When the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) first announced a talk show based on men and relationships co-starring Tyrese one question raced to my mind: Has anyone over there ever paid attention to Tyrese before hiring him for this?
If you Google the words, “Tyrese sexist,” a flock of credible offenses will fill your screen. While a sexist man isn’t exactly an anomaly, one wonders why OWN, a network whose growth is largely attributable to Black women, would offer someone like this a platform. Black women saved OWN in ways Lindsay Lohan, Rosie O’Donnell, Wynonna Judd, and Shania Twain (all of whom had previous incarnations of television specials/shows) could not and the reward for their loyalty is misogynoir with musical sensibilities.
Even though the show is called “It's Not You, It's Men,” it does very little in the way of challenging sexism. Look no further than model Amber Rose’s appearance in February, in which she took on both Tyrese and co-host, Rev. Run for perpetuating forms of rape culture. When Rose complained about street harassment and overall disrespect by men, Rev. Run suggested that perhaps "a representation of what you're wearing and stuff and seems like, in their mind, what you're representing."
Tyrese echoed the sentiment adding, "I'm just saying, the comfortability some people find in wanting to touch or grope you. It's an energy that is sent out there that creates that type of response."
Rose shut them down, but the problem is when it comes to saying something dumb about women, Tyrese simply can’t help himself. The latest example is an Instagram post in which he claims to no longer fancy a certain kind of women. Everyone has a right to their particular preferences, but there’s an underlying stench behind this chauvinistic notion.
Part of his caption reads, “I was just asked today what qualities attract me at this point in a women…. I love a woman that's smart, confident, educated, self sufficient, (available to be as spontaneous as this lifestyle I live.) I use to be attracted to women with HUGE personalities LOUD and AGGRESSIVE and I would always it a wall…. Now I'm in a zone where I am ONLY attracted to women who's voice is so soft and she has the energy and presence of grace and regal sophistication….. Not subservient REGAL!!!”
In the comment section, where intelligence and reason unfortunately often go to be violently slaughtered, one commenter wrote, “Don't nobody want a bunch Ne-Ne, K-Michelle, Tamar, Mi-Mi, and Cardi B's running around the house. I can't stand loud, aggressive women in my space and I'm a woman.”
They are both speaking the same language, only the commenter is merely taking Tyrese’s opinion one step further. When you look clearly at the examples mentioned, you’ll see that NeNe Leakes and Tamar Braxton are happily married. Mimi Faust is in a serious relationship and not with a clown for a change. Cardi B is engaged. Fine, I’ll give you K. Michelle, though to her credit, while it may not last as long as she likes, she keeps a man around.
These ladies have all become very successful by being true to who they are. The critique that “loud, aggressive” women are to be frowned upon is often rooted in the idea that this is the “wrong” kind of woman. When I hear of women being criticized for not speaking “softly,” my thoughts actually go to former Secretary Hillary Clinton who is constantly being hit by male candidates and pundits lamenting that she’s too loud or “shrill.”
Anyone extolling the virtues of a more docile woman is the proud owner of a linear, backwards view of womanhood. And considering Tyrese is the same person who once made headlines for an allegedly violent incident with his then-pregnant girlfriend, you’d think there would be more self-reflection in wanting what he refers to a partner that’s more “regal.”
Tyrese is of course free to think as he wants, but he’s been this way for several years and his reward is now being force-fed to Black women. Donald Trump does not have a show on Univision. Bill O’Reilly is not hosting a news show on TV One. Dildo-hating Ted Cruz is not hosting a sex show on Sirius XM. So then why is Tyrese given free reign to spread poison on a network that owes its existence to the support of Black women?