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4 Black Women will Transform a "White Sister" Weekly on New Lifetime Series 'Girlfriend Intervention'

by Tambay A. Obenson
June 4, 2014 7:14 PM
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The Lifetime network (which continues to want to carve out an African American audience of its own, given recent programming) has announced that it's picked up four new unscripted series to add to its primetime lineup, including a handful featuring black cast members.

They are, first: a complete makeover series titled "Girlfriend Intervention," which stars "four wise, poised and stylish African American women, who, in each episode, help a white sister seeking a complete makeover to restore her confidence and inner glow," according to the press release I received today.

Maybe someone reading this can explain to me what the mean by "white sister," because I'm not entirely sure what I'm supposed to understand here. Are they speaking in the spirit of sisterhood or womanhood, as in all women are sisters, regardless of heritage and skin color? Or is "white" being used as a synonym for a blank canvas, unsullied, pure, ultra-conservative? Or is it just as simple as 4 black women making over a white woman every week? Help me out folks...

Here's what the rest of the description reads:

Making over their wardrobes, beauty routines, homes and minds, they teach these women how to embrace and celebrate their lives, speak their mind, lighten up and love themselves again. Our four experts carry themselves with a great deal of pride, style and, most importantly, self-confidence. Where does it come from and how can it be obtained? Who better to teach a woman how to get that sparkle in her eye and spring back in her step?  Each week, Girlfriend Intervention follows a woman whose personal space and self-esteem are in desperate need of a major makeover and a life-giving dose of diva inspiration.  

So will the women who are, shall we say, "upgraded" by our 4 African American experts always be "white sisters" - whatever "white" means in this case? And assuming "white" is being used here in the most obvious sense - racial/skin color - what then do the above descriptions suggest about stereotypes and on-screen depictions of black and white women, if anything at all?

The show will be hosted by beauty expert Tracy Balan, home and sanctuary guru Nikki Chu, style and fashion maven Tiffiny Dixon and soul coach Tanisha Thomas, who help these women "break it down and tell it like it is."

The second series that Lifetime has picked up is a docu-sitcom titled "Kosher Soul," which follows "hip-hop tastemaker" O’Neal McKnight and his fiancée, celebrity stylist Miriam Sternoff. Here's how that program is described in the press release:

This is the swirl like you’ve never seen it before. Celebrity stylist, comedian, sometime performer and reformed man about town O’Neal McKnight is getting married to fellow celebrity fashion stylist Miriam Sternoff, who plays grown-up to his arrested adolescent. O’Neal is African American, from a very rural part of the south; Miriam is Jewish, from the northwest by way of upper-middle-class New York City; and her mom, who strikes terror into O’Neal’s heart, is insistent that their children be raised Jewish. So O’Neal, who had not always been the best boyfriend to Miriam back in the day, is converting in an effort to show he’s serious about marriage and his wife’s belief system. O’Neal and Miriam, and their cosmopolitan circle of Los Angeles friends, spare no sacred cow as they explore and poke fun at the differences in their cultures.  We’ll watch emotions run high as Miriam’s family wonders how authentic O’Neal’s conversion is, and these two completely different people try to form a union and live as one. Will their love be able to survive?

And third is a reality-competition show titled "Threads," from the producers of "Project Runway" and featuring Vanessa Simmons and Christian Siriano, in which skilled teen and tween fashion designers showcase their gift for style. Each week, 3 new contestants put their skills to the test to see who can out-design the competition. Challenges will be fast-paced and unpredictable, as the contestants compete for a prize package worth $25,000.  

In addition, Lifetime unveiled three new shows it has placed into development, including what it calls an extreme dental makeover show titled "Smile;" a competition-reality series "Worst Stylist Ever," which pits America’s "most feared" hair stylists against one another; and "Ugly Models," a docu-series from rocker Gene Simmons, Jon Murray, Jeff Jenkins and Gil Goldschein that looks at the world’s leading modeling agency focused on representing "unusual looking people."

Which or these, if any, are of interest to you?

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  • rara | June 6, 2014 8:07 AMReply

    Or teach them how to act a d@mn fool in public like a child or worse teach them how to get their white men incarcerated for child support or killed from nigg@ish drama?

  • Renee | June 7, 2014 7:18 AM

    You mean teach them how not to act like the just jumped from the trailer park with straw in their mouths. Please do not get me started talking about the LOVE of YOUR wretched life, the white woman.

  • rara | June 6, 2014 8:06 AMReply

    What are they planning to do as a makeover? Cut all the white women's hair off just so she can wear a hair hat of various colors?

  • Isis | June 5, 2014 6:39 PMReply

    Scandal, and now this, they are trying to destroy us as a people. So the white female now wants one on one lessons on how to be a black woman, and then they'll proceed to get a butt job done, then tell our black men "what does that black woman have that I dont" all she wants to do is watch Scandal.... We'll they can go and get their butt surgeries but they are not getting my mind, that essence is mine to give to my King-The Black Man

  • Keith | June 7, 2014 5:57 AM

    You are close, but I feel this just a short part of the agenda to (Brown) the white race miscegenation in television is mostly black male, white woman but I see your point to.

  • Marie | June 5, 2014 1:40 PMReply

    All of these synopses sound stereotypical, banal or abhorrent. I predict that few to none will get a second season.

  • Miles Ellison | June 6, 2014 9:05 PM

    The banal and stereotypical nature of these shows is exactly why they will be successful. That's the kind of thing people want to watch.

  • Monique A Williams | June 5, 2014 12:55 PMReply

    *sigh* These show synopses sound like they were written by The Onion.

  • Renee | June 7, 2014 7:22 AM


  • Phred G | June 5, 2014 10:51 AMReply

    It's just 4 Magical Negroes. What SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE thinks(or at least HOPES) y'all want to SEE. What more could you ask?

  • Mia | June 5, 2014 8:14 AMReply

    sounds completely stupid

  • jeni | June 5, 2014 1:16 AMReply

    With the exception of Christian's show, they can keep all of this ridiculousness. And re the stylists' show, I am sick of the black man-child with the motherly white girlfriend/wife stereotype that keeps slipping into reality TV.

  • David | June 4, 2014 11:05 PMReply

    It's like "Queer eye for the Straight Guy", but "Black Eye for the White Girl"

  • David | June 4, 2014 11:01 PMReply

    It's like "Queer eye for the Straight Guy", but "Black Eye for the White Girl"

  • nun | June 5, 2014 2:21 PM

    Yes! I thought the same thing.

  • Miles Ellison | June 4, 2014 10:14 PMReply


  • Dave's Deluxe | June 4, 2014 11:21 PM

    It will be like "Gone With The Wind" meets black Reality TV! Large-breasted, overly-groomed materialistic black women fussing over a white girl. What's not to like?

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