These women might not have an inner black woman busting out.
Lifetime has a new show, Girlfriend Intervention, which claims to take "BW"s ("Basic Women", read: WHITE) and give them a black mind and body makeover because, in their current white status, they are a "red hot mess." As it is summed up in the tagline: "Trapped inside every white woman is a strong black woman ready to bust out." (Video below.)
Putting aside the humor that I hope Lifetime intended, this tag line is easily insulting to women of both races. Plus, it begs the question, where the hell are the black women inside Asians and Latinas?
Nevertheless, the show has produced four Fairy Blackmothers (or whatever the fuck they call themselves) to help these tragic white women in the areas of home, style, beauty, and soul. This is obviously modeled after Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, but it doesn't acknowledge that inspiration in the title, probably because calling it Black Eye for the White Woman doesn't quite roll off the tongue the same way.
Phoebe Robinson's YouTube video, The Intervention, bears the description, "After watching Lifetime's new show, Jessica & Phoebe are inspired to help the white women of New York." But, what is really meant is, "After watching Lifetime's new show, Jessica & Phoebe are horrified that something like this could make it onto television and are inspired to point out how bizarre and racist it is by bringing it's theories into the real world."
As Robinson told me in an interview, she and Jessica Williams went into white girl mecca of Union Square Park in NYC to conduct their own ridiculous interventions as a way to highlight how "the show is racist and offensive to white people because it [portrays] white women as lame and boring and a broken down mess when these ladies are pretty normal, and then racist to black women because it plays on that magical negro stereotype that we're just there to teach white women how to be fabulous. Plus the sassy thing is ridiculous."
We get to see the promo for the Lifetime show at the beginning; Williams and Robinson come in around the 1:20 mark.
Robinson told me that Lifetime was trying to get more black viewers to their network, which was the inspiration behind the show. Of course, perpetuating racist stereotypes may not be a good way to go about it. Instead, Robinson suggests, "just cast talented black women in TV shows and movies and black audiences will show up."
And white women, don't worry, there's no such thing as "putting on headphones like a black girl."
(by Myka Fox)