Every now and then I pull up a blog, vlog or snatch a piece of the public conversation about the state of Black women in America, and I come across a misogynistic tirade, often disturbingly gleeful, about why Black women are facing annihilation. Apparently, all but the lightest skinned amongst us are on the brink of collapse and utter humiliation, having destroyed the moral compass of an entire race.
So when TV One began running promos for its new sitcom, “Here We Go Again,” the predictable jeers resounded — often from men who aren’t content in just marrying white, Asian and Latino women, but who need to devote much of their energy to bashing Black women, too. I happen to like watching Black people on TV, so I had to find out what the fuss was all about. The sitcom follows the lives of three generations of women supposedly affected by a family curse. Wendy Racquel Robinson, known as Tasha Mack from “The Game,” stars as Loretta, who had her first child at 16. That child, Maddy, played by Latoya Luckett, one of our favorite “Single Ladies” also got pregnant at 16 with Chante, played by newcomer Kyndall Ferguson. The story picks up right before Chante’s Sweet 16 birthday party, an event that her mother greets with great foreboding and stern lectures about safe sex, and preferably, chastity. They’re all on pins and needles, fearing that Chante will succumb to the supposed family curse of a pregnancy at 16. Chante’s birthday does usher in a pregnancy — Maddy’s. And the father happens to be Victor, Maddy’s old high school sweetheart and Chante’s biological father, played by Andra Fuller (RoomieLoverFriends, The Game).
The self-appointed moralizers immediately panned the concept, saying it was cheap, degrading and portrayed Black women as hopelessly stupid hussies. I mean of all the topics to make television shows about, this is what TV One is backing? Supposedly this show takes a rampant out-of-wedlock birthrate among African-Americans, and turns it into “coonery,” an exploitation of our poor decision making and dire circumstances for mass entertainment. And apparently, Black women are ignorantly complicit to all of this.
But I actually watched the first two episodes, which the amateur TV critics might also have done in advance had they the press credentials to do so. In their haste to troll for clicks, stir up a tempest in a teacup, or gin up another flimsy excuse to bash Black women, the alarmists overlooked a few pivotal facts:
- Loretta has only one child, Maddy. After the pregnancy, she buckled down, became a successful realtor and didn’t have multiple unplanned pregnancies by different men.
- Maddy only has one child, Chante. After her pregnancy, she buckled down to become a successful lawyer. She never slept around, and never got knocked up by different guys, either.
- Maddy and Chante’s father co-parent and treat each other with respect. And by smooth co-parenting I mean that Maddy took charge while Chante’s father went off and had a successful football career. Both are successful professionals and provide a comfortable upper middle-class life for their daughter, including a private school, a large and luxurious house, and toys like a smartwatch and her own car.
- Victor only has one child, Chante. But of course, the misogynegros expected this level of uprightness from him, since Black men are the natural backbone of the Black community, right? Riiight.
- Yes, Maddy got pregnant while in a relationship with another man — and her boyfriend is very good-looking and has his whole act together. But that relationship is celibate and had been so from the beginning. Clearly Maddy has a very short list of sexual partners, and her heart seems to be tugging her back to Victor.
Apparently, people objected to television executives mining a very real problem in our community for laughs. But this show doesn’t set out to coon Black people. Far from it: ‘Here We Go Again’ goes out of its way to depict a family that would be perfect aside from ill-timed pregnancies. And it seems a little unrealistic: How many teen mothers go on to become successful attorneys with all the trappings of the upper middle class? Also, while Maddy, Victor and Loretta were all out devoting so much time to building successful careers, who was reading to Baby Chante every night? Who carted her to story time at the library? Or did Maddy not sleep at all while Chante was a tot? If anything, the show dodges the tough economic and social realities of raising a child as a teenager. It decides to paint a picture of an exceptional family that overcame circumstances that trap so many Black women in poverty.
The story arc points to Maddy possibly reconciling with the only father of her two children. A family is being formed here. It is not a tragic tale of promiscuity, ignorance and social decay. Maddy is clearly not a trick, THOT, chicken head or any other charming sobriquets of a woman with a sex life, and she doesn’t fit into any of the ugly characterizations that the trigger-happy trolls are all too pleased to throw on her. She doesn’t hang out with guys whose only high scores in life are their recidivism rates. Chante’s father, as it turns out, wrapped up a successful NFL career and emerged with his finances and marbles intact. He is now eager to play a more active role in Chante’s life. He wants to support Maddy as she carries their second child.
If Maddy and Victor reconcile, then what will you have? A sitcom about two attractive and young, successful professionals who thought their diaper days were over, when … “Here We Go Again.” So how, on the strength of this particular show’s concept and execution, are Black women losing, exactly?
Nice try, Hoteps and handmaids, but you’ll have to get your kicks from kicking Black women some other time.
Fun fact: according to the discussion board on LeToya Luckett’s Web site, Ms. Ferguson is the daughter of R&B star El Debarge, and Tracey Ferguson, founder of the Black women’s luxury magazine Jones.