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Wednesday
Mar062013

RHOA's Porsha Stewart Is Perfect and I Love Her (But Let Me Explain)

Porsha Stewart reacts to gifts at her fairy tale wedding.Normally, I don't have much in ways of interest for Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta. It's a silly, fun show full of cringe-inducing people and a few glamour-pusses flouncing around and twirling. But this season has piqued my interest, but for one reason and one reason alone -- granddaughter of a civil rights activist and wife of former pro-football star Kordell Stewart -- loveable ditz Porsha Stewart.

Porscha is not the brightest bulb in the lamp, but I love her. And not ironically. I LOVE HER. And I'm publicly declaring it to be so! I would like to brush her weave and help her pick out outfits. But I love her specifically because she is the first time I've ever seen a black woman play the role of "Pretty, Pretty Pampered and Protected Princess" on television.

Black women historically get to be mules in both the media and real life. We get to be sapphires and jezebels and mammies and the best BFFs of the white hero with no lives of our own. We get to be video hoes. We get to be in the background. (Even though we're quite diverse, multidimensional and awesome.) But Porsha is essentially a pretty, pretty princess version of screwball Lucille Ball with Kordell as her slightly-controlling, but possibly harmless father-figure Ricky Ricardo.

And that is refreshing by virtue of it being both different and necessary. It's like a lesser version of what you get with Michelle Obama planting a garden at the White House. Typically the role of a black woman in the White House is cleaning it. Now it's running it. "Who cares if she doesn't practice law!" says all the black women tired of having to carry everything and be all things to all people all the time. You just want to see her dote on her kids, love her husband and run things with positivity and sophistication because YOU NEVER GET TO SEE THIS ON SUCH A LARGE SCALE.

She's on magazine covers! She's an icon! People admire her for her brains and beauty! Oh! Oooo! Me next! ME NEXT, PLEASE! Sez a generation of black women.

Once upon a time a white female friend of mine told me black women would grow to resent the pedestal if we got put on it and my response, on behalf of all black women was, "LEMME GET UP THERE AND SEE IF IT SUCKS AND THEN I'LL TELL YOU ABOUT IT."

Porsha is up there and there is where I want ... nay, need her to stay.

Black women don't always get the pedestal treatment, so when one of us gets up on there and gets to be the paragon of womanly virtue and perfection, you'll fight for that woman to stay up on there in hopes that other black women -- even you -- will be not just respected, but celebrated for your choices in education, career and family. Even if you're not deep like Nikki Giovanni.

So, in some ways, I'm fighting for silly Porsha because I love that she's just an innocent goofball and gets to be the innocent goofball because it's so rare to see that publicly -- a black woman trophy wife who is not broken or angry or bitter, but goofy and happy to be here. Happy to wear the dress. Happy to play house. Happy to be happy, bouncing around without a natural care in the world.

After episode whatever it was, when she was just trying on dresses for her husband's birthday party, it dawned on me I could watch Porsha twirl around in cocktail dresses all day, talking about having twins on command (as if science would allow such a thing, oh Porsha!) and thinking this child is too shallow to be real. Porsha -- trying and failing then kind of succeeding in babysitting. Porsha, being ordered to try wine instead of ordering a Sprite because mentally, she's still a kid and wine is GROWN PEOPLE DRANK. (Porsha is not grown.) Porsha's little feud with Kenya Moore that seems more harmless and high school-like than degrading and offensive like most black lady fights on reality TV. (Case in point: Team Stallion Booty versus Team Donkey Booty versus society wanting to poke out eyeballs.)

To Porsha, I say, never change. You HOLD ON to that little girl, child-like, innocent spirit inside of you and stay goofy and ... um ... mentally uncomplicated. If someone tells you that you need to be "deep" or "stand for something" tell them to SHUT UP. Your protest is by existing. Black people were brought to this country in chains to work for free. Every day you choose to wear a $1,000 dress while doing nothing is a damn protest against The Man. (This goes for all other black people who chose to do whatever they please with their lives post-Emancipation. Fall in love! Get married! Get educated! Drink champagne at noon! It's all a protest, people! Being free is a form of protest! So ... protest responsibly!)

Just because some black women might be intellectually incurious doesn't mean they should die horrible deaths or face dire fates and diminishing prospects. Everybody can't be (or has the capacity to be) Coretta Scott King, but you can honor her memory by being nice, not embarassing and finding other ways to represent Team Black Woman and her junior squad, Team Black Girl.

So I say, Lawd, let this child have this! I need it for her. And by her, I mean me. It's hard out here on these streets. Let's let some sister get the easy route, then pat her on the back for winning the genetic lottery that got her there. If it turns out the pedestal is wack, believe me, we'll let you know.

Do you agree? Disagree? If you disagree and think it's a bad look for any black woman to take a break from full-time battlemode to be a goofnugget on Bravo I respect your opinion, but you're also why WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS! I'm kidding, of course, but not kidding ...

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Reader Comments (22)

I TOTALLY AGREE!

I love Porsha too! At first I was mad because I thought she disrespected Ms. USA, but then I figured out, she was just being Porsha.

I have been hiding my inner Porsha for a long time, because there are so few of us who will openly be the "wife."

Porsha is a breath of fresh air. She is the housewife of Atlanta that the show should be about.

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmergePeoria

@ EmergePeoria

I really would watch a whole show of her. She's such a goof. I'm going to be so sad when she finally becomes self-aware and calculated like the rest of the cast.

March 6, 2013 | Registered CommenterDanielle Belton

She's actually the only "REAL" housewife on the show! I do wonder how Hosea Williams would feel about his grand-daughter flaunting her somewhat embarrassing lack of consciousness...maybe he'd think "This is why I marched so hard, that my grandchildren could be ANYTHING they want...and that includes a ditzy housewife on a reality TV show that features black women often behaving like alley cats set in the hometown of the world's Drum Major for Justice."

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRegina

Very nicely written, thank you. I never looked at Porsha with reverance, but with a "shaking-my-head-with-my-face-scrunched" kind of disapproval. Personally, I thought of myself (and am still trying to pull it together) a Kandi or Phaedra. I held more respect for women like those two who pursue their dreams AND still get the man, the babies, the house and all the trimmings. I have overlooked (and most times on purpose) femininity. And that is just what Porsha is and allowed to do and I wonder if affluence is the key. Money is not an object for her and like she said on one of the episodes that she is Kordell's Barbie doll. He likes to see her dressed up all the time. I have to admit that I overlook diversity within choices. No one choice is the "right" choice. I would like to see more black women on pedestals. And I am sure they are out there. They just aren't on the world stage for all to see. And hopefully sistahs are respected and not on display as an exotic spectacle. You know a lot of people don't think blacks are affluent. That's my time and two cents!

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeslieM

Once again, Danielle hits it on the head. Just when I think "I" have had my last thought about various and sundry topics, The Black Snob opens the door and makes me rethink the world. Thank you for keeping my brain working. Porsha REALLY IS a housewife.
Luv ya Danielle!
Harold

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHarold

YES! Thank you for this. I love Porsha too but could never find the words to explain why. You explain it perfectly.

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanelElaine

I too love Porsha! Her love for family and her husband is indeed refreshing and in my opinion a great representation of how marriage should be. Porsha doesn't want to "wear the pants" in her marital relationship besides she appears to truly enjoy her life...shopping, planning parties, family planning and being the princess that she is (white women have been represented in such roles forever on television). I say to all of the women who don't like her...stop hating. If you had the opportunity to marry a millionaire and live the lifestyle that she has, I'm sure you wouldn't turn it down. And besides the money, she seems to love and respect her husband just as he seems to love and respect her. Get rid of the other negative representations of Black women...bring on the Porsha show!

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterALH

couldn't she find a better venue. The only one of those women on that show who is valid to me is the one who does the music, Kandi. The rest of them are just stupid. Miss USA (former) needs to be exfoliated, the one you like is simple and the rest are pathetic. And please let Nene become more famous for being the old steriotype of the Black American woman, so that she can leave the show completely. I understand that Kandi will have a spin off so I won't need to watch it at all. One good thing is they got rid of the Kim girl. Why she was ever a part of that show I will never understand. And someone, please snatch that blonde wig off Nene's head, not that it will make her any better. And she needs a class in speaking correct english.

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkhrish

Interesting perspective. Never thought about Porsha in that black pampered princess kind of way you've expressed. On that token, I get you attraction to her story. Not liking the controlling aspects of her and Kordell's relationship though. A bit scary at times. But I think we can agree to let Porsha live in her world.

March 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMs. Toni

Great Post, as ever. I'm so glad that we have some women out there who don't feel as though they have to be or represent the walking wounded. More than ever, Black women feel as though in order to belong, we must play into this pain Olympics and go as far as to guilt those among us with charmed existences. Why???

March 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMissFLondon

It's amazing that you used the personality of Lucy of the "Lucille Ball Show" or "I Love Lucy Show" to compare Porsha to because that is exactly what makes this article wrong. Lucy was everything that Porsha is not, based on what she has shown the public on the rhoa. Lucille Ball gave the illusion of being the pretty but always thinking woman constrained by her husband due to the times in which she lived in, so she tried to find her way around her "Man" to make things happen for her, but behind the personality her life was nothing like the life that Porsha has presented to us. Lucy we saw in clip after behind the scene clip built her empire almost singlehandedly. Lucy called the shots, came up with the ideas and then set the cast and the stage, while always allowing we the public to believe she was nothing more than a "Pretty Face" Lucy instructed Desi, teamed up with him, while loving him until he totally disrespected her and allowed him to reach his highest heights with her ideas and plans and after Desi to prove my point that it was her genius went on to do even greater shows, purchased studios, no Lucille Ball was no Porsha, nor was her character, even in the show her character was always thinking of how to go about getting the things she wanted out of life. Never in a Lucille Ball Show have I seen her bring home ten dresses to try on for her tv husbands birthday. It is sad because I believe if Porsha were a character on a non-reality show African American women would protest the airhead role and demand her off the show. Many people are on the covers of magazines for the wrong reasons, Kim Kardashian is a prime example and Porsha also. To prove this in your article you write out the full name of her football star playing husband, but all you wrote of her legacy is that she was the granddaughter of a civil rights activist, you didn't even take the time to write out his name, that alone is too sad. That alone should show everyone that the reasons for this person being famous are the wrong ones and that for all African Americans we need to take our legacy if we have been left one (Some of us have had to create one of our own to leave) and represent it with more than being the first African American person to be allowed to be portrayed as a pretty and a airhead. I don't think that is what Ms. Carroll had in mind when she accepted the role of Julia. No Porsha on rhoa does not move us as a people forward and I don't believe she should be praised for as you wrote being "Goofy" unless you were just kidding.

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdoogal

I think it's wonderful that Porsha has a man that first of all, wants to be a man and wants to take care of his responsibilities as a husband. But one thing I notice about us African American women is the fact that we want everyone "outside of us" to think more highly of us than we think of ourselves. I personally do not see myself as this woman that "everyone dumps on" and view as the "bag lady" of the world. Many times we put our own selves in these positions by the type of relationships we involve ourselves in with men and other women. I don't want to be the hero of everyone around me. Jesus is already the hero and He can solve all problems. That is not my purpose. With that said, I do not view Porsha as a symbol of hope for African American women or as an inspiration. I believe she is a beautiful person with beautiful qualities and a love for husband. It's great that she has always had a wonderful lifestyle, which is always a blessing. But I also believe that it is a blessing when a person can develop into their own and find God's purpose in their lives. Porsha lives a life that has been pampered and cushioned from reality; therefore she is only known by what her family has accomplished and what her husband has accomplished. We cheat ourselves and the world when we do not build our own legacy or come into our purpose because we were not only put here to do for our own families and the ones we love, our purpose involves helping mankind in some form or fashion. I believe there is so much good that she can do, but she needs to understand that she is more than just clothes, a pretty face, and money money money. I just wonder, if Jesus did not fulfil the purpose He was sent here for, what would our lives be like? Purpose is very important. I really would like to see her realize what God has for her.

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMs. Archie

@ Doogal

While I totally get where your coming from this article was/is not the place to go for any sort of depth, just as I would not seek Porsha for wisdom on say, the efforts of her own family legacy (grandfather Hosea Williams) to foster equality in the South. This article is what I consider one of my "fun" pieces of fluff for people to goof on. If you'd like to check out something more your shade re: black women, our images, the media, etc ... I have that on this site and other sites and you can read them here, here and here. But this is a non-deep article about a non-deep person by fun design.

For some folks, it's just going to grate.

@ Ms. Archie

Totally understand your POV, too. The bag dumping lady of mule town (e.g. "the black woman") is a media perception. It is not reality. But it is the role the media and others try to force us into because of that whole slavery thing. When I referenced it, I was referencing media perception, not our perception of ourselves. For more on that in a more serious tone, I have written about that here and here.

As for her being a ditz and not realizing her purpose, it sounds terrible to say, but not everyone can be nuanced or deep or self-aware. These are qualities not everyone is born with and many never learn over time. Porsha is very young. Perhaps when not twirling around in dresses she'll come to the realization that Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House" is no way to go through life. But for that to happen, she'd have to be a nuanced, deep or self-aware person, like Ibsen's heroine.

And I don't know if she'll ever get to that point unless there is some kind of disruption in her life or maturity occurs. But if she can't be deep, at least she's not suffering. Other black women of uncomplicated mental capacity end up in terrible situations. Due to the love of her family and her bizarre father-like husband, she ended up on RHOA.

March 11, 2013 | Registered CommenterDanielle Belton

I enjoyed reading this article and I agree with it. I feel that people are always judging others and their choices, it is time to let people be. Everyone is not going to be deep, highly intellectual, hard working or everything else the "strong black woman" of America is suppose to be, it just isn't in everyone's DNA and guess what...IT'S OK! Don't spend so much time focusing on the choices of other people, if you are that strong black woman then go ahead and make great things happen and we all THANK YOU for your hard work and giving back to the community. I went to high school with Porsha and I can honestly say she has always been Porsha and that is the honest truth. She has always been a good person, never saw her being mean to people and she has always seemed just happy and not phased by much of anything. That is a good thing, it should be celebrated that not every black woman has had such a hard life, let her be herself. She didn't just become like she is because she married a wealthy man, she has always been Porsha and so I am sure that Hosea Williams was aware of the type of person she was and accepted that she was his granddaughter and that he loved her for who she was. You can't expect everyone to have the same dreams, there are a lot of educated black women who are doing big and great things but honestly there is nothing wrong with wanting to be a housewife. I am and always have been a very hardworking, educated black woman and have commonly been described as a strong black woman, but I am not going to judge someone else for not being like me. I would be lying if I said it would not have been nice to have an easier, pampered life at some times but God has given us all different talents and we all have different purposes. We as a people are always finding reasons to beat each other down, lets just stop, it really is not necessary. If you want to be recognized as a role model who changed the world, go out there and do it but don't judge others for not having your same dreams. Learn to respect everyone and their different choices in life, people are different and that is ok people. It is refreshing to see happy people who haven't been beaten down by life so let her be herself...I don't think she can really change because like I said before, she has been the same since I first met her but she is a sweet person, really doesn't mean any harm to anyone and I can respect her for that. When we tell our daughters they can be anything they want to be...being a housewife is included in that and if that is what they choose to do then so be it. And I don't think that her husband is trying to control her, but for their family they choose to have a more traditional setup and guess what...IT'S OK because it is their family, it has nothing to do with anyone but them. We all choose our family dynamics and it is okay if they choose to be more traditional. Her goal is to be a good wife and if that is what she desires to be then go for it, from what I see he is not trying to control her, if there is an issue with controlling her I would think her mom would sit her down and talk to her, she comes from a good family. She seems to be happy and in love with her husband so lets let her be happy. Lets remember that ONE of the most important jobs you will have as a woman, if you choose to, is to be a mother and a wife, that is one of the greatest jobs you can have and brings some of the greatest joys that some will ever experience. I get great joy from being a mom and a wife and I am proud to say so, I am not a housewife because I do work but I don't see anything wrong with housewives or working women.

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

What I don’t understand are the comments stating Porsha needs to discover her purpose for life. Has anyone ever thought that perhaps she has determined her divine purpose at this stage in her life is to dedicate time to cultivating her marriage and ultimately becoming a great mother to her future children? And then there are the comparisons of her to Lucille Ball. First of all Lucille Ball and the character she portrayed on television are two separate people. Yes, in Lucille Ball’s private life she demonstrated strength and was an excellent businesswoman however she struggled in her personal life just as we all do. It was stated, “Lucy was a great believer and proselytizer of Norman Vincent Peale's "The Power of Positive Thinking" and yet in the last decade of her life she felt increasingly unable to put that power to work in her own life. After she stopped working, she began drowning in a sea of self-doubt and low self-esteem.” As this example demonstrates ones outer actions do not necessary translate to inner peace. And who are we to call Porsha such names as “stupid” “slow” “airhead” “dumb” etc., isn’t there an unspoken rule that if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all? Unfortunately reality television has made it acceptable for women to be seen as mean, conniving and downright hateful toward one another. What happened to women empowering and uplifting each other? What happened to mutual respect for one another? What happened to finding the good in others? Hey, if your desire is to conquer the world and to be a ‘superwoman” then by all means move forward to attain such goals however be respectful for the choices and the paths other women take that may not necessarily coincide with yours!

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterALH

@ Danielle Belton

Thanks for understanding my POV. I in no way want to bash Mrs. Porsha Stewart because I believe and as I stated before, she has a great personality and a great family life. I think many times we as African American women can be very critical towards other African American women that may not have experienced what we may have experienced. I hate to say it, but I've encountered this a lot because of how I choose to carry myself or live my life. My husband and I have a great relationship and he has those same characteristics of Kordell in the fact that he IS a man and he understands and honors his manhood. Most of us are accustomed to seeing men that do not honor their manhood and sometimes we read this as being "controlling". It's just that I have seen young women, such as Porsha (I'm not much older than her) be trampled on because she is the "nice girl". I LOVED the fact that she stood up for her marriage and her morals on the last episode of RHOA because I despise when other women try to tear me down for being different and living different than they do. I am in no way putting her down because I have some of her same viewpoints. I do appreciate that she is a VERY kind and genuine person. You don't see this alot now days. But I stand on my beliefs that I hope that she becomes a little more aware in life and understand that there is a big world outside of the little world that she is accustomed to and that there is more to her than just what she is able to acquire or look like. This goes for all women no matter their race. I had to realize the same thing when I left home at 18 for the military. And after 13 years of service and serving in the war zone 4 times, I think that was one of the most important lessons I learned. (Not to say that she will do the same or has to do the same). She is a great person and I truly wish her and husband the best that life has to offer!

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMs. Archie

I *totally* agree. A similar type of representation is also available from Tamar Braxton's reality show..... in either case.... I don't see nuthin' wrong ;-)

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDretta

I don't usually read and chime in on these blogs... But I too... LOVE LOVE LOVE Porsha and her relationship with Kordell. I think Kordell is more protective than controlling. He just tries to make sure she stands up for herself, stays true to her values, and is truly her confidant.

I agree, it is very refreshing to see a Black "Pretty, Pretty Pampered and Protected Princess" on television. Here's another point... She's young and in her 30's. RH needs to promote more young couples.

My only complain is that I think they can stir up better scripted drama. If Law & Order can find real life stuff, so can writers of the RH series.

March 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNatural Smile

I love Posha she has a sweet innocence that is rare, yet she does stand up for herself. She's goofy (in a great way that makes you lol). Kordell is a strong black man that sets the example of a man of the house (putting God first). If more men would stand up and direct the home as it should be we wouldnt have as many single parent homes. I believe he encourages her to be strong and not let people take advantage of her and he is comfortable letting her feminine energy shine through. I love how she stood up to Twirling Crazy Kenya. Posha may be innocent but youre not going to take advantage of her. She is a true Southern Belle. Shine On Black Woman and stay true to yourself. ps..I really hope she doesnt listen to Nene about she need to get with the "program" in regards to her marriage..keep people out of your marriage and if your husband want dinner make it for him and see the girls later.Those tired women will never be as happy as Posha..Kandi is unnecessarily nasty. Im not too impressed with her anymore.

March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIm just saying

I don't watch Real Housewives, but I definitely agree. This idea of an innocent, care free black woman is definitely needed. Months ago I read an article that described Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas in the same light. And I loved that idea too. Not every black woman needs to have some burden on her shoulders for whatever reason.

Despite being a lot more aware, I've made it a personal goal to be increasingly more carefree. What makes me happy is doing to dubstep concerts and dancing on sub woofers, smiling for do good reason, being a vegan. These are things black people in general, let a long black woman supposedly don't do. But here I am doing them, and loving it. I love even more than I honestly dgaf what others think.

March 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFii

Now that we know Kordell has dropped Porsha, I wonder does everyone feel the same way about them now? I wasn't sold on their God-centered marriage (reminded me of Alexis and Jim's marriage on RHOC). I figured that either the two of them would divorce or she'd have some kids and Kordell would leave the childcare solely to her.

March 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDuchess Cadbury

Although I don't totally disagree, I think the better woman to illustrate where 99% of BW are and want to be is Michelle "Mimi" Obama. Sure, she has staked her place in history, but her rise to the pedestal is closer to reality than Porsha. Michelle put in the effort, worked hard, persevered, faced set backs, made smart decisions, continually shun critics, is a self-made woman, married well and EARNED her place. Porsha was just born. Porsha = fairy tale Michelle = hope.

April 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNatasha Sweeting

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