Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is offering up a thoughtful take on how Bravo shows are helping to change American views on race. In his lengthy essay for Time, entitled "How Bravo TV Is Helping End Racism in America," he takes a closer look at our programming, including Married to Medicine, Thicker Than Water, Blood, Sweat & Heels, and The Real Housewives of Atlanta as well as The Kandi Factory and Fashion Queens.
"Through these shows, the country sees black Americans as neither icons nor victims," he writes. "Neither paragons nor charity cases. They’re just a bunch of warts-and-all people chasing the American Dream as hard and fast, and often as clueless, as most everyone else. So far-reaching and influential is media, that the next generation of white children raised with the cultural wallpaper of racism lining their homes will grow up seeing a broad spectrum of black lives. And those lives will now matter more."
Earlier in the essay, he notes that these programs help combat what he calls cultural racism. "That’s where Bravo comes in," he says. "Its lineup of reality shows seems to feature more black people than any other channel except BET. I once called Andy Cohen, Bravo’s former head of development and the current producer of the Real Housewives franchise, the 'Andy Warhol' of the new millennium. But his willingness to feature more blacks and members of the LGTBQ community in numerous reality shows also makes him an influential civil rights proponent."
This not the first time that the basketball legend has voiced his opinion of Bravo and its programming. Back in 2013 he wrote an article titled “How the Real Housewives Have Made America Better,” in which he noted the show is the “place where art and reality collide is where the Real Housewives live.”