February 2, 2012

Category: Real Talk

Dear BET: What Happened To THE GAME?

Dear BET:

I am stunned, hurt and so tremendously disappointed by the portrayals featured on your highly touted, record-breaking show “The Game.” I knew when I saw the first episode and Tasha Mack was smoking a Black-n-Mild that this was probably not going to be the CW show I once loved, but I was still invested in seeing how storylines would play out now that some of my favorite characters had found a home on your network. Never did I expect the characters, especially Melanie and Tasha, to devolve into such offensive shallow stereotypes of Black women– ghetto, bitchy, loud, bitter, backstabbin’ and even gold-diggin’. You’ve hit on and spun these traits like soft lumps of wet clay on a spinning wheel. Seriously, how can I be mad at “Birth Of A Nation” and not be mad at “The Game?”

I vividly remember how much I adored Med-School Melanie. She pursued her education and career with a fervor that was hilariously awe-inspiring. Even without the support of her family she went to medical school, worked and was determined to fulfill her dream of being a doctor. Never one to be defined by brand names and money she was an individual, a woman guided by her heart and spirit to be her own woman, striped knee socks and all. But now she is consumed with her beautiful pink handbags and Louboutins and has to sit in the VIP section of church in order to feel blessed. Are you kidding me? Med-School Mel? How does one character change so dramatically and so quickly? And please don’t tell me it’s because she married a baller! If you think Black women lose their selves and their ambitions when they marry a successful and wealthy Black man you need to get off the soundstage, push ‘STOP’ on your “Diary Of A Mad Black Woman” DVD and meet some real women. You should meet Valeisha Butterfield. She’s married to Dahntay Jones, a baller, and guess what? She still works and is very dedicated to WEEN– the organization she co-founded for women working in entertainment. And look at Lala Vasquez, NY Knickerbocker Carmelo Anthony’s wife. She’s a mother, aspiring actress, part-time TV host, and someone who adores, values and really appreciates her friendships with other women. She’s not laid up at home resentfully making coquito for Melo while scheming on buying her next Hermes bag. Melanie has gone from being an active young woman setting her own course to a totally reactive wife emotionally twisted at every turn by Derwin’s baby’s mama, her own parents superficial delight at Derwin’s (financial) success, and to Tasha’s “ghetto” ways. She’s lost her drive to set her own course and in doing so, she has totally lost a fan in me.

The name-calling and straight haterism isn’t just relegated to the ladies either. What happened to sisterhood, having homeboys and community? Everyone hates everyone in your new fangled version of The Sunbeams and Sabers. You also have the men on your show at each other’s necks or, in the case of Malik and his once homie Tee Tee, at each other’s girlfriends. The once dynamic duo, now on BET’s platform, are beefing and fighting like two rival gang members. Malik and Derwin’s pounds and friendly teasing have now turned into side-eyes and sneers. Jason’s sports commentary is centered on him tearing down his former teammates. Damn, I feel like Rodney King when I watch The Game. Can Black folk get along or are money, men and punany an Evil whose complications make even the best of us materialistic haters with no regard for anyone but ourselves? Maybe if WEB DuBois had based his ideas around the Talented Tenth on “Menace To Society” then maybe I could believe this, but I know this can’t be true. We are so much better than how The Akils– yes, Salim & Mara Brock Akil I’m pointing my finger at you– have made us out to be and I need for the writing to get back in that witty, funny, keeping-it-real smart groove again or please just put us all out of our new found misery and cancel the show.

Funny, I heard this morning that BET is banning Nicki Minaj’s new video “Stupid Hoe” from the network. How can you ban that video and still have Tasha and Melanie cut each other down with bitch snaps and a haterism that rivals “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” I thought and had hoped BET would be better than Bravo when it came to representing their own. I’m a huge fan and supporter of your “Black Girls Rock” and wish you would maybe take a page or two from the dynamic statement of pride and power that that show makes and infuse some of that into The Game’s scripts. And please know that I’m not asking for a Kumbaya, Cosby Show half-hour of love mantras, but I am asking for some respect, intelligence, and entertainment based on plot development and humor (it is a comedy, no?) not neck-rolling and cooning. Just because the characters never say ‘stupid hoe’ doesn’t mean that sentiment isn’t center stage for Black people to see, consume and become.

Audre Lorde once said, “I have come to believe…that what is most important to me must be spoken and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.” I hope you know that I’ve written this letter because I care about how we are portrayed and because I actually value BET. I’ve talked about freelancing there, I get amped when I hear about BGR and BET Honors and know that I’m risking so many of my relationships at BET with this letter, but I believe you can do better. I know you can do better. Please give us back Med-School Mel and show us that we can be successful and dynamic simultaneously.

Thank you.

Nicole aka theHotness Grrrl

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15 Responses to “Dear BET: What Happened To THE GAME?Comment RSS feed

  • ~Ms. C
    February 2nd, 2012 6:12 pm
    #1

    Thank you for expressing my same disdain for the ‘new’ personas these
    once fresh & funny cast have been morphed into.
    This can not be the same writers? If they are Really?!
    I don’t watch tv shows to get annoyed; I’d better use my
    Tuesday nights to watch re-runs of Girlfriends.

  • Bilqis
    February 2nd, 2012 6:57 pm
    #2

    I posted my disdain for the season’s premier episode and got crickets in response. I thought I was a lone wolf on this one so I’m glad to see that others aren’t feeling these ugly far end negative steretypical dopplegangers that our beloved characters have morphed into. I’m still watching hoping some miraculous aha moment will smack them all back on track. I’ve never been a fan of BET because besides black girls rock I can’t see them really contributing anything of substance. I was skeptic about the show going there to begin with and its proving my right.

  • Tonya
    February 2nd, 2012 9:47 pm
    #3

    My sentiments exactly. I miss med school Melanie too. I loved her optimism, intelligence and just her being comfortable being herself. I was hoping for some type of spiritual growth or awakening to be revealed at this point, but alas not looking like it is going to happen anytime soon. Seriously disappointed…

  • SoBeit
    February 2nd, 2012 9:56 pm
    #4

    Oh man, I am cracking up! Thank you very much for this. I think BET, as usual, has gotten so caught in touting their success and raking in the Ad$$ that they have tossed creative boldness and quality out the window. So pathetic…..why does this always happen with TV shows?????

  • Dino
    February 2nd, 2012 10:17 pm
    #5

    Nicole you are spot on point with this letter. They need to fix it or else they’ll lose another viewer in myself.

  • Ariana
    February 3rd, 2012 1:21 am
    #6

    Very well said! I hate that there’s such a limited definition of “blackness” in terms of what BET considers able to have mainstream appeal. It’s such a cop out and I too believe they can do better, and not only keep but grow its audience.

  • florence tate
    February 3rd, 2012 11:05 am
    #7

    ”nicole, old habits die hard”. KEEP ON PUSHING!
    love,
    mt

  • Antionette Blake
    February 3rd, 2012 11:33 am
    #8

    Thank you, yes, I too find myself cringing trying to support this show and the only humor I find is in Jason’s new found blackness and his relationship with Brandy.

    Think I will no longer lose sleep on Tuesday nights and maybe catch the replays on Sunday.

  • Rose Tattoo
    February 3rd, 2012 2:50 pm
    #9

    Well said. I was just saying the other day that I have always at least liked Melanie or Derwin, if not both and now I don’t like either. I don’t understand why they changed her character in particular so much. I could go on but you basically said it all. After all that work to get the show back they’ve turned it into something that is slowly but surely losing the fans that once fought for it,

  • Marshall Thompson
    February 8th, 2012 12:33 am
    #10

    You made an awesome point, but I have been trying to make the same point about the way the Black Man is always portrayed in movies & Television shows for a while. Take your pic at any of Tyler Perry’s movies. Whenever I bring this up to black women they always name on character in one of his movies that he portrayed in a good light. I’m glad that you are fired up about it, bc he who defines you controls you. Take a moment to look at all the shows & movies that portray black men this way, and also look at who the biggest supporters of them are. It is the Black Woman. What a shame!

  • MS. MARGE MERCER
    February 8th, 2012 9:26 am
    #11

    I agree with the article nicely written, it expresses everything that I was thinking about the show.

  • Terry Parker
    February 9th, 2012 9:49 pm
    #12

    I agree with this author. In my circle of African American professionals, we have discussed this issue and feel as this author. BET you have to do better with your programs portrayal of the African American family and community. Your viewers are expecting better or we will stop watching. I’ve stop watching some of the movies and “The Game” already. I personally do not like Tasha’s trashy mouth. BET clean it up!

  • Elijah Clark
    February 9th, 2012 10:19 pm
    #13

    Yes, it sucks now. Knocked it off my DVR list. Dont care to support it in any way now. Writers seem younger and single and it shows.

  • Sherri Moses
    February 10th, 2012 10:00 am
    #14

    My sister and I talk about this show every week, I cant believe how they ruined this show, it is nothing like the original season at all…..VERY DIS APPOINTED

  • C Penn
    February 18th, 2012 9:10 am
    #15

    AMEN!!! I struggle every week to watch. I want to support the show, but I’m so annoyed by the direction the show has taken, with ALL of the characters, it kills me to tune in. I knew it was going south when BET took the “white” girl off the show. Why can’t we have “white” girlfriends? And what’s up with all of the commericals? I feel like I only get 10 minutes of show and the rest is all commercials. The show doesn’t evolve. Everything is jam packed and it’s not even really a 30 minute show anymore. If BET doesn’t clean it up….you WILL be losing another viewer.