During the Summer, one of my best friends suggested that I check out GrapevineTV on YouTube.
After just a couple of episodes, I really didn’t connect with it and I told her straightaway, however she told me to give it a chance so I did. There were a couple of episodes that I liked, and a few people on the panel who I did connect with such, as Sensei Aishitemasu (who I follow on YouTube) and Donovan, so I kept going with it. Plus, as much I listening to podcasts, finally having PoC on my TV talking about current events – even if they all were US related – was great for my “woke-ness” journey.
However, apart from these few things that I did like, there were still so many things that I didn’t like. These were supposed to be intellectual black millenials, yet in every episode they were yelling at each other across a table while the host, Ashley Akunna stroked her hair like a lioness, rarely saying anything. These hyennas were perfectly perpetuating the stereotype of black people and never actually saying anything about the topics that they brought up. In fact, they were like a US verso of BKChat, just more stylish. (literally – these girls on GrapevineTV turn uuuuuup!)
Then, there were two episodes which began to hammer the nails into the casket for me: the first being the Erykah Badu episode where some of the guys sided with Badu and blamed child victims for sexually tempting older men with their clothing.
The second episode was one of the African vs African-American/Caribbean episodes where Ashley aggressively told Seren that African-Americans like her should work harder, if they want to get of the ghetto instead of blaming white supremacy for their hardships.
I took that personally and I took it to heart.
This forced me to stop watching, however I was still subscribed to the channel. When I received notifications about shows for Bill Crosby and R Kelly, I watched them, and I have to commend the team for doing a good job on these. The topics such as sexual assault, rape and child molestation within our community is important to talk about – particularly the psychological abuse that comes from perpetrators such as R Kelly.
But then came the NFL episode. First of all, the majority of the boys were refusing to boycott to games, which in my opinion showed the beginning of their ignorance. They felt unless the NFL players quit playing, then they weren’t going to stop watching. Ignorance. When some of the girls – including Seren brought up the idiom that the NFL is like modern day slavery, the boys laughed in their faces and told them that they didn’t understand the game, which I interpreted as modern-day sexism. Only one guy on that panel was talking sense, having spoken to Colin Kaepernick himself about his experience and his reasons behind his activism, which had convinced him to boycott the games at home, because he was intelligent enough to understand the what the system is doing to Kaepernick and what he is protesting against.
They also had a white guy on the panel. I had a feeling when I saw him that it wouldn’t be a one off fixture.
This is show for PoC and there are members of the panel who proclaim on YouTube against integration, which in certain contexts I agree with – this being one of them. Then after the show, GrapevineTV’s Twitter account asked their viewers what we thought about the idea of having white people on the panel in the future. Straightaway I replied no, because our mainstream media is full of white people’s opinion’s. I’m here for people of colour. Other viewers agreed with me. GrapevineTV reminded me that the show was a place for intellectual millenials – reading between the lines, I could read that they meant this to mean an amalgamation of races too. Subsequent tweets then went on to say that Akunna as the sole benefactor could no longer afford to support the show on her own and Black people were “not forthcoming with their coins”.
Yet in previous episodes, Akunna herself had preached that she didn’t need the help of white people.
The tweeter then seemed to become aggressive when viewers asked if Grapevine was looking to make a fast buck, because understandably, we were all confused: Akunna had always said that her producer was the benefactor. As far as I knew, the show hadn’t advertised any sponsors, nor asked for funding.
It then became clear that GrapevineTV didn’t really care about our opinions. They were going to go forward in the direction they wanted.
Some of my tweets were getting A LOT of retweets and GrapevineTV claimed that they received hate, but that’s a lie. The only hate shown on that day was from them – so much aggression and sarcasm. Simple responses and questions from viewers were responded to by GrapevineTV with aggression and sarcasm, because they’re incapable of having even the simplest of conversations. If you watch the show, it’s hindered by the format: they all sit around a table, where the commentary of the show seems to rely upon either the ignorance of sexism of the men who play the villains until Donovan “the hero” steps in, while the girls pipe in every now and then, and Akunna might read something from her phone to keep the conversation going. I don’t understand Akunna’s role; is she a host? Because I just see as an auxiliary bystander.
Placing white people on the panel is therefore only going to damage this sinking ship.
Anyway, in the end, I had to block GrapevineTV on Twitter, and I will no longer be watching their show.
I will still be watching Seren’s channel and amidst the chaos, one of the hosts of The Nitty Gritty Show tweeted me and I am LOVING THAT at the moment!