Last week, Michaela Angela Davis spoke with Jacque Reid on the Tom Joyner Morning Show about a new campaign she is spearheading at Spelman College called “Bury the Ratchet”. Davis is a leading image activist that works to transform the ideologies associated with popular depictions in today’s society and culture by supporting and promoting positive images.
Davis described the campaign as an awareness project to reduce negative messages that have become associated with women of color from Atlanta because of reality television shows. In the interview, Davis says that the project is more of a “pro-leadership” campaign rather than an “anti-reality show” movement.
“[Many women] find when they say are from Atlanta the first image that comes to mind is mean, gold digging women….It has become completely evident that there has been a brand of women from Atlanta that are adverse to what most of these women are like,” Davis says. The image activist described how show producers seem to only pinpoint one type of black woman to represent Atlanta, those that represent violence and “black girl pain”.
“The goal [of the movement] is to get the spotlight off the ratchetness and on the successful women in Atlanta”.
Through a symposium at Spelman College in March 2013, Davis, along with other community leaders and scholars, will engage in an open conversation about the role reality television is playing within African-American culture and its impacts on society. The goal of the movement will be to produce a PSA of sorts that will publicize how young women of color truly feel about how they are being portrayed by media corporations.
Davis’ project sounds ambitious, but like Joyner show hosts pointed out the biggest question is one of pure practicality: can you truly change what people believe without altering what pictures are streaming through their television screens?
Davis resoundingly says yes.
“We want to change the mind of young women who absorb these images. The first thing we are doing is giving these women a voice.”
Ultimately, Davis’ concept is one of verbal and visual power that could eventually catch on amongst the thousands of women who choose to express their distaste for shows like “Basketball Wives” on Twitter. But it appears that the great premise that lies in the Bury The Ratchet campaign should be scaled. The chocolate city of the south is not the only region plagued by fist-yielding women in tight dresses. Reality shows have ratchified young women of color from the east to west coast, turning innocent girls into twerk team wannabes that constantly capture black hostility through social media. Davis’ project is one of promise that will hopefully spark conversation in communities of color throughout the nation. By creating dialogue, the “Bury the Ratchet” campaign will help more women reconsider the images they chose to support and the definitions of black women that they seek to change.