A Disgrace To Black Women and Wives Everywhere

A Disgrace To Black Women and Wives Everywhere: Basketball Wives’ Episodes Spark Public Outcry Against Violence

Basketball Wives has been criticized since its inception for its portrayal of black women. Fans have tuned in for four seasons to see the women fuss, fight, make up and do it all over again. There have been some catfights but it was typically relegated to glass throwing, hair pulling and the occasional slap. However, it seems like the cast wanted to take things up a notch.

Reality television is one of my guilty pleasures and like many I tuned in to the latest Basketball Wives episode. There was not a punch thrown but the behavior of one of the cast members was just as disgusting.

Tami was angry at Kesha for talking about her behind her back and confronted her during a vacation in Tahiti. Tami yelled and screamed at a clearly frightened Kesha which sent the latter running from the scene. While she was gone, Tami snatched her purse and refused to give it back to her until she got an apology. Eventually, she got her things back and left Tahiti.

To the say the scene is shocking is an understatement. It was like watching a pitbull attack a Chihuahua. I don’t particularly like Kesha but in that moment, I felt really bad for her. She was clearly frightened and none of the other women stuck up for her or tried to reason with Tami. I used to consider her to be one of my favorite cast members but after what I saw, I felt ashamed for her. Instead of being the no-nonsense Tami people came to love, she just became another screaming drama queen. She was no different from Evelyn who was running across tables a couple of episodes before.

The women of Basketball Wives don’t have a luxury that a lot of their white counterparts have. Teresa Giudice can flip a table in Real Housewives of New Jersey and most people would just laugh it off and call her crazy. A Tami Roman and Nene Leakes would be used as examples to validate stereotypes of black women as loud, confrontational and violent. It is not fair but that’s reality.  These women have other sides to them but those sides don’t generate ratings. A black woman throwing a drink will generate ratings quicker than one running a board meeting.

These women are business women, entrepreneurs and mothers but viewers rarely get to see that side of them. Tami has been honest about being sexually abused and she could be an example for people that have had to deal with the same issues. She has also done philanthropy work. I would like to see more of that instead of snatching purses. These women need to be held accountable for their actions and it seems like that is finally happening. There have been calls for boycott and petitions and it seems like VH1 is listening.

“We at VH1 agree with and support Shaunie and the show producers’ “no excessive physical confrontations” policy on the series moving forward,” said VH1 in a press release. “We are all committed to balancing the candid, bold excitement that the viewers have come to love in the series with storylines and representations they can be proud of.”

The show’s executive producer Shaunie O’Neal also pledges to stop the violence. “I feel that all these ladies take responsibility for what their actions are,” said O’neal. “After seeing ourselves this season, it definitely was a lot more bad than good. I’ve really tried to preach the whole ‘Let’s get some balance’ and now I think my voice is resonating.”

Hopefully, Shaunie and VH1 will stick to their promises but it is up to us to hold them and anyone else peddling negative images accountable. They can’t make money if we aren’t buying.


What do you think of the portrayal of black women and violence on Basketball Wives and other reality shows



  1. I enjoyed reading this piece; it was well writing. Most people failed to miss Tami’s point because they were too caught up in the other girls tears (i watch the show with my friends sometimes hahahaha). Tami was not bullying her; she was defending herself from Keisha passive aggressive antics. The worst kinds of people destroy your character behind your back then try to play the victim when confronted. Anyone that been in that situation would wish they had a bag to take hostage instead on hurting the person physical. Tami is” very intelligent”. She understood that if Keisha was going to play mind games; she was going to have to match her mind games with some of her own. Tami was the victim but that was lost as soon as the tears started to flow. That’s equivalent to a man being cheated on, deciding he wants to express his disgust for the act, and the woman crying and getting all the sympathy. People tend to forget the actions that lead to the person being addressed in that manner. Tami was hurt because she has a strong personality and she challenges people the match her strength not hide behind passive aggressive tactics, that leave her looking out of control; when she is the one being honest and open responding to the lies. Tami is a role model of strength and reason, far from Evelyn, she a bully. Tami was being reasonable. She just had to go through extreme measure to get Keisha’s attention, by saying you need to learn to deal with your issue not run behind weak emotions and two faced methods!!!!

    • WOW! I didn’t see it from that point of view and you are so right. I did feel Tammi’s point on Keisha not talking behind her back and even during her little personal interview time she was still talking trash. I didn’t like that.

      I guess it just came across crazy because Tammi is so loud and boisterous and like you said Keisha turned on the tears.

      Over all I feel the point of how the show puts a negative light on Black women and I do feel they are old enough to handle their problems in a more positive manner.

      • TV paints what to do as well as what not to do. I think the black women on the show represent women fine. Emotion, Emotion, and More Emotion, but it does show how they can come together for business opportunities. It also shows how successful women still have their problems and are down to earth. As long as they are staying true to selves they are representing women through sickness and in health!!!!

  2. I normally do not watch the basket ball wives in its entirety. I normally catch bits and pieces or get an update from co workers, but the previous episodes with the slapping, the full blown acts of bullying, and childish pranks has me fired up! After watching this last episode, I felt like I was a witness and a part of a domestic violence case. Shaunie should have asked for the cameras to be shut off until the ladies were able to work out there differences once she realized the situation became uncontrollable. I could not believe neither woman Spineless Shaunie, Slow Suzy, and/or Easy Evelyn would not step into help Kiesha. Tami is a bitter, angry, pitiful and bully. I bet as a mother she wouldn’t want her daughters to be treated or behave the way she did. I personally would love to see this mess shut down or off the air. The ladies actions and behavior on this show is a horrible reflection of us. It makes us black women look like uneducated, out of control, bitter, angry, and unclass animals! Someone please tell me how to start a petition to get this show cancelled and I WILL!!!!

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