Shaunie O’Neal Responds to Portraying Black Women Negatively on VH1

Shaunie O’Neal didn’t fade away from the public spotlight after her divorce from NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal. In fact, she’s only seen an increase in her stock both in fame and in finance – particularly due to the explosion of her VH1 pet project “Basketball Wives.” Unfortunately, her recent success also comes along with a few snags, including being accused of profiting from casting black women in a negative light. Here’s what she told Ebony mag in a recent interview:

On Being Accused of Portraying Black Women Negatively
“I get a lot of flack,” says O’Neal. “People say to me: ‘You’re saying the betrayal of Black women is bad on TV, but your show is one of the number one reasons why it is.’ Guess what? I agree! But you look at those credits — it’s more than me executive producing it. I brought this vision to a table full of people, a table full of executives, and since then it has taken on its own new thing.”

On Being Embraced By Fans
I’m starting to get how Michael Jackson might have felt back in the day,” she says laughing, and only half-kidding. “I’ve never felt so much love, and never really knew that it was that kind of fan base. I never really imagined we would be these celebrities because of the show.”

On Trying To Bring Some Balance to the Miami Show
“I’m trying to get some type of balance on. Even Basketball Wives Miami — can we show Tami and I going to Project Girls and giving a girl a semester’s worth of tuition? Can we show that we actually have sat down and had good times and laughed like girlfriends? It’s not always the two minutes of drama that you get after eight hours of taping and somebody getting on somebody’s nerves. I get that it sells; I get that that’s what people wanna see,” she says. “But … can we show that these ladies actually can conduct themselves in a respectable manner? That they do know how to use the English language correctly? We aren’t always going off.

On Working With Shed Media & Not Being Happy With the Los Angeles Cast
“Honestly, they’ve distorted it a little bit. I really came in with the concept of having a group of women that come together and are associated by the game of basketball, whether it be their husbands, fiancés — there’s some long-term relationship with a man in basketball and the game of basketball — and that’s how we formed this sisterhood and friendship,” she says. “The L.A. cast — there are some wives and fiancés, which I’m fine with. But there’s a little bit of trash kind of sprinkled into that cast that I’m totally against. I was really very hands off with that cast.”

“Yeah, you know they have Jackie Christie, I love her — they have a long lasting marriage and it works. There’s also Malaysia Pargo, you’ve got Imani who was the former fiancée of Stephen Jackson — they went to the altar, you get that connection. These ladies have been around forever in the game of basketball. But then you’ve got people that just might’ve slept with somebody. I’m not OK with that,” O’Neal says. “It’s just drama and … that’s not my vision. I don’t think that all money is good money. I don’t need it that bad. So we are having some issues. I’ve kind of just had to take a backseat and shut up and just let it go, let it ride. It’s David and Goliath right now.”



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