Friday, March 29, 2013

An open letter to Mona Scott-Young...

Dear Mona,

Let me first start off by saying how proud I am of you. Over the years you have not only managed some of the biggest stars in the music industry, but also created opportunities for so many people. I first heard of you while in high school when I was an avid watcher of "The Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott." That was my show! Whatever happened to Jessica? She was so talented… I forgot what prize the contestants were promised if they won the show, but she sure did not catapult to success like I imagined she would.  

I'm not certain, but I think that show with Missy Elliott marked the beginning of your work in reality television. I remember being inspired after watching a bunch of real people who were all striving to reach their goals. I also remember watching you, along with a team of talented music industry professionals, help these real people by offering them guidance and tips for success. It's unfortunate that that show wasn't renewed for a second season.

Over the years the reality television game has changed and these days a show like "The Road to Stardom" would never make it to a major network especially since it focused solely on the R&B/Hip Hop genres. Since there are enough singing competitions on air, you developed another plan for a reality television show. A show that would become the guilty pleasure for so many people… "Love & Hip Hop."

Nobody wants to see positivity anymore at least not when it comes to urban communities. And people are obsessed with what goes on in the personal lives of celebrities. It seems like you have developed the perfect formula since "Love & Hip Hop" combines washed up rappers, pseudo-celebrities and the folks that associate with them with the perfect amount of conflict. Sprinkle in some sex every now and then and you’ve got a hit.

I must admit, I am not a fan of the "Love & Hip Hop" series but I have watched an episode or six. I frequently see clips that others post on their blogs and I’m usually intrigued. Most recently I saw a scene from the episode when Rich referenced his “backsliding indiscretions” with Erica, the cast member who apparently had sex with Rich’s female ex. I was so confused. Not only was I confused, but I worried about who else could be watching the ratchtivity. Whose kids are being influenced and inspired just as I was when I watched "The Road to Stardom" years ago? Granted, you may say that this show isn't intended for a young audience but I know that you know they’re watching.

Your company, Monami Entertainment, is flourishing these days. Indeed, it is good to be you. Your net worth probably increases daily. I’m sure you profit from the spinoffs and opportunities that current and former "Love & Hip Hop" cast members acquire. I admire your tenacity and I love to see when hard work pays off, but quite 
frankly, I’m tired of the big booty having, lunch going all the dang time, confrontational female characters on reality shows. 

I always wondered how and why cast members have time to “meet up” or “go out to lunch” with people they clearly don’t like. I also wonder when producers will stop insulting the intelligence of viewers. It’s clear that most of these luncheons and outings are staged. I recall you defending the actual reality of "Love & Hip Hop" and saying something along the lines of “this is their reality, we just capture it.” That may be true but oftentimes their “reality” is expanded upon and exploited for ratings. 

I've sat back and witnessed numerous head shake-worthy incidents made popular on "Love & Hip Hop." First it was Jim Jones’ fiancĂ©e hopping over couches in an attempt to fight another woman, and then there was the Jocelyn and Stevie J abortion situation along with the fight with Lil’ Scrappy, now there's Rich bragging about "backsliding" with a woman he's not even in a relationship with. When does it stop? When will you and your team opt not to use fancy filters on your cameras to make foolishness look like a soap opera?

It is my hope that you and producers of reality shows start challenging yourselves and the heads of networks. It’s clear that once you have one successful reality show, it’s much easier for you to get others on air. It’d be great if for your next show, you thought outside the box. Instead of placing a group of fashionable, conflicting women in a cast how about changing things up a bit? Go back to your reality TV roots and find a way to change the lives of your cast members, not exploit them. Close but no cigar on The Gossip Game show… I haven’t watched it yet, but I just know…  


Alexandria B.