by Dr. Boyce Watkins, KultureKritic.com
Shaunie O’neal, the woman who has made a small fortune by convincing women of color to brawl on national television, expressed a point of personal enlightenment this week by confessing that the next season of Basketball Wives is going to consist of less fighting. Shaunie, the Executive Producer for the most notorious entertainment calamity since Flavor of Love, made the announcement during a reunion special for the show.
I applaud Shaunie’s announcement, for it hopefully represents progress in a show that was built on a questionable premise to begin with. Millions of Americans were already confused and annoyed by the fact that people were making themselves famous for the work of someone that they once had sex with. Most of the “Basketball Wives” have never been married to anyone, and some didn’t even obtain the “glorious (profitable) distinction” of becoming an NBA baby mama. So, I wonder if there should be legislation introducing restrictions on when someone is allowed to use the word “wife.”
My mother has been a wife for nearly 40 years. That’s because she endured the challenges of being legally committed to the same man for most of her life. That makes her a bit different from Evelyn Lozada.
With that being said, I am sure that Shaunie’s “moment of clarity” was heavily influenced by the petition created to boycott her show, which has turned itself into the new Jerry Springer. Seeing VH1 openly exploit and promote the moment where Evelyn climbs over the table to punch another woman in the face was just too much for some people to watch. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) couldn’t have come up with a better promotional video than the one created by the producers of “Basketball Wives.”
I applaud those who’ve stood up against “Basketball Wives,” which makes a point of showing women of color at their absolute ugliest. I hope that Shaunie can learn the lesson that Bob Johnson never learned with BET, that a person can make a profit and not sell their entire soul in order to achieve it. The public gives Basketball Wives a great deal of leverage: They are allowed to illegally use the word “wife,” it gives a group of women celebrity status for someone else’s hard work, and it doesn’t judge the women for displaying disgusting amounts of shallow materialism. All people are asking is that they stop punching it out like a pack of drunken thugs.
Now Shaunie, go ahead and make your money, just show a little class in the process.