Yes, ‘All My Babies’ Mamas’ Looks Awful — But That’s Not the Whole Point

The problem isn't just what's on our TV, but who has the power to put it there in the first place.

By Jamilah King Jan 03, 2013

Just in case you needed a new reality TV show to loathe, there’s this: Oxygen Network’s "All My Babies’ Mamas." The show is set to debut later this spring and stars the rapper Shawty Lo (of ‘Laffy Taffy’ fame) and his encounters with the various mothers of ten children. Folks are pissed — and now there’s an online petition aimed to stopping the show before it starts. An [online petition started by]( has gathered close to 4,000 signatures. According to Sabrina Lamb, the petition’s author, the effort’s focus is clear: "By pushing these degrading images, your company seeks to profit from the humiliation of girls and women and the blatant stereotyping of African-Americans," Lamb writes in the petition. "We think Oxygen and the show’s creators and producers have gone too far and if this show is aired, we will, without hesitation, boycott any and all companies that advertise during this minstrel show." Controversy over the show has been swirling in recent weeks. Some of the most damning criticism came just after the New Year from [Nick Chiles over at My Brown Baby]( > It must be so easy, sitting in a cushy office somewhere in Los Angeles or Manhattan, to glibly nod yes on the decision to profit off the exploitation of the ignorance that poverty and oppression produced. Of course it’s even easier when it’s some unfortunate black wretches, whose lives are so far from the good-white-folks gentility of these producers, Liz Gateley and Tony DiSanto, and the executive Cori Abraham. So far away, so grotesque, so different, so damn entertaining–and if it happens to once again proffer to the world the handy image of black pathology as entertainment? Oh well.