"Trapped inside of every white girl is a strong black woman ready to bust out."
What you have just read is an actual, real tag line of a new reality television show airing Lifetime.
It’s called “Girlfriend Intervention” and it’s a makeover show that revolves around four sassy black women tasked with turning a bunch of (mostly) white women – whom they refer to as BWs, short for “basic women” – from "a red hot mess" to "a bootylicous babe."
Yes, it looks as cringeworthy as it sounds.
Although there is no mention of women belonging to a particular race coming for a makeover, the fact that the show aims to reclaim the subject’s “inner strong black woman” has caused a great deal of outrage.
The details available on the show’s website also sound a little – well – out of place:
Here’s what it says:
“Many black women carry themselves with a great deal of pride, style and, most importantly, self-confidence. Where does it come from and how can it be obtained?”
“Who better to teach a woman how to get that sparkle in her eye and spring back in her step? Each week, 'Girlfriend Intervention' follows a woman whose personal space and self-esteem are in desperate need of a major makeover and a life-giving dose of diva inspiration.”
The beauticians include “beauty pro” Tracy Balan, “fashion maven” Tiffiny Dixon, “home/sanctuary guru” Nikki Chu and “soul coach” Tanisha Thomas.
And here the sneak peek:
NPR’s Linda Holmes points out how the show is offensive to not just one but all races. She wrote:
“Are you a black woman? You might find this offensive. Are you a white woman? You might find this offensive. Are you neither? You might be thinking at this point that you're lucky to be left out of the entire thing. (Be aware, though, that no one is safe. Near the end of the first episode, Thomas exaggeratedly compliments the hotness of the made-over white woman by yelling, "Muy caliente, salsa picante mucho!”)
And here’s some reaction from Twitter:
lifetime pls stop with the crappy shows#Girlfriend Intervention, you have a reality show moron, that has been on every reality show, except— Hater Monkey Jones (@meany_ha) August 28, 2014
I've said it before, the concept behind this new Lifetime show #GirlfriendIntervention is idiotic, and borderline racist. SMDH.— Lady Creepy Feet O_o (@JaiSayWhat) August 27, 2014
@lifetimetv Girlfriend Intervention is TRASH. Sorry, but...not really. I usually love Lifetime, but too many people dropped the ball here.— Uche Mari (@chenna_mari) August 28, 2014
Shoutout to @lifetimetv Girlfriend Intervention for being one of the most racist shows on television. The fuck.— EMILY BERKEY (@Emily_Berkey) August 28, 2014
Maybe the show won't turn out as bad as it sounds, but Lifetime viewers could have simply gotten a makeover program featuring women from all racial backgrounds in the lead.
But remember this is, after all, reality television – an industry that thrives on controversy.