Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Black Man's Radio: The Breakfast Club

Photo from iHeartRadio app
Since I've stopped listening to The Kane Show in the mornings, I've been looking for a new station and recently I came across The Breakfast Club, based in NYC. The cast includes DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God (who was very funny on the show Guy Code).

My initial thought: "Yes! My new morning show!"
Second thought: "Maybe."

I have been listening regularly for a few weeks now. I like it for the most part--hearing established black people in the industry talk about black issues and black success is an amazing change. But I have some serious problems with the way they talk women, especially since I stopped listening to the Kane Show for similar reasons.

I have made a pro/con list for The Breakfast Club as a possible replacement. What do you think?


Speaks on issues of consequence
The three co-hosts address real world topics of real consequence. Whereas The Kane Show wouldn't even mention politics, The Breakfast Club cast updates listeners on the election, the BLM Movement, and global issues. Their political views are obviously biased and it's a relief to hear. I know their opinions and there's no false screen of impartiality.

Focused on the Black community
From media to sports to worldwide news  this morning show covers the bases in the black community. They catch listeners up on rising black artists in Brooklyn and Atlanta, the latest movies made by black people, political policies and potential effects on the community, leaders in black communities, and established black celebrities.

Some of it is pop fluff but much of it is educational. Before listening to this show, I didn't know many of the people of color in the industry, especially ones unconnected to scandal. Now I've got lists of new books, movies, and albums.

Married Men
I don't believe in marriage, but these men break the no-good black man stereotype (for the most part). Each man has been with his wife for at least 10 years, sticking with the relationship through the ups and downs. These men also have children whose lives they are actively involved in. They work hard to make their money and support their families. They are forthcoming about their shortcomings and strive to be better whether its nutritionally, physically, spiritually, whatever.

The Interviews
When a guest comes in, the cast (of course) talks about the product being promoted and maybe some recent scandal. But, damn, they all get involved, asking pointed questions about real life: struggles with suicide or depression, death in the family, and interactions with police.

LGBT Friendly
These people don't discriminate when it comes to playing music, holding interviews with artists, or relating a news story. It's out in the open and it's supported. They also grill the LGBT interviewees just as hard of a time as anyone they would interview. It's all equal.


Hoes and Sidechicks
Living up to its tagline, The Breakfast Club is "the show you love to hate." I get that Charlamagne, as a character on the show, is supposed to be the wild card. Still, Charlamagne seems to say an awful lot of positive stuff about sidechicks for a married man. I don't like cheaters and I don't like that men disrespect their women this way. If a woman were to cheat, she would be the  It pushes the idea that a woman (and a black woman's body) is less important than a man.

I don't think either of the show's men would want their daughters referred to as hoes. A woman is not a "hoe" because she likes sex, takes Plan B, gets an abortion, sleeps with more than one man, and/or anything else about her sexuality. Now Angela Yee does speak up and say her part about these things. She will call the guys out when they are getting reckless, but she gets talked over sometimes.

To Charlamagne and DJ Envy (if they ever read this): Don't put the women in your community down. Build them up.

Perpetuating Stereotypes
Honestly, the men on the show can so ignorant! To his credit, sometimes DJ Envy asks for clarification, like in the instance of the Plan B pill being an "abortion pill" but other times the guys latch hard onto a topic and blow it out of the water with incorrect information. This especially happens concerning women and sex. As a woman of color, this concerns me. These men are in a position of power and authority, talking to the masses--men and women looking up to them. If they spread misinformation--like a woman is hoe if she takes Plan B more than twice--then they are feeding into negative stereotypes in the community.

A woman who won't take the Plan B pill because she doesn't want to be a "hoe" will have to pay hundreds for an abortion or thousands for a child. Men will end up with children they don't want and continue to blame women for "trapping" them. Money that could be used to build black businesses, support communities, and further educate POC will end up going to child support payments, day cares, and diapers.

Don't oppress women with misinformation that was first fed to you in order to keep you and your community down. You don't hear white men on the radio calling their white women loose or sluts. Have more class. Do your research. Don't make women feel ashamed for taking control of their own reproductive rights.

In fact, she's taking responsibility where her man failed. Why aren't DJ Envy and Charlamagne getting on the men for not wearing a condom? Why isn't that man drug through the dirt right alongside his woman?

The Breakfast Club isn't homophobic, as noted above, but they do get kind of giggly and weird about rumors involving closeted gay rappers or famous people having trans relations. If it's someone they are interviewing, they ask about the rumors and that's cool. It's just sometimes you can feel that negative vibe like having trans relations is taboo. It's got to be denied or the guy had to have been tricked into it. But, maybe, that's just them still getting used to this out and open world.

Light-Skin Talk
Charlamagne jokes a lot about DJ Envy having a light-skin brain or light-skin tendencies, similar to how someone would say "Oh, she's such a blonde!" I know a lot of the banter on the show is teasing, but that doesn't make it less wrong. This is where someone might get on me for being too PC or easily offended. I'm all for free speech. Maybe I just don't get the joke. Maybe I think the joke is dated.

I'm not saying Charlamagne should cut it out. I am saying there is already such division in America between the races. Why add an extra lines between the light-skin and dark-skin people?

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