Editor’s Note: MyBrownBaby Contributor Nick Chiles’ post, “If We Let Shawty Lo’s Show Get on the Air, We Will Have Failed Ourselves,” inspired an incredible amount of conversation about the stereotyping of black mothers and fathers on American TV. Today, we proudly feature an open letter to Oxygen Media CEO Jason Klarman, penned by Sabrina Lamb, the voice behind the petition to keep “All My Babies’ Mamas,” featuring the rapper and the 10 mothers of his 11 children, off the air. Read the letter to see why Lamb and more than 5,700 petitioners are protesting Oxygen and making some serious demands.
Enough is enough.
We are writing to publicly convey our collective outrage over Oxygen Media’s decision to schedule a spring broadcast of “All My Babies’ Mamas,” a one-hour atrocity that exploits innocent black children and stereotypes African American parents by broadcasting for entertainment and profit a “reality show” about a washed-up, mediocre rapper and the 10 women who bore his 11 children.
In just a few short hours, you have received at least 4,000 emails from an outraged group of consumers who, as a community, collectively harness a buying power of more than $1 trillion annually. We are disgusted by your programming decision and demand to meet in person with you and the executives who thought this show was a good idea.
About the show, producer Danielle Pisano tweeted: “I have done it again! Check out ‘That Shawty Lo’ show that I developed.” Adding insult to injury, Senior Vice President of Development Cori Abraham bragged in a press release that “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.” In that press release, Abraham acknowledged the severe dysfunction that comes when a man splits his affection with multiple opinionated, “feisty babies’ mamas” and seemed excited to chronicle the conflicts and catfights sure to ensue as the mothers and their children vie for affection, money and time with Shawty Lo.
As a wife and mother, Ms. Abraham should know better. And Danielle is right: she did it again. Along with Oxygen Media, she unleashed an international furor that exposed just how much Oxygen, a network founded to uplift women, has sunken to new lows with its programming. “All My Babies’ Mamas” threatens to continue in your channel’s tradition of using its shows to highlight the worse of human behavior by the women your network claims to value. Surely, Oxygen Media has perfected its brand by promoting violence and dysfunctional behavior toward and by young women; “Tanisha Gets Married” depicts a loud, ignorant, young black woman, while “The Bad Girls Club” revels in women behaving badly. Your hostility toward young women is reflected on your social media page, which boasts: “The Bad Girls Club 10 Pool. It looks a bit too small for 7 bitches,” and, “Tighten your weaves, grab a pair of salt, cus y’all bout to get PEACH SLAPPED!”
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.
As the CEO of a non-profit organization which empowers youth, I have heard from thousands of youth, parents and educators, by telephone and email, passionately conveying their hurt and outrage toward your decision to add “All My Babies’ Mamas” to your already offensive line-up. Though we are thrilled that people of diverse ethnicities are equally offended and have voiced their outrage, we in the African-American community are even more incensed. In stereotypical and bigoted fashion, you are prepared to serve to an international community all of the images that African Americans and our courageous ancestors have spent a lifetime trying to overcome, all while enriching your corporate coffers. Giving this rapper an international platform tells your audience of naïve young women:
- Making multiple babies with 10 women represents manhood.
- It’s okay to have serial unprotected sex with multiple partners.
- Marriage is not necessary for women one impregnates.
- Women must compete with one another for the affection of an abusive man.
- Women should rely on a low-life for financial crumbs.
- Shawty Lo is a true representation of black fatherhood
- Black mothers are sexually-promiscuous gold diggers.
What’s worse: while thousands toil to solve the high rates of HIV/AIDS in our community, you and the self-loathing, misogynistic Shawty Lo seek to use your robust marketing machine to tell your prized audience—immature, impressionable young women—that having unprotected sex with multiple partners is acceptable, normal and worthy of praise. It is a message that suffocates the spirit of young women, demoralizes black children and attacks and curses the millions of black mothers and fathers who work hard every day to stand upright and love their families with abandon, all while fighting the stereotypes society saddles on their backs.
Shawty Lo and the mothers of his children need therapy, not a television show that will allow the world to witness their dysfunction. His children do not deserve this. If your producers truly cared, you would provide them with counseling rather than offering to help them sell of what’s left of their souls.
Enough is enough. Oxygen has crossed the line and we will not tolerate it.
Please understand: petition supporters have tremendous brand loyalty toward companies that respect their images and their values. We wonder if your advertisers are aware of your decision to align their valuable brands with this offensive and morally corrupt circus. If not, we will, without hesitation, bring your misguided plans to their attention.
We demand that this spectacle be cancelled immediately.
Editor’s note: Author Sabrina Lamb has started a petition on Change.org, calling on Oxygen and the producers of “All My Babies’ Mamas” to pull the show. Please support her efforts by signing the petition here.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.