As reality shows pervade television programming, there has been a recent influx of shows that appeal to African-Americans on MTV and BET.
Ten years ago the only reality show with a black cast member was MTV’s “Real World,” and that meant one token guy or girl per season. We all remember Heather B. from the original New York season and the towel pulling scandal with David and Tammy in the Los Angeles season.
The very first “Making the Band” on MTV gave pop-group O-Town their debut, but ratings for the show did not match P. Diddy’s new version of “Making the Band.” Diddy’s version is filled with soulful singers competing to make his ultimate R/B group, and a majority of them are black.
In his first season, Diddy searched for the hip-hop N’Sync and he ended up with Da Band. Students and viewers everywhere run to the television each Thursday night to stay caught up on the drama. Viewers of all races, genders and backgrounds got exposed to an all-black reality show cast.
Many students griped about the reality show “College Hill” on BET because of the program quality and the students selected. Erica Campbell, a Howard University senior did not like College Hill. “I thought it was low-budget and they always showed them being stereotypical. Why couldn’t they have come to Howard or another school and showed some different images?” Campbell said.
In its very first season, hip-hop mogul Damon Dash has introduced “The Ultimate Hustler” in which candidates compete to work with Dash. This show is somewhat competing with MTV’s “Making the Band” due to the competitive nature and the friction between contestants.
TLC members Chilli and T-Boz recently concluded their “R U the Girl” search for a third member, in light of Left Eye’s death on UPN. Missy Elliot also had a show called “The Road to Stardom” which supports the notion that viewers must be interested in African-American artists, contestants and ideas.
Chanel DuPont, a FAMU junior is happy about MTV’s new reality show “Run’s House.” The show highlights Run-DMC’s Reverend Run and his family in a seemingly positive light. “For once they show a happy family, two-parent household with money. The great thing about it is they are Black,” DuPont said. She calls it a “modern-day Cosby Show.”
It’s apparent that TV producers and viewers have done a better job of including African-Americans through the many shows popping up each season. “There is so much more to us than thugs and hoes. I’m happy to see the media acknowledge that,” Campbell said.