How many of you remember “Flavor of Love”? The show that had a stable of women fighting for the affection of Flavor Flav? We tuned in week after week to watch the shenanigans for three whole seasons, and the success of that show led VH1 to change its programming completely. We got “I Love New York”, “I Love Money” “Charm School”, “Celebrity Fit Club”, and countless other spinoffs until VH1 had practically rebuilt itself as the reality TV network. Nowadays VH1 has recruited Mona Scott Young to expand its success in the reality TV area with “Love and Hip-Hop” and now “Sorority Sisters”, a show supposedly featuring members of each of the D9 sororities living their reality.
Now, you don’t really have to be Greek to see why this may be a problem. Greek lettered organizations on any side of the racial divide are naturally exclusive groups. They’re pegged as elite organizations where you have to go through secret (and some not so secret) rituals, various trials, and a lot of money to join the inner circle. To put these organizations on television would be like making a reality show about the Disney Vault or the selection of the Pope; some things the public are just not supposed to know. Then you have to add the fact that based on the history of VH1’s (and especially Mona Scott Young’s) reality shows; you could probably safely bet that “Sorority Sisters” would feature a lot of violence and ratchetivity. As a result, most D9 members have actively sought to put an end to the show.
I’m not so sure that is the answer.
I will be the first to admit that I haven’t been a big fan of reality TV for many years now, and as a member of a D9 organization myself I definitely don’t want any of my sister or brother Greeks to look a fool so people can laugh at them, but let’s be honest with ourselves; how many of us do the exact same things we don’t want the show to portray in our everyday lives? I know people in every fraternity and sorority that will wreck shop if you breathe on them wrong, but no one is calling for them to lose their jobs. Why are we coming so hard for the “Sorority Sisters” to lose theirs?
I know what you’re thinking. “Well Marcus they’re on TV! It’s out there for everyone to see!”, as if we don’t have videos on IG, Facebook, Vine and WorldStar that show people in a bad light. And if you really think more people watched “Sorority Sisters” then watch these videos on social media then I need you to step out of 2006 and into the present. My point is, as much as we hate to admit it, people are gonna be ratchet. That’s just the truth. We can try to hide them all we want, but they’re gonna be them and it’s gonna get out one way or another. The campaign to get rid of the show has had successes, but VH1 isn’t budging, so what’s the Greek community to do?
We stop trying to hide our faults. Stop acting like we are above the rest of Black people. Greeks aren’t always prissy, proper and polite just like regular people aren’t; we are still humans too. Instead of trying to sell this perfect image that really just makes folks think we’re stuck up and unapproachable, we should be real with them. “Yes we have some crazy moments and we mess up, but look at the good we do”. (Make sure you have some good to show though!)
Now you’re probably saying “Well what then Marcus? Do we remove our standards? Let people do any and everything in our letters? Just let the show make it?” No to the first two and yes to the last. Use good judgment; you know what will destroy your org’s rep and what won’t. If someone’s planning to kill somebody with the chapter shield then yeah, they need to go. Otherwise, stop trying to make Greeks on and off television perfect; the three letters on your chest don’t make you better than everyone else.
Now I know that some people won’t be satisfied till the show is gone, and that’s fine, do what you feel. But why stop there? Let’s go all the way and destroy every other show that gives a bad name to Black people while we’re at it. That means no more VH1, no more Tyler Perry shows, no more BET and yes, no more Shondaland; people have problems with those too so just take them all out. But then what? We’ll have gotten rid of pretty much every current representation of Black people on television and film, but hey that means nobody can embarrass us, right?
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t talk about the problems in these shows or even that we have to watch them. What I am saying is that all the work we are putting forth to destroy what we see as negative; we should be putting that same effort towards creating positive. “Sorority Sisters” wouldn’t be so bad if we had another Greek centered show that showed our good qualities to balance it out. We’ve already proven that we can get big name companies to listen to us, so why don’t we write letters and send tweets to the networks and tell them you want to see “Black Boots” instead of “Sorority Sisters”? Well, maybe not “Black Boots” because that one’s a little rough but still! No matter how much we want to erase it, there will always be people around us that don’t act “right” all the time. Instead of trying to get rid of them make sure they see both sides of us: the ratchet and the respectable. None of us are perfect, so why do we expect our television portrayals to be?
What do you think? Leave your questions, comments, and concerns below!