Tears of a Hard A**: Celebrity Apprentice

21 Mar

The other day I watched an episode of the New All-star Celebrity apprentice.  All the old favorites are back: Dennis Rodman, LaToya Jackson, Marilu Henner and Omarosa. You may know Omarosa as one of the biggest “reality” TV villains of all-time. Every show that she is on promises drama to the nth degree. So you can understand why the Donald wants her back again and again.

Omarosa’s reputation precedes her and that reputation is as hard ass dictator. Her teammate and friend Claudia Jordan even describes her as “nasty, tough and smart” at the Donald’s suggestion. So it’s no surprise that when she cries after her team wins the challenge her cast mates are confused. What is problematic to me, however, is that rather than accepting that this may be an emotional moment for Omarosa, whose charity is dedicated to her deceased fiance, the perceptions is that strong black women who refuse to take crap from anyone are incapable of true feelings. Even LaToya Jackson doesn’t believe that Omarosa’s feelings are legit.

What’s so wrong with thinking that Omarosa is just playing the game? First let me caveat with the fact that Omarosa’s track record isn’t great. She has been known to use any means necessary to get where she needs to be. The problem is that Omarosa represents a particular stereotype when we see her on TV. She is the “overachiever black woman who will do anything to get ahead”. By taking her emotional moment and undercutting it with Dennis Rodman’s statement that she deserves an Oscar for her performance or with her entire team toasting to the fact that they know Omarosa is playing them it says that strong black women are not allowed to feel. It says that a woman who would work hard and not allow herself to be played by other people cannot ALSO have strong emotions which might over power her.

By allowing Omarosa’s emotions to be “merely” a ploy to keep her in the Donald’s good graces it also allows any woman but more specifically black woman who is a task master to be devoid of emotion and devoid of humanity.  Thats a problem. It perpetuates a stereotype that does not allow women to move forward because they are constantly having to second guess themselves and change their behavior to be a perfect balance of sweet and kind and dominant and in charge. The age old story of a woman in the boardroom crying being weak but the one who fights for herself is a bitch.

Did you watch the episode? What did you think?


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