“Basketball Wives” is a VH1 show that features eight women, not one of which is actually in a successful marriage to a basketball player. (However, to be fair, a few of them are in the middle of divorcing players, or former players).
The show features an episodic formula that, if narrated, always include something like this:
“Soo… we’re getting all the girls back together tonight because the last time we all had dinner, it got kind of out of hand.”
Cut to a scene of women, predominantly black women, yelling at each other, getting out of their seats, and eventually getting violent with one another.
“I don’t know what happened, but one second we were all eating dinner and someone said something about Tami, and before I could figure out what was going on, Tami was getting carried out by security.”
Tami. Tami Roman.
I generally don’t make a habit of singling out a person and putting the weight of the world’s issues squarely on their shoulders. Well, with the exception of Sarah Palin, but that’s a different story for a different person who shouldn’t be allowed in front of a camera.
But Tami, I’m putting the weight of what’s wrong with reality television on you. And Shaunie O’Neal. And VH1. (What can I say? I’m feeling generous.)
For those of you that don’t know, Tami Roman is a former MTV Real World-er from back when the show mattered.
According to her bio on VH1.com, “Roman left The Real World and started living in it.”
They refer to her has “an impact player,” which is a slight of hand way of referencing last season’s cat fight where Roman’s wrath was unleashed on cast member, Meeka Claxton.
Meeka is no longer on the show, probably because she was uncomfortable returning to a show that allowed her to be violently assaulted on camera, by none other than Banshee Tami (her new name).
While Roman is credited with having an acting career, heading a foundation for girls, and being a financial executive, the most interesting of her credits is probably her biggest responsibility… Roman is a parent.
In the most recent installment of the program, Banjee Tami is upset with fellow “basketball wife” (BBW) Kesha Nichols.
Nichols said something about Banshee Tami to someone else in the circle. Banshee Tami didn’t like that and decided to confront Kesha.
When she didn’t get the same level of angry response from Kesha, Tami escalates the situation by taking Kesha’s belongings, telling her that if she wanted them back she’d have to come get them from her.
Like a high school child, Roman goes on to rifle through the purse, read through the enclosed cell phone, and the like. She continues bullying Kesha until she eventually returns her things, only after having been reported to the authorities.
It baffles me… no, enrages… no, no… it bafflerages me that VH1 and Shaunie O’Neal can put this on television with a clear conscience.
Maybe they don’t have a clear conscience, but they definitely put this on TV. But I’m more extra-super curious how Tami watches her own show with her two daughters and discusses with them about their her behavior and decisions.
What does she say to them that would make them not want to go bully the other school kids, and treat them the way she’s treated other women on the show?
Here’s my problem: Women like Roman continue to perpetuate the image of black women as angry, violent, and altogether mean.
Even removing the black factor, Roman is the perfect example of a woman who, unfortunately, is a role model to young women, NOT by the virtue of her celebrity status on a television show, but because of the work she does in her private life with young girls.
Roman is the portrait of someone who needs professional help, much more than we’re aware that she’d received at the time of this episode’s airing. She has a voice and a platform that reaches millions every week and every week somehow displays like Monday night’s are the way she decides to use it.
I stopped watching the show before the premiere of the current season when I saw the promos for the return of the show for season four. It featured women yelling, arguing, climbing over tables and physically fighting with each other and I said I just wouldn’t watch.
I wasn’t alone, public figures and peers alike also had a similar response. Even reality television junkie, and friend in our heads, Wendy Williams said “no more.”
Tonight, at a friend’s house, the show happened to be on and before we could get 20 minutes in I had to get up leave the room because I was so irritated with what I was seeing and hearing. I couldn’t believe it was really playing out in front of me in high definition (and really well saturated color).
When will we stop allowing people like Tami and shows like Basketball Wives to depict the images and tell the stories of hate, anger, and violence as somehow being “real?” What is it going to take for us to say “enough is enough?”
VH1: shame. Shaunie O’Neal: shame. Tami Roman: double scoop of shame.
If you’re watching the show, stop. If you haven’t, don’t. If you’d never heard of it before, count your blessings.
But then again, what do I know?
PS: After the airing of the above mentioned episode Tami Roman posted an apology (below), Additionally, the victim of Roman’s wrath, Kesha Nichols decided to post a blog on bullying (also below, with a link to read the full thing).
Roman’s Apology: “I don’t apologize for it 2b accepted — that is ultimately the other person’s right to accept or deny it. My only responsibility is to acknowledge a mistake was made and own up to it. I apologize to my family, my REAL friends, my business colleagues, and my Project Girl ladies 4my recent behavior on BBW. I am NOT a bully as depicted on the show, but I did make poor decisions in handling my differences with my cast mate. I sincerely apologize to all of us, as well as to my castmate who was on the receiving end of my wrath.”
Nichols’ Post: “As a person who prides myself on turning lemons in lemonade, I had no idea how to turn the negative display of human behavior seen in Episode 12 into something positive, until now. Instead of knit picking, pointing fingers and calling names, I decided to educate myself on the issue at hand. I would like to share some of this information with you now, because when we know better, we do better.” To read Nichols’ complete comments click here.
Written By: Jarrett Hill
Contributing Editor for Gossip On This
Follow Jarrett on Twitter: @JarrettHill