Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
April 23, 2014

How Americans Feel About Affirmative Action Policies

Affirmative Action
Andrew Burton via Getty Images

Obamas Pay Tribute To 'Godfather' Of House Music

Frankie
jjeferguson/Twitter

This NYPD Idea Backfired Horribly On Twitter

Nypd
OccupyWallStreet

You Won't Believe What This Southern Baptist Preacher Said

Greear
J.D. Greear / Facebook

Supreme Court Upholds State's Ban On Affirmative Action In College Admissions

Supreme Court Building
Ryan McGinnis via Getty Images

'I Was Sentenced To Life In Prison -- And Then I Got A Second Chance'

Stephanie George
ACLU

5 Black Environmentalists That Are Saving The World

Lisa P Jackson
Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

2 Executions Stayed By Okla. Court

Lockett Werner
AP

Two Men Shot Near National Zoo During Annual Easter Monday Family Event

National Zoo
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Alabama Student Government Finally Votes For Integrating Greek System

University Of Alabama Greek
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Racist Easter Eggs Left On Lawn Outrage Parents

Racist Easter Eggs
WRIC-TV

South Carolina Republicans Skip Event Honoring Judge Who Helped Bring Down Segregation

Tim Scott Lindsey Graham
The State via Getty Images

KKK Forms Neighborhood Watch Group

Kkk
Maureen Fennelli via Getty Images

DOJ To Overhaul Clemency Process For Drug Offenders

Eric Holder
Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

Mogul's Use Of Plantation Imagery Prompts Firestorm In Detroit

Keith Crain
ASSOCIATED PRESS

American Wins Boston Marathon

Meb
ASSOCIATED PRESS

CNN Actually Asked 'Can The Klan Rebrand?'

Cnn
CNN.com

At Last: Jeans Made For Athletes With Muscular Legs

Follow HuffPost

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. Most Popular on HuffPost
    2. Latest News
    3. Black Voices
    4. View all RSS feeds

Keke Palmer Set To Make Television History!

Keke Palmer
Bennett Raglin/BET via Getty Images

This Boy Saved His Money For A PlayStation, But Then Tragedy Struck And He Helped His Community Instead

Hector Montoya
NBC 5 DFW

John Legend Has A Baby Doppelganger And It Is Just Too Much

John Legend
Charley Gallay via Getty Images

This Is The Best Thing You'll See All Day, We Promise

Williams
NBC via YouTube

Nicki Minaj Manages To Wow Even In A Knitted Dress

Nicki Minaj
Gregg DeGuire via Getty Images

'Love & Hip Hop' Star: 'We Didn't Do Anything Wrong'

Mimi Faust
Prince Williams via Getty Images

Exclusive: Bill Cosby To Be Honored With Johnny Carson Award

Bill Cosby
Jonathan Leibson via Getty Images

Kenya Moore Releases Statement Regarding Porsha Williams Attack

Kenya Moore
Bravo via Getty Images

WATCH
Natural Hair Vlogger Domineque Banks' Beautiful Legacy

Domineque Banks
Domineque Banks

This Is How Beyonce Does Easter

Beyonce
Tumblr

The 10 Words That Oprah Lives By

Asking The Right Questions
Debbie Yazbek

Would Monica From 'Love & Basketball' Approve Of This?

Quincy And Monica
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

This Is How Mariah Carey And Nick Cannon Celebrated Easter

Mc
Mariah Carey / Instagram

Whatever Happened to Class?

Comments (88)


Watching the Season Two finale of VH1's latest hit series 'Basketball Wives' and the reunion show that airs Sunday and Monday (part I and part II, respectively), I was struck by how
superficially gorgeous the participants are. Evelyn, Shaunie, Royce, Tami and Jennifer were all exquisitely coiffed and made up, wearing glittering jewelry, kick-ass shoes and sexy, figure-affirming dresses.

At first glance, it would seem that these lovely ladies were representing black women and women of color in an admirable way.

But there is one thing that was missing, something that could not be covered up underneath all that glittered: class.Class was once considered the essential attribute of womanhood, particularly in African-American communities where your racial background already marked you at a lower social standing and status in society.

With the knowledge that to be black was to already be at a disadvantage, our parents and grandparents put a premium on how we dressed and acted, especially as women. We were admonished not to wear our clothes too tight and to be careful about our makeup, hair colors and styles so not to be perceived as common folk or worse.

More importantly, we were taught how to conduct ourselves with dignity no matter what situation a disdainful majority put us in.

Obviously, things have become more relaxed over time and many folks would scoff at any return to the kind of strictly monitored modes of dress and behavior that once were the norm.

But after watching 'Basketball Wives,' the combined antics of women on other VH1 shows, too numerous to name here, as well as Bravo's 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta,' Oxygen's 'The Bad Girls Club,' Kimora Lee Simmons' 'Life in the Fab Lane,' 'BET's 'Frankie and Neffe' and 'Tiny and Toya,' plus NBC's 'Celebrity Apprentice,' the more I have to ask: Is class as outdated as manual typewriters and Princess phones?

Seeing grown women fist-fighting, calling each other "bitches," tearing each other down and openly poaching the other's men was as sad as it was pathetic.

If the 'Basketball Wives' aren't scripted, then it's truly a shame that women can act this way. If they are (and industry insiders say it's more scripted than not), it's even sadder as it means that several of the group actually volunteered to have their real-life reputations destroyed for TV time and dubious fame.

Like most other "reality" shows, 'Basketball Wives' only confirmed the prevailing notion that women can't get along, are competitive and jealous, and will do any and everything as long as it results in a man paying the bills.

To say someone has "class" is to say that they consciously act in a way that invites respect.
There's graciousness to words and deeds that we're just not seeing anymore.

It used to be the highest compliment to say that you carried yourself well. In some circles, maybe it still is. Think Lena Horne or Coretta Scott King. Sure, they were older women, but even younger ones could benefit from their stellar example.

Phylicia Rashad as Claire Huxtable on 'The Cosby Show' exemplifies the kind of class once revered in the black community.

The women of 'Basketball Wives' certainly don't represent every black woman; they don't even represent all women married to, dating or having babies with NBA players. And the "wives" don't exist in a vacuum - everyone from Charlie Sheen to Foxy Brown could use a few pointers on how to handle themselves in public with more decorum.

Sadly, none of the ex-wives, soon to be ex-wives, ex-girlfriends, baby mamas and athlete wranglers featured on 'Basketball Wives' seem to have any career ambition at all beyond the show - unless you count Shaunie O'Neal, whose role as den mother (and executive producer) to this sorority from hell has her smirking all the way to the bank.

Class may be an outdated notion - but maybe, like bell-bottoms, platforms and New Edition, it's time to make a very welcomed comeback.

Tonya Pendleton is a veteran Philadelphia-based Entertainment writer and cultural critic.

Comments: (88)

Add a comment

Page 1 of 9

Most Commented Articles

Daily Drama

The Best Clips From TV's Hottest Shows


More Daily Drama >>

Get Closer to BV

  • slider Image
  • slider Image
  • slider Image

BLACK MUSIC NEWS
The latest news and updates on a multitude of music stars.
Check It Out!

BLACK MUSIC NOTES

       

MEN OF MCCAFÉ SEARCH
McDonald's continues its nationwide search to find five community-service minded black men during this year's CIAA tournament.


LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD MEN

       
 

Find a Message Board

Discover conversations on everyone from Barack to Beyonce. There are nearly 50 forums, so click on a category below and find the right one for you.