VH1’s wildly popular reality show, “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta,” is full of drama and controversy, featuring the music industry, philandering men, struggling female artists, and physical violence. According to Sil Lai Abrams article on The Grio, the show and others like it “promote the idea that violence, emotional abuse and chronic infidelity are to be expected and tolerated…”
In her opinion article posted Wednesday, Abrams also wrote that cast member Stevie J is guilty of just such behavior, with his cheating ways bordering on abuse.
“L&HHA” just wrapped up its first season and aired part one of its drama-filled reunion show on Aug. 27.
The initial episodes feature Stevie, a music producer, and his new talent find, former stripper Joseline Hernandez. He is also seen in a relationship with Mimi Faust, the mother of his daughter, but has impregnated Joseline. He lies to Mimi about his relationship with Joseline, but later the truth is revealed. In subsequent episodes, the audience also learns Joseline terminates the pregnancy with Stevie’s approval.
Abrams finds that both Joseline and Mimi are victims of Stevie’s philandering, which lulls viewers into “buying into the show’s unspoken message: abuse is the penance that black women must pay for actual or perceived personal inadequacies—or even just to be in a relationship.”
On the reunion show, the show’s producer Mona Scott brought up the fact that “L&HHA” has been criticized for portraying black women in a negative light, however, Mimi noted that the show is not meant to do so. She said it follows her and her life as it was at the time, including the the situation that took place with Stevie and Joseline.
View slideshow: Photos from Part One of the “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” Reunion Show
Joseline also spoke out at the reunion saying she is aware Stevie’s behavior and accepts him as he is as long as he is promoting her career and making her money.
News One reports that Abrams, a relationship expert with Ebony.com and an anti-domestic violence activist, believes such reality shows play a major role in the manner in which young girls and women—especially those in the black community—view sexuality, their femininity, and how a relationship should be defined. She writes, however, that behavioral choices are ultimately the responsibility of the individual, but believes the shows an audience chooses to watch are actually “influencing… behavior by making light of very serious issues.”
Abrams also includes the VH1 show “Basketball Wives” as an offending series. One of the stars of that show, Evelyn Lozada, recently filed for divorce from former NFL star Chad Johnson—her husband of 41 days, who allegedly head-butted her during an altercation over a condom receipt Lozada had discovered.
The second part of “L&HHA” reunion show is slated to air on Sept. 3.
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