The recent airing of Sorority Sisters on VH1 has many people really upset (a slight understatement). Social media lit up with emotional rants about crying and broken hearts, threats to snatch sorors up, calls for boycotts, tweets to brands... the list goes on.
I get it. Kinda.
See, I'm an AKA (pledged at Omicron Iota in SP '91). I watched, got annoyed, tweeted and found myself yelling at my TV. The one-way conversation went a little like this: "Where the hell did they get these women? Who does that? Seriously? What in the...? No! Please, don't fight. Please! Damn."
Before you attempt to assess my mental status, let me explain. This yelling thing has somehow become a normal part of watching TV for me. My first "episode" might have been during the first season of The Apprentice, when Omarosa became the poster child of the "angry black woman." Fast-forward some years. The development floodgates opened and The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Basketball Wives, Married to Medicine, and Love and Hip-Hop were created in quick succession. It seems networks and audiences (that's us) couldn't get enough of the "ratchet" black girls behaving badly. The caricature of black women -- the scantily clad, jealous, loose cannon looking for a come-up -- was everywhere.
The competition to behave badly might be akin to a pyramid scheme. If you got in early, you could "win" by hitting a 5 on the 1-to-10 foolery scale. Next season, ladies compete to be a level-6 fool, and each season thereafter the level of foolery has to increase exponentially. Millions watched as our sisters (not wearing Greek letters) became uninhibited representations of the worst versions of themselves.
And we are just crying, heartbroken, pissed and calling for change?
It wasn't heartbreaking to see this pinhole view of black women accepted as a real and full representation of us? It is "reality TV," right? How can we care about the Greek letters we represent more than who and whose we are? Don't get me wrong: I love my sorority and my sorors. I love what we stand for, our sisterhood, our history and our legacy. But I don't respect myself and my sisters because I pledged. I don't hold myself to a higher standard just because I'm an AKA. I am a black woman first. I recognize that I (we) have an obligation to be great because too many women sacrificed and struggled to make being greater a possibility.
Greek or not, we are all sisters, beautifully painted by the Creator in infinite hues, from the lightest vanilla to the darkest chocolate. High-school graduates or Ph.D.s, we are uniquely built, talented and gifted. We have to do better!
If life really imitates "art," the caricature of black women created to entertain will eventually become a real-life manifestation through our young girls.
Give me Omarosa. I'll take a hungry, competitive, professional "angry black woman" with a purpose over all of it now.