Richardson: No, it's not OK
"This goes out to all my baby mamas
I got love for all my baby mamas
It's about time we had our own song
Don't know what took so long
Cause now-a-days it like a badge of honor
To be a baby mama
I see ya payin' ya bills
I see ya workin' ya job
I see ya goin' to school
And girl I know it's hard
And even though ya fed up
With makin' beds up
Girl, keep ya head up"
-- “My Baby Mama,” Fantasia Barrino
Can you see me shaking my head? And I don't mean to the beat of the music. Actually, outside of the lyrics, the subject of the song and the condition it defines, have very little to do with what's making me shake my head in disgust.
There's an Atlanta rapper who goes by the name Shawty Lo, and somehow, Oxygen Media decided to produce a reality show on him and his 10 babies’ mamas and 11 children. When I first heard about this, my mind said it must be a joke, a bad joke at that. Who in their right mind would think such a thing could be entertaining? The show was to be called "All My Babies' Mamas." See, now you're shaking your head, too.
There are some realities I just don't want to know about, and 10 babies' mamas is one of them. Shawty (real name Carlos Walker) must have been kicked in the head by a mule -- not only for agreeing to do the opposite of the "Cosby Show" -- but for spreading his seed around like a prized bull. Maybe he was trying to prove something, but all he has proven is that he's a prolific sperm donor. I don't know what kind of father he is, but parading your children in front of TV cameras with a thundering horde of mamas, tells me old Shawty isn't the ideal daddy, if he can claim the daddy title at all.
I can see where such an exploitative show might be interesting. It's got drama written all over it. It's tough enough to raise two children in the same home with one mama, much less raising 11 children in 10 different households and Shawty's not living with any of them. His 36-year-old ass is now dating a 19-year-old who should check her IQ against the 10 mamas. I'd bet there's not a point difference between them.
There are voices that say it's OK to be raised by a single parent. I get that. I was raised by a divorced mother. Did we get by? Sure. Was it ideal? No.
Blended families are everywhere, but how does a child explain their siblings spread over 10 mamas? What about the statistics that plainly show that children born to impoverished single mothers will most likely live their entire lifetimes in poverty, too?
Shawty is not the first to make a splash over the multiplication of mamas and children. Tennessee's Desmond Hatchett may hold the record. He's sired 30 children by 11 babies' mamas. He first hit the news in 2009 at the ripe old age of 29 when he had only 21 children and couldn't keep up his child support payments. Go figure. I'm glad I wasn't the child support judge, I may have said or done something inappropriate.
Shawty and Desmond are no more than stud horses that don't have the sense God gave a cow, no insult to the cow, but dumber creatures have never walked the Earth. And that goes for the multiple mothers, too. What about Shawty and Desmond was that attractive for them to join the lineup?
For my money, any show that would exploit the miserable is not worth watching. But then again, that's what reality shows are all about. This babies' mamas show would have brought a new meaning to the term "low class."
Fortunately, someone at Oxygen Media woke up from a coma -- prodded by two online protests that attracted almost 80,000 votes to cancel the show, and said, "stop it."
A wiser decision was never made. I still wonder how the idea got beyond the I-can't-believe-this-proposal stage?
Charles E. Richardson is The Telegraph's editorial page editor. He can be reached at (478)744-4342 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.