Normally, I don’t have much in ways of interest for Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta. It’s a silly, fun show full of cringe-inducing people and a few glamour-pusses flouncing around and twirling. But this season has piqued my interest, but for one reason and one reason alone — granddaughter of a civil rights activist and wife of former pro-football star Kordell Stewart — loveable ditz Porsha Stewart.
Porscha is not the brightest bulb in the lamp, but I love her. And not ironically. I LOVE HER. And I’m publicly declaring it to be so! I would like to brush her weave and help her pick out outfits. But I love her specifically because she is the first time I’ve ever seen a black woman play the role of “Pretty, Pretty Pampered and Protected Princess” on television.
Black women historically get to be mules in both the media and real life. We get to be sapphires and jezebels and mammies and the best BFFs of the white hero with no lives of our own. We get to be video hoes. We get to be in the background. (Even though we’re quite diverse, multidimensional and awesome.) But Porsha is essentially a pretty, pretty princess version of screwball Lucille Ball with Kordell as her slightly-controlling, but possibly harmless father-figure Ricky Ricardo.
And that is refreshing by virtue of it being both different and necessary. It’s like a lesser version of what you get with Michelle Obama planting a garden at the White House. Typically the role of a black woman in the White House is cleaning it. Now it’s running it. “Who cares if she doesn’t practice law!” says all the black women tired of having to carry everything and be all things to all people all the time. You just want to see her dote on her kids, love her husband and run things with positivity and sophistication because YOU NEVER GET TO SEE THIS ON SUCH A LARGE SCALE.
She’s on magazine covers! She’s an icon! People admire her for her brains and beauty! Oh! Oooo! Me next! ME NEXT, PLEASE! Sez a generation of black women.
Once upon a time a white female friend of mine told me black women would grow to resent the pedestal if we got put on it and my response, on behalf of all black women was, “LEMME GET UP THERE AND SEE IF IT SUCKS AND THEN I’LL TELL YOU ABOUT IT.”
Porsha is up there and there is where I want … nay, need her to stay.
Black women don’t always get the pedestal treatment, so when one of us gets up on there and gets to be the paragon of womanly virtue and perfection, you’ll fight for that woman to stay up on there in hopes that other black women — even you — will be not just respected, but celebrated for your choices in education, career and family. Even if you’re not deep like Nikki Giovanni.
So, in some ways, I’m fighting for silly Porsha because I love that she’s just an innocent goofball and gets to be the innocent goofball because it’s so rare to see that publicly — a black woman trophy wife who is not broken or angry or bitter, but goofy and happy to be here. Happy to wear the dress. Happy to play house. Happy to be happy, bouncing around without a natural care in the world.
After episode whatever it was, when she was just trying on dresses for her husband’s birthday party, it dawned on me I could watch Porsha twirl around in cocktail dresses all day, talking about having twins on command (as if science would allow such a thing, oh Porsha!) and thinking this child is too shallow to be real. Porsha — trying and failing then kind of succeeding in babysitting. Porsha, being ordered to try wine instead of ordering a Sprite because mentally, she’s still a kid and wine is GROWN PEOPLE DRANK. (Porsha is not grown.) Porsha’s little feud with Kenya Moore that seems more harmless and high school-like than degrading and offensive like most black lady fights on reality TV. (Case in point: Team Stallion Booty versus Team Donkey Booty versus society wanting to poke out eyeballs.)
To Porsha, I say, never change. You HOLD ON to that little girl, child-like, innocent spirit inside of you and stay goofy and … um … mentally uncomplicated. If someone tells you that you need to be “deep” or “stand for something” tell them to SHUT UP. Your protest is by existing. Black people were brought to this country in chains to work for free. Every day you choose to wear a $1,000 dress while doing nothing is a damn protest against The Man. (This goes for all other black people who chose to do whatever they please with their lives post-Emancipation. Fall in love! Get married! Get educated! Drink champagne at noon! It’s all a protest, people! Being free is a form of protest! So … protest responsibly!)
Just because some black women might be intellectually incurious doesn’t mean they should die horrible deaths or face dire fates and diminishing prospects. Everybody can’t be (or has the capacity to be) Coretta Scott King, but you can honor her memory by being nice, not embarassing and finding other ways to represent Team Black Woman and her junior squad, Team Black Girl.
So I say, Lawd, let this child have this! I need it for her. And by her, I mean me. It’s hard out here on these streets. Let’s let some sister get the easy route, then pat her on the back for winning the genetic lottery that got her there. If it turns out the pedestal is wack, believe me, we’ll let you know.
Do you agree? Disagree? If you disagree and think it’s a bad look for any black woman to take a break from full-time battlemode to be a goofnugget on Bravo I respect your opinion, but you’re also why WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS! I’m kidding, of course, but not kidding …