Say what you want about reality television; I’m not listening. I truly think that The Real Housewives of Atlanta provides excellent role models for women, especially for women of color. Let’s take, for instance, last night’s episode:
Last night, a strange and wonderful thing came to pass. NeNe Leakes, one of the housewives and my personal favorite person on television right now, declared resolutely that she was going to divorce her husband, and she knew what that meant: she would have to find a job. So she did what any ordinary, self-respecting woman would do in her position. She went for an informational interview, which turned into a full-on interview, which turned into a job as a television news entertainment reporter.
Granted, these things are a bit easier if you’re famous. Nene is, after all, a celebrity in her own right. But she earned that fame through her personality and ingenuity. She is frank and honest and says exactly what pops into her head. She cherishes her girlfriends above everything else, and she never lets anyone talk trash.
And then I could go on and on about Kandi Burruss, who I think is probably the feminist icon of the group. Besides being a Grammy Award-winning music producer and down-to-earth entrepreneur, she advertised last night that she owns a retail store in Georgia. She is also a single mother and seems to be a damn good one at that.
Even Kim Zolciak surprised me this week, revealing that she was a nurse before she became a kept woman.
Then there are lawyer Phaedra (even if she is crazy), model Cynthia, and my used-to-be-favorite, Lisa Hartwell, who is a mother, a realtor, a fashion designer, a jewelry designer, a workout fanatic, and an overall badass. Who says all women in reality television have to be clones of the Jersey Shore girls? Hell no, not in Atlanta.
From personal experience, I can say that this show has affected me in a positive way. I do not mean that flippantly. It might sound delirious, but there are aspects of these women that I see in all of my friends and even myself. NeNe’s habit of speaking her mind has undoubtedly rubbed off on me. I speak up when I have a problem, so I like to think the air is always clear around me. All the women’s entrepreneurial ways have inspired me to believe that I can take up pretty much anything. When someone on the show wants to become something else or do something new, they simply talk to the right people and get the ball rolling. I realize a lot more goes on behing the scenes, but getting that ball rolling has always been the largest obstacle for me. And I feel I appreciate my relationships with other women more because of their friendships (that’s not to say theirs are always flawless… at all).
Anyway, rep for my hometown! It almost makes me want to go back. Actually, it makes me desperately want to go back. Let’s be real.
Photo 1 © LIFE