It’s too bad that Americans sees Atlanta, black women, and maybe even women in general through the lens of The ‘Real Housewives’ franchise. When the first episodes of Atlanta aired, my upstate New York hairstylist gasped and gawped about the wealth and glam. To paraphrase her: Oh, the hair! the really short dresses! (and the token white girl!) I had to reply, with that special brand of irony that educators cultivate: “Lovey, I think you’ve probably never seen rich black women before.” So I did my part to defend the Atlanta women.
But now, they are planning a trip to South Africa (free, of course). This week was the prep episode, including one of them calling the president of Ghana for advice for a trip to South Africa. (Serious.)
Here’s a bit of recap from Entertainment Weekly:
Phaedra is the new Countess (just one with a sense of humor and rhythm). She’s organizing a trip to South Africa for the women and she wants everyone to come. (“I wouldn’t go to the damn trash can with them,” NeNe sniffed to Cynthia. They haven’t told her yet the trip is free.) In preparation, Phaedra dragged Kandi’s enormous thighs to an African dance class. “When I think of Africa, I just think of…” said Kandi. “Naked women with their breasts out,” Phaedra cut in, handling her chest. “Jangy jangy jangy jangy!”
Phaedra and Kandi took part in a joyous African dance class so Kandi can lose some weight.
(So nice that African traditions, too, are now getting used for weight loss and body obsession, much like yoga—a practice meant to help us go of our attachment to our transient physical selves—has been adopted by OCD white women throughout the US to further draw attention to their physical and sexual selves).
But there’s even more:
Phaedra Parks (or the producers) also use this episode to teach audiences a little about the continent the ladies are about to visit, and so that she can “immerse herself in culture”. Parks takes Kandi to the Apex Museum, an Atlanta-based history museum about the African-American history. The pair then giggle over a “pec-tastic” slave statue and Sheree peeks under the loincloth, rather than paying attention to the tour guide.
Kandi can’t come up with one adjective to describe what she thinks when she hears “Africa.” Phaedra, however, is not at a loss for descriptions: Africa is, in the mighty Atlantan’s hands, the location of “naked women with their breasts out.”
Finally, Sheree, too, is invited to go to South Africa. “I would not pass up the experience,” Sheree delights. “We can put our grown panties on.” Phaedra’s response: “Hopefully, Africa will elevate us to college-level fights.”
NeNe, sadly, will not be going to Africa, despite the temptations of loincloths, “grown panties”, and the opportunity to elevate fights to the “college-level”. Reuters.com tells us:
[NeNe] told Cynthia she wouldn’t go to a trashcan with them. Prompting Sheree’s only real contribution to this episode, “I don’t think the b**** has ever been abroad. I don’t think she has any stamps on her passport. Get some damn culture!”
Oh, South Africa. I’m sorry that this is what you had coming.
The episode airs next week.