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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.


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