Pop Culture, Race & Politics

Why Shawty Lo’s “All My Babies’ Mamas” Might Not Be So Bad

By now, everybody and their grandmother has heard of the new Oxygen special “All My Babies’ Mamas” featuring one-hit-wonder-cum-ATL trap culture-savant Shawty Lo. Or L-O as many of us “Dey Know” him. Get it? Good.

Between Twitter and the screams, of the black intelligentsia running down the street yelling “mama nooooooooooooooo” I’m convinced that the only way you may NOT have heard about it is a) you’re Black but have no Black friends and aren’t quite sure what “Black” Twitter means or b) you’re an actual white person who also doesn’t know what the Oxygen Network is either.

If you are either, some may consider you lucky. I, however, am not one of them. This may come as a surprise to you all but I have no issue with this show at all.


Yo’ mama. Okay, Shawty Lo’s Baby mama.

Look, I get it. The premise alone leaves much to be desired. Rapper with an obvious allergy to birth control has 11 kids by 10 women. Somebody break out the public service announcements. There’s a stereotype. There’s another one. Oh no, somebody stop the train. I’m with you..except, it’s too late. He’s already got the kids. And the multitude of baby mamas. So all that’s left to do now is hope that he takes care of his kids and gets along with his baby mamas, whether or not a special exists.

And by George, it actually looks like he does.

Real talk, this special is NO worse than a show full of women cavorting around town tossing drinks on another whose SOLE accomplishment is having either been knocked up or “wifed” by a man who has questionable decision making skills but raw athletic talent. And lord knows there’s very little redeeming value to Real Housewives of Any City. I’m not saying the shows aren’t entertaining, but what can you take away from those shows? They’re just drama and pop culture sayings.

And it’s a special. A look at a unique family situation that seems to be…working. Just pretend Mike Wallace is involved and there’s a ticking clock in the background.

I’m not big proponent of T.I. and Tiny’s show, but you know what, at least you get to see a family man and a man who deeply cares about the upbringing and morals of his children. In fact, T.I.’s show ruins his albums for me. And that’s the same principle I have to apply to “All My Babies’ Mamas”. Now, I’ll concede that the only thing I’m basing this on is the 13-minute trailer for the show (since removed – maybe the angry protests are working) which I was prepared to hate but by the time it was over, I was like, “well, damn, this might actually be a good show or at least worth watching.”

While we can lament that he’s got all of these children, as long as he’s taking care of his brood then what else can we say. The kids are HERE already. And from the looks of the trailer, it actually seems somewhat compelling. You’ve got these 10 women who all seem to know and follow some baby mama hierarchy and almost respect it. They all know each other and and hang out to some degree. And what’s most important, they have established some sort of actual family structure. Who can’t get behind that?

In fact, the most disturbing part of the show was the rather…um…aesthetic variance of the women with whom L-O has chosen to procreate. Forget birth control, he needs stronger glasses. But you know what, that could be his taste and who I am to begrudge that man his tastes. Hell, they’re his skeletons, not mine.

So let’s say this show comes on, and we see a bunch of individuals working together to make sure that they’re kids are given all of the opportunities they can have? Of course there are going to be dramas. Hell, in the trailer there was an issue with one of the kids being able to go to private school while some others didn’t have that opportunity. That’s some real decision making issue right there. In fact, the ONE area I’m skeptical about is his 18-or 19-year-old girlfriend being in the mix. I’d rather see the show without her involved. But she’s apart of the family. If the man can afford to take care of his children and is doing so then I can’t be but so mad. Maybe the folks at Oxygen saw something in him and his family that made them think that it wouldn’t be just drama. Again, RHOA, LHH:Anywhere, Jumpshot Jumpoffs…short of the drama, what is the worthwhile takeaway here?

“All My Baby Mamas”? At least we get a father. Yes, he’s not married to any of them (though he did want to marry one of them) but that’s in the past too.

We get parenting. And kids that seem to truly love their father. He can’t be THAT bad if all of his kids actually love him right?

And that’s the kind of quality programming we’d like to see right? (Okay, maybe that one is a stretch.)

So what’s the real big deal about it then? It isn’t setting us back any further than any other show. If T.I. and Tiny doesn’t set us back, then I’m not sure how this will….aside from the stereotypical name…but I’m saying, the rapper’s name is Shawty Lo and he is from the camp that brought us “Laffy Taffy”. And he’s got 11 kids. By 10 different women. Cut them some slack.

Look I realize there are petitions circulating to cancel the show and the NAACP – an organization whose current uselessness needs its own special – are all calling for a boycott or whatever is offended n-words do nowadays. And I get it, the negative stereotypes present and the devolution of these women into stereotypical caricatures isn’t cool, but nobody’s petitioning to end RHOA or LHH. And those shows are likely much worse than this. This is a special. A documentary if you will. Those are SHOWS that air weekly that add nothint to the Black diaspora except phrases like “this b*tch done shook the table.”. But we have an issue with this? Chickens coming home to roost? This is like folks taking on Soul Plane but going out to support Tyler Perry. Basically, Black folks, we have our priorities out of wack again. But I’m not surprised. So I ask…

…what’s the real problem?


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Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future.

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