Monday, January 14, 2013

Scandal and the Black Blogosphere

We break away from our regularly scheduled political discourse to discuss the political television dynamo that is Scandal.

Scandal was the first prime-time show to feature an African-American woman in a lead role in decades. Groundbreaking is the word that comes to mind with the kind of flutter Kerry Washington and Shonda Rhimes caused when this show was first announced for ABC's spring debut back in 2012. Now that the ground has been considerably broken Scandal is now open as fair game for criticism just like any other show that comes on the boob tube. If you're wondering like me, "What's there to criticize, the show is ORGASMICALLY AMAZING," then brace yourself.

In one corner you have Kirsten West Savali's musing that "some" (and I use that term as loosely as possible) Black men have a problem with Scandal. In the other corner you have a rebuttal from a Black man of The Uppity Negro Network who says Ms. Savali is straight bugging.

Feel free to dive in to both of these manifestos to see what the drama is all about. If that's just to much print on screen to read for a Monday, then allow me to be brief in my assessment of the beef.

Self-procaimed scholars (read: multi-degreed bloggers) can find anything to take issue with, but they should probably leave entertainment alone.

But if I must dig through both arguments, I find myself agreeing with the brotha from the Uppity Negro Network. Sorry Ms. Savali, much respect, but you don't start a post talking about an unscientific study and then make assertions based on this unscientific study about Black women being powerless, emasculation, the role of Black male masculinity, and allusions of misogyny. I'm proud Ms. Savali that you blew the GRE verbal section out of the water but these multi-syllabic words don't add any merit to your unscientific study. Your study is still unscientific making your analysis to go along with it an opinion, a vey well written opinion, but an opinion none-the-less.

Now remember the great thing about an opinion is just like _____ (insert appropriately titled body part here) everyone has one.

Ms. Savali's entire take on "some" Black men and Scandal is they hate the show because a Black woman is doing a White man... and well might I add. Personally, if people are still fixated on this glaring scandal in Scandal then I do believe you've missed the whole purpose of the show. Shonda Rhimes addressed the Sally Hemmings, Thomas Jefferson undertones of Liv and Fitz's relationship this season. She went back and explained why Liv left the White House so she would no longer be a playmate for the President. Personal feelings of interracial extra-marital relationships aside, this is not the only story line of Scandal. While an easy story line to come back to, especially because of the power dynamic, Waiting to Exhale this is not.

Men cheat on their wives all the time. Black Men, White Men etc. cheat. They may cheat with women of their own race or someone outside of their race. Women do the same thing. In 2012 I'd love to meet the Black Man who's ego-tripping so hard on a fictitious character who plays the main chick -- not the wife-- for a fake President. Furthermore, in the context of the show, Mellie, the wife, is just as much of a political machinist at Liv or Cyrus. She's Hillary Clinton with a Martha Stewart makeover and a conveniently timed pregnancy that kept Liv and her husband's secret, secret and boosted approval ratings at the same time.

Black men who don't like the show may dislike the show for a whole host of reasons, not just for the glaring relationship that miscegenation laws says is wrong, ungodly and illegal. And Black men who do like the show probably watch because Kerry Washington is fine as hell and Scandal is just that good. It has nothing to do with Black men not being able to reconcile loving to watch "bands" that make her dance and the twerk team dropping that Donkey Kong on Lil Wayne's Monkey Balls, (his words not mine) with a put together Black Woman who takes no ish, not even from her married ex-boyfriend who just happens to be the President.

It's not just Black women who can separate watching ratchet reality programming from their tune in of great scripted dramas. Surprise: Men can do the same.

As Black women, if we want the respect we feel we deserve then we should probably not debase ourselves or our men based on science that isn't.

I'm sure there is an intellectual discourse to be had on the continued objectification of Black women in the media, the stifling of Black male voices by "strong Black women" and the media, the role of marriage in the Black community, and the status of interracial relationships in America. However, having all of these conversations in a blog post where the frame for these discussions is a television show and an unscientific study to boot sets up the discussion for failure, righteous indignation from those that should be offended, and my Tamar time phrased... GET YOUR LIFE.

And by the way... this is my opinion.


1. Do Black Men Hate Scandal? (This is totally for scientific purposes)
2. Should there be a real discussion on Scandal, marriage, side-pieces and interracial relationships (of the sexual and working variety) or did Nightline pretty much sum that up a few years ago?
3. Since Scandal is awesome and it hurts to wait until Thursday to see what's next, let's get the speculation going; What do you think will happen in Thursday's episode?

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