I would like to believe that we have come a long way from the days of Jim Crow, Jim Dandy and Sambo. I would like to believe America has moved passed such foolishness, but, really, whom am I kidding?
Why is it, that in the year 2005 -173 years after the first minstrel show – people are still watching blatant racism on television for their entertainment? Not only that, but they are using a hip-hop legend to do it.
I am referring to the great Flava Flav, the hype man for the politically charged rap group of the late 1980′; Public Enemy. With Flava’s strange attics, bright cloths, gold teeth and large clock hanging from his neck, he helped to give a voice to a generation that couldn’t speak. Public Enemy helped form the foundation for hip hop. But, after watching VH1’s reality show “Strange Love,” for a month, which by the way, the title gives no justice to the show’s true bizarreness; I find myself shaking my head at Flav. Once again, my black people have chosen to be the joke, and in Flava Flav’s case, the Clown of Italy. And, the really sad part is that I don’t know if Flava realizes it. Doesn’t he see, that they deliberately portray him on the show as the buffoon, the clown, the modern day minstrel without the makeup? Does he have inclination at all that everyone is laughing at him and not with him? Maybe, he does, but has forgotten his hip-hop roots and no longer cares.
Everyone has to make money, right? Even if we have to breathe life into a stereotype that should have never existed in the first place, we have to be paid right?
Although, VH1 has tried to disguise the true nature of this show, we get it. We don’t need the patched pants, bow ties, silly hats, black faces with white lips and a song and dance to see it because contrary to some beliefs we are not nor have we ever been intellectually inferior. I know ignorance when I see it. They call “Strange Love” a reality show, but really who’s reality is this? This reality isn’t mine, nor is it of my people.
I guess America doesn’t see blacks any differently than it did over 100 years ago, so this unfortunately, is still America’s twisted reality, which is so sad. Even with that being said, I am not sure where the blame lies. Is it with VH1, the producers, the American viewers or Flava himself?
Sadly, we have come to expect this type of thing from networks, the people that work for networks and the simplicity of viewers, but Flava Flav should know better. He built an entire career on fighting authorities, and now he has joined them.
Come on, Flav, you are so above this. Don’t let VH1 manipulate you. Don’t let VH1 shun your people with sly tactics.
Yeah boy! You should really get real……… literally.
Kia Clark is a senior public relations student from Atlanta. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.