Do I experience some guilt from watching these shows? Absolutely. Much of the content is great television in the sense that television rots your brain and I do feel myself growing dumber as I watch. These shows are often formulaic. They are packed with senseless drama and they don’t actually constitute reality in any sense of the word except for the simple fact that the players on these various shows are using their real names (or so we are being told). Still, I watch. I know. I have a problem.
But with Ink, Paper, Scissors, one of the newest original programs from BET, I feel a bit of an obligation to tune in and give this show ratings. First of all, my husband gets his hair cut by one of the barbers at Salon Ramsey. A while back, Hubby came home from one of his cuts talking about how a show was being filmed there. Though his barber couldn’t divulge any specific information about the show, we both made a mental note to catch it to support the guy along with the rest of the folks at the shop. I personally love both my husband’s barber and Salon Ramsey. The types of conversations that go on at that shop (ranging from sex and love to politics and current events to good business practices and hustling to religion and faith to style and fashion) are both enlightening and empowering. And the sense of belonging I feel there, even when I’m just stopping in to chat, is priceless. Salon Ramsey, in my opinion, embodies everything great about Black entrepreneurship and the strength of the Black community. I’ve never experienced drama there. I’ve bought some of the best bags of fruit there. I’ve gotten killer line-ups there. I’ve met some truly beautiful people from all walks of life there.
So what in the hell is this mess on Ink, Paper, Scissors?
Ramsey, the shop owner, will resort to destroying property when he doesn’t get booth rent on time? Really? Silas, a stylist, is messy enough to aid and abet in one stylist stealing another’s client? Really? Danni, Chelley, Coco and Baby Girl can’t coexist in the shop without nearly coming to blows almost every episode AND will start fights in front of clients as well as at other establishments? Really? Yes, Montana is actually as cool in person as he is on the show (those he is not to be messed with) but everyone else comes off like they’ve lost their minds. Even if these folks aren’t bosom buddies who share dashikis and wash bowls, they don’t carry on like that in real life.
And that’s only addressing the unrealistic aspects of the people on the show. Let’s talk other elements, shall we?
Those ladies don’t actually dress that way when they’re doing hair. They wear smocks and sensible shoes because they’re working with chemicals and standing all day. In Episode 1, neither Chelley nor any other reasonable business person would have hung that Ikea chandelier smack dab in the middle of their work area like that. It was a tort waiting to happen. When Ramsey smashed the chandelier and Chelley called the cops, that police officer wasn’t real. That’s not what ATL cop cars or uniforms look like at all. Customers don’t look all dolled up when they come to the shop but this show would have you believe that customers get their hair done just to come to the shop to get their hair done.
I’m going to go ahead and blame all of the above-mentioned tomfoolery on the various producers and showrunners—most of whom are not people of color and probably have very little to no experience in Black hair salons/ barber shops. (C’mon BET, seriously?) This show has great potential and its being wasted on messiness that anyone can see on any other reality show on television. The Black salon/shop experience is actually pretty important to American Black history and politics and it is a town hall of sorts within the community. After all, three feature movies starring Ice Cube have made about this scene. I’m not saying that drama doesn’t exist there, but making Salon Ramsey out to be some hotbed of coonery is disgraceful, not reality.
I give this show a bunk single fist in the air. Please, please make this show better. Please.
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