And then there are times when I say, “I HOPE this isn’t real.” VH-1’s Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta is full of those times.
I know it’s buffoonery. I know it feeds into the negative black stereotypes the media perpetuates. I know I should sign the petitions to ban this and other programming from the air. But it’s just so entertaining. And for that, I continue to watch it week after week.
Don’t judge. You do, too.
This show’s level of mayhem and foolishness is staggering. So much that I have to mentally prepare myself to watch each episode. I know that within the first five minutes, music producer and cast member Stevie J. will say something that’ll make me pause the DVR and give my brain time to process.
Things like: “I don’t remember smashing her,” or “Fifty-percent of what? This?” *Insert crotch grab here.* And let’s not forget other gems like, “I’ve got papers on you,” and “I’m going to send you back to the strip club.”
Reality shows may include a few shady characters, but Stevie J. has appeared as the genre’s first official villain. Whether or not he actually possesses the following qualities in real life, they’re what make him the slime ball music guy we love to hate:
His smug smirk appropriately deemed the “Stevie J. Face”— All villains make signature facial expressions, especially when they’re up to no good. He strongly suggests to his artist/play thing Joseline Hernandez that she should abort their unborn child. Then he dismisses her anger at him during his confessional, saying that her threats to cut him off are bogus and that after they both make millions of dollars, “I can have it [meaning her] any way I want once that bread come through.” *Insert Stevie J. face here. *
His refusal to admit fault— Stevie J. is the type of person who’d step on his own mother’s neck if it meant money or success for himself. He has no regard to others’ feelings and chalks it up to his inability to change who he is. Once his longtime girlfriend Mimi finds out he’s slept with and impregnated Joseline, he explains to his friend Benzino that he couldn’t apologize to Mimi because she wouldn’t let him get a word in edgewise. In his confessional, he says that Mimi will just have to realize this is just how he is.
His refusal to take responsibility—Because Stevie J. believes that is unable and shouldn’t have to change, he doesn’t believe there are or should be consequences for his actions. “What are you telling me for?” he asks when Joseline tells him she’s pregnant. “You should’ve handled this off the rip.” When Mimi cusses him up and down the edifice of the new home he bought/rented for her, he tells the viewers in his confessional that the situation “will take some convincing,” totally dismissing the possibility that Mimi just might leave.
His persistence to belittle others to hide his vulnerability—It seems to take a lot of effort for Stevie J. to continue making Joseline think that she needs him and she will never succeed on her own. Remember when Ike Turner tried to make a certain someone feel the same way? Look how that turned out. My hunch? Stevie J. needs Joseline just as much as—if not more—than she needs him. When there’s money involved, no man will put that much effort into belittling a woman if he didn’t think she was a moneymaker. Could Joseline be the next Pitbull? Possibly. And Stevie J. thinks so, too. But Joseline believes he’s is the reason for her success, then she’ll never demand her rightful share of any money made. If there’s any money left to be made in the music industry.
Only five episodes into the season and Stevie J. has solidified himself in reality show villain history. Will he evolve over the course of the season and take on some redeeming qualities for once? We’ll just have to keep tuning in to VH-1 to find out.