The Subtext behind “Let’s Talk about Pep” by Raqiyah Mays

I feel sad when I watch “Let’s Talk about Pep.” It’s too much reality for me. VH1’s black version of “Sex in the City” doesn’t leave me feeling like I do after hanging with Sarah Jessica Parker when she sashays in her stilettos as Carrie Bradshaw. There’s something about the “Sex in the City” franchise that’s like an updated version of “The Frog Princess.” A lady in waiting, among the trenches of dating, kisses toads until she finds her prince. It’s pure fairy tale inspiration. We imagine that Carrie will finally marry Mr. Big. And we dream Samantha will wed the man she can go to swinger clubs with. We feel empowered that these women, we, can have it all.

But after “Let’s Talk about Pep,” I don’t have happy, aspiring thoughts. I see statistics. Like the one on Oprah that said 70% of black women are single. It’s a number that tops those of females from any other country. I see the CNN story stating that forty-five percent of black women in America have never been married. Some blame numbers like the 40% of African-American men in jail, gay (or on the down low), and the 50% who die before the age of 25. It’s a bleak outlook that gives me a momentary lump in the stomach when I watch it proven on a music channel. Just like the demographic of the ladies on “Let’s Talk about Pep,” I know several women in their 40s and 50s, never been married, still single. They have decent jobs, cars, homes and want a man. Some have given up the search for love and marriage altogether. Others have yet to give birth, feeling the pressure of dust settling on their ovaries.

I get a cry in my uterus when I watch “Let’s Talk about Pep.” Because there are masses of single sista’s watching this show, wearing similar shoes across the country. I pray that the power of the boob tube doesn’t break these princesses’ confidence. And I watch Pepa and crew, hoping that in this reality ̶ where the queens search for a mate by kissing reptiles ̶ they find an angel; a loyal, strong brotha, who’ll exorcise their issues and make beautiful black love.

For more talk about love and relationships, check out “Together Apart” hosted by Malik Yoba and Raqiyah Mays. Saturday, January 30, 6pm at Loft 45 in Brooklyn, NY, 45 Waverly Ave (bet. Park & Flushing)

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19 Responses to “The Subtext behind “Let’s Talk about Pep” by Raqiyah Mays”

  1. I thought it was just me–@”too much reality for me”. I’ve always felt that some sort of ‘solution oriented processing’ or post-show discussion should be offered when reality shows delve into certain aspects of ‘reality’ (and not just this show, but others as well). I mean, it would not only be good for the cast/participants, but offer a transformational opportunity for the audience as well. Like, ‘change your life tv’ for real….Maybe it’s my do-gooder tendencies, but it seems that it would also enhance audience development and be a great marketing tool as well.

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  2. Jocelyn J.Hughes Says:

    From the very first ep.I was disgusted PERIOD…to sum it up in a nutshell:HATED IT!!and to be honest I didn’t even see the rest of that first ep when the one with that “Irritating @ss voice” just got on my last nerves so in other words..”Not suitable for me”….

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  3. I enjoyed watching it, but I do think that when that much “reality” is being explored people should be offered options for analysis and processing…

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  4. Tesynia Aries Says:

    I am tired of television shows that paint our people in the most negative light as possible. The show does nothing more than add to the stereotype about the “black” woman’s libido and her never ending search for her next “baby’s daddy.”

    People need to pick up a book and read. We have got to do better!

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  5. John Celestand Says:

    Yes, it is pretty sad. Not sure what to do about it. It seems as if people don’t care anymore what they look like or stand for on television. It’s about how to make a dollar. And if they means, sacrificing your standards or your integrity most will do it. Whether it’s Whitney, Bobby Brown, Keyshia Cole, Flavor Flav or Pepa it doesn’t matter. But really, the more sad part is that WE WATCH IT! Me included. At some point it has to do something to the psyche.

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  6. Shaleema Mitchell Says:

    I watched one episode of the show and as a single, black, 35 year old woman, I was disappointed with the way sistas were being portrayed. We need shows that encourage young women to not give up hope in finding love and happiness while obtaining success. There needs to be a balance between our professional and personal life which isn’t depicted in any reality show that I’ve seen thus far.

    It’s sad and degrading but I guess we all need a check coming in huh?!?

    Don’t get me wrong~I love Pep…..as an Artist!

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  7. Karen Patterson Says:

    I def agree that this is a sad show but doesnt it show the “reality” of the situation. Also isnt this what drives ratings, showing someone in need versus someone who has it all together. On another note it reinforces to younger black women that they need to settle or hurry up and find that man or secure that man because if you dont you wont. Perhaps society is evolving and the forever relationship is slowly disintegrating and we are trying hard not to accept it. I am all over the place with this as there are so many things that can be said or considered. In the end I agree with Tesynia to pick up a book.

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  8. Thank you ladies (and my one gentleman) for your comments on this blog about “Let’s Talk about Pep.” This show doesn’t disgust me, like some of you. But I, like Toni, am entertained by it. I’d just rather not feel that sad ping I get in my stomach during certain scenes. Maybe it’s because of the editing. But when there are so few women of color on TV and a show comes on showing so many powerful black ladies, who happen to be single, it wreaks of stereotypes that have to be discussed. Thank you all for contributing to the honest convo.

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  9. IF YOU WERE REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT WANTING PEOPLE TO CONTRIBUTE HONEST “CONVO”, YOU WOULD’VE POSTED LEFT JACQUE REID’S REPLY ON THE SITE. YOU’RE REALLY ONLY INTERESTED IN READING YOUR OWN WORDS AND HAVING THEM REINFORCED BY YOUR FANS — NOT AN AUTHENTIC PLATFORM FOR HONESTY.

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    • @Jay Katz – LOL Finally! Some balance to the discussion. But check your facts. Jacque never left a response here. She replied on my facebook page. And it still sits there for all the world to see. It’s actually one of the best comments on this blog. Please check it out. Why would I delete someone who disagrees with me? That would be wack! It’s not a debate without balance. But thanks for reading my blog and trying to check me.

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  10. It sounds like you’re creating problems yourself by trying to solve this issue instead of looking at why their is a problem in the first place

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    • Anderson, I’m not trying to solve this issue. I don’t have that much power and don’t think any one person can solve it alone. I’m just stating the facts and stats and that, to me, shows why there’s a problem…at least a snippet of why there’s an issue. It’s a multidimensional thing, too much to discuss in one blog and an ongoing never-ending convo.

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  11. Greetings from Germany. I’m wondering if you have any advice on staying out of the “Friend Zone” with girls? Honestly I’m sick of girls telling me they “just want to be friends.”

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    • Thanks for your email. My advice for staying out of the “friend zone:” Tell the girl from the beginning the kind of relationship you want to have with her. If she says she “just wants to be friends” then that’s her choice and there’s little you can do about it. At least you know right away and there’s no confusion in being a friend or boyfriend. Hope this helps. Good luck!

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  12. I usually don’t write comments on posts, but your article called on me to applaud your blog. Thanks for writing up this great read, I will surely bookmark your blog and visit every now and then. Happy blogging.

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  13. Greetings from Paris. This is a cool site. I’m wondering if you have any advice about staying out of the friend zone with women? Honestly I’m sick of girls telling me they just want to be friends. Perhaps I’m being too much of a nice guy?

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  14. Best you could edit the page subject The Subtext behind “Let’s Talk about Pep” by Raqiyah Mays The Raq Chronicles to something more suited for your blog post you make. I enjoyed the post even sononetheless.

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  15. Sarah Jessica Parker is really very very beautiful specially during her younger years .’*

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