Thembi Keeps It Real: I’m Addicted To “For The Love of Ray J”
Hi, my name is Thembi and I’m a VH-1 Celebreality Addict.
Every single time I try to be aware of what’s on television but not get all “involved” I fail miserably. It’s not that I don’t love VH-1 and Viacom networks for their constant pursuit of quality entertainment, especially their meticulous and enlightened choices for pop culture commentators (*wink wink), or that I legitimately care about the pseudo-celebrities on these reality shows. But after watching anywhere from a few minutes to a few episodes of any ridiculous reality show – Flava of Love, Charm School, Celebrity Rehab, the list goes on – I start organizing my life around these shows’ air times and dates. For The Love of Ray J was an exceptionally opiate-like tumble into the abyss of dependency, as after only THREE MINUTES of ONE EPISODE I had already set my DVR to record every trial and tribulation of William Ray Norwood Jr., better known to the world as Ray J.
More embroiling than a payday loan, For The Love of Ray J lured me into a state of near-catatonic flabbergast that I could not escape. By justifying the desire of a gaggle of freaky chicks to get close to one of the most marginally reputable celebrities that VH-1 has ever put on television, this show has me craving madness every week and there is no getting out until the series is complete. I call Ray J a fruitcake – he’s part fruity and part nutty – but he’s also super, super corny. Part of it is that groundless industry swagger and Los Angeles black person diction, part of it is the fact that most of us were treated to seeing his awkward anatomy in his sex tape with Kim Kardashian, and part of it is just because he’s Brandy’s far less-successful brother who clearly has something to prove. He’s also been romantically linked to Lil’ Kim, Karrine “Supahead” Stephans, and Whitney Houston, liasons that are each more puzzling than the next. No matter how you slice it, Ray J is just aesthetically pleasing enough to tolerate watching, and just aware enough of his own ridiculousness that following his decision-making process is kind of fun. This means that the viewer gets the right to judge the women vying for his affections by his criteria as well as our own, and anything that these poor souls do or say falls into one of a few categories – painful, hilarious, hilariously painful, sad, sadly hilarious, and just plain wack. So watching the show involves being both judge and jury, but it also makes me feel really, really superior.
I’m writing about this today because after many weeks of of deliberations, Ray J will finally choose his lady tonight at 10 PM. He’s already eliminated prime catches such as Lil’ Hood, a crazy, rappin’ white chick who cussed him out for no understandable reason, Caviar, a chick whose speech was so unintelligible that half of what she said was accompanied by subtitles but was only eliminated because Ray discovered that she was having regular contact with a pimp of sorts named “Chicago Larry,” and Stilts, who turned out to be married. Mystically enough, although Ray started out with fourteen women, most of whom were black, he is now down to three nutjobs whose ethnicities range from Latina-ish to Mulatto-esque, with a smattering of Indian-hair-ness in between. Cocktail (right) is the contestant who’s done everything by the book except for a quickly dismissed previous appearance on another reality show. Unique (center) is the phony church-goer with the really confusing Wish-Troll hair who presents herself as a ‘lady’ but has been known to get half naked and/or ghetto like any other contestant. Finally, we have the head of Team Psycho International, Danger (left), who has set a new low bar for women everywhere with her admissions of having been a prostitute, stripper, eye candy magazine ho, and finally spreading and retracting the rumor that she is pregnant with Ray J’s child. In a recent episode, it was also discovered that she slept with more than one of Ray J’s friends, a double standard but a faux-pas nonetheless, and she is full-steam ahead black Hollywood trying to be famous. As you can see, she has a tattoo on her face, which, as evidenced by fellow unhinged face tattoo enthusiasts Devante Swing and Mike Tyson, can only mean that she has bats in her belfry. I don’t have any bets on who is going to win, nor do I really care, but I won’t be taking phone calls during this finale episode so I can focus on Twitter, where dozens of folks talk trash about the show every week in unison.
I wrote this post because I try to promote the best in black entertainment and can often, as many people have told me, sound ‘elitist’ here at WWTD. I admit that I have short patience for people who are on the dumb, ignorant, trifling, or pathetic side of life, especially black people and women who serve as such bad representations for the rest of us. I also hate to promote the replacement of television acting and writing with shows about the lives of people who struggle so desperately to remain relevant. I feel guilty about fiending for For The Love of Ray J, so much so that part of my excitement about tonight’s episode is due to the fact that it’s all finally ending and I can be set free. Mixed feelings and shame aside, I cannot wait! Here is the sneak peek for tonight’s episode; just by posting it I think I now know how the guy who first brought crack to the hood felt.