After building a hit reality TV brand, Love & Hip Hop creator Mona Scott-Young says she is being unfairly “vilified,” while her white counterparts don’t face the same scrutiny.
The television mogul sat down for an interview with TV One’s autobiographical series Uncensored. During the conversation, Scott-Young discussed how she broke into the entertainment industry, her Haitian roots and her VH1 franchise.
Critics — including some former cast members — have said Love & Hip Hop negatively portrays Black women, encourages cast members to “tear each other down,” and glorifies ratchet behavior.
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But Scott-Young insists she’s being held to a different standard than the producers of predominantly white reality franchises such as The Real Housewives juggernaut and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
“I understand as a woman, and as a woman of color, there is a responsibility that I have to protect the image of Black women and of Black people, as transmitted by the world and I recognize that,” Scott-Young tells Uncensored. “But what I also feel as strongly about is that there is a right for every Black person to tell their story. This right here was about the women in hip hop who have relationships with these men and they have a right for their stories to be told. So that is something I will stand fast in and argue.”
She adds, “What sometimes is infuriating is that my counterparts, my white male counterparts, my white female counterparts aren’t held to the same scrutiny. The same criticisms that I’m held to because I am a Black woman.”
The first series, Love & Hip Hop: New York, launched in 2011. It was followed by spinoffs based in Atlanta, Hollywood and Miami. The shows follow the personal and professional lives of hip hop and R&B performers, managers, and music producers.
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Scott-Young, who runs Monami Entertainment and Monami Productions, counters her critics by saying she is creating opportunities for people of color.
“Why am I being vilified for doing this when in reality television there are shows that run the gamut? … There are tons of shows that show the full range and it’s okay,” she says. “Nobody is hanging any of those producers out to dry, or saying that they are bringing down their culture for providing the very same opportunities to the cast members of those shows. It’s a hard pill to swallow and it’s something that I live with every day but going back to my very clear sense of who I am, what I contribute, what my relationship is with my cast, what my intentions are — my intentions are always to provide opportunities. That’s what this platform has done, that’s what this franchise has done, that’s what I’ve built with my company, both for people of color in front of and behind the camera, and I sit firmly in that.”
You can hear more from Mona Scott-Young when her episode of Uncensored airs Sunday, March 28 at 10pm ET/9c on TV One. It follows Unsung at 9pm ET/8c, which will feature powerhouse singer-songwriter Leela James.
Watch a preview clip of Uncensored below.