I’m not ashamed to say that I actually have spent quite a number of hours watching “Reality Television.” While I am not as versed with programs that date back to the MTV era like Real World, or present day shows like Mob Wives, because these are shows that have not interested me, there are other shows that have over the years gained my attention and even admiration. If anything, the shows that I typically consider up my alley are shows like Undercover Boss, Run’s House, Hammertime, Ice Loves Coco, and Shark Tank.
I have at times in recent years seen my share of Real Housewives of Atlanta, Beverly Hills, DC, OC, NJ and NY. I’ve also seen Love and Hip-Hop, Basketball Wives In my current assortment of what I call “Scripted Life Television,” are shows like The Sisterhood, Mary Mary, and Totally T-boz. You can choose to lump them all together and call them Trash TV if you want, but there really are some lessons you can take from watching some of them.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had the opportunity to take in and assess a few episodes of the last three that I mentioned. I can personally relate to the trials and tests that are playing out for Tionne “T-boz” Watkins. Her music career was taking off right around the time I was entering college. Around that time, like her I was facing many issues with Sickle Cell Anemia. The year prior, I had my tonsils, adenoids, and gall bladder removed within weeks of my high school’s graduation.
I was so elated when she was chosen to be a spokesperson and ambassador for the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. I connected to many of the things she is bringing to light for those of us who don’t have the platform that her career has afforded her. For instance, in the most recent show she brought out the fact that many “Sicklers” are hard to get a needle in, due to the fact that many of us have small veins and require pediatric sized needles when drawing blood. Years of blood transfusions and doctor’s visits and countless medical procedures don’t help.
Seeing her face the realities of weighing a comeback career in music after a major hiatus, recovering from a brain tumor, the death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, and a broken marriage helps you to appreciate your own life and her own strength. I know that when she speaks of losing her cousin to Sickle Cell at age 43, and to know that she is presently 42 changes your whole life outlook. When I was approaching 37, the same age my father was when he died from Sickle Cell, it had a major impact on me. Even after I surpassed 37 it was always something about it that affected me.
Whatever her future endeavors hold, however her life unfolds, I believe with my whole heart that her willingness to put on display all of the things she faces will not only be a bonus for those who deal with Sickle Cell, but those who struggle with managing their personal dreams in the midst of adversities, even when others have their own thoughts of what that might look like.
QUESTION: Are there shows that have given you a different perspective of the realities of scripted life? In what ways?
- TLC’s T-Boz talks new reality show, defends Rihanna and Chris Brown (thegrio.com)
- T-Boz brings reality to TV (cnn.com)
- ‘Totally T-Boz’: Talking TLC 20th Anniversary With Chili (huffingtonpost.com)
- T-Boz Puts Life On Display With New Reality Show (huffingtonpost.com)
- T-Boz puts life on display with new reality show (seattletimes.com)
- Must-See: Watch a Sneak Peek of ‘Totally T-Boz’ (essence.com)
- ‘Totally T-Boz’: TLC Singer Discusses Brain Surgery, Health on TV Show (theboombox.com)
- T-boz: ‘I’m Here For A Reason’ (contactmusic.com)