I Want All My Babies’ Mamas

I am hopping mad, y’all. Madder than a cat on bath day. Our civil liberties as citizens of this fine nation are under attack. Our constitutional rights are being trod upon. And no, I’m not talking about efforts to rein in assault rifles.

I’m talking about the premature cancellation of this fine bit of television viewing.

The show is called All My Babies’ Mamas and it is (was?) a reality show being developed by Oxygen. It featured the complicated, day-to-day life of an Atlanta rapper known as Shawty Lo, who has fathered 11 children by 10 different women.

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Oxygen released the trailer a few weeks ago and all hell broke loose. Controversy erupted. Petitions for its demise were organized. Oxygen pulled the trailer, saying the show was still in development.

You can see the video for the trailer here, along with a young lady who introduces it and offers her own opinion on it. Hilariously enough, there’s an advertisement for a What to Expect When You’re Expecting Workout Video at the beginning of it.

Listen, I get what everybody is mad about. I do. However, I think we are vastly overreacting here.

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One of the major objections is that it glorifies a certain, less-desirable lifestyle. I find this objection specious on several levels.

First of all, everyone knows reality television is not really reality. Real reality is very, very boring. Watching me work, clean house, and eat dinner is only sometimes mildly amusing to myself, my cat and XFE. For the most part, it’s incredibly dull. So any “reality” show that has any entertainment value is going to feature some crazy premise. That doesn’t mean that one should model one’s life after a reality show and start having babies with multiple women. Nor should one take a dump truck and make a pool out of it, kids of Buckwild. Nor should anyone talk about their incontinence issues on cable television, Kardashians. Nor should one buy a winery without doing some research, people of Duck Dynasty. These are all things I’m not going to emulate, regardless of whether I saw someone do it on television.

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Second, 11 children with 10 women is Shawty Lo’s reality. And a lot of other people’s, by the way. My father had five daughters with three women, so he was pretty much making inroads into ATL rapper territory way before the term “babies’ mamas” was coined. The Kardashians have like, 30 children between the two of them. And what about them Sister Wives folks? Seems like they’ve got a passel of young ‘uns, and only one father figure on the scene.  Maybe we should seize this opportunity to talk about preventative measures here.

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Third, Shawty Lo appears to be taking care of all these children and women (according to this very interesting MTV interview about the controversy), and that’s actually something to be applauded. There are a lot of people having kids and then bouncing, so the fact that he’s supporting them is great. And, Shawty and his family have just as much of a right to earn a reality buck as any of the other yahoos on reality TV, including the kids of Jersey Shore, Honey Boo Boo’s family, and a slew of others.

Fourth, some have suggested that the show is playing on racial stereotypes. To which, I would point out, so does Honey Boo Boo, Buckwild, Jersey Shore, Basketball Wives, Mafia Wives, and even, Doomsday Preppers. You almost never see anything other than crazy white people on Doomsday Preppers. There. I said it. And it’s true. I’m white trash straight from the trailer parks of West Texas and I do not take any offense to the way my people are portrayed on these shows. I wish I were half as ingenious as those kids on Buckwild (they can find fun anywhere), or had half the cojones as those crazy jackholes on Gold Rush (again, all crazy white dudes), or felt as passionate about a cause as those crazy white hippie kids on Whale Wars.

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So Oxygen, here my plea: Let us have our All My Babies’ Mamas. Let us learn why Angela is known as the “Fighter Baby Mama.” How does she get along with Amanda, the “Jealous Baby Mama?” What is it exactly that makes Serena the “Shady Baby Mama?”  How does First Lady E’Creia manage the finances? What can Tamara, the “No-Drama Baby Mama” teach us all about civility? Why shouldn’t Sujuan, the “Wanna be Bougie Baby Mama” strive to be bourgeois?

All these questions must and should be cleared up. 

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