A Black Dad's View of 'All My Babies' Mamas'

Shawty Lo from All My Babies' Mamas (YouTube)
Shawty Lo from All My Babies' Mamas (YouTube)

MyBrownBaby blogger Nick Chiles joins the debate surrounding Oxygen's upcoming program All My Babies' Mamas, about Atlanta rapper Shawty Lo and his 11 children and 10 baby mamas, saying that the show represents a failure of the black community, especially if it's allowed on the air. He places the blame for the lifestyle squarely on the shoulders of older black men and women who failed to provide guidance to Shawty and the mothers.

… As our culture continues to pull us down the slippery slope into global irrelevancy, so thoroughly numbing our intellects and ambitions that we hardly even notice as we slip into the comfortable cloak of a has-been, former superpower, anthropologists will one day point to Shawty Lo (aka Carlos Walker) and "All My Babies' Mamas" as the cultural nadir of America, the moment when we ceased to have a functioning moral compass, when we began to accept any bit of disgusting behavior as okay, as reasonable, as long as it entertained us. This cultural moment happened to coincide with the moment when we became so infatuated with the power of man-made killing machines that we chose to covet them above the lives of precious little first graders — the moments came at the same time, but they were no coincidence. They were both of a piece, the instant when we lost touch with our appreciation for each other's humanity, when we chose frivolous entertainment—whether in the guise of video games where we blow each other away for sport or reality shows where we revel in the ignorance and vacuity of uneducated ghetto morons — over the upliftment and repair of the American experiment.

To someone committed to the black family, who has spent a good part of his career fighting to improve the image and perception of black men, this all feels like a sticky gob of spit in my face.

It must be so easy, sitting in a cushy office somewhere in Los Angeles or Manhattan, to glibly nod yes on the decision to profit off the exploitation of the ignorance that poverty and oppression produced. Of course it's even easier when it's some unfortunate black wretches, whose lives are so far from the good-white-folks gentility of these producers, Liz Gateley and Tony DiSanto, and the executive Cori Abraham. So far away, so grotesque, so different, so damn entertaining — and if it happens to once again proffer to the world the handy image of black pathology as entertainment? Oh well …


Read Nick Chiles' entire piece at MyBrownBaby

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.