Shawty Lo Must Go: An Open Letter To Oxygen Media CEO Jason Klarman

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.

 

Mr. Klarman,

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:

  1. Making multiple babies with 10 women represents manhood.
  2. It’s okay to have serial unprotected sex with multiple partners.
  3. Marriage is not necessary for women one impregnates.
  4. Women must compete with one another for the affection of an abusive man.
  5. Women should rely on a low-life for financial crumbs.
  6. Shawty Lo is a true representation of black fatherhood
  7. 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.

In power,

Sabrina Lamb

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.

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Denene Millner

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.

41 Comments

  1. Keep up the good work and leadership. Blessings in 2013!

  2. Jacqueline Lewis

    Is there anything else we can do, Denene, I’ve already signed the petition.

  3. Any show or idea such as this should not be on any air ways, and Black people in perticular should be affended by them.

  4. Thank you. These reality shows are so putrid, so filthy. How the hell could Oxygen — allegedly a pro-woman network — run this?

  5. Don’t we have on enough senseless shows without adding this one. I’m tired of our people selling themselves for $.50 or a few mintues on Television. Don’t even show the mess on Television.

  6. I am casting a vote to voice my opinion that this negative depiction of my community is an intolerable representation of African Americans and therefore should be banned before it is born into our sights. In the year of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, lets continue to free our minds of such mental slavery and negativity.

  7. Good job.. Please pull the show..

  8. The metaphor stands…they’re nothing to worry about they’re killing themselves?

  9. I completely support the movement to remove this program from the spring line up. We need to stop dumbing down for ratings and this is about as low as one can go. I don’t know anything about this rapper, but he should be embarrassed rather than collecting a paycheck for not using restraint or birth control. Not the message we should be sending to our youth.

  10. This show is disgusting please pull it off the air. It’s making young African American women actually women if any background who have children with man and are considered a baby mama… This show is disgusting who has that many baby mommas and wants all of the world to know shouldn’t you be ashamed of yourself

  11. Pull the show! This is sick and to me border line racist attempt to corrupt people minds about a race of people. If you going to have low life’s on tv it needs to be educational and a lesson taught. The kids should not be subjected to this either. If ur going to have such an ignorant show u need to she’d light on the successes of African American family’s as well. This is sick this man is get his 10 min of fame that is NOT deserved. Do those kids a favor and pull the show and get those mothers and children in counseling. Don’t exploit rather give back and educate so the trend stops for this kids. Be part of the solution not the problem. Thanks

  12. enough is enough

  13. The children are the real victims, and the cycle for this type of thinking and behaviour is perpetuated. Self respect, love, having goals, and setting standards for yourself are still good qualities to have, but are rarely represented for African Americans in the media.

  14. Co-Sign and Signed the petition.

  15. I really don’t know why anyone is surprised this fool could get a show on television. I mean,this is the network with Honey Boo Boo on it? Why hasn’t it been canceled? Oh. I know why. Because…people watch it and support it and sensationalize it further. If we’re going to petition for this to be canceled the same attention needs to be paid to that. I’m sick of seeing negative images of black women on networks that are supposed to be empowering to women but the reality of the matter is there has to be an audience for this for there to even be an inkling that there’ll be a show. Basketball Wives, Love and Hip Hop ALL OF THEM, Charm School. Come on. People are going to watch and as long as people are watching these shows and shows like them that paint us disparagingly will always be around. It doesn’t just take signing a petition to make a difference but actively saying you’re boycotting programming by not watching period. I’m signing in support but we really need to actively do better. If you don’t want to see it don’t support it because these stereotypes aren’t going anywhere as long as we do even subtly.

  16. I don’t wanna hate on a man trying to get paid, but this is feeding the fuel of stereotypes that a lot of us have been fighting for too long. Unfortunately… people don’t observe one black person and say… (that person acts this or that way)…they observe one black person then say… (black people act that way). Not all of us are irresponsible like what is portrayed in this show. Take this garbage off the air!

  17. We have a RESPONSIBILTY to protect the children from ridicule.
    Please take this program off the air.

  18. I hope this works! Is there anyway to get rid of those housewives while we are at it? They are a disgrace to womanhood!!!

  19. Carmela Cameron

    Let’s stop promoting violence and ignorance! We as a society must move
    forward out of the dark ages into the enlightenment that brings hope , equality, justice to all. Isn’t that we as a people are suppose to be advocating?

  20. Marcel Robinson

    I’m not signing this on the grounds that, this does not include the other show that is on the same network, which is also an embarrassment to the women and that is The Bad Girls Club. How is that you let this show go on for 10 seasons (correct me if I am wrong), but the moment this show is scheduled to air, not its everything wrong in the book. I not in no way defending this guy, but you should be blaming yourselves cause you let Oxygen get away with embarrassing you for 10 seasons by bringing on 10 of the most loud mouth, disrespectful women from various neighborhoods in America. Shawty Lo has a show on this same network, now you want to start and demand for change, well guess what in my opinion your six years too late.

  21. Refuse to broadcast the truth by pretending it does not happen? If you have a cold & you ignore the symptoms it may go away eventually but its going to take a longer time.

  22. Nicole J. Goodine

    Signed and resigned. I am saddened by this latest turn of events. This show MUST go! I am cancelling my cable subscription in the next month or so. I can no longer support this kind of outright “21st Century blackploitation”.

    Peace

  23. Has this nation become peopled by those who posses no self esteem at all? Does “Shawty Lo ” consider himself a star? I trust not ! Mr. low you are doing a great dis-service to all AFRICAN-AMERICANS by strutting like a bedraggled rooster in a backwoods farmyard. Do you truly think that by impregnating all those misguided women that you are a stud? Well, you are a stud. Just like any male animal that procreates with dumb females all over the dirty barnyard. Try to somehow become a real Man not just another animal in perpetual heat !!

  24. This message is for the shameless c.e.o of oxygen T.V. I have never watched any oxygen show because of its reputation for sleeze productions. I intend to watch just one episode in order to compile a list of advertisers. My intention is to contact all my many friends and relatives and forward this list to them. Together we will contact the sponsors on the list and advise them that neither ourselves nor our many contacts will be buying their products. I believe that the bean-counters there will apply pressure and cancelling mr. lows garbage will cause great joy throughout the land !!!!

  25. Have we run out of Positive Role Models for our youth? Anything to get ratings, even if it means the degradation of our youth, black and white. We will not support any sponser of such programming that demeans the moral fiber of our youth.

  26. I agree whole heartedly that this show is a bad idea. To play devil’s advocate, I also believe that it is not the responsibility of TV, Radio, Entertainers, or athletes to “GUIDE” our youth, play role models unless it is what they want to do. A major part of our youth being impressionable rests with the home, a person’s upbringing. We have to guide our youth properly, and when you instill certain values and morals into them, then things like this “SHOW” will not impress them. What’s more sad is the most impressionable are the ADULTS who sit and feed their minds with such ignorance while their children sit it front the TV with them and watch. It goes back to the way “we” learn and that old saying, “do as I say, not as I do”. If children witness, adults watching certain shows, listening to certain music, with this companion this week and next week another, bad language, smoking and drinking (you get my drift), then these behaviors and habits they adapt. We all have a responsibility in this world and we have to be accountable for our actions, no doubt; but entertainment is just that. It should not be so powerful that it molds our youth and drives our society. The problem is not just Oxygen and others like them; it is ALSO the lack of “PROPER” parenting and guidance for our youth have this day in age. Shawty Lo, all of his baby mammas and sadly, all of their children are simply a product of their misguided environment. As for Oxygen, well what can I say?… (shakes head and hits enter key).

  27. This guy is not the problem it’s Americans who sit back and watch shows like this and say nothing.Thanks Sabrina for addressing a issue that needs to be addressed.

  28. This is not only demeaning to our black women, it attempts to prove the point that there are not enough good men out there, so women have to take (share) what they can get, which outrageous. How would a woman of good stature be perceived if she had more than one man for each need and didn’t have to have kids by each one? Sister wives were bad enough regardless of marriage. To be able to get married is tough enough, now the portrayal of the unwed mother is portrayed as glamorous. Come on ladies!

  29. This has got to be the most disgusting show and I hope that it does not ever happen. These children will be disgraced for life and please ladies go and get tested for your own sake and think about your children and not the money. How embarassing this is to all women and children. The people at Oxygen ought to be ASHAME!

  30. What does Oparah say about this craziness on her ex-network? She used to take a stand for women.

  31. Who are the sponsors/advertisers for this show? They need to hear from everyone as well.

  32. Junetta Jamerson

    Yes, please find out and share who the sponsors are. I will gladly join efforts to shame them for daring to fund such toxic waste.

  33. This time you have really broke the camels back. WHY WHY WHY can’t this be a show about 12 children that is doing good in school, have to figure out what Scholarships to college, which one of their mom’s want info on how to get in to law school, if they are going to be on TV, show them struggle in getting that big job in Corporate Business not this shiggidy Shame! Is this all you people see, you need to look at yourselves and think about if one of these next kids could be your WHITE CHILD of this man, wouldn’t that be FUNNY. The owner of this programs child is HIS!!!! would you still air it HUH?

  34. Do you know there is a petition requesting to to put this crap-vision back on… How ignorant are some people?! I’m floored. I hope the burn and destroy any memory of this JUNK!

    Lastly, I was listening to a radio show and it was reported this fool has impregnated another ignorant fool… He should be euthanized! SMH!

  35. I think the show should be aired. Its no different from any other reality show out there. We can change the way this man grew up and lived if life. However he has made a change. He has not this own any of his children. He loves them and take care of all of them. People is only looking at the negative side of this. But once you take a look at the entire story will see that this show high lights a man who had a trouble upbring, with no parenting, having to learn life from the streets. This man had nothing and made something. The love this man has for his children is crazy. If there was any chance of them getting hurt, he would give it even gave it a second thought. Some/ alot of men don’t even support one child. I say lets be fair and give everyone a chance to tell their story. And then people can make a judgement. I looked a show the other night. It was called the BAD GIRLS CLUB Atlanta, When i tell you i was so ashamed for these young women and their actions. I even allowed my nine year old to watch this with me. But i also told her this is not how a lady acts, and a boy will never bring them type home to meet their mother. I don’t see anyone trying to stop that show. EVERYONE deserves a chance.

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