Babies Mamas Show Not Rooted Enough in Reality
By Candace Y.A. Montague
December 29, 2012
One man, 10 women, 11 kids and a reality show. Sounds like a bad joke but alas it is real. All My Babies Mamas is a one-hour television special that is scheduled to air on the Oxygen network in the Spring. The show is focused around Carlos Walker, an Atlanta-based rapper, and his 10 babies mamas. Yes! Carlos aka "Shawty Lo" is a sexually active straight Black male who has successfully impregnated 10 women. Obviously there isn't much safe sex practices being performed. There are so many places to go with this that I hardly know where to begin. However, this page is devoted to HIV/AIDS so let's stick with that.
What stands out to this Examiner from a health perspective is that this show endorses "man sharing" which is a problem among African-American women and fuels the epidemic. I am not accusing anyone on this show of actually having HIV but the potential is most certainly present. Each woman in the circle has had some sort of connection with this man in the past. He has either cheated on them with the next baby's mother or left the woman shortly after their child was born. Seemingly, in each instance, the woman has blown off any shred of accountability with one phrase, "Oh well". I look at this and wonder: Do they understand that they are at risk for HIV? If even one of these women had a sexual relationship with another man who was HIV positive, she has introduced HIV into the network of all 11 participants. So let's say for example the third baby's mother got mad with him and decided to sleep with another man who had HIV and didn't know it. Once she re-enters the circle with Carlos he may be exposed to the virus and will be the carrier to every woman he has sex with there after.
This reality show has already repulsed many potential viewers and incited fierce discussions about fatherhood, class (i.e. being "ghetto"), and promiscuity. The sexual network that has been established here is brimming with peril and their ignorance is keeping the cycle of reckless engagement going. The producers try to make it campy with nicknames and one-liners but please don't be misguided. The 30-second clips of Carlos having playtime with his kids do not excuse the fact he is sexually irresponsible, harebrained and juvenile (ok. That's my take on it).
The fact that he is unable to be faithful in a relationship and is more than willing to have unprotected sex with multiple partners makes him a public health threat. Airing his escapades on television and marketing it as humorous as if to excuse others who may engage in the same risky behavior makes this show a public health threat. It's not promoting safe sex, monogamy or discussions about sexual health. It's promoting irresponsibility.
The rate of HIV among Black women is 20 times higher than White women according to the data issued this month from the Centers for Disease Control. Black women account for 70 percent of HIV incidence among all women. And despite the dreaded "down-low" syndrome Black women are contracting it from straight Black men. Yet this show is being presented as jocular. There is nothing funny about HIV. And there is nothing funny about negating the efforts of public health professionals, activists, and researchers with a show that essentially says we don't care about ending the virus. It's disgraceful (again that's my take on it).
To me, there isn't enough reality in this show and it is a clear example of how reality television has reached an all time low. I just hope that if someone chooses to watch it, they do it with the purpose of getting some edu-tainment on what not to do.
D.C. HIV/AIDS Examiner
Candace Y.A. Montague
Candace Y.A. Montague has been learning about HIV since 1988 (and she has the certificates from the American Red Cross to prove it). Health is a high priority to Candace because she believes that nothing can come of your life if you're not healthy enough to enjoy it. One of her two master's degrees is in Community Health Promotion and Education. Candace was inspired to act against HIV after seeing a documentary in 2008 about African-American women and HIV. She knew that writing was the best way for her to make a difference and help inform others. Candace is a native Washingtonian and covers HIV news all around D.C. She has covered fundraisers, motorcycle rides, town hall meetings, house balls, Capitol Hill press conferences, election campaigns and protests for The DC Examiner.com and emPower News Magazine.
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