Writer Asks, ‘Will the Real Black People of Atlanta Stand Up?’
Writer Blasts Reality Show Producers of Atlanta-Based Programs
The recent premiere of VH1′s latest foul mouthed, brown skinned women based reality program has sent one Atlanta based writer over the edge, so much so that she’s penned a scathing essay condemning its producers. Kelly Smith Beatty, a metro Atlanta-based writer, is making waves this week with her piece titled “Will The Real Black People of Atlanta Stand Up?” In the essay, she indirectly calls out the makers of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and the most recent reality show debacle; Love & Hip Hop Atlanta. According to Beatty, who’s had reality TV experience through a stint on “The Apprentice” season 10, “Love & Hip-Hop” and the “Real Housewives” are not representative of the city she loves. Beatty says the programs have tarnished Atlanta and turned it into a focal point for black affliction.
“How is it that a city which was once the crowning jewel in the story of black America has allowed itself to be positioned as the melting pot of black affliction?,” she writes. “The Atlanta that I knew and grew up in was one of great pride and self-respect. Our achievements were known across the globe, as people from far and wide would often respond, ‘Wow, I hear that black people are really doing their thing down there,’ when I would tell them I’m from Atlanta. Today that assertion is often met with, ‘Yoooo….I hear Atlanta’s got them bangin’ strip clubs.’… Really?!?”
In Beatty’s thoughtful post she even offers some examples of the real black people of Atlanta who would make for good TV, like the wife of a former slave and the wife of a successful construction and real estate entrepreneur. “If you’d like to make a reality show about prominent housewives, I’d suggest doing a retrospective on the wife of Alonzo Herndon — a former slave turned businessman who went on to found the Atlanta Life Insurance Company, became the city’s largest black property owner by 1900, and made history as Atlanta’s first black millionaire,” she writes. [...] “Looking for something more current? Sure. How about doing a docu-series on the Russell wives? We could call it “Love and Hard Hats. Herman J. Russell successfully built one of the nation’s most profitable minority-owned business empires whose construction and real estate projects include the famed Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the Georgia Dome, Phillips Arena, and Turner Field.”
Beatty’s piece speaks nothing but the truth. Unfortunately, a number Atlantans — natives and otherwise — can’t seem to shake their fascination with the rampant train wrecks reality television presents. A prime example? There are reports that a new show, “The Mistresses of Atlanta,” will premiere this year showcasing strippers, industry side pieces, and unwed, uncouth women for your viewing pleasure. Yeah! With that in mind we have to agree that the cheapening of this Southern city is beyond tiresome and new ideas for programming are desperately needed. Who’ll be the first to pull that off successfully?
Read the rest of Beatty’s piece in the Huffington Post here.