Based purely on the number of catchphrases per minute, The Real Housewives of Atlanta has always been my favorite of the franchise--though I still contend nothing tops Jersey's first season finale, you prostitution whores. But the Atlanta Housewives, as fabulous as they are, are more problematic than the other Housewives, at least when it comes to their "gays."
Happy to snap their fingers, roll their necks, read to filth, and borrow liberally from the gay community--of course, gay men have been borrowing liberally and often from black ladies since time immemorial as nature's purest and greatest form of symbiosis--the ladies of Atlanta remind me of the girls I grew up with on the playground.
You could be their friend, play jump rope with them, and they might even stand up for you against the bullies, but they're also the first ones to call you a sissy or a faggot. We'll get into the reasons behind that later, but last night on part three (!!!) of The Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion, Andy Cohen finally addressed this casual homophobia.
This season, noted pot-stirrer Kenya Moore insinuated that Kim Field's husband Chris was a little light in the loafers and that he was better known around Hollywood as "Chrissy"--and she's not talking Three's Company.
When Andy broached the subject on the reunion, Moore and the other ladies continued to speculate about Chris's sexuality and things quickly got super awkward. Moore, in typical twirling fashion, refused to back down or apologize, and talk turned more homophobic as Andy got more and more visibly uncomfortable.
You can almost see him questioning his life choices up to this point.
And it was uncomfortable to watch (almost as uncomfortable as Porsha's "tuck" comment from part two) as the women put Chris's masculinity on trial--but therein lies the problem. It's not that the Atlanta Housewives are actually homophobic, or even meant any harm by their comments, but rather, we're seeing how masculinity is perceived in the black community.
Black women--by nature and, y'know, history-- are very protective of black men being emasculated. So much so that they often end up doing the emasculation. I, a naturally weepy child, was told so often that boys don't cry that I more or less shut down emotionally until well into adulthood.
This emphasis on masculinity in turn leads black men to overcompensate--witness how Kandi "No Scrubs" Burruss's husband Todd reacts to Phaedra's gay rumors comment:
You woulda thought someone whipped out a dildo and slapped him across the face with it. Luckily, a clearly fed-up Andy called them out on their behavior.
He then wisely gave Chris the last word on the whole situation:
Good for you, Chris! And good for you, Regine Hunter Kim Fields for finding a husband secure in his masculinity, for finally waking up after being prodded to death by Kenya all season, and for generally winning this reunion. Well, you and Nene's jumpsuit.
At the end of the day, what of the world's problems can't be solved by a sheer sequined jumpsuit?