Tag Archives: Reality Television

Half Past Time: Rachel Lindsay as the Next Bachelorette

14 Mar

Not sure what lies ahead for Rachel, but she seems to have done pretty well so far, no?

By Alexa Day

Her name is Rachel Lindsay, she’s 31 years old, and she’s an attorney working for a very supportive law firm.

She’s the next Bachelorette. And she’s black.

Some of you can’t be bothered to care, and that’s fine. I will defend to the death your right to apathy. Just understand that this is a really big deal for a great many people.

I’ve never really watched the Bachelor; I could only watch so many grown women burst into real tears on camera over some dude they just met. By the time, I stopped paying attention years ago, the show’s few black cast members were usually on the show long enough to make the network look good. Then they were gone before anyone started to think that the Bachelor, usually a white man, would actually choose a black woman as a romantic partner and potential spouse.

Gradually, black women garnered longer stays on the Bachelor. But before Nick Viall, whose run as the Bachelor will end tonight, none had cracked the final three. Indeed, Nick had a more diverse selection of women than many Bachelors. In the history of the franchise, going back 21 years, the Bachelor and Bachelorette have had only 43 black cast members, and eight of them were with Nick this season.

Rachel left the Bachelor last week, leaving Vanessa and Raven to vie for the final rose. This is about the time I found out that Rachel would be the next Bachelorette, and after I shook my head in wonder that it only took ABC thirteen years to make a black woman the show’s lead, I started to pick through the press coverage.

I liked Rachel immediately. She said her law firm is holding her job open while she films the show, something she knows to be an anomaly in the legal industry. She said she had no desire to know what her dad and Nick talked about, when the two of them apparently had their suitor-parent conference. And then, in The New York Times, she said, “Even though I’m an African-American woman, it’s not different from any other bachelorette.”

You might be asking, at this point, what the big deal is. She says she’s going to be just like any other bachelorette.

That’s the big deal. That’s a huge deal.

I’ve got a few years on Rachel, and so my experience with popular culture’s expectations of black women is probably a little different. Today, we have Rick and Michonne on The Walking Dead, who have moved beyond being the zombie apocalypse’s most dangerous couple and become its most adorable couple as well. On Scandal, Fitz’s adulterous relationship with Olivia might be a thing of the past, but he’s involved in another, similarly complicated interracial relationship with Angela, the director of the FBI … and his ex-wife, Mellie, is flirting across racial lines with her aide, Marcus. Not that long ago, I was delighted to spread the news about the immense but understated magnetism of Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga in Loving.

My point here is that we’re seeing black women with white men in the popular culture. We’re seeing it frequently. What’s so different about this?

The headline that sent me down this Bachelorette rabbit hole was this one, from The Hollywood Reporter: “History-Making ‘Bachelorette’ Opens Up About Pressure to Pick a Black Man.”

Rachel hasn’t even started production yet. And she knows there’s going to be some pressure for her to pick a black man, because to some person or persons out there, it’s okay for her romantic options to be limited by her skin color.
In short, she knows that a lot of people think that black people should be with other black people, to the exclusion of all other people. Whether this view is espoused by enough people to affect her pool of suitors remains to be seen. But she knows the truth about people’s perceptions, and she is willing to tell The Hollywood Reporter about it. In spite of this, she’s determined to pursue her reality-TV romance just like any other woman, of any other race.

“It’s my journey in finding love,” she said. “And whether that person is black, white, red, whatever — it’s my journey. I’m not choosing a man for America, I’m choosing a man for me.”

I hope the network is prepared to support her in this mission.

If Zack and Lisa mattered to you back in the day, then Rachel probably ought to matter to you now.

Because I’m older than Rachel, I remember how many a television show would bring on a completely random black character for the sole purpose of being an appropriate, but temporary, love interest for a more permanent black character. I’m also aware of the longstanding TV trope of pairing the black character with the least romantically desirable character on the show. We’ve made progress, sure. But let’s be honest. Popular culture is still very comfortable with black romance (interracial and otherwise) on the sidelines, leaving black characters with societally appropriate partners who have no chemistry with them, with some grand mission to assist other characters at the expense of their own love lives, or with no partners at all. Honestly, I’m still a bit annoyed with Magic Mike XXL for pushing Rome into the corner. I’m enjoying the rise of Richonne because part of me is afraid it’s going to be taken away soon. Please don’t start me talking about Sleepy Hollow again.

I’m not going to sit here with you and suggest that the Bachelorette is the flagship of romance. I did just say I couldn’t bear to watch grown women devastated to discover that they wouldn’t be marrying some dude they just met a little while ago. But Ali Barthwell from Vulture says it best in “Why a Black Bachelorette is a Big Deal.”

“Celebrating black womanhood in the context of marriage and motherhood might seem reductive to some, but because they’ve so often been denied those roles in pop culture, it’s in fact, revolutionary,” she writes. “Seeing a black woman as the woman pursued, riding off into the sunset, would do so much to diversify the narratives of black romance.”

Will I tune in for Rachel? Well, just last night, one of her future suitors apparently greeted her, on international television, with the promise that he was “ready to go black and never go back.” I have to support a woman who could hear a man say that and not punch him in the face, cameras be damned.

In the meantime, let me present two tales of reality TV romance where black women take center stage.

In The One, by Danielle Allen, heroine Zoe is a reality-TV skeptic who suddenly finds herself on a Bachelor-style show. And Bridget Midway’s Love series, starting with Love My Way, features a reality TV show that pairs Doms with their submissives.

Still looking for excitement? Try this on for size.

Let the Confessional Games Begin!

Have you ever had mad monkey love on a motorcycle? A three-way in an alley? Been roped, tied and pleasured? Have you never, ever, never done any of this? Be rewarded for your naughty or sweet past and win crowns, toys, books and more at the Lady Smut special reader event, May 3 at 1:30 p.m. at the RT Booklovers Convention.

Follow Lady Smut. This is where the fun starts.

 

 

Lovin’ the Cray-Cray: Q&A with K.M. Jackson

29 Nov

Today our Lady Smut Q&A guest is Kwana Jackson, who publishes books under the name K.M.Jackson.

MADELINE IVA: Kwana, thanks so much for being with us today.

KWANA JACKSON: Thanks so much for having me over Madeline, it’s a real treat. As you probably know from my tweets that I like a little bit of the over the top crazy especially in my TV viewing.

MADELINE IVA: Why does Nene of the show First Housewives of Atlanta have a special place in your heart? What is her special brand of crazy? On another note–How did the television show Bridezillas first suck you in?

KWANA JACKSON: I always had a thing for Nene from the as I call them “Not So Real” Housewives of the ATL. I felt that out of being not so real, Nene kept it the realest. Always telling like it was no matter if people liked it or not. And yes, she did have a moment in season 2 where she went over the top and lost it for a moment there and became a bit of a caricature of herself but I think she brought it back home and it shows with her now taking a step into acting with being on shows like Glee and The New Normal.

As for Bridezillas, though I don’t watch all the time I will get sucked in on a Saturday marathon from time to time. There is just something about those crazy brides that has me saying, well gee, I guess my husband really lucked out with me. LOL.

MADELINE IVA: Is there one particular bridezilla that you simply cannot forget? What makes her stand out in your memory?

KWANA JACKSON: There was one and I can’t remember her name but she was just awful and her voice just grated. She would say the grooms name over and over. I kept wanting him to just leave her already.

MADELINE IVA: You’ve said: “I’d give anything if they did a 6 month later follow up on those couples. There is no way most of them make it. Just no way.” Do you think the irony of presenting a bride showing her utter contempt towards everyone—when she’s supposed to be declaring her eternal love–gives the reality show Bridezilla’s it’s appeal?

KWANA JACKSON: I don’t know. I think folks just like to see people behaving badly but a part of me feels like it won’t last. At a certain point the audience just may grow tired of this type of behavior and there may be a backlash. Even I, who goes for the crazy, sometimes get a little exhausted and says can this really be real? Where are these people?

MADELINE IVA: We’ve also talked about our love for crazy things that happen in romance novels. For example, I’ll never forget the Laura Kinsale novel where at one point the hero and heroine are stuck on a deserted island and together they raise a penguin. [The craziest part is how good Kinsale’s writing is–I’m not going to say how much I wept for that penguin. It’s just embarrassing.]

You’ve said you love pirates and sheiks in cray-cray romance stories. Any titles you can recommend?

KWANA JACKSON: There are so many pirates and so little time but Susan Mallery has quite a few sheiks. [Note from Lady Smut: And Mallery’s sheiks titles all have brides in them!] A new favorite sheik author of mine is Caitlin Crews. For best title go to Sharon Kendrick with The Playboy Sheikh’s Virgin Stable-Girl. Seriously with that title you get it all.

MADELINE IVA:  Right! I think Smart Bitches Trashy Books made hay with that book.  Meanwhile, I don’t enjoy actually doing crazy stuff myself. (Well, except for quitting my career to start writing romance novels. ;>) But I’m so drawn to hearing about it, watching it, etc. Do you think we’re hardwired that way? Does it serve a purpose to observe different kinds of craziness (like on reality television)? Do we learn from it in some way? Do we identify with it in some way?

KWANA JACKSON: I think that people like to escape from their own realities and if that means going a little crazy in their television or reading then so be it. It’s in a safe environment (for the most part) that way. In my book Through The Lens, a regular woman goes out of her comfort zone to have an island fling with her unobtainable boss, the man of her dreams.

MADELINE IVA: I mean, sometimes I identify with those bridezillas a little. Like the bridezilla who guessed most of her bridesmaids didn’t shave under their arms even though they were wearing strapless gowns. She pinned them down and made them admit it and then started busting out the razors. That there is pure problem solving in my opinion. I might have done the same thing myself. Do you ever read anything crazy in romance novels or watch anything crazy in reality television that you find you identify with?

KWANA JACKSON: Sure, I guess that’s why I liked Nene so much on The Real Housewives on ATL a lot of the things she said, I would have said myself. Like when she told Kim to, “close your legs to married men.” Bam! Perfect line, quick and to the point. Of course in the real world and on TV and in fiction nothing is perfect. Kim gave us so much crazy with her affair with Mr. Big and then Nene later with her own men, but this is why we love to watch.

MADELINE IVA: I ended up writing about a bridezilla throwing platters of shrimp off the deck at her wedding. [Of course it was bad shrimp that a sketchy caterer tried to foist off on the wedding guests.] It was so much fun writing that scene. Do you have crazy elements in your own romances?

KWANA JACKSON: I do have a bit of the crazy in Through The Lens. In one of my favorite scenes my heroine bites my hero’s tongue after a particularly passionate kiss. It was fun to write and wasn’t planned. I swear she just did it. I laughed so much after I typed the words.

Thank you so much for having me. Like I said this was a real treat and a pleasure. I’d love to hear what your readers like in their brand of wild and crazy.

Kwana can be reached via:

Her  website at www.kwana.com

On twitter at: https://twitter.com/KwanaWrites

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KmJacksonAuthor

Email me at: kwanawrites@yahoo.com

A bit about Through The Lens:

Mika Walters is a normal woman working in the not so normal world of New York Fashion. As long time assistant to sexy photographer Alejandro Vargas she’s tired of being the girl in the background. Just once she wants Alejandro to look at her with the same smoldering look he gives his models and now she has her chance.

After a travel mishap where the rest of the crew and the models can’t make the remote location shoot for another three days Mika is taking her moment to catch Alejandro’s eye and put herself in front of Alejandro’s camera… at least until the real world catches up with them.

Alejandro doesn’t know what’s gotten into Mika maybe it’s the sand, maybe it’s the sun, he doesn’t really care. All he knows is that he’s finally opened his eyes and is seeing her clearly for the first time as the smart, gorgeous and incredibly irresistible woman she is.

But why can’t she realize that what he’s feeling for her is not one of his usual one, well, three night stands? What’s it going to take for him to prove to Mika that she’s the woman he wants? Now and forever.

 

Through The Lens is available at:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

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