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Man with 22 Kids by 14 Women May Get His Own Reality Show

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by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Here’s a newsflash:  Being a responsible and intelligent black man will typically NOT get you on TV.  If you want to be on television, you should do something utterly ridiculous and embarrassing, like having 22 kids with 14 different women while maintaining no job and no prospects for the future.  You should also make sure that you don’t know your kids’ names and that you refer to your children as your “siblings.”

This is going to make you a hit in mainstream media, where the buffoonish black man is the one that the world loves to see.

Meet Orlando Shaw, likely the most fertile man in the history of the state of Tennessee.  Orlando calls himself a Romeo because he has such a way with the ladies, and has gotten famous for spraying kids everywhere as if his p*enis were a loaded AK-47.

“Do the ladies like you?” he was recently asked.

“The ladies love me. They don’t like me. They love me,” said Shaw.

Not only does Shaw love to make babies, he loves to make a mess of his own life.  He owes thousands in child support, and the state has spent thousands taking care of the kids that he can make but chooses not to maintain.  How can he take care of his kids if he’s so busy out creating new ones?  Falling this far behind on your child support can also keep you one foot out of a jail cell.

“I was just young and ambitious and I love women. Hey, you can’t knock no man for loving a woman,” said Shaw.

I don’t blame Shaw for loving women, most men do.  What I blame him for (and the people who raised him) is acting without considering the consequences of his poor choices on the children he has created.  I also wonder about the women see no problem having unprotected s*ex with a man whose private parts are more well-traveled than Delta Airlines.

These women may also need to take a moment of pause when their kids are spouting the words “are you my daaaaaddy?” at every mailman, police officer and repairman who walks through the door.  No mother who loves her children would ever expose them to this kind of confusion and blatant humiliation: Any woman with working body parts can have a baby, but not every baby maker deserves the title of mother.  A mother should be a giver a life: spiritually, physically and psychologically.  But sometimes, we can inadvertently abort the potential of our children before they are even born.

Shaw’s plan to take care of his 22 little seeds is to get paid from a production deal that he’s signed with a studio in Los Angeles.

I am not going to spend my time talking about Mr. Shaw, who has enough problems.  The poor man has been convinced that he was meant to be a “war horse” (as he calls himself) who is wired to fertilize the entire planet.  I’m not sure where he got this self-image, but I know men who also think of themselves in the same way.  I would imagine that songs with choruses like “I wish I could f*ck every girl in the world” don’t help, courtesy of Lil Wayne.  Marketing is powerful, for it promotes a lifestyle – that’s why I spend so much time discussing the impact of toxic messages in hip-hop.

But the deeper issues here are two fold.  First, we should be stunned and depressed by how many people choose to have kids without having any kind of plan for how those children are going to be taken care of. The trauma that a child experiences when their father is either unwilling or unable to provide and protect him/her stays with them for a lifetime, and leads to many of the horrible outcomes we see in our communities.

My argument is that while there are some people who simply make one or two mistakes, there are others who just don’t give a d*amn.  Like drunk drivers who don’t think before getting behind the wheel, there is no concern for how many lives are wrecked when we make a mess and don’t stick around to clean it up.  In some ways, this kind of behavior is a form of terrorism in our community, where the lives of good, law-abiding citizens are impacted by those who choose not to care about those around them.  These men and women can be as much of a problem as the KKK itself.

As they say in New York when it comes to terrorists, “If you see something, say something.” This means that if you’ve got that brother, sister, uncle, aunt, son or daughter who is having one child after another with no plan to take care of them, at least let them know that you are uncomfortable with their behavior.   Part of what disappoints me about Mr. Shaw’s predicament is that he seems just a little too happy about it.

The second point here is that we should be disgusted that the Orlando Shaws get far more media attention than the millions of responsible, intelligent, hard-working black men who love and provide for their children.   When the spotlight is bright on the dude who has 22 kids, it tends to block out the more appropriate shine that should be thrust onto the disciplined father of three who loved his children’s mother enough to keep his family together.  These men exist, and they are the ones who hold our communities together.

But media is like a virus that infects those who absorb it.  Every time an Orlando Shaw or Shawty Lo is put on national television, there are millions of little boys who see this imagery and believe it to be an acceptable way to raise a family.  Young men are having a difficult time learning productive forms of manhood when everything they see on television tells them to destroy their own life and the lives of those they supposedly care about.  This is why some major media outlets need to be confronted in the same way we would confront a hospital responsible for injecting Syphilis into African American patients.   The only difference is that the disease is psychological and not physical, but the impact can be just as devastating.

Once again, I’m not entirely angry at Mr. Shaw, for he is just a product of a sad and sick society.  But what I do find disappointing are the structural influences that teach black boys to remain little boys instead of growing up to be men.  That’s what rips my heart out.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the author of the lecture series, “The 8 Principles of Black Male Empowerment.”  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.