Now I know that many of the BB&W regulars HATE reality TV shows featuring black women who aren’t afraid to turn on the ratchet–namely, shows like VH1’s Basketball Wives. But I saw something in the super trailer for the 5th season of Basketball Wives that I think is germane to the discussion of how black women* really feel about marriage.
Evelyn Lozada, is one of the stars of Basketball Wives; she was chosen to be on the show in part because she had previously been in a 10 year relationship with NBA player Antoine Walker but the couple never made it down the aisle. Ms. Lozada’s relationship with NFL wide receiver Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson was documented on previous seasons of Basketball Wives and the two eventually married. A little over a month after their wedding Ocho Cinco was arrested and charged with domestic battery after allegedly headbutting his wife during an argument. Three days after Johnson’s arrest Ms. Lozada filed for divorce.
Watch the trailer for season 5 below to hear a revealing bit of Ms. Lozada’s counseling session where she discusses the demise of her marriage. The golden nugget starts at the 0:53 mark.
When asked to explicate on why she married Ocho Cinco and why she might consider staying with him, even after he abused her, she said, “I want to be married.” Her counselor replies: “That’s why you did it.”
Evelyn’s desire to be married is exactly why she married a man who so many people around her–people who knew and loved her–found to be distasteful.
Ms. Lozada was a wild child for at least a part of her past. She has admitted to sleeping around, even sleeping with the husband of another Basketball Wives star years ago. But the despite the fact that she ran the streets, did her INDEPENDENT WOMAN thang, and is now a reality TV star, what she wanted badly enough to ignore the warning the signs was to get married.
I’m a strong believer that when you want something badly, even if you won’t admit it out loud, even if you won’t even admit it to yourself, you will unconsciously act in ways that will bring you closer to that thing you want. But because you can’t be open and honest about it, because you won’t be conscious and logical about it (since you won’t acknowledge it), you go about obtaining it all willy-nilly. So if you want to be married but your ashamed of that desire and are afraid to admit then you’ll marry the first person who asks and ignore all of the warning signs that this person is inappropriate for you or has some serious issues that he needs to resolve. Perhaps if Evelyn had been honest with herself years ago and admitted that she wanted to be married she might not have winded up with a man like Ocho Cinco and instead have spent her time engaging a relationship with a different type of man.
Although reality shows are far from reality and mostly scripted, I do believe that Evelyn’s tears at the thought of losing her chance at a happy marriage were real.
Hopefully the women (Black, White, or Whatever) who watch Basketball Wives during season 5 will see past the ratchet behavior to be able to learn something from the demise of Evelyn’s marriage and the warning signs that lit the way.
*Yes, I know that Evelyn Lozada is Puerto Rican (and Puerto Rican’s are not all black) and Evelyn Lozada is not considered a black women by many (and she probably doesn’t even consider herself a black woman per se, but the message I’m trying to get across is not dependent upon Lozada’s race/ethnicity to be true or to relevant to black women.
Jamila Akil is Community Manager at Beyond Black and White. Follow her on Twitter @jamilaakil; we’ll bond over our shared dislike of ‘reality’ TV