Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Soundbytes: Make Her Stop. Please.

There's something to be said of a black woman with a name like Shavonda who goes out of her way to act like a blond cheerleader.

Let' start with the 'do. If you've endured MTV's Real World this season, you've noticed the hair. Shavonda's alternates between long and very long. Some evenings, we've seen a kerchief wrapped around her head, and not much underneath. Or sans kerchief, like above. But her "normal" everyday look is a far cry from the Shavonda we see in one-on-one interviews. Already a pretty girl, now she becomes MAC flawless and sports the requisite, long highlighted tresses. It's like wactching a Diana Ross concert. When will the wig and costume changes end?

That's the nexus of my discomfort with Shavonda. Like Diane Ross, Shavonda is a construct. She is over-produced and attempts to re-invent herself before our very eyes. Read her bio on the Real World website:

Shavonda is a beautiful African American young woman who is the life of the party and loves attention from guys. In high school, Shavonda was a cheerleader and her school's first African American homecoming queen. Shavonda struggles to support herself without any family aid and is putting herself through Grossmont Community College. Shavonda currently has a boyfriend to whom she wants to be faithful, even though he is not the kind of jock that usually pursues her. She likes a jock with a sense of humor and likes to be pursued. As a result of a turbulent childhood, Shavonda generally hopes for the best, but expects the worst.

It is obvious that she "loves attention from the guys." But the fact is, she seeks validation only from white guys, and her trampy behavior and self-hatred reflects poorly on other "African American young women." Memo to Karamo: I'm sorry that I was so critical of your interaction with her. Shavonda is a bit much. (BTW, when did community college become expensive?)

Sure, she can choose whoever she wants. For the record, I don't have a problem with inter-racial relationships. My last two BFs were Puerto Rican or Dominican; besides my beautiful brothaz, I've been with white, Asian...much of the rainbow flag. But it's disheartening to see black men and women embarass themselves while trying to seek validation. Karamo had a very good point: he could get along with MJ and Landon, or not.

Why try to promote Shavonda as some role model, while showing clips of her lying in bed with Landon, giggling and talking like some Valley Girl-wannabe. Shavonda is no role model; far from it, just the latest black caricature 'reality' television has thrust upon pop culture. At least she's going after the right guy. Landon's cute, MJ is average. Maybe he's a big deal in the flyovers, but he's hardly on caliber with guys I see at my gym or the Roxy.

She does have the Valley Girl's requisite vapid mentality. On the phone with boyfriend Shaun—who’s not really her type, as the bio sez—she is forced to admit that she slept with Landon, and basically had sex while millions watched. That’s what upset Karamo. She had no discretion or tact, and behaved like a hoochie or video girl, minus the nails . (She already has the hair. And the name!) But on the phone she tells Shaun, “I still love you! I still want to be with you.” Amazingly, he still loves her. Where do they find these people? Sorry, we just went over this: community college.

Later, in another telephone conversation with her lame alleged boyfriend, Shavonda has a divine revelation. "God put me in this situation for 4 months for a reason. Maybe I need to play the field."

Memo to Shavonda: The Lord works in mysterious ways. But (a) encouraging young ladies to go on reality shows, (b) lie to their boyfriends and (c) sleep around ... is usually not His standard operating procedure.