Can America Get Behind a Black 'Bachelor' (Without Stereotyping)?
Lamar Hurd campaigns to become the first Black man on "The Bachelor."
ABC’s The Bachelor has been thrusting Average Joe’s into the spotlight for years. The goal of the show is to get the men to fall in love with one of the hopeful women who flock to casting, seeking for a mate (and cheap & easy fame). During the show’s reign of about a decade, not one of those bachelors has been a Black man.
Enter Lamar Hurd. He’s a 28-year-old Texas man who has been on a campaign to become the first Black bachelor. If you haven’t heard of him then watch his audition tape:
Hurd is obviously going hard for the cause, and in a recent development revealed to Entertainment Weekly, he took a meeting with ABC executives on Monday. There’s no word on how that meeting went, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Hurd gets his wish. He seems like a likeable guy and based on his efforts to make this show happen, we can tell that he’s dedicated, which is admirable.
But how will TV executives mold him on the show if he gets selected?
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Let’s get in a quick reality TV Black History lesson. In 2006, VH1 premiered “The Flavor of Love,” which changed the way Americans viewed reality TV and enforced stereotypes about Black people in the process. Flavor Flav was the larger than life hype man/rapper whose antics could easily be described as coonery and the women who flocked to him were wannabe actresses and video girls who personified various stereotypes of Black women (being loud, hyper sexual, obnoxious).
Generally speaking, most people who agree to appear on any show like this are probably attention whores but Flavor of Love was the tide that changed reality TV. It opened the floodgates for ratchet shows like I Love New York, about the loud mouth woman who was spurned by Flav; For the Love of Ray J, the wannabe thug R&B singer who was also a notorious womanizer; Ochocinco’s Ultimate Catch, about the footballer who had a suspect preference for non-Black women, and even Basketball Wives and Love and Hip-Hop, where fighting abounded and the players involved were even surlier than we had seen on prior shows. Can we come back from that?
Like I said, Hurd is a seemingly congenial guy who most likely won’t be hyper macho and shouting random colloquialisms reserved more for rappers and hardcore R &B singers but aside from the “first Black bachelor” angle, my take is that there will be some stereotype about him that gets played up big time.
My opinion is that Hurd seems like he’d prefer to court a flock of diverse women but learning more toward women who aren’t Black. If this happens, then it will enforce the image that good Black men don’t date Black women and we’ll have tons of controversy on our hands…from angry Black women, of course. This is how I think the powers that be would mold Hurd to appear. Controversy equals ratings.
I could be wrong but I’m a cynic, so the only way I’d believe otherwise is by actually seeing the show. But until then, I don’t know if I’m pulling for Hurd’s campaign. The “first Black bachelor” would be cute and all, but I think it might do more harm than good.
Anyway, that’s my two cents, what do you think? Can America get behind a Black bachelor without stereotypes?