My initial reaction to an email from VH1 about a new series called Tiny & Shekinah’s Weave Trip was a cry for help. As in, “Jesus and Beyoncé: Please don’t let this show be another attempt by white folks to embarrass us.” Already, I can imagine some people thinking I have my nerve given I watch Love & Hip Hop: Wherever faithfully. Fair enough, but even that franchise isn’t screaming foolishness in its title (not initially anyway). There’s just something about the name of this show – Tiny & Shekinah’s Weave Trip – that screams “I may have to do way too much explaining to someone unfamiliar with my folks.”
I’ve noticed my sentiments were shared by many like-minded VH1 viewers on social media who may not necessarily believe those featured on Basketball Wives and Love & Hip Hop will doom Negroes the world over, but nonetheless still remember cringing at the screams of FLAVOR FLAV, thus preventing us from ever getting too comfortable with what can be found on a network like VH1. But after having watched the premiere episode this week, I’ve found it to be many things: Ridiculous; loud; hysterical; country as a rib sandwich purchased from a red wagon doubling as a restaurant.
However, another description comes to mind: harmless.
Tiny & Shekinah’s Weave Trip is essentially a buttermilk fried chicken version of The Simple Life, which aired on FOX and starred Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie.
In their version of the show, they are working together on a business project: a mobile hair salon and like all partner-in-crime theme TV shows, hilarity soon ensues. Even when trying to secure a bus to serve as their traveling hair salon, Shekinah loudly expresses her belief that because Tiny is a millionaire (by her own merit, and through her marriage to T.I.), she ought to be the one who puts up the majority of the money. So they go into meditation and Shekinah yells some more. Tiny yells back. They reach an accord. They go off to scream about other things, only in a much more hospitable ways.
You have to note how loud these two are (mostly Shekinah, though) because that is part of this show’s charm. As is Shekinah, who is the de facto star of this show even if it’s Tiny’s name that got it sold. Shekinah is not the most self-aware, the most eloquent, or the most tactless person to be around. But she is funny. I forgot just how funny Shekinah was given I stopped watching T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle eons ago. No offense to the self-described “hip-hop Huxtables,” but much like Run’s House and all of the family sitcoms they are based on, the show has a shelf life.
It was about time the show produced a spinoff and Tiny & Shekinah’s Weave Trip is a worthy successor.
As for the title, it does warrant caution. After all, Black people are used to us being put the positions of buffoons and slapstick. However, my initial judgment is a reminder than even I have to remember to get a grip and stop fixating so much on how other people will perceive us just because of how a select view behave on television. Tiny and Shekinah are harmless. More importantly, they’re not that unlike many people I call family kin. Sure, I sometimes need to consume large quantities of brown liquor to be around them at length, but they are not embarrassing nor anything to be ashamed of. If anything, this show reminds me how funny many of us can be when we let our guards down.