Shaunie O’Neal, executive producer of the Basketball Wives franchise, released a statement to Vibe last week about the images the grown (many of them mothers), women of color portray on her heavily sedated drama-filled franchise, the Miami edition.
Though the show is dubbed reality, many viewers deem the show rigged (RE: Jennifer filing lawsuit in April over a January incident) for ratings, but the consistent grappling from scene to scene, petty-induced tongue lashings, and mini mean-girl sessions over cocktail drinks in red bottoms has everyone from media personality Wendy Williams to everyday mothers on blogs yelling foul on the televised erratic behavior of the middle-aged women of color.
In what seems to be an attempt to separate from the conjured up fracas, Shaquille O’Neal’s ex-wife, is reiterating that she doesn’t “agree with some of the behavior” on the show. Maybe she didn’t throw, but did she slightly raise the bus to position Evelyn Lozada, Tami Roman, Jennifer Williams and the other cast members/friends underneath?
Shaunie is in a peculiar predicament: she’s the executive producer, she’s a woman of color, she’s a mother, she’s a cast member, and she’s a friend (reportedly) to the ladies. So, what hat should she wear first when trying to put out fires about the show she produces?
“I’m extremely happy that Basketball Wives continues to have another successful fourth season. As the ratings have been through the roof since our season opener, fans continue to tune into the lives of Evelyn, Tami, Jennifer, Royce, Suzie and myself. As there is always controversy and indifference projected on the show, because we are all individual personalities, I always hope that people will find that as much as you may agree or disagree with the opinions, the behavior, [and] even our different taste in shoes, you are taking a look inside the lives of four complete different women. I will never say I agree with some of the behavior between my girlfriends on the show, but if we were to edit certain things out the show would be scripted and not reality.”
Smart of the mother-of-five to release a statement concerning the spars, but is a few sentences meshed together while touting the success level of the franchises is all that should be expected from the executive producer? And how serious can you take the level of apprehension when triumph is tossed out in the first couple of lines when the cause is connected to the very issue she seems to disconnect with?
Or should people relax and take the entertainment for what it is—besides people contend the show is rigged anyway, right?
I think Shaunie plays safe too much—on the show, as the friend, and as the producer who penned the statement. If you’re going to wear as many hats as you do, then taking the lead means setting the standard and ensuring boundaries. Yes, the women are adults, but the forum was provided by her vision. Her statement provides no remedy to the noise being made about her show, only a cushion, just in case something pops off.
Do you think Shaunie should be held to a higher standard or the statement is enough?
By Deidre White