After airing only one episode, VH1 and Mona Scott-Young Productions are facing a petition for their controversial new reality show. The same people who petitioned against the excessive violence on Shaunie O’Neal’s “Basketball Wives” are back again, this time targeting “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” for exploiting the stories of its cast members.
According to a change.org petition, VH1 execs are using exploitative practices for ratings instead of using the stories of Lil Scrappy, Mi Mi, Erica Dixon and the rest of the cast for good. Furthermore, the petition calls out the most outlandish member of the cast, “Mama Dee” who shocked audiences when she revealed that she was not only a former pimp but a drug dealer on Monday’s premiere. Petitioners believe the seriousness of her story was downplayed to make for what they call “digital crack,” a ratings spike at the cast member’s expense.
“Let’s use mama Mama Dee, the ex-pimp on this new show as an example of VH1’s exploitative practices,” the petition states. “Mama Dee” (who may not feel exploited at all) is, indeed, a victim because the network treats her sex trafficking story quite casually. In Atlanta, where sex trafficking is pervasive, the first episode could have provided her backstory in a way that didn’t make it seem so cool.”
“Instead, they chose to hook folks on the digital crack of watching her shuck and jive while tipsy — which is inexcusable, particularly because “poor” people often turn to pimping/prostitution as a result of other social ills and inequities, while “wealthy” folks (not calling any last names that begin with K) often get to play pimps and prostitutes for recreational purposes,” the petition continues.
Interestingly enough, the boycott sounds strikingly similar to that of an article penned by frustrated Atlanta writer Kelly Smith Beatty who’s asking for the real black people of Atlanta to stand up instead of the stereotypical wives and girlfriends of reality shows. “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 in a Huffington Post article.
Both Beatty and the change.org position raise a valid point, there’s a stark difference between entertainment and exploitation. So which one do you think embodies “‘Love & Hip Hop” the most?
So far, the petition against “Love & Hip-Hop” has 500 signatures. If you’re interested, the Boycott VH1 (Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, Specifically): Stop Dealing Digital Crack and Tell True Stories petition can be found here. –danielle canada