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.
Nicole aka theHotness Grrrl