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Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

On ‘Love & Hip Hop Atlanta,’ Insulting a Black Icon—and Insulting Us All

K. Michelle (left) and Mona Scott-Young

Love and Hip Hop – The “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” Reunion Show last night might just represent the lowest, ugliest, most sickening moment in black television history.

In belittling another cast member that she said looked old, singer K. Michelle invoked the name of one of the proudest, most heroic figures in African-American history.

“I’m tired of these old ass, Harriet Tubman bitches,” Michelle announced to the audience.

The line was shocking in its ignorance—first, believing that she would be insulting another black woman by calling her Harriet Tubman; second, by using Harriet Tubman’s name in describing a woman that she is trying to call old and ugly, Michelle has reduced a woman who is legendary for her courage and perseverance to a superficial representation of female unattractiveness. It’s the kind of line that should reduce a parent to tears were you ever to hear it coming from your child’s lips, because it would show you that you have failed your child in so many ways.

(For those who need a refresher, Harriet Tubman is the reason we all know about the Underground Railroad—she used it on more than 13 missions to return to the South and rescue more than 70 slaves by leading them North to freedom.)

What has become clear watching the ridiculous proceedings of “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” is that these women have no conception of what it means to realize they represent their children, their mothers, their families, their communities, their race whenever they walk out of the house—regardless of whether they are television stars or just regular girls on the block. There’s just no escaping this fact. Apparently nobody ever told them that.

“Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” producer Mona Scott-Young, who moderated the reunion show, attempted to address the attacks her show has endured for containing a weekly parade of despicable stereotypes of black womanhood.

“This show was never supposed to be a representation of African-American women everywhere,” Scott-Young said. “This show was about your lives, your struggles. And you have every right to tell them.”

In a show that was crammed from start to finish with embarrassing scenes, K. Michelle managed to drag the show down deep into the garbage-strewn waste waters of gutter television right from the start. It was like the most cutting episode of “The Boondocks” ever made—except it wasn’t a cartoon, it was real life. Cartoonish, but real.

Michelle, who has ridiculed other cast members throughout the show’s run for being “old,” let fall from her lips some of the crudest lines ever to be blasted through television speakers.

Producer Scott-Young said that viewers wanted to know the real age of Karlie, the singer who met and fell in love with hip hop producer and media executive Benzino during the show.

“I’m beautiful, I’m young, I’m talented,” Karlie said coyly. “I never tell my age.”

When K. Michelle began to protest, Karlie told her, “K. Michelle, you’re the same age as me. So stop it!”

As the crowd roared in anticipation of Michelle’s retort, the hip hop singer from Memphis didn’t disappoint.

“We all know Karlie Redd gets to shouting out stuff because she don’t want the truth to be told. The truth of the situation is she marched with Martin Luther King in 1968.”

(One wonders if Michelle realizes that King was killed on April 4, 1968—which means he would have had only three months to do any marching in 1968.)

“Bitch, your neck is wrinkled,” Michelle yelled at her.

But she wasn’t nearly done.

“Bitch, you got a rip in your coochie!” she screamed. “You got no walls!”

Wow. Really? On national television?

Karlie wasn’t going to take that one without a comeback.

“Bitch, my p*ssy got receipts,” she responded.

Um, was she just calling herself a ho?

It was then that Michelle uttered what is sure to become a permanent phrase in the African-American lexicon:

“I’m tired of these old ass, Harriet Tubman bitches.”

Her mother must be so proud.

 

About Nick Chiles

Nick Chiles is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author. He has written or co-written 12 books and won over a dozen major journalism awards during a journalism career that brought him to the Dallas Morning News, the Star-Ledger of New Jersey and New York Newsday, in addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief of Odyssey Couleur travel magazine.

Comments

  1. Demarcos Lorenzo says:

    smh

  2. Be Be Kent says:

    When you read this…it makes you think….

  3. Leave k.michelle alone,every1 shout out stuff when they r angry,so cut it out it was said out of anger.

    • Thats the problem. They are putting the chicks on TV that lack the intelligence to know what and what not to say even during a time of anger.

    • No it was not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This loser had the gall to insult one of are great leaders Harriet Tubman. Like I said NOTHING BUT A GHETTO MORON!!!!!!!!!! We all get upset, But to just say something so mean against Harriet Tubman just goes to show you that some of these young blacks dont give a rat azz about black history. GROW UP!!!!

    • Omar Hunt See how quickly we come to defend what should be considered indefensible behavior. It just goes to show how after having these images put out there for us to consume over and over that we start to embrace them as an important and valid part of who we are.

  4. Chekevia Cathey says:

    Leave k michelle alone

  5. It TV…not Barack Obama. When its white women doing it they are embarrassing themselves. When its us doing it they are embarrassing a whole race? I'm not embarrassed by these women on "TV". I'm embarrassed by the young people in my neighborhood shooting each other. About Kmichelle, who hasn't heard that rip? I have heard the Harriet Tubman line before in my day they called it rippin and my mother's day they called it playing the dozens…pick a better battle.

    • Sherell you have to understand that people take it that way because there are so few images that represent black folks on tv as it is. We do not have a bunch of images of good black mothers, policewomen, wives and doctors to offset this imagery. and then for these shows to be the most popular and most widly accepted images of black women, it becomes probematic. Subconciously people start to embody these negatve images and eventually embrace them.

    • Denise Addison says:

      @Sherell Don't make excuses for coonery. These people on "TV", as you say, are who the young people in your neighborhood look up to and pattern themselves after. Ignorance begets ignorance. BS begets BS.

    • Jackson, I get that there are not enough positive representations of us in main stream media…I get that…I really do. With that said, neither are Latinos, Asians, and other nonwhite races. Still…I do not believe the burden of pride of an entire race should be place on these ladies shoulders. The issue is not these black women. The issue should be the way WOMEN are perceived in reality TV.

    • They are creating that perception Sherell. And you are right about other people being poorly represented as well. but honestly I cannot be concerned about them. No one is as hated, vilified or demonized as black people. So everything always falls on us harder. And I just feel like the more we find creative ways to not hold anyone accountable the more we suffer. Of course it is not the sole responsibility of these women to maintain black dignity but it is clear by this television show that these women are not even doing an ounce of there part. but I do agree that greater blame falls on the higher ups who create these shows. that would be the easy fix. But we both know that black people are not the creative or driving force behind these shows. Other folks are playing puppet master and we have more than enough people who will play the clown for some money. These shows are hurtful. Very hurtful. They shape perceptions and over time realities. And until we can as a community say that we can do something different we will continue to struggle. The irony is the same women I knopw in corporate america who complain about the image of black women in the workplace are some of the same ones who keep these silly shows going.

  6. Yeah she should've used better judgement. How can you insult an icon like that, just no home training at all !!!

  7. Lanisha Murray says:

    It's really not that serious, I just think nobody likes k. Michelle, that's y they making it a big issue.

  8. Kmichelle is juvenile n gutter

  9. They are nothing but GHETTO MORON! GHETTO! GHETTO! GHETTO!

  10. Now we know the reason these kids are lost today is because we have ghetto shows like this mess on.

  11. same woman that gives away african culture (hip hop) to a pink ryan lochte (jeah). same one dating a pink. same one being anti-black and demeaning black folk. sisters some of yall are so weak as to enable her by making excuses instead of demanding she correct her behavior!

    its TV is non-sense, TV trains all people why do you think white people have so many shows in all aspects of life and they depict us as angry, ignorant, shiftless and premiscious. white people are heros while black people are side kicks. white people stand their ground while black people get ran down and shot!

    take a stand and stop selling out and kissing ignorant folks azz and hold them accountable!

  12. bear in mind BET is white owned. when was the last time they gave a damn to put on positive shows for you and I? they don't!

    whites (BET) keep black folk in their place singing, and running!~.

  13. these women are ignorant.

  14. Amanda Caudillo Joseph says:

    Lord have mercy on your ignorant child K. Michelle. Lord also have mercy on the other ignorant people that thinks its "no big deal"

    • Samantha Gilyard says:

      Why is it o.k when a comedian make a joke like this,because its a f%%kin joke get over it.

    • Amanda Caudillo Joseph says:

      Excuse me! Which comedian? Give me an example. Second, I live in America, I can say what I please. It's not for YOU to tell me what I should get over. Third, for all you know you ignorant child, that woman could have helped one of YOUR ancestors to freedom. Some thanks she gets! You are the F%%kin joke! If you can't see how wrong this is. I bet you are one pf those sad little girls that don't know right from wrong. I'm sure if all of your friends jump off a bridge, you'd jump too. The joke would be on you though! They'd be the ones with a parachute.

    • Samantha Gilyard says:

      Im far from ignorant,but I cant be a bitch when it comes to words and reality,i never told u what u couldn't say/I just said get ova it/now u tryna tell me what I cant say,which ain't gonna happen,and if she is so ignorant why are you and everybody else that got sumthing to say still tooned in,for entertainment and that's what its about

    • Troy Fonville says:

      Just because others don't take it to heart like you, that means we are ignorant? Then you insult others, and curse like an "ignorant" child.

      And you really want to be taken seriously?

    • Troy Fonville says:

      At Amanda C

    • Amanda Caudillo Joseph says:

      Troy, I was simply repeating what the young lady typed to me. I would use such language. It's not needed to convey my point. I don't need strangers to take me seriously. I'm not running for office. The problem with a lot of people is they have become desensitized. The plight of these people is a joke? Really? The fact that as a woman I can vote, get a job, sit at any table all of the small things started with people like Harriet Tubman. So excuse me for having a little respect. The problem is these "kids" have it too easy. They have nothing to fight for. Everything is handed to them. You don't have to agree with me, I'd just advise you to read all comments before attacking one person. :)

    • Amanda Caudillo Joseph says:

      Samantha Gilyard, I didn't watch it. I read this article. See! Once again you'd jumped to a conclusion. :) You shouldn't tell me to "get over it" I'm entitled to me feelings. Ignorance isn't a bad thing. Not willing to learn is a problem. I don't know everything. The difference is, I'm willing to learn and keep in mind the struggles of those that came before me.

  15. It sounds like she needs some self esteem classes and maybe some history classes. People only insult others when they want the attention off themselves and their imperfections. And history lessons so she realizes that there are some amazing, brilliant, and courageous people willing to risk their lives for the greater good of everyone and they deserve our respect NOT criticism or insults. I feel sorry for her, and hope someday she finds peace! Some advice for her & everyone: Be Impeccable with your word, Don't take anything personally, Don't make assumptions, & Always do your best!

  16. Zach Jansen says:

    “Bitch, my p*ssy got receipts.”.

    That's a great line. I should start using it.

  17. Marilyn Casey says:

    No man has the right to put his hands on a women as K.Michelle has claimed over and over again. No man! However, after seeing her temper and hearing the way the talks..her mouth made her beatings worse then they would have been. I'm sure of it, when someone has their hands on you shut up and get the hell out of that situation if you can. I think K.Michelle kept running and running her mouth and the beatings got worse. I feel sorry for her that she had to endure that type of behavior from a so-call man, unless she tones down her behavior and vile mouth a woman is going to give her the same beating she had in the past. P.S. I STILL cant stand Carlie..she makes me SICK! And Sherelll..I agree with you these women are no reflection on Black women at all. Like it or not people it's entertainment only-change the channel if you don't like it.

  18. Omg I dnt even thnk its dat serious vh1 has anotha show called mama drama it comes on at 11pm on Wednesday an there is a lady called ms Debbie she's a white lady dat talks about Oreo cookies wen shes n da middle of two black ppl n u guys r nt blown dat up bt it must b ok since she's white!!!!!Get out of here k.Michelle wasn't sayn dat to b malicious towards ms tubman she was maken a joke n dats all it was da media needs to grow up n stop actn black ppl for every lil thing if your not gonna do it to all races

  19. She is from Memphis!! One in five people can read!! It's the place where civil rights came to die! And over inflated fools get promoted!! She can't read boo! Let alone articulate anything prolific she is the shining example of the Memphis educational system!!

  20. Good job K michelle insult a woman of intelligence which you don't have.

  21. You old martin luther king ninjas! I rather have harriet tubman on tv the k michelle any day dumb bumpkin

  22. I get it too. The show is shock provocative TV. It's funny, triviling, and it sells. It makes money. However, is it right. Only the people that pays the bills and tracks the viewership can answer that. I am just amazed what an individual would do in the name of fame, exposure, promotion. The level of demeaning and disrespect that some of the cast goes to to communicate. Remember, these are the so called ballers, rainmakers, success examples. And the queen? How old is too old to be a damn fool albeit a rich one. You can tell that many of the characters and maybe the producer didn't have strong male or fathers in their lives.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] the full story here. Meanwhile K. Michelle’s twitter reads like nothing happened. The response to anyone who [...]

  2. [...] Mona Scott Young is expanding her brand of TV drama beyond VH1 with a new reality series on BRAVO, titled “The New Atlanta.” [...]

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