February 21, 2018

What’s Wrong With Us

Vibe’s June/July 2012 Issue

It’s still hard to digest the madness that happened this past weekend in Colorado at the opening night of Batman: The Dark Night Rises.  The Penn State scandal is finally coming to a close, with all their football wins being eradicated from 1999 – 2010 and Sandusky facing 442 years in prison.  And of course, the Trayvon Martin case that was mishandled from the night of incident.

You know what’s shocking?  None of it.  We as Americans have become so desensitized to tragedy, drama, and vulgarity that instead of taking action, we gossip about it until the next big thing happens.  Almost everything we do, see and hear has to have some sort of shock value to it or we won’t listen, watch or buy it.  And believe me, the news stations and entertainment industry is well aware of that.

Take this Vibe cover photo.  I’m guilty of watching Basketball Wives, and a couple of other less than educational reality shows.  And I like watching to see what the heck these crazy people are going to do next.  Do I believe it’s real?  Of course not!  Do I condone their behavior?  Heck no!  But I watch, and watch faithfully.  And I have a problem with what I’m seeing.

My problem is not with the show.  I take it for face value which to me, is virtually nothing but entertainment and something to chat about.  What I have a problem with is that Vibe chose to call these ladies “role models.”  Role models for what?  For whom?  Why?    Because they are watched by millions?  Because they may have come from humble beginnings but are now successful business women with their own brands?  Or because they are, as Vibe states on the cover, “sexy?”

When I watch most of these reality shows, I do so strictly for entertainment purposes.   I started watching Basketball Wives because I wanted to see what the heck women of pro ballers did to sustain their identities.  I found out, in season one, absolutely nothing!  These women were broken and were seeking to find their own identities instead of being known as so-and-so’s girlfriend, ex or wife.  I felt compassion for them at first, so I kept tuning in. Now I watch because I don’t know what the heck they are going to FAKE next.  Like I said, mere entertainment.

To others though, it apparently isn’t a mere form of entertainment.  For Vibe to consider these reality actresses role models, they had to dig through the mess and find something to glorify.  I didn’t read the article, but I gander that in addition to them being “sexy”, Vibe portrayed them as self-made women who used their opportunities to build their own brands.  And to those who are incapable of discerning the real from the fake, will see them as role models.

What’s wrong with us?  Well I could sum it up by starting with what’s wrong with me.  Instead of boycotting this crap or writing the television networks to add programs of substance, I do nothing.  As a writer, I could even pitch scripts. Instead, I pick what’s most convenient and entertaining.  I watch what’s hot, I follow the trends, I like the sensation.  In essence, I sit and do not stand.  Because I tune in, I perpetuate the problem.

Don’t get me wrong, these women are beautiful.  But they are so far from reality it isn’t even funny.  Most of them have had some type of cosmetic work done and do not represent the core values we as parents, professionals, and spiritual beings hold dear.  They do not represent love, education, loyalty, compassion or determination.  They should not be, no matter how self-made or sexy, anybody’s role model.  What they do represent, is  America’s entertainment driven, capitalist driven, sensationalist driven and sex driven market.

My blog topic can be seen as both a question and imperative statement, but dare we even ask?  I know I’m guilty of watching and listening to things that do not speak to my beliefs.  Our music, news, even our consumer products are sensationalized, using reality actresses (notice I fail to call them stars) to entice us to buy their products.  In my season of purge, no more Basketball Wives, Single Ladies, or any other show that does not positively impact my life.  We, starting with me, have to restore what we value.  We cannot allow tv shows, music, movies and video games to desensitize those who cannot discern real from fake.  We cannot let the media raise our children.  Vibe cannot speak for us.  If we allow the purpose of reality entertainment replace our core values, we will be ripening the grounds for more Batman, Trayvon, and Penn State incidents.


  1. Alicia Harris says:

    Personally, I have turned the tv and come across the “reality shows” designed to draw you in. I don’t watch them on a regular basis because I don’t #1. want to promote or contribute to that type of image the show promotes and #2 I don’t want that stuff in my spirit. I know it is entertainment, but it puts us “black people” in a negative light. If I get that kind of status I would prefer to use my influence to promote a healthier view of our race. Just my opinion. God bless and thanks for the discussion.

    • Kaneicia Brown says:

      Alicia, agreed. I’d like to add though, that all races have the same plight. Jersey Shore was protested by Italians who felt the show betrayed them as loud and lazy. And there are countless reality shows in the Caucasian race that too, display stereotypical ideologies. As African Americans we feel like we are under a harsher standard of judgement (and we are), but I’m more so appealing to those to be the “light” we were told to let shine. Including myself. I don’t watch many, but I do indulge in the two I mentioned in my post. And I need to stop if I am going to tell others, especially my students, not to buy into the lies.

  2. All I will say is that your transparency in your creative self expression gift is what will lead others into their own journey of purging. The more you plant, the more that will be purged within yourself. This blog is my favorite because it contains the spirit of restoration and restoration is a eternal purpose that pleases the heart of our Father in heaven. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and your Father in heaven will be glorified…

  3. It seems you have wrapped it all up into a neat little package. It’s about time too, huh? Sorry I don’t watch much television but I do love movies, cable, etc. and I think with our aptitude for escaping and supporting the worst of media, and just being in a culture that supports the worst in us, a whole lot more articles in this direction are going to have to be written. Get to typing! Great start! And a big kudos to you.

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