Unfortunately, VH1’s Love and Hip-Hop hasn’t adopted this policy. In February, Executive Producer Mona Scott Young told the Combat Jack radio show, “As far as the physical violence … that is not something that we go after [on the show]. It creates more trouble than it’s worth. The legal ramifications, just knowing that someone can be seriously hurt, [creates] liability issues that I don’t want to have.”
Yet the fights are filmed and broadcast anyway. In an effort to acknowledge improvement, the latest season of the show did have fewer fights — and less violent ones — than previously, but frankly, even one fight is too many.
Still, I take these positive changes as signs that the discussions, petitions and social media complaints that so many women have about black women on reality TV are not in vain. Maybe the push-back on Love and Hip-Hop isn’t enough for producers to have a change of heart — yet; and Married to Medicine, a show about doctors and doctors’ wives in Atlanta, in which some of the women are seen fighting in the extended trailer, still aired despite a petition circulated by Howard University medical students. But black women’s voices were enough to get Oxygen to pull All My Babies’ Mamas, a show about a rapper and his 11 children by 10 women, before it debuted.
By uniting our voices, we’re getting results, and reality TV is getting better. Of course, the imagery isn’t perfect, but getting closer to an image worth celebrating is progress worth acknowledging.