by Dr. Boyce Watkins
You can imagine how quickly my jaw hit the floor when I saw the cover of Vibe Magazine, in which they featured pictures of the stars of Basketball Wives, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and other reality shows, proclaiming them to be the “new role models.” Chrissy Lampkin, Evelyn Lozada, Tamar Braxton and Kandi Burruss, for some reason, are the women that we want our little girls to become.
Call me old fashioned, but I never thought a woman who wears her bra on the outside of her blouse would be a good role model for my girls. Even if Vibe’s editors don’t really believe these women to be role models, just laying the issue on the table in such a manner is enough to make any parent want to get sick. One would hope that Vibe would at least lay the topic out as a question, rather than a proclamation. I would never put up a picture of Lil Wayne with the title, “America’s Most Conscious Rapper.”
Rather than mentioning the women as new role models, Vibe should have used a more appropriate cover: “We’re a Corporate Monkey Who Has to Deliver Money for the man at any cost. We have to find a way to get you to buy this magazine, and the only way to do that is by degrading women of color even more than we already do.”
Ok, that might be a bit long for a magazine cover, but you get my point. I’m sure the next Vibe cover will sink to even lower lows, perhaps by putting a tail on a black woman with a title that says, “Black is the new Chiwawa.” I guess the idea of black women conducting themselves with civility, grace and intelligence simply makes for bad TV. Instead, outlets have bribed certain women into behaving like really evil animals.
Given that Vibe is now in the profitable business of exploiting modern day minstrel shows to destroy yet another generation of black children, perhaps they will consider a few other prominent African Americans to add to their role models list….I can even list them with suggested slogans for the magazine cover (by writing this article, I’m applying for a job so I can work for da man myself):
1) Flava Flav: “Who said you have to learn to read in order to be successful?”
2) OJ Simpson: “If a man doesn’t try to kill you, he never loved yo trick ass in the first place.”
3) Karrine Steffans: “You can’t put her skillz on a resume, but the girl can swallow a can of Pepsi, now dats wussup!”
4) The man who had 30 kids with 11 women with a minimum wage job: “He might be broke, and have more STDs than children, but ladies, we hear he can throw down in the bedroom!”
5) Nene Leakes: “She’s an ex-stripper who is built like a linebacker, proving that you CAN turn a hoe into a housewife”
I’m not sure what Vibe was trying to say with this cover, but I’ll admit that I’m disappointed. Perhaps when they are looking for role models, they might consider Michelle Obama or another woman that we can be proud of. It’s time to let go of the nonsense.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University and author of the forthcoming book, “The RAPP Sheet: Rising Above Psychological Poison.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.