Thursday, February 9, 2012

Braxton Family Values under fire for 'African Booty Scratcher' comment

I will never forget the first time someone called me an African booty scratcher. Having migrated from Zimbabwe to America as a child, I had no idea what the derogatory term meant but the look of disgust and hate from the young girl who said to me, conveyed the message loud and clear. I was thinking to myself at the time, how can someone hate for me for my accent, culture and heritage... something I have no control over? How many other people think I'm this African booty scratcher thing? As a child from a foreign country growing up in the US, trust me when I tell you it was no walk in the park.

I hadn't thought about that comment until tonight's episode of Braxton Family Values entitled Congo Workout Time (I'm still rolling my eyes at the episode title). The TV show centers around Grammy award winning R&B star Toni Braxton and her lesser known sisters Tamar, Traci, Trina and family matriarch Evelyn. As you know with reality shows (and I use the term reality loosely) each character  or person rather has a specific storyline. Traci's story is that she is the overweight sister who is finally heeding her sister's advice to shed the excess fat. Tonight's plot dealt with dramatic younger sis Tamar taking her older sibling Traci to a fitness training facility.

Traci Braxton
The outrageous African booty scratcher moment came when Traci was being pushed outside of her comfort zone by her Congolese trainer Sgt Tichaya. Spitfire Traci remarked to him " He gonna call me woman. You African booty scratcher. How in the hell you gon' call me woman? My name is Traci and you better not forget it".

Huh? Say what now!?! So let me get this right. It's not OK for Sgt Tichaya to call Traci woman but it's OK for her to call him an African booty scratcher?  In the immortal word of Amy Winehouse "what kind of f*ckery is this?"

Watch the ABS clip here:

I had a lot of issues with tonight's episode. For instance, when the sisters walked into the gym Traci complained about how hot it was in the fitness facility. Seemingly linking the heat to the trainer's African lineage. Think I am over exaggerating? Traci said later on the show " I think I will get a new trainer, an American one this time. With an air conditioner" Craziness! In a another segment of the show the sisters were shown poking fun at African culture by making clicking noises and sounds imitating African culture/ languages. Sorry if the humor was lost on me but I didn't find it funny at all. I thought I was going to throw something at my TV when I heard them calling the Sgt."Mandigo or "Mr. Boomtastik".

This my friends, is one of the reasons you have a devise gap between some African Americans and Africans. I speak for all Africans when I say making fun of our culture is just stupid, ignorant and flat out dumb. News flash: Our heritage is not your entertainment fodder. The unfortunate part of all this was that the trainer seemed to be cosigning in on the madness. "Mr Congo" as the women called him even showed up to the gym the next day in full out traditional African garb. I understand loving one's culture but showing up to workout decked in traditional African attire is absurd. When was the last time you saw that in your local gym?
Traci Braxton

In all honesty, I don't think Traci understands the error of her ways. The confidence in which she said her comment implies to me that she sees nothing wrong with it. I wonder if the network would have even allowed this to happen had a derogatory term been used about Hispanic, Asian or Jewish people? When I looked on twitter a few minutes ago African booty scratcher was still a trending topic with many people cheering on Traci's use of the word. At times like this I actually wonder if ignorance is really bliss.

Did you watch the show? Thoughts?


  1. I was so mad and upset when Traci said "African Booty Scratcher". I mean who gives her the right to be saying such mean and rude comment. When she's saying that comment she is not just insulting African people in general but insulting herself. Its so stupid of her to be saying that. And as for Tamar, saying "whatever his name is". Its CALLED ASKING!!!! Like for real, she's so ignorant and rude. Period. I'm so proud of being African. I wouldn't change it for the world.

  2. Black American people will never change. Growing up here in the states I've seen and heard all the ignorance that can come from these Black-Americans. I just feel so sorry for them, while there are some good ones , most of them are not shit to be honest with you.
    let them keep their Jordans , swag and ignorance......I'll take my proud culture over it anytime. Fatherless people.

  3. These ignorant Black Americans will be the first to scream racism if a white person had made derogatory remarks about. They're uncouth, uneducated, lazy, ignorant and they can't even speak or write proper English and they want to point out the accents of Africans who speak better English than they do? What a bunch of idiots. Please stop calling them African Americans.They're not Africans. I've never met a bunch of uneducated low lives who have every opportunity in front of them yet they do nothing with it and they keep blaming White people for their problems. They really think they're better than us for being in America. Uneducated, slaved up idiots. At least Africans are cultured, many of us have real wives and husbands not baby mama or baby daddy. Our men and women get educated. Our people are hard working and excel at what they do. All these idiots know if drugs, sex and that's it!

  4. Folks, my intention is not turn this into an us vs.them thing. The point is we are all one. What Traci said last night was inexcusable,there is no justification at all for her comments. We all know that there is a HUGE problem with Africans and African Americans. It's the elephant in the room that we have all ignored and finally last night it reared it's ugly head. When you know better you do better and to that end saying negative things about African Americans is just the same as them calling us African booty scratchers. Let's help build the bridge instead of furthering the divide.

  5. I'm African American and that episode enraged me.
    I immediately went on Twitter to see how upset everyone else was.

    TO MY SURPRISE, PEOPLE WERE LAUGHING. They thought it was funny and they even praised Traci.

    I'm still so angry today.

    Intelligent, culturally aware African Americans DO NOT share Traci's views or the views of her ignorant mother or Twitter supporters.

    African heritage is not something that should be degraded or mocked. Clearly they have been brainwashed...which is evident by their bleached skin and weaves.

    1. I totally agree with you! She's has the nerve to be saying that on tv too.

    2. I'm just now watching the episode and when I heard Traci's comment, my jaw hit the floor. I got online to see if anyone was as upset about it as I am. So far I've only found this website. I can't believe she had the audacity to use that term and I can't believe the editors and network allowed it to play. I'm Black American and this comment just took me back to the days of elementary school kids using it on the playground. This is a disgusting term and having seen it used on network TV without any sort of backlash really makes me question the mindset of Black Americans as a whole when it comes to what is racism and what is not. As Makho said, please don't turn this into an us versus them issue. We're all human and make mistakes although some more than others.

  6. Linda Jumah
    Last night I watched the latest episode Braxton Family Values. Like every other episode I expected to see the usual Reality TV antics coupled with Tamar's extra animated self. But last night was different. I was appalled when Traci Braxton, furious that her trainer repeatedly called her "woman" referred to her trainer (A handsome man from the Congo) as an "African Booty Scratcher". He gonna call me "woman'?! You African Booty Scratcher, why in the hell you gonna call me 'woman' my name is Traci. Please don't forget it'-were her exact words. In 2012 during the second week of Black History Month (originally Black History Week founded by Carter G. Woodson in 1926) for a Black woman with some level of stardom on national TV to call another Black man an 'ABS' saddens me. Last time I checked a trainer was to supposed to work you to the core.

    I took to my social media after seeing the scene. I just knew that my timeline on Facebook and Twitter would be filled with statuses expressing their disgust for Traci Braxton, Braxton Family Values and WETV. Just as we would have if there was a fight or some major fashion fail. To my surprise (or maybe not) the opinions of my friends were almost absent. Am I the only one that heard that? Am I the only one who was offended? Oh well! I knew my favorite bloggers would take to their blogs the next morning to voice their disdain for such offensive language. There would be a national outcry of Africans and friends denouncing the show, WETV and expecting an official apology. Nope, nothing.

    This past week Roland Martin of CNN was suspended for tweets that may have been "homophobic'. He is receiving much backlash for his comments by GLAAD and others. When Marlo of RHOA yelled "f*&&*t in an argument with Sheree she received backlash and issued an apology. There are many examples of people coming under fire for comments that may be offensive to groups whether its Gays, Jews, women and etc. Are Africans any less deserving of an apology? Are Africans any less deserving of respect? In 2012 is it acceptable for anyone to use language that degrades an entire continent of people? We have to do better.

    Maybe I'm overreacting. I called on of my girlfriends for her take on it. She was not nearly as shocked and upset as I was. She had heard 'ABS' and other terms used against Africans countless times growing up in the old neighborhood. She assured me that I did to. Did I block the experience permanently from my memory? Did it hurt that much?
    Maybe I thought we had evolved as a people. My friends, African and African American, were sophisticates. They knew Africa was a continent. They knew every African woman wasn't naked and barefoot (like the images on TV). They knew like every other place on the planet there were the 'good parts' and 'bad parts'. In my optimistic positive mind and world Africans were accepted. We partied together. We work together. We shop at the same boutiques. We fancy name brands, watch Reality TV and LOVE Jay Z and Blue Ivy too. We were all in the struggle together. We were "one of us' now. "Everyday I'm hustlin"
    It's Black History Month we need to demand more of each other. Give praise when it's due. And reprimand when it's necessary. Traci Braxton, Braxton Family Values and WETV-you were wrong, offensive rude and disrespectful.
    FYI: Noteworthy Africans- Kofi Annan, Pres. Barack Obama, Amsale Aberra, Lola Ogunnaike, Akon, Charlize Therron, Iman, Hakeem Olajuwan and Wale.

    1. Thank you for your comment Linda. I couldn't have said better myself! Almost 24 hours later and I am STILL outraged. I don't understand why everyone else feels so complacent about this. We deserve an apology.

  7. I was watching the show with my 25 yo daughter and when Traci said that, we both looked at each other with mouths wide open in shock... Its a phrase I have not heard in so many years and honestly, when I heard it, it was from some very low class ghetto people.

    Coming to the US from Jamaica at age 9, I recall vividly being teased for my accent and being called "Crazy Coconut" or "Beef Patty" and other foolish derogatory slurs related to me being Jamaican. And the ones doing the name calling were BLACK children. Eventually, it stopped, but 40 years later, I can sill recall the shock to hear kids who looked like me making those remarks.

    Traci was exhibiting a leftover vestige of slavery days... divide and conquer. Also some older black
    Americans had a bias towards blacks from other countries who come to the US and are driven
    to be successful. They thought Africans and Caribbean blacks were "uppity", so one way to hit at them was to hurl nasty racist epithets at them.

    Unfortunately, being left out of the group at a young age, Traci not only has anger and bitterness,
    she also apparently does not have the polish or social skills that the other sisters have picked up
    from their experiences in the entertainment industry. She needs to lose 20lbs and also the ghetto

    And, no its not a "us" vs. "them", but it is a valid topic that is rarely discussed.

  8. Can we all send an email to We-TV to demand an apology?

  9. You could not have said it better Makho. Thanks for standing up to ignorance. Sad.

  10. I will email them too. I thought that was highly ignorant and I think we should demand an apology for that rude comment.

  11. I actually tweeted her @tracibraxton & @wetv and all she said was : why would you a commend a man that called me woman?

    Here is a photo of are twitter conversation:

    I am clearly dealing with a dimwit. That is all.


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