All the 'Single Ladies'

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Gina Bellafonte is not a fan of VH1's first scripted show:


Rather than soliciting your judgment of a money chaser, the show invites it for April (Charity Shea), a dimwitted white woman with no clear goals of any kind. April has a devoted black husband who offers to rent a villa for her in the Mediterranean when the inkling of a bad mood sets in. But April is also carrying on with the city's black mayor, a hound of a guy who seems to be getting busy with half the neighborhood of Buckhead. She has no explanation for her affair other than a vague sense of boredom, and her black friends resent the lack of racial solidarity the men in her life display by having fallen for her. 

Out for dinner with a handsome black guy she meets online, Val is bidden to anger when she learns that he usually goes out only with white women, whose hair and manner he tends to find less objectionable. "Single Ladies" has issues with black men, who are depicted as way too self-regarding, and blond women, who are simply taking up too much space on the planet. Not altogether predictably, the show reserves a certain kindness for that forgotten minority: the boyish white man. Apparently "Single Ladies" has yet to see "The Hangover Part II."

Given the paucity of roles for black women, is it lame to say that I'm just glad that Lisa Raye and Stacey Dash are getting work? I don't know, I think it's highly likely that any show about upper class black women in Atlanta will have it's share of issue with black (preferably upper class) men and white (preferably blonde) women. Surely, Sex and the City had its issues. As does Entourage, as does, well, just about any show rooted in the fiscally fantastic.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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