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Hudson Valley Press

January 16th, 2013

Civil rights organization slams Oxygen for ‘harmful’ new show

NEW YORK, NY – has launched a petition calling on the Oxygen Network and its corporate sponsors to cease production of All My Babies’ Mamas. The reality TV show, set to air this spring, stars Shawty Lo, an Atlanta-based rapper, who has 11 children by ten women, and a girlfriend the same age as his oldest daughters. According to network executives, the show will chronicle Shawty Lo’s attempts to "split affection multiple ways while trying to create order" as he navigates the "dysfunction" of his "drama-filled," "modern family."

"The creators of ‘All My Babies’ Mamas’ claim that this show is ‘daring.’ But there is nothing daring about Oxygen’s decision to invest in and promote inaccurate and harmful perceptions of Black families for the sake of ratings and advertising dollars. ColorOfChange has a long track record of holding the media accountable for race-baiting and it is important for us to begin a broader discussion about the effects of dehumanizing portrayals," said Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of "Today we are sending a strong message to Oxygen, its president, Jason Klarman, and others in the media that traffic in these type of portrayals that we wont sit silently by while corporations and individuals profit from degrading and inflammatory images of our community."

Overwhelmingly negative representations of Black Americans on the news and programs like All My Babies’ Mamas reinforce negative stereotypes about Black men and women as hypersexual, combative and unfit to parent. In addition to reducing self-esteem amongst the Black community, a number of studies confirm that these distorted portrayals can lead non-Black audiences to hold onto problematic perceptions of Blacks.

According to studies, Black people receive less attention from doctors, harsher sentencing by judges, lower likelihood of being hired or admitted to school, lower odds of getting loans, and a higher likelihood of getting shot by police.

Oprah Winfrey and former Nickelodeon Executive Geraldine Laybourne launched the Oxygen cable network in 2000 to fill a void in programming targeting young women.

In 2007, Oxygen was purchased by NBC Universal and is now available in 80 million homes. Since then the network has become a haven for reality television shows that exploit children and women.

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