Shaunie O’Neal. That last name may ring a bell. For those less familiar, O’Neal is most known as former wife to NBA player Shaquille O’Neal as well as the executive producer and star of VH1′s reality show “Basketball Wives.” She recently sat down with CNN and spoke on the negative portrayals of black women on reality TV and a few other things. Take a look at some of the excerpts below. –mckenzie harris
Her Take on Negative Portrayals of Black Women
I have gotten both good and bad responses from viewers about “Basketball Wives” (BW). As you see on the show, I’m not a big supporter of the bickering, drink throwing and fighting, but when you put a group of strong, independent and vocal women who are going through or just came out of a bad relationship together, there’s bound to be a little drama. The problem for me is when black women are portrayed as only being that way and labeled different than their non-black counterparts for the same type of behavior. That’s when it becomes negative and damaging to our image. I’m not saying we have to create shows that only paint a pretty picture about who we are, but there should be a balance and, most of all, some integrity to the shows we create.
On Why She Chose to be on ‘Basketball Wives’
I do believe some of the shows featuring black women have positive story lines and are not meant to tear black women down. Shows like [BET’s] “Tiny & Toya” and “Monica: Still Standing” and [WE tv’s] “The Braxtons.” They all have the same core storyline. I believe that is positive and, when handled properly, can be very uplifting and empowering for women going through the same issues, no matter their race. That’s why I wanted to do “BW.” I wanted to show what life is really like when you are with a professional athlete and that, sometimes, all that glitters isn’t gold.
On Her Role as Executive Producer
My role as EP of the show does not negate my concern for how black women are portrayed on reality TV, but I do believe that there are some shows attempting to strike a balance and have a positive message despite the drama. I’m personally working with Shed Media and VH1 to make sure that “BW” stands among them.