Here We Go Again: 'The Real Mistresses of Atlanta'
Sigh...so that's where we are now? The Real Mistresses? Like every other show of it's ilk, this "slice of reality" stars a female cast (and one good gal, hey at least he's not a sassy sidekick) and contains outsized personalities, backstabbing, bitch fits, delusions of grandeur and compulsive, mindless consumerism.
Now, let me say that I don't believe sex work is immoral, nor should it be illegal. It may not be the most lofty profession, but if an adult wants to exchange sexual favors with another consenting adult for money, then that's their business. Literally and figuratively. Or even if they don't want money, but just love sex, it's no tea or shade in my book. This isn't the first show about where money and sex meet--granted it isn't a Real Sex -caliber documentary style production--and it won't be the last. Not that any of these folks are straight up prostitutes, but you get the drift.
But why knowingly be a mistress? If all you want from a man is good sex, career opportunities and shopping sprees, why not sleep with a rich, single guy, or at least one who's in an open relationship. Why contribute to the other spouse's--and possibly their children's--pain, public embarrassment and heartache? That the cast and the producers are trying to put some empowering, post-modern feminist spin on seeking out and sleeping with married men is what irks me about this show. Aside from one of the characters being from Louisiana (Baton Rouge to be exact).
Also, while the show doesn't exactly show women in the best light--you know fighting, cursing each other out, being portrayed as money hungry and materialistic--it doesn't exactly do us any favors as well. Like I said before, if Branden or any other adult wants to use nature's credit card as a down payment on a fabulous life, then that's fine and dandy. But when there are already so few images of black gay men in the mainstream media, there needs to be a balance. The white, and at least to a certain extent, black female cast members are not the only representation of womanhood currently residing on the small screen. If black women in particular are turned off by the show, they can change the channel to Reed Between The Lines, Community, OWN, Let's Stay Together or even The Game if they want to watch real actors with talent play a role these shows slavishly imitate. Hell, they could watch Tara as a vampire on True Blood or just rewatch Girlfriends,Everybody Hates Chris, Living Single, A Different World or Cosby Show reruns.
With a few exceptions--Lafayette from True Blood, Calvin from the now canceled ABC series Greek--that option does not exist for black gay men. We are not even at the point where we can retreat to watch past glories when the present reality is less than savory. In a TV landscape where successful series like Noah's Arcare canceled after two seasons (am I the only still hurting over that? I mean the movie was cute but you just knew the third season was gonna be off the hook!) and Real Housewives spin-offs grow like noxious weeds, balance and diverse images are very much needed.