-pulling on multiple shows is far worse than what we dealt with in the past during the Stepin Fetchit and Amos N Andy days.

  • Surely

    Stop owning the idea of black dysfunction. Stop repeating that “we” act this or that way.

    That’s exactly what the white media will do with this show. The only good thing about the situation is that election year is over. Oh imagine what the conservative right wingers would have done with this type of ammunition. We don’t need this type of entertainment. We don’t need this fractured portrayal of a family elevated to celebrity. It is what it is- a family whatever its structure, but I wouldn’t want younger teens to think that it’s ok or something to emulate.

  • JT

    I have dual feelings about this. What I take from the article is, “Yes, this show is racist, sterotypical, sexist, and a whole host of other things, but I don’t have to let that affect how I feel about myself as an African American.” This is true, and this is sort of a reaffirmation to combat some of the ill feelings that this show will definitely cause. But I also feel as if the credit-to-your-race mentality is not necessarily a bad thing. It, at least for me, creates a feeling of accountability that is very much needed in the black community. In a world where I am the minority and where I, at any given moment, risk falling victim to mindsets, I need to tread lightly on the road to empowerment. That means not fueling the stereotypes. That means proving the majority wrong. Oh, how I wish I could simply exist in a world; with no attachments needed and without the burden of carrying someone else’s problems on my back. But sadly that is not the case. If we do away with the ‘credit’ mentality, what happens to the impact of the achievements of black people. Are we no longer supposed to be proud? Are we to no longer look at them as a beacon of hope for our own dreams and aspirations? Because it is the ‘credit’ mentality that spurs those feelings within us, believe it or not. Seeing people who look like us achieve something in a world that makes us believe we cannot.

    Using all inclusive words such as ‘we’ and ‘our’ sort of alludes to the idea that we are all in this together, and honestly, that is exactly what we need. We don’t need any more separation. I don’t know, as much as I feel like my black identity should exist independently of Shawty Lo’s, I know it does not, and I am going to need him to do better for, not only his sake, but mine as well.

  • http://Clutch SL

    Being a father goes far past providing financially. He and his baby mamas are degenerates and all need to go crawl under a rock.

  • http://Clutch SL

    You need to get out more – expand your horizons – this filth is not the norm in the black community – just because it is all you know does not make it the norm.

  • http://Clutch SL

    News flash – what he has is NOT A FAMILY – what he has created is A MESS and eventually he’ll come to understand just how big a mess it is. It is hard enough for 2 married parents to keep peace between their kids. I guarantee you what he has is nothing more than chaos…if he ever sticks around long enough to actually parent. Paying financial support does not make a person a father.

  • http://Clutch SL

    Well the truth is no matter how much you wish not to be judge according to your race – the truth is that in this country and thus to the world we are…so shouldn’t we each take care to live honorably? That is a word this clown and his BMs don’t begin to understand.

  • http://Clutch SL

    If that father is not in your home – that father is only in your life to a point. My father had 2 children before he married my mom and me and my brother and sister. The other 2 got financial support and whatever he had left after he took care of us. Yes he was in their life but only to a point. When raising kids, it takes more than being there to a point – it means fully committed in every way. So don’t kid yourself. If a father does not make a commitment to marry and stay – you end up with a part time parent.

  • MommieDearest


    You hit the nail on the head. I was raised by a single mother and “turned out fine” as far as having a moral compass, getting an education, finding a job, living a productive life, etc…. BUT, I can say without a doubt that the mistakes I’ve made in relationships with men are directly related to the fact that I did not have my father in my formative years. I had no frame of reference, no one to school me on, or protect me from, the ways of boys and men. And I was searching for male acceptance and accepted siht that was uncool because I didn’t know any better. I had to figure alot of siht out on my own. It was a painful process that I would NOT want to relive, but in the end it made me who I am and I’m happy with the “me” that I am today. Still, I cannot help but believe that having my father in my life as a child and teen would have made a big difference in a positive way. Children need their fathers.

  • http://Clutch SL

    So true! The I-turned-out-fines never stop long enough to ask themselves those all important questions. The truth is you may not have turned out just fine. Start peeling back the layers on that onion and odds are you’ve exxperienced some very harsh realities about men no one ever prepared you for. Only a man knows the ways of a man. No matter how single mothers try they are exceptionally disadvantaged at 2 things: 1) raising boys and 2) teaching daughters the ways of a man. Is there any wonder why our community is so messed up?

  • Ella

    @SL, how do you know Shawty Lo and his children’s mothers are degenerates? Do you know them personally? You sound ridiculous!

  • Lela

    @SL, Not sure exactly how true that is. I travel the world and have friends and acquaintances from all over. I find that any personal anticipation that I’d be judged by negative stereotypes happens far more than being judged by any.

    Yes, some people do judge people based on stereotypes. But why waste time carrying what idiots think?

  • MJ

    @SL, some people end up with part-time parents, even when raised in a two-parent, married household.

    The most important thing that’s often overlooked in a discussion like this is the importance of having appropriate representation of loving parents — even if they’re in different homes. And a supportive, loving community. I believe those two things — along with the drug epidemic, welfare requiring a male not be present in order for women to receive aid and black people disuse of common sense — are the top contributors to what’s deemed the black race’s decline over the past 40- 45 years.

  • MJ

    I agree Tami. And KayKay, and any one else who agrees with the misguided statement KayKay posted, I ask: Where the hell did you grow up?

    I’ve lived in various black meccas across the country and I can tell you that the black community doesn’t have a majority of Shawty Los or Barack Obamas (whatever that means). Most black men are regular folks. Some go to college, get masters and doctoral degrees, and others may work as mechanics, at Walmart or as a law clerk.

    Open your eyes. The world isn’t as dull as you perceive it to be.

    And beware of chasing images. The perfect black prince that you seek (you know, college educated, no children out of wedlock, $100 K-plus salary, etc.) may have more demons than you can imagine.

  • http://Clutch SL

    Actually, You sound far more immature than my comment. Let’s grow up, okay? The mere fact that any of them at all would be proud enough to be associated with this crap is proof enough of what they are

    Degenerate – worse than normal, to become useless, to fall below normal or a desirable level

    You would think at least one of them would have enough common decency and love of self then to allow herself and her child to be exploited twice: once by him and again by the media

  • Jalila

    Oh, my sisters, you also sound …cray cray! (I’ve always wanted to use that term)

    One, I grew up in a two-parent household and come from generations of married folk, and I’ve struggled to have an orgasm. Having an orgasm is more about connecting with yourself and being comfortable with your own energy more so than with any one else.

    Second, I also was raised in a very affluent community, where some of the blacks, including my family, belonged to Jack and Jill, Links, etc. And I have examples of some of my close friends who have doctors for parents and were raised in two-parent households, who are currently serving jail time.

    One paper it all looks good, growing up in a ritzy area, with two married parents. But in the end, regardless of whether you were raised in a two-parent household or by a single-grandmother, the most important thing is being raised in a loving environment where you are support and encouraged to love and accept yourself and be your very best self. Some times that happens in a two-parent household, some time that happens in a single-family household. In far too many cases, it happens in neither.

  • Jalila

    True, but I will tell you this. Many white people are totally embarrassed by Honey Boo Boo! This is something my friends and I noticed in our work settings and socially. They are EMBARRASSED! And they try to dismiss it. Hilarious!

  • http://Clutch SL


    I would love to compare passports. My husband is not American. We’ve traveled to many many places, live in a diverse community, most of my family is married to non-Americans – not only are we prejudged we are prejudged the most by blacks and browns as well as whites from other countries. Ive met Nigerians who prefer to send their kids back to Nigeria rather than risk them growing up in the black schools here….so I am not anticipating anything…I’m telling you my experience that my husband’s family was totally upset that he married a Black American eventhough I look more Hispanic than they do…. Not an anticipation – my experience. You can argue many things, but you can’t argue what I’ve experienced.

  • http://Clutch SL


    Your experience does not negate mine. We can argue many things, but we can not argue what we’ve experienced.

    Btw, I am extremely well traveled, would love to compare passports. I am married to a non-American and most of my family is married to non-Americans. I can tell you that eventhough I look more Hispanic than my husband’s family they were not happy he married a black American – because in their eyes eventhough my parents were married for 35yrs – Black Americans come from messed up families and family is honored their culture. They dont do this half this half that crap! They may get pregnant young but they don’t have babies for any and every man – maybe the younger ones in this country do – but that is typically not their way. I know Africans who prefer to send their kids back to Africa for school rather than risk them being corrupted in our schools. This is just a couple of my experiences. Folks from the Carribbean are very uncomfortable with American Black culture they see on tv – they may love you but behind closed doors they are telling their kids to marry their own. So one for one yes I have many friends who dont stereotype me but on the same hand it is a part of their knowledge base and it does and can come into play.

  • http://Clutch SL

    Seriously SMH – I have no sympathy for Shawnty Lo & his BMs. I do feel sorry for the kids, because none of this is their doing. As for feeling anything other than contempt for such preversion – nah these folks just f$&ckin around – they obviously don’t give a sh!t – why should anyone else? They want people to care, really? They obviously don’t care. You get what you beget….

    As for the rest of your comment, it makes no sense at all unless you plan on living totally isolated. How do you achieve anything disregarding the image you project no matter what circle you move in your image matters. SMH – I am SMDH at such a foolish notion. Seriously!

  • http://Clutch SL


    Yes totally true – many of my friends and sometimes even I have echoed that sentiment about our marriages cause a lot of the responsibility in raising children can fall to one partner.
    However, my daughter sees her daddy everyday. If she wants to she can crawl into our bed in the middle of the night, everyday he sees her everyday….he’s there she learns the subtle things just by seeing us interact – she sees his committment to me and thus never ever needs to question his committment to her. She never has to schedule who she is going to spend this weekend with or this holiday with or have a room here and one over there. He’s here even if I am the one doing her hair or making her take a bath or making her clean her room. If we dont agree – her time with him or me is not jepoardized because we are together.

  • Echoe

    The comment i left when I signed the petition. “This is not a representation of African American Families and I do not support the perpetuation of these sort of images being accepted as a median reality. This image only fuels and all too accepted stereotype of black families, black men, women and black children in America. It should not be exploited, glorified or supported. I am deeply disappointed in the Oxygen network and NBC with their choice of “Diversity Programing” (as a past intern for NBC Universal myself) for deciding to air such a program when there are all too many entertaining functional black families in America. I for one don’t even know who Shawty Lo is nor do I want him representing what a black family looks like as it does not look like any family I know.”

  • beks

    God dam it! Amen…*walks away clapping

  • Gail

    I have never watched a reality TV program and this does not inspire me to begin. I am of the opinion that these so-called reality shows are nothing but staged drama.

    Lets address some of the realities facing Black Americans

    -48% of Black couples are married; the highest rates of single parenthood, having one or both parents, highest rates of non-parental parenting, ie grand parents raising grand kids.

    - The 4th grade slump – 29% of students never recover from the loss of reading ability of which the majority are African Americans. The problem has been identified for over 30 years, yet there has been no definitive action taken to eradicate its effects. Why bother, it affects mainly poor Black kids.

    - 54% of African Americans graduate from high school, compared to more than three quarters of white and Asian students.

    - Nationally, African American male students in grades K-12 were nearly 2½ times as likely to be suspended from school.

    - On average, African American twelfth-grade students read at the same level as white
    eighth-grade students.

    - The twelfth-grade reading scores of African American males were significantly lower than those for men and women across every other racial and ethnic group. Math, Science, and Reading scores also.

    - Only 14% of African American eighth graders score at or above the proficient level. These results reveal that millions of young people cannot understand or evaluate text, provide relevant details, or support inferences about the written documents they read.

    - The majority of the 2.3 million people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails are people of color, people with mental health issues and drug addiction, people with low levels of
    educational attainment, and people with a history of unemployment or underemployment.

    -Among the highest levels of unemployment rate in this country because Black American youths are under educated and under skilled.

    That is the reality from which trash like this divert our attention. Seriously, why is it that there has been no concerted effort on the part of lawmakers to address one of the most pressing problems affecting AA students and which has long term effects on their entire lives. Because we are caught up in a this nonsense drama.

    Do I sound bitter? DO I sound mad. Yes I am!

  • http://Clutch SL

    @ Gail

    I agree with most of what you’ve said. I just wonder, why do we always look outside to solve our internal problems. If we can’t rally within our community to fix what ails us I am highly doubtful that those on the outside care enough to do it for us. And it is not cause we are lacking resources either. look at these stats:

    In 2009, African American total earning power equaled $836 Billion

    We spent only $321 Million on Books but
    - $7.4 Billion on Hair and Personal Care Products and Services
    - $29 Billion on Clothes and Accessories
    - $29 Billion on Cars & Trucks

    It is project that 2015, black buying power will reach $1.1 trillion dollars.

    If African Americans were a country we would rank 17 out of all countries.

    So, my question is – who are we waiting on to fix our problems???

    The definition of WELFARE MENTALITY is looking to others to provide what you reasonably should be providing for yourself.

    Maybe if we brought less weaves and stopped trying to look like KK, drove less fancy cars, decided against buying $200/pair of sneaks – maybe – just maybe we could fix our own problems just as Asians have done and what Hispanics are now doing.

    Honestly, I don’t think politicians are going to fix what ails us. Legislation can play a roll, but I think it will continue to be a small one.

  • Robbie

    @Rochelle Below,
    How about not having have sex. People wanna have fun but don’t want to take care of their responsibilities when a child comes along. I cannot believe what I just read.

    Abortion is making it too easy for many young women and women nowadays to get rid of their unborn child due to their selfish, and careless attitude. Dont’t get me started on STDs.

    Not having sex until you are physically, morally,mentally, spiritually and financially ready to get married is not for everyone because some people want to live their lives as they wish. However, if many women will take that matter seriously, we would not have so many innocent unborn killed each year and so many children abused or abandoned and leaving in Foster Care..

    Women and young women should stop sleeping with men that are not ready to commit with them and build a lasting relationship. Respect yourself, love yourself and demand respect from others.

    Abortion is not the solution but abstinence prevents unwanted pregnacy 100% of the time.

  • Nic Cna Wilkerson

    At the end of the day, I don’t blame the channel for making the show. The blame lies with Shawty Lo and his kid’s mom. This article would have been totally different if Shawty Lo was talking openly about how he was offended that the channel even approached him in the first place!!! Why can’t the people involved see that this show is NOT a GOOD LUCK FOR THEM!!!!!! No movie directors are going to call, once the show is cancelled then what??? People keep talking about how society views the Black race and that means nothing to me. I am concerned about how the Black race views itself. We all know that the “MAN” got the game rigged so let’s start beating them at their own game; and one day the “tables” might turn and now WE are making the decisions. We as a people need to stand up for ourselves, then it won’t matter what the media says. Just my thoughts…

  • Old TImer

    how many more decades will it take?

  • ggreensgirl

    I agree about buying our hair products from the Asians, and we need to stop weaving other people’s hair into our heads.

  • concerned

    “not being raised by both parents did not ruin my existence.”

    While the enthusiasm may be excessive, demonstration of admiration for high levels of accomplishment when you lacked advantages others enjoy is not particularly loathesome. Taking offense to such sentiment may be overreacting.

    Left unsaid by the article is an inquiry into the motivations and situations of these people so frequently assumed to be unwise.
    “Was there no ‘vetting’ of this man by the 4th or fifth ‘baby mama’?”
    “How does he get these women to fall for him?”
    “Why does he want to father so many children (or is he mentally damaged in some way? or sociopathic?”

    This can be played as a cautionary tale for the not-too-bright or in the event Shawty Lo is THAT clever, a how-to guide for spotting con men.

  • Billy Paul

    @ AM

    On the contrary, the statement reflects the following:
    - current demographic realities may frustrate the Colored community’s adherence to a one man one woman family structure since the availability of women (for various reasons) is greater than that of their male counterparts;
    - one may argue that “alien way of life” is incompatible with current realities in the Colored community since it potentially leaves a large portion of women childless/unmarried; and
    - since society now deems it normal/acceptable for a person to have children with multiple partners, then it may be time to upgrade the definitions of “family” and “marriage” and begin to modify society to better support this reality.

    Lastly, you wrote, “-Please if you are going to be rude, best if you ignore.”

    Ignore what? Your questionable writing skills or your hypersensitivity? Please advise.

    Carry on, Family.

  • Billy Paul

    Actually, I know enough to disclose the above. In addition, being an African does not necessarily make one an expert on Africa compared to an African American. On the contrary, to believe such may arguably be deemed a logical fallacy (see the plethora of Africans on the continent that have no sense of African history and worship that which is European). Be not mislead, I’ve been to Africa and have seen our backwardness first hand. I’ve read various anthropological studies on Africans and have come to appreciate the various ways that we as a group have solved problems such as these. Hence, we should look within to solve this problem, because the solutions are already there.

    On the other hand, I fear that your comment is somewhat irrelevant to the points that I made above because you failed to address any of them. Although I understand what your saying, your statement is irrelevant when trying to define the debate and the terminology used therein?

    Lastly, if you review my initial comment closely, you can see that I actually disagreed with the show and never really took a supportive stand on polygamy.

  • Gail

    I agree. It seems that many Black Americans have brought into the negative race and cultural stereotype; this and other similar programs are the propaganda machinery that perpetuates and spread these negative and poisonous stereotypes. There was a paradigm shift in the perception of Black Americans on television that allowed for this type of racial exploitation to take place. I agree we need to make the decision not to participate in nor propagate this negativity.Our youths need positive role models in the public eye whom they can emulate.

  • Lady Rainicorn

    All this arguing in defense of the show lets me know that black people need to come together. Those that say they don’t care if or think shorty lo’s show will put all blacks under a bad light only care about themselves. That’s not good. If people had that mindset back in the day blacks would still be segregated & drinking from seperate fountains! Blacks need to wake up. They need to live frugally. They need to spread out to other states. They need to erase the riff raff from their culture : thug life, disrespect of their women, self hatred, wanting to be a pimp, feeling that being educated & speaking correct english is lame. Black people need to marry other blacks & have more Black children. The population stats don’t lie. You can’t expect to get equal treatment & equal rights when You Are The Minority!!! The dominant race designs & controls your reality. So wake up & create your own. No revolution = no change! Just a dying race of sick, depressed second class citizens. Eventually black people will be a race rarely seen but often read about by kids in the history books. I can’t remember the last time I saw a Native American. And, I’ve traveled far & wide.

  • Mae

    First things first: for those who agree with we are not all the Shawty Lo, thank you. Let me tell you something, I have been a Single Mom for most of my life. Yes I started having children at a very young age and now in my Fabulous 40s. I think the biggest misconception is that we tend to view Single Black Women as just the society. Give me a break…I don’t give a hoot if you were raised by a Single Parent or both parents. I know plenty of married folks with children who are drug dealers, pimps and pushers…I know a whole lot of single parents with children who are college graduates, doctors and lawyers. Who are we to judge…??? I have old fashioned values and morals. Do you really want to hear my story and why I am a Single Mother. Do you really want to know the difference from being Single to Married, from being used and abused…etc…. Many people in today’s black life whether you are living a reality or just plain ole’ dealing with life day to day. That is your choice, I chose to have my children because of what I believe…do I owe anyone an explanation neither does the 1 million more Single Black Women. Do I blame the Single Black Men…no, I think it is a collective to make a conscious choice to take the time to communicate with someone and get to know one another or is it conscious decision whether you want to marry that person. I think sometimes the marriage gene is alittle devalued because people don’t value the connection or the link that bonds marriage. Why is that?

  • http://Clutch SL

    I think you’ve brought the discussion right to where it needs to be: to black women and their choices. I hate to say it, but much of what you have said IS exactly why our community is in the situation it is in. When we don’t hold a standard our men don’t hold a standard. Yes, some single mothers have children who went on to become doctors, lawyers, politicians, etc. and some married women have children who went on to become baby mamas, welfare recipients, etc. But the stats bear it out that far more single mothers end up risking the welfare of themselves and their children by becoming trapped in poverty which can have lasting and dire effects for generations. Your thought pattern is a dangerous one and one of the reasons our community is in shambles. As much as we live our personal lives, we cannot live in isolation thinking our decisions don’t affect anyone else. That is deception of the highest degree. I can’t tell you how many young women I know went on to walk in their mothers footsteps because mom made it acceptable to go around having babies out of wedlock instead of teaching their daughters. Children largely learn how to pick good mates and build strong relationships by being raised in a two parent home – without that they are deprived of knowing what a committed relationship is unless they are fortunate to observe it someplace else. Believe me, I mentor young women in their 30s who want to be in a relationship but dont know how, because mom cant tell them about something they never had. That is a travesty! They really think that giving a guy sex means you are in a relationship – nah it doesnt in his mind – just cause a guy wants to have sex with you doesnt mean he necessarily even likes you – lots of women dont understand that and get real disappointed. What is worse is bringing a baby into the world under such conditions….we try to justify a lot of things that really are not JUST.

  • Pingback: I Am NOT Shawty Lo! « BROTHA WOLF

  • DayStringz

    Precisely the problem: intellectual laziness is the worst kind of laziness. Anyone mature enough and interested enough in finding solutions with like-minded people will be able read a comment such as the above, because they are the type of people who are accustomed to reading 200-page books without a school assignment telling them to.

  • Laura

    Isn’t it simply a matter of looking at the 72% of black children born out of wedlock and comparing this to the other 28%? Determine what we would consider positive and successful life-goals and then ask the question… “Is being born out of wedlock an advantage or disadvantage toward achieving these life-goals?”

Latest Stories

Watch: ‘Black People Mate’ a Parody About the Ridiculous Stats on Black Women & Dating


University President Under Fire for Wanting to Make School Less White In the Future


Taraji P. Henson Says European Men Are Less ‘Bitter’ and ‘Jaded’ Than American Men


Style Inspiration: Casual Work Outfits

More in All My Babies' Mamas, reality tv
SMH: Oxygen Orders Up a New Reality Special Titled ‘All My Babies’ Mamas’
SMH: Oxygen Orders Up a New Reality Special Titled ‘All My Babies’ Mamas’

Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 10.21.15 AM
New Reality Show, “The Sisterhood” Follows Preacher’s Wives in Atlanta — Will You Watch?