Whether she likes it or not, Shaunie O’Neal‘s ‘Basketball Wives’ franchise is in the pits- well, at least on a PR tip.
Labelled ‘trash’ by critics turned off by its fame famished cast members and their oh so shallow story lines, this season has seen the series embroiled in a bullying scandal, following ongoing attacks by Evelyn Lozada on passive aggressive cast mate Jennifer Williams.
Now, Tanya Young Williams of Basketball Wives LA has spoken out against the show during an interview with The Daily Beast, one year after parting ways with it.
Excerpt from the interview below:
My knowledge of the inner workings of Basketball Wives stems from my role as one, in the inaugural season of Basketball Wives LA. Though I was cautioned against participating in the series, my intention was to change the perception that wives of basketball players are flighty, overly emotional, and senselessly dramatic.
I wanted to show interesting aspects of my life and also bring attention to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, for which I am a celebrity spokesperson. But as the proverb goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” And working on Basketball Wives was sheer hell.
Within weeks of taping Basketball Wives LA, there was a horrific fight between two cast members while we dined at a swanky Santa Monica restaurant…I was paralyzed by shock and anger. I sat motionless as the women fought over my head and producers worked to break up the melee.
However, the cameramen never lost sight of their target: the fight. They captured every moment, from every angle. The footage was the guarantee the producers needed to bait their audience during teasers for the premiere of Basketball Wives LA.
As the women pulled out pieces of weave, called each other names, tore each others’ clothing, and struck each other in the face, the producers struck ratings gold—and they knew it.
I often times think that if VH1 and the production company that produces BbW would hire at least one African-American woman producer, with a legitimate say in the creative and editing process, there would be a heightened level of awareness and sensitivity to the images of black women they are broadcasting.
Nevertheless, the producers…can’t force any cast member to throw a punch, toss a glass of water, or curse someone out.
The women must take responsibility for their actions and the resulting consequences.
I shot Basketball Wives LA for months, including wonderful footage of my involvement with the domestic-violence hotline, an event at my home, a charity event for another cast member, and “normal” dining outings with the women.
Yet I was only shown in two episodes. I was not only a threat because I would not belittle myself and simultaneously embarrass my mother, my daughters, and every black women in America, I was also a threat because I told the women that “no television show is worth fighting on and disgracing yourself for.”
Despite the fact that legions of fans and supporters wrote to VH1 and on blogs of their desire to see a balanced show, which they felt that I represented, Shed Media decided that a “sophisticated” (their words not mine) woman like me didn’t fit into the new and evolving storylines (“storylines” in the same sentence withBasketball Wives sounds comical).
Basketball Wives is a valuable commodity to Shed Media and VH1. The women of Basketball Wives should start acting like professional businesswomen and less like tightly wound puppets and demand a balanced show. Working on Basketball Wives is a gig, not a career.
If the women don’t want to lose paychecks due to the mounting boycotts, they had better stop fighting each other and join the raging battle against the network and the production company to eliminate the negative portrayal of women of color on Basketball Wives—before their 15 minutes of fame is up.
Kudos to Williams for such an accurate summary of the show.
The way we see it, BBW‘s biggest problem is this:
Unlike the ‘Housewives’ down in Atlanta or the ‘Mob Wives’ up in Staten Island, the ‘Basketball wives’ have no real connection aside from the role on the series.
So in essence, all they are a group of volatile strangers forced to wine and dine each other until ‘some b*tch gets out of pocket‘ on camera and then bam- baseless trash TV is made.
Perhaps, for season 5 of the original series, Shed should call on Rubi Pazmino (Chad Ochocinco‘s ex) to stir the pot with Chad’s current flame Evelyn. At least then, their inevitable feud would have some kind of back story.
But what do you think?