By now most of us have seen at least one episode of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and, love it or hate it, formed an opinion of the cast members and the circumstances surrounding them. One of the first things to jump out is the stark difference between the racial makeup of the Atlanta show and its sister shows. The Atlanta version features nearly all-black cast save for one white woman while each of the other shows feature nearly all-white casts. Another difference is that only two of the six “housewives” are legitimately married. But to anyone who has ever been to, lived in, or been curious about Atlanta, the most curious aspect of “RHOA” is its almost nonexistent portrayal of any heterosexual, dignified black men.
The city of Atlanta has produced some of this country’s most distinguished and accomplished men from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Spike Lee. Known as the “black mecca,” Atlanta has long been a staple of black excellence that includes the scholastic, entertainment and political fields. But this reality show seems to consistently besmirch the city’s pristine reputation with the way it parades its main male cast member, Dwight, and all of his flamboyance along with other male “assistants” who also happen to be homosexual. There’s nothing wrong with these men being homosexual, the issue is that their prominence on the show paints a picture of Atlanta that may or may not be accurate.
To many people who have never visited the “Capital of the New South,” the town must seem like a homosexual haven where anything goes. But ask a native Atlantan and you may hear a different story. You may hear from black women that there is shortage of good, straight black men and that entirely too many black men are on the “down low.” Someone might argue that “RHOA” features this particular kind of man because he increases ratings. On the contrary, one might tell you that what you see on the show is mostly true; that most of the men in the city are either gay or knucklehead, wannabe gangster rappers.
Either way, this television show has put Atlanta in the national spotlight for some time now and the nation is most certainly paying attention. But for a relatively young town still searching for its cultural identity in the high school of public opinion, the question remains: Will the real Atlanta please stand up?