Tanya Young (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images)

Tanya Young of Basketball Wives LA says that the show was "sheer hell" and wonders whether hiring even one African-American producer might help.

As a petition to boycott VH1's Basketball Wives reality series circulates online, a former cast member of the franchise's Los Angeles season explains in a piece for the Daily Beast why it was just as bad from the inside as it appears to be on our television screens — and maybe even worse. She says that the show has been intentionally produced to make the women who appear on it "look like an embarrassing, demeaning, degrading, violent and outright ignorant display" of their worst selves. Tanya Young didn't make it on the show, so one could argue that she has an ax to grind, but we still think her analysis sounds about right.

From the Daily Beast:

I oftentimes think that if VH1 and the production company that produces BW would hire at least one African-American woman producer, with a legitimate say in the creative and editing process, there would be a heightened level of awareness and sensitivity to the images of black women they are broadcasting. Nevertheless, the producers, the director, the cameramen (yes, they too are all men), and the tech personnel can't force any cast member to throw a punch, toss a glass of water, or curse someone out. The women must take responsibility for their actions and the resulting consequences.


I shot Basketball Wives LA for months, including wonderful footage of my involvement with the domestic-violence hotline, an event at my home, a charity event for another cast member, and “normal” dining outings with the women. Yet I was only shown in two episodes. I was not only a threat because I would not belittle myself and simultaneously embarrass my mother, my daughters, and every black women in America, I was also a threat because I told the women that “no television show is worth fighting on and disgracing yourself for.” Despite the fact that legions of fans and supporters wrote to VH1 and on blogs of their desire to see a balanced show, which they felt that I represented, Shed Media decided that a “sophisticated” (their words not mine) woman like me didn’t fit into the new and evolving storylines (“storylines” in the same sentence with Basketball Wives sounds comical). For a time, I wanted to remain a part of Basketball Wives because I felt that my core values and outlook on life represented a larger percentage of the audience than VH1 understood existed. However, that desire waned quickly as I became engrossed in more fulfilling work in media.

Read more at the Daily Beast.

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