Spitting images

Kevin Clark

I absolutely love watching television. In my mind, sometimes I feel like I am a television historian. Ever since “The Real World” first aired in 1992, reality television has been this huge melodrama that has entertained us all. You would think 14 years later that the magic would wane. Enter: “Flavor of Love.”

For those who have been living under a rock the size of Gibraltar, “Flavor of Love” is a reality show starring former Public Enemy hype man – Flavor Flav. The show dubbed “The Black-chelor,” finds 20 single women all vying for the title of being Flav’s true “love.” The 10-episode debacle had all the makings of what all other shows put on display – sex, arguing, tears, laughter and . sex.

“Flavor of Love” had everything that you could want. One girl tried to cook chicken in a microwave with vegetables stuffed in every orifice. After being interrogated by Sly Stallone’s ex, Brigitte Nielsen, a catfight ensued between her and a girl aptly named “Hoopz.”

Personally, I enjoyed the show. I thought it was funny. But should that have always been the case? Black entertainers are always the comedic majority. With a show that was supposed to be the “alternative” to the popular ABC reality show, “The Bachelor” – should it have been portrayed in such a stereotypical light? Do we revel in being the butt of America’s joke? Or do we believe that any step made through the door of celebrity-ism is progress at all? Or are we just trying to find something to complain about?

In the late ’80s and early ’90s, the force known as Public Enemy crushed everything in sight. The sound and fury of Chuck D was offset by the clownish Flavor Flav. For every “Fight the Power,” there was “911 is a Joke.” So, if we didn’t have a problem with the Public Enemy construct, then why is Flav an enemy of the public now? Were his antics that out of place with the person he’s been since being introduced to the mainstream?

Anyone can remember when Stephen slapped Irene during “The Real World: Seattle” and other shocking happenings. Did anyone handle it with the class of Flavor Flav? When he eliminated contestants, he had a compassion rarely seen. It was as if he sincerely cared for them. When the cause warranted the reaction, it fit perfectly. From “Hottie” lying about everything on her polygraph test to “Punkin” spitting in the face of “New York,” Flav’s anger about the situation was genuine.

Is our disdain to Flavor Flav just? Or is there a bigger picture that we’re not ready to face? We have always been the type to handle “our” business behind closed doors. Are we embarrassed by Flavor Flav? If so, then why? What has he done that has been so different than what he did in the early ’90s? Sincerely put, does he have the problem, or do we have the problem?

Interested? Are your senses all in a commotion? Want to know the secret recipe for microwaveable chicken? Go to http://realrecognizereal.wordpress.com.

Kevin L. Clark is a sophomore journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]kent.edu.