by James Hill
January 30, 2017
Rickey Smiley For Real has gained popularity over each of its three seasons due to its realistic presentation of a single father who works very hard to love and care for his family, and teach them the right and wrong things to do, while giving them valuable life experiences. It also captures how he balances his real life family with his work family and all the demands he experiences as a businessman, a single father and an entertainer. Rickey and the producers go out of their way to keep the show authentic and not contrived. It deals with the real issues Black families face in an honest, transparent and unscripted manner.
In a recent episode of the show, the topic of dating outside of one’s race was discussed. While young Malik expressed his attraction to women of other races, Craig objected to that point of view. The scene was balanced and two different perspectives were presented. It represents a “teachable moment” on a real life situation that young people are faced with daily. At the resolution of the conversation, each teen agreed to introduce the other to girls of their preference. However, the scene was met with controversy as some viewers took offense to what was viewed as a dig at Black women.
Rickey has since gone on his radio show to address the topic and apologize to all who may have been offended by the scene.
TV One is a network that represents and reflects the Black experience by highlighting African American culture and presenting entertainment and news from the Black perspective. We charge our producers with producing a show that is authentic and relatable. As it pertains to the scene in question, we respect everyone’s right to love anyone and everyone. We, too, would like to apologize if anyone was offended by the point of view reflected in the scene. Though many of us may not agree or share the same sentiments Malik expressed in the show, the sound bites and tweets presented in the blogosphere present portions of the intended message out of context instead of the scene in its totality.
Open dialogue about our differences and similarities is what makes the Black community diverse and complex. We will continue to work to create content that not only uplifts the best of the African American experience, but pushes the envelope on various points of view, however in a loving and supportive way.