A new reality television show in the works for the Oxygen cable network, home of the “Bad Girls Club” and “I’m Having Their Baby” programs, has spawned outrage in the African-American community.
The program, “All My Babies’ Mamas,” is set to follow Carlos Walker, better known by his G-Unit rap moniker “Shawty Lo,” as cameras film the day-to-day activities surrounding him, his eleven children and their ten different mothers.
Petitions protesting the show, which is set for a spring 2013 debut, have already drawn more than 18,000 thousand signatures against the hour-long series produced by DiGa Vision, a production company funded by former producers from MTV.
“It’s an abomination and it is designed to demoralize and exploit our children,” said Sabrina Lamb, author and founding chief executive officer of the youth financial education organization, WorldofMoney.org.
Lamb said the children who have no choice in having their “pain and humiliation up for sale” are the main reason why the more than 14,000 supporters of her petition are putting more focus on this program than on what she called other “minstrel shows” such as VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop.”
“These images are going around the world- and the international community is watching,” Lamb told the AFRO, angered that the antics and aggressive attitudes of the African-American women on shows like “Real Housewives of Atlanta” are often automatically speaking for the entire demographic.
In an open letter posted on the web site My Brown Baby Jan. 3 to Oxygen Media CEO Jason Klarman, Lamb said, “By all accounts, Oxygen Media wants young women to be self-hating, violent and catty while using their considerable spending power to support your advertisers.”
Lamb said she is outraged because the show is propagating a lifestyle of unprotected sex and abusive relationships. She also added that televisions shows like the proposed “All My Babies’ Mamas” are an act of desperation from a Black community “starved” to see themselves glorified on the tube, regardless of the image they are propagating to the masses.
“Is this how far we’ve come?” Lamb asked, adding that Walker “doesn’t need a reality television show- he needs therapy and a few boxes of condoms.”
The Lamb petition is one of four entreaties on Change.org to protest the show.
Along with Lambs petition letter, petitions by four other people opposed to the show have also been posted to the Change.org website, all in favor of cancelling the show Oxygen Media unveiled Dec. 26.
In a press release Oxygen Media said it is hoping to draw viewers in by broadcasting the “highs and lows of this extreme 'blended family' that is anything but ordinary.”
“Oxygen will give fans an intimate look at unconventional families with larger than life personalities and real emotional stakes,” said Cori Abraham, senior vice president of development for Oxygen Media, in the statement. “‘All My Babies’ Mamas’ will be filled with outrageous and authentic over-the–top moments that our young, diverse female audience can tweet and gossip about.”
Still, not everyone is interested in seeing the company prosper by capturing the family as it grows in number and “dysfunction.”
“It degrades society and sets a bad immoral example for our younger generation along with eroding the value of commitment in a family setting,” said Harriette Watkins one petitioner from Decatur, Ga.
“Why can we never show a Black man as a positive role model?'All My Babies’ Mamas’ is a slap to the face of men taking care of their responsibilities,” said Tiffany Austin, of Spanaway, Wash., another petitioner. “It is glorifying all the wrong things.”
According to the Huffington Post, the network has pulled the 13-minute preview that was previously posted on its website, but has not announced plans to the cancel the program.