The Soapbox: Black Men, Is Chad Ochocinco Your Hero?
Chadvelyn, LosOcho and OchoSado: those were the three hybrid names that I came up with for my favorite reality TV couple, Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and Evelyn Lozada. But after only six weeks of marriage, the beautiful sounds of wedded bliss and the hoopla surrounding their much anticipated reality show have been silenced by the head-butt that was heard around the world.
By now, everyone knows about the drama surrounding Chadvelyn. The Internet has been all aflutter with updates. She-said this, he-said that and we-said “WTF?” He loses his job, she files for divorce, and we all sit back to make judgments and assumptions about everything.
When reports surfaced about the fight between Chadvelyn (reportedly over a box of condoms), my first reaction was disbelief, then disappointment. For some reason, I really wanted Chadvelyn to work. Evelyn is one of my favorite reality TV vixens, and although her bitchy behavior on Vh1’s “Basketball Wives” is absurd, I have to admit that she is “good TV.” She plays her part and does exactly what she is paid to do. Yes, she is an evil bitch on the show, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve happiness in real life. Everyone knows that bitches need love too, right?
Wrong. As a matter of fact, many people felt that due to her violent behavior against other women on “Basketball Wives,” Evelyn finally got what she really deserved — an ass whooping. Chad was the true victim in this situation, and instead of undeservedly sitting in jail, he should be crowned the head-butting champion of the world!
Time and time again I saw tweets and Facebook statuses, mainly from black men, who to my surprise were celebrating Evelyn’s downfall. There seemed to be a resounding “ding-dong, the witch is dead” enthusiasm everywhere. “That’s what she gets. He should have beaten her ass,” coupled with “It’s about time” and “She’s been throwing bottles at chicks and now I am supposed to believe she is a victim?”
Well, yes. Is it that hard to believe that a woman like Evelyn could possibly be the victim of domestic violence, or any violence for that matter? When a rapper makes music about violence and killing, and in turn is murdered, none of these men would say he deserved to be killed. He becomes a martyr, a young talent full of brilliance, a life that is gone too soon. We obsess about solving the murder for years to come, and rightfully so, because in my opinion no one deserves violence — neither a rapper nor a reality show actress.
It’s disturbing to me that we live in a culture where anyone, but especially men, would celebrate when a woman is allegedly physically hurt by a man. To me, it speaks to a larger societal problem within the dynamics of male/female relationships. Especially between people of color.
I could speculate all day about why so many men, black men in particular, felt vindicated by a situation like this. Maybe it’s because some men will put a women that looks like Evelyn on a pedestal, meanwhile she ignores the “average guy.” She’s a “hot chick,” a “dime,” the type that many men would want on their arms. But eventually they realize that just because it’s pretty on the outside does not mean that the beauty goes any deeper than the skin. Evelyn represents every chick with a pretty face and a hot body that has ignored them, played them, or done them wrong. And no matter how many games she plays, there will always be another guy around the corner so proud to have her. Women like Evelyn Lozada always appear to be winning at life and maybe there is animosity towards her because she symbolizes everything they want, but only a man with “baller-status” can have. So, they’re mad! And when she falls off that pedestal, landing hard on the ground, they win!
Or maybe the problem is that we live in a society where only white women are allowed to be victims. From Anita Hill and her much criticized sexual harassment case against Clarence Thomas to R&B singer K. Michelle on “Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta” being accused of lying about experiencing domestic abuse at the hands of an ex-boyfriend, no matter what we do, women of color are seen as being too strong to be a victim. But it’s not just women. The Trayvon Martin case has shown us that even a young kid, carrying Skittles and an Ice-Tea will be seen as an aggressor and not a victim, because of the color of his skin.
At the end of the day, we are all victims: Victims of misconceptions and misguided opinions that in the long run will hurt us all.
When it is all said and done, we do not really know the full story. Maybe Evelyn attacked Chad, and he reacted in self-defense. Maybe he didn’t. Maybe this whole thing was kinky sex play gone wrong. Who knows. Either way it goes, violence is violence and wrong is wrong. Honestly, I never thought I would see the day when men would get just as excited watching “Basketball Wives” as they do a basketball game. Furthermore, it’s a sad day when an athlete is celebrated more for possibly hurting a woman than he is for his professional career.
I pray that Chad and Evelyn are able to heal from the situation. But the truth of the matter is we all have some healing to do.
Erica Watson is a comedian and actress. Find out more about her on EricaWatson.com.