A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality series -- featuring women connected to the rap industry -- sends mixed messages about the relationship between sexism and female empowerment. Cast members use some strong language ("bitch," "ass"; "s--t" and "f--k" are bleeped), lots of drinking (champagne, hard liquor), frequent images of scantily dressed women, and lots of references to being sexy.
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What's the story?
LOVE AND HIP HOP chronicles the lives of four women connected to the rap music scene. The show focuses on Chrissy Lampkin, the girlfriend of rapper Jim Jones; Emily Bustamente, the stylist and behind-the-scenes girlfriend of rapper Fabolous; singer and former 50 Cent G-Unit member Olivia Longott; and model and up-and-coming rap artist Somaya Reece. Occasionally joining the group is R&B singer Mashonda Tifrere. Together they attempt to cope with the challenges they face living in the rap music world, which include being unable to get their rap artist partners to commit to them and struggling to make their own mark in the rap industry.
Is it any good?
This docudrama attempts to show the flip side of the luxurious, high profile world of rap by featuring women who are struggling to build the careers and secure the relationships they want in a male-dominated industry that markets womanizing bachelorhood and female objectification. Unfortunately, the significance of this message gets lost in the endless catty arguments and trashy behavior exhibited by some of the cast.
The women featured here are choosing to be part of the rapper lifestyle, but some don’t appear to be very happy with these choices. Meanwhile, the fact that some of them are defining themselves and their lives according to the needs and goals of their rapping romantic partners and business associates makes them less than ideal role models for young women. It's hard to figure out exactly what it is that you're supposed to take away from this series, but ultimately, the message it sends to women isn’t very empowering.
Talk to your kids about ...
Parents can talk about rap music. What's the history of rap music and the culture that surrounds it? Talk about the messages that rap music and hip-hop culture promote -- both the good and the bad.
Talk about the women in this show. How do they fit into hip-hop culture? How are women typically talked about in rap music and/or rap music videos? Why? Does this kind of music perpetuate specific stereotypes about the African-American community?
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