In the July 2006 issue of Wax Poetics magazine, editor Andre Torres writes about the legendary 1974 episode of The Mike Douglas Show in which the guests were Sly Stone and Muhammad Ali. I know some of you may have missed this episode, in which Sly and Ali got into an argument and on national television, with all of America watching, Ali said to Sly, "Let's not be niggers and fools in front of white people."
I can think of nothing more appropriate to say about the VH1 reality show Flavor of Love, which started its second season this past Sunday. Flavor Flav, once a member of Public Enemy—the greatest rap group of all time—is the central figure in this show that debases both women and black people. Clearly no one got the memo, because this sickening reminds us it's time to stop prancing about in a freakshow for our former masters and instead take our place on the evolutionary chain.
The premise of the show is simple: Twenty self-esteem-challenged ho's—and make no mistake, these bitches are indeed ho's—shake their ass as they vie for the honor of being Flavor Flav's "woman." They don't know him. They've never met him. But that won't stop these women from doing whatever they must to get their man—and as the season progresses, that will include the sort of sucking and fucking smarter tramps get paid to do in pornos. In the season premiere—the season premiere, mind you—one woman beats the hell out of another, and one accidentally defecates on the floor. Yes, you read that correctly. A grown woman shits on the floor. All of this to win the affection of a 47-year-old grandfather, recovering crackhead and ex-con who has taken jigabafoonery minstrel antics to all-new depths. Stepin Fetchit isn't even bothering to roll over in his grave—he's clawing his way out of the ground.
As a founding member of Public Enemy, Flavor Flav was the comedic foil and counterbalance to the booming, militant voice of Chuck D He was what made the pro-black, fist-in-the-air polemics of Chuck D more palatable to many, and with Chuck in the forefront, Flavor's bug-eyed-Sambo routine never seemed so bad. But now that Flavor has made the transition to reality TV star, all bets are off as he bucks, shucks and jives his way into the living rooms of cable subscribers all over the world. Watching this fool set back the advancement of black people more than Cuba Gooding Jr. in Snow Dogs, I can't help but wonder how many card-carrying members of the Ku Klux Klan have their TiVo set to record Flavor of Love (believe me, episodes of the show will be used for recruiting purposes).
There are fecal-matter-flinging monkeys and gorillas communicating with sign language who would not claim Flavor Flav as one of their own. And yet black people are stuck with him serving as an ambassador of the race (white America has the luxury of not being judged by the actions of indivuals like Britney Spears or the anti-Semitic asshole Mel Gibson). Flavor Flav is the image of black masculinity that white audiences are embracing—making this show one of VH1's highest-rated. And I'm calling out the white audiences, because that is VH1's key demographic (and because all the black people I know can't bear to watch the show). So, shame on you, Mr. and Ms. White America, for watching this crap. Sure, some of you will watch this train wreck and recognize it for what it is—you're the intelligent ones. But then there are the rest of you, that nearly 50 percent who believe there are still weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, according to a recent survey. And shame on the producers and execs at VH1 who are responsible for peddling this racist garbage. My family didn't endure the painful sting of racial oppression or fight for equality in this country so douchebags like you could make a buck off of some prancing 'hood rats. As for Flavor Flav, the women degrading themselves and the black people who have sat idly by without letting their disgusted voices be heard by VH1—in turn having a hand in making Flavor of Love a success—all I can do is repeat Muhammad Ali: Let's not be niggers and fools in front of white people.