As emcees of the past grow and raise their families a lot of these retired hustlers are entering into the new age with reality shows. This isn’t anything new since we’ve been watching Family Hustle for a while now but with the negative connotation that came with being a “reality tv star” it was a wonder that highly respected lyricists would move toward such a platform. This week Ja Rule’s Follow the Rules debuted on MTV and just like all the rest it showcases the emcee and his family going through well everyday family practices and problems. This is off the heels of the successful Nellyville season aired on BET. Jermaine Dupri has his own show coming on the Lifetime network and we’ve seen Gotti’s Way and we even got to know Jim Jones as a father also. Showing there’s nothing wrong with being a responsible parent and in the case of Nelly raising his niece and nephew alongside his own children as a single/co-parent we get to see the ups and downs of parenthood. I remember when Snoop Dogg had his show, Father Hood, and that was before reality television was a staple in peoples’ homes.
These opportunities are allowing a lot of rappers to stay in the forefront and make new money versus their old residual income. This allows us as longtime fans and new comers to see them in another light, as Black fathers. Fatherhood is something that is a sensitive issue in some households within our communities. Our young people need to see these types of images. Not everyone can relate to The Cosby Show but those same people may be able to relate to a father who has been in the streets transitioning into legal workspace and having siblings with different parents, the new blended family. Watching how these same people who’ve been felons have matured and given up their street lifestyle for the livelihood of their families. A lot of these Rappers are married to women who have been with them during their time at the top of the charts and right there with them through their legal woes. Jadakiss mentioned this week on The Breakfast Club that his son attends college and would like to have a show detailing how he and his son prepare for him to return to college after the summer break.
You’ve heard the stories of the great times that students have during their time at a HBCU but nothing compares to seeing it which is why A Different World was so successful. Jadakiss’ son attends Clark Atlanta University in the middle of downtown Atlanta and his roommate’s dad is also a rapper, now tell me that doesn’t sound like a good premise for a show. I’m just glad that these emcees have found a way to use a platform for good instead of Couple’s Therapy, Love & Hip Hop, or any of those no brainer shows. I don’t want a show chronicling what you did before you got locked up nor what a rapper does once he gets released from jail or prison. We can use these platforms without allowing the producers to have all of the creative control. These same rappers are still viable artists and they shouldn’t be relegated to reality tv for relevance. We can still support their music and their other endeavors simultaneously.