VH1’s new dating reality show The Ultimate Catch premiered this week with much anticipation by many viewers. The show’s bachelor and NFL superstar, Chad Ochocinco, recently outraged many when an insider leaked information revealing Ochocinco did not want Black women on his dating show.
While his alleged actions can be seen as betrayal of Black woman; ideally, is there a positive alternative?
I pose this question, with my primary focus on past VH1 shows like Flavor of Love, which was criticized for it’s devaluation and commodification of Black women, as well as it’s negative representations of Black women. VH1’s dating shows traditionally have exploited money-hungry women, who are willing to “ho” themselves on television in hopes of their “15 minutes of fame”.
I am in no way defending either position, but am rather criticizing the critics themselves. Ochocinco cannot possibly be faulted in his decision of a winner or date of this reality show, but rather should be faulted for agreeing to do a VH1 dating show.
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There are two possible scenarios I can mock-up for a dating show involving a Black professional athlete; a group of Black women vie for the attention of an All-Star athlete by acting like groupies, or secondly, there is a group of women accompanied by few token Black girls, who vie for an All-Star athletes attention, and you guessed it– they all look like groupies.
The mission of The Ultimate Catch is not to choose a future CEO, Miss America, or the First Woman President of the United States– why is Ochocinco meeting such harsh criticism?
I understand and support the need to defend the under-represented, but it may be possible that the critics have lost sight of the big picture. When we start complaining about not enough Black women in a VH1 dating show, or not enough dark-skinned women shaking their butts in rap videos, we may need to re-evaluate our views.