Last night (March 26th) was the premier of VH1’s newest reality show Teyana and Iman, and it might just be the best thing that’s ever happened to reality television.
You don’t have to be a VH1 loyalist to tell the once music focused network has transitioned to reality television. Hate and criticize all you want but it’s on par with what people demand, and the numbers depict that.
The appeal of ordinary people doing extraordinary things is an unbeatable formula. There’s a thrill in the idea that you also could be a celebrity featured on television and people seem to can’t get enough of it.
There’s an addicting component to reality shows that draws you to watch, just so you can prove you’re better than than who your watching or that your life is better. Researchers call it “hyper-authenticity,” and there’s plenty to pick from.
VH1 has America’s Next Top Model, Black Inc Crew, and Love & Hip-Hop just to name a few, and that doesn’t mention the Kardashian empire or the singing competition juggernauts like American Idol and The Voice.
Drama, suspense, and laughter are more bankable with reality television. It’s what makes them popular, but that’s also what makes Teyana and Iman’s show a game changer: the absence of antics and drama.
Iman Shumpert, who is a former member of the NBA championship Cleveland Cavs and current Sacramento Kings guard, wouldn’t do the show unless it was different.
Iman says in the show’s trailer,
“When I look at reality shows, it don’t look like reality to me. It’s so important to be a positive representation of Black love, that my mass actually got on T.V. to do it.”
— VH1 (@VH1) November 14, 2017
The simple truth is that there aren’t any examples of Black love on television void scandals, infidelity and messiness, so the fact that Teyana and Iman are putting the passion they share in front of millions makes it a watershed moment in the culture.
In a genre where viewers want to emulate what they see, a married Black couple raising a child amidst of fame’s unforgiving spotlight is a refreshing image for a change.
The eight-episode VH1 series centers around Teyana Taylor’s singing/acting career and Iman Shumpert’s basketball/rapping career, but both claim their daughter Junie really makes the show.
Taylor tells People in an interview,
“She’s the star of our whole world. Honestly, like one thing we want to do is give Junie the freedom to do whatever it is her little mind desires because sometimes she’s singing and she’s playing in makeup and she’s putting on lipstick and she’s dancing, but then she’ll turn around, pick up a basketball and she’s trying to hoop. She’s tall.”
The first episode, ‘Meet the Shumperts’ is on VH1 now, and, take it from me, this is one reality program that does more good than bad.