The Breakfast Club Doesn't Like Black Women...
There’s a thin line between ignorance that comes as a result of a lack of access to information and ignorance that comes by one's choice to stand planted in their lack of knowledge in order to create controversy and fake-rage. Power 105.1’s the Breakfast Club has reached this dangerous grey area and I won’t be around to see what comes of it.
I’ve been watching the Breakfast Club since 2013. I can recall the exact episode that got me hooked on the trio team of messiness that stole my heart. I was running late for one of my classes and from the moment I walked into the room, I could feel the class buzzing about this interview with a rapper you may know as Kanye West. I thought to myself, “What is a ‘Breakfast Club’ and why is this the first I’m hearing of it?’” Needless to say, I anxiously awaited dismissal so I could sprint back to my room and see what all the hype was about.
It was the first time I actually heard Kanye speak in his new negro voice as Charlamagne ripped him, his marriage, and music into shreds; calling our dear Yezzus “whack,” declaring his Bound 2 video, “trash,” and basically deeming him everything but a child of God.
In essence, that one interview could pretty much tell you all you need to know about the nationally syndicated radio show and why it has become such a cultural stable and destination for artists, political figures, and influencers:
As someone who aspires to make a living off of storytelling, I wouldn’t be a student of the game if I didn’t study the Breakfast Club and its hosts’ interviewing styles as an example for how I should and shouldn’t carry myself.
And despite the show’s many achievements and overall success, I can’t continue to ignore a reoccurring trend in the show’s formatting: the silencing of Black women.
This isn’t just because of the recent Mo’Nique interview either, although it does further prove my stance.
What I’ve observed about one of the hosts, in particular, Charlamagne, is that he’s a very pull-yourself-up-by-the-boot-straps kind of person. I’m forced to assume that his life's mantra is now, “If Cardi B did it, then so can you.”
Remember back when Charlamagne released the following toxic tweet into the interwebs, sharing how:
Well, two years have passed since those words were spewed out into the world, and yes, this has been proven to be a wildly false claim.
I would like to point out that yes, there have been a number of Black women on the show since that tweet went viral. However, for the BW who have appeared as guests and happen to be just a little bit more opinionated or less tolerant of the perpetual bullying that occurs, there’s a great deal of tone policing and gaslighting that takes place by the male co-hosts; thus silencing the voice they claim to be giving them in the first place.
I’ll be the one to say, the Breakfast Club doesn’t care about Black Women.
For instance: Amara La Negra. I remember watching in sheer horror as DJ Envy and Charlamagne disregarded her experiences with colorism in the music industry as a dark-skinned Afro-Latina, showed an immense lack of interest in her words, while over-talking both La Negra and Angela Yee to ensure that their mansplaining could be heard. The cringe-worthy and pure reckless nature of the interview took me to a point of no return...
Or so I thought.
You see, when I met Charlamagne last year, one of the lessons he shared with me about conducting a good interview was to listen more than you speak, but as I watched his tit-for-tat exchange with Mo’Nique (and I keep referring to him because, let’s face it, he’s the one who carries the interviews), I was disappointed to see him not practice what he so earnestly preached. Or maybe his idea of "listening" is to tune in for loopholes to reiterate his own point, without being open to a shifted perspective, but hey, you'd have to ask him.
This doesn’t discount the fact that some of the greatest interviews that have taken place in the last 8 years were in those black rolling chairs, but this squadron of DJ’s have proven that they simply do not have the bandwidth or depth to carry complex conversations that go beyond the surface of pure entertainment.
There needs to be more research done on the part of the personalities, period. I’ve watched interviews where they ask questions to the guests that even I knew the answers to. Point is, if they’re not interested enough to do the proper research, don’t waste these artists/influencers’ time bringing them on the show. It’s disrespectful.
Also, I would love to see Angela Yee stand up and speak up. I know she works in a male-dominated work environment, and most of us understand just how difficult that can be, but the Breakfast Club is just as much Yee’s show as it is Charlamagne’s and Envy’s. The fact that when you have women like K. Michelle and Bernice Burgos are invited to the show only to then come at Yee sideways, as Envy and Charlamagne watch in a daze, is pretty pathetic.
And quite frankly, I don’t want Charlamagne, Envy or Angela Yee to represent “us.” They’ve proven to be unqualified.
Before you go: Here are some alternative music/pop cultural shows to tune into if you need a break from or are giving up the Breakfast Club all together:
Let me know where you stand on this topic in the comments below!