When it was announced that one-hit wonder Shawty Lo was set to launch his own reality show on the Oxygen network about his eleven children with his ten baby’s mothers, the outcry from watchdog groups was immediate and intense. A petition was started to keep “All My Babies Mamas” from ever going on the air, and blogs, social media and various outlets criticized the network for celebrating what they viewed as a stereotypically negative lifestyle.
Now, of course, Shawty’s rep, Kali Bowyer, is defending the rapper’s reality show. How she is choosing to defend it, however, borders on lunacy.
“Shawty Lo is a father figure who most young black men today should mimic,’ she told RumorFlix. “It’s a sad day in America, when people attempt to reject a father who steps up to the plate, a father who is actively supporting his children and their mothers not just monetarily but emotionally, as well.”
It’s a sad day in America when a publicist puts standing up for her client ahead of common sense and good taste.
Now, to be clear, reality shows are known for showcasing less-than-noble behavior and outlandish lifestyles. Shawty Lo’s 10 babies mamas is as much an example of this as most of the people on “Hoarders” or the addicts on “Intervention.” But let’s not pretend that this is going on the air for any other reason than voyeurism. People like to watch train wrecks, and pretending that “All My Babies Mamas” is some bastion of stellar parenting is as ridiculous as treating “Love & Hip Hop” as required viewing for anyone looking for a “How-to” on keeping their relationship together.
No, Ms. Bowyer, Shawty Lo should not be “mimicked” at all. Too often in contemporary culture, we salute fathers for “stepping up to the plate,” and doing what Dads are supposed to do. But more than that, an unmarried man having unprotected sex with (at least) 10 different women and impregnating them all should never be celebrated. It’s reckless. It’s childish. And it’s dangerous. In too many black communities, we see the evidence of unplanned pregnancies. And unplanned pregnancies typically mean unprotected sex. With the high rates of STDs in our communities, we shouldn’t celebrate nor provide a platform for a man who obviously doesn’t care enough about himself or the women he’s bedding to “wrap it up.” That he takes care of his kids should be acknowledged, but not rewarded.
“You can hate all you want to, I didn’t ask for it. It just happened. Now that it happened, I’m supposed to turn my back against it?” Shawty Lo told MTV News. “If I wasn’t taking care of my kids then you would really dog me out, but I’m taking care of my kids, providing for my family. I don’t know what else to say. … I take care of all my kids. … Outta all the 10 baby mamas, I just have problems outta one. That’s it. She has two kids by me, and she feel like I’m supposed to do more for her kids, and she don’t wanna work. She just want me to straight take care of them, but it’s all love. I handle it.”
This is a lifestyle that black men should “mimic?” And taking care of your kids is one thing, parading ten jumpoffs you got pregnant onto national TV is an entirely different one.
Nonetheless, Shawty Lo and Oxygen can have their show. “Ratchet” behavior is in high demand. But shame on you, Ms. Bowyer, for making such a ridiculous proclamation in defense of said ratchetry.
Shawty Lo should never be an example of what a black man should aspire to be. Or who a black woman should aspire to be with.
- stereo williams