So Lifetime, the network who gave us gems like Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? and the Fantasia Barrino Story are blessing us again with a show that promises to unleash the “strong black woman” inside. Here’s a brief description:
Lifetime premieres Girlfriend Intervention, an all-new unscripted makeover series where each week four experts—beauty pro Tracy Balan, home and sanctuary guru Nikki Chu, style and fashion maven Tiffiny Dixon and soul coach Tanisha Thomas—help restore one woman’s confidence and inner glow. In making over their wardrobes, beauty routines, homes and minds, our hosts teach these women how to embrace and celebrate their lives, speak their mind, lighten up and love themselves again. Girlfriend Intervention debuts Wednesday, August 27 at 10pm ET/PT.
And these are the women who aim to turn Lauras into Lakeishas:
Much has already been said about this this new show. None of it has been good. Jezebel’s Kara Brown says it best:
I’m not going to say this again: Having an “inner black woman” is not a thing. Consider this the official funeral for the phrase because we are banishing it from our national lexicon from this day forward. The only people who have an inner black woman are black women. And even then, we just call it “being ourselves and living our lives.”
As the great Negro philosopher Paul Mooney once said, “Everybody wants to be a nigga, but no one wants to be a nigga.” The Black Woman costume seems super fun to don, but when we get to the heavier things like money, health, and well, other stuff–being a black woman is a lot more complicated that it looks. I understand that being a black woman in Hollywood is also a complicated bit, but signing on to be someone’s sassy black girlfriend for 60 minutes seems like it’s a step below being in a Chuck Lorre sitcom. Not only that, but not all of us are the living embodiment of a Nikki Giovanni poem. A lot of us are not strong, or sassy. And many of us look like we get dressed in a dark. (I do.) We are just as layered and complex as any other group. Our very existence is an act of defiance.
As Brown points out, for a group that has been obscenely underrepresented, Girlfriend Intervention looks and feels like a backhanded compliment. At least BAPs (another Lifetime reality show focusing on the lives of affluent black midwesterners) gives us center stage to be horrible and uninteresting; this offering is pretty much every romcom set-up in the last 20 years, sans romance. Why aren’t people creating online petitions to axe this show? Where’s the outrage from the Respectable Negroes union? How does the woman from Bad Girls Club keep getting work and why aren’t her 15 minutes up yet? Why have the Gods forsaken us?
We can only hope that one of the hosts will make an off-color joke about Blue Ivy’s hair and The Beygency kills the show. Let’s pray it happens.