BravoTV’s ‘Summer House Martha's Vineyard’ Needs to be Renewed for a Season 3 for Black Representation

BravoTV’s ‘Summer House Martha’s Vineyard’ Season 3 Needs to be Renewed for Black Representation

BravoTV’s commitment to Black representation can be solidified by renewing ‘Summer House Martha's Vineyard’ for Season 3, offering a rare and much-needed spotlight on Black millennials in reality TV.

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According to Deadline, Bravo has paused Summer House Martha’s Vineyard after two seasons. The reality series has not been canceled, but a third season has not been greenlit for this year after two consecutive years.

Can you name a successful national television show that showcases Black millennials in an upscale positive light? You probably cannot, because there aren’t many TV programs taking into account this group of young people who deserve representation.

BravoTV has excelled in reality franchises that keep many guilty pleasure lovers glued to their screens, living vicariously through the fabulous, overly dramatized lives of reality characters or stars. From the Real Housewives franchise to Vanderpump Rules, these reality shows are showstoppers. As a Black millennial media entrepreneur, I’ve followed the journey of the Vanderpump Rules cast since day one. I’ve always loved the show, the cast, and the drama, but not seeing any Black personalities made me a critic and slightly resentful. Is it that no Black waitresses were working at Pump and SUR, Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurants that emerged these breakout reality stars? I’m unsure why the entire cast of Friends is all white, but for over ten years this show has been on the air, it has lacked inclusivity of BIPOC, not even in the “friend of cast members” category.

I have an issue with how representation is addressed in society today across various fields and sectors. When discussed through the lens of ‘build your ship but you can’t join us,’ it feels exclusionary. For instance, in my startup world as an entrepreneur and founder, I would see accelerator programs and funding opportunities that, as a Black person, I should be considered for. But when I approach the institution, they direct me to the limited pool of funds created and labeled for “Black founders, Black women, minorities, BIPOC, disadvantaged, underserved,” and any other label that categorizes you as part of the unfortunate pool. It seems like, in their minds, they are doing us a favor by directing us to the other section, but honestly, it comes across as segregation. Like you’re not befitting of this big money pool for the white, smart, upper-class, techie, life sciences founders, and don’t even dare to apply because we won’t accept you. Yes, there are funding opportunities just like television programs and platforms made for people of color, but the truth is those programs exist because, historically and presently, we are constantly being excluded from the ‘premium white pool’ and lack access.

In 2023, a rendition of Bravo TV’s long-running show ‘Summer House’ aired, called ‘Summer House Martha’s Vineyard,’ and the cast were all Black millennials. It was like Bravo TV creating a new ship for Black representation since they failed to be inclusive on shows like Vanderpump Rules or Summer House. We can argue that Housewives of Atlanta is Black representation, but let’s be real!

Now in its second season, SHMV aired its season finale, and we are left wanting more! The show is a reminder that we are not a monolith, that we are full of flaws and beauty, which can also bring great economic value to a network. We are proud of our identities and have a shared history that deserves to be aired on national television. Jasmine Ellis Cooper, the show’s ‘Mamala,’ said in a recent Instagram Live that it was us, the viewers, who secured them a reunion because we voiced concerns and also showed support by watching the show (even though we are salty about the show having only a one-part reunion). Now, while Season 3 has not been canceled, it has been paused. She said she is praying they get renewed because each cast member is unique and their characters deserve to be displayed. They represent another Black millennial whose life isn’t being filmed but can also relate.

Frankly, that is why a Season 3 is needed. Bravo TV needs to be purposely inclusive and show they care about our stories just as much. In a conversation I held with the co-founder of BOMESI, we particularly addressed the fact that Black audiences are the best consumers and customers to have. We have unmatched economic spending power, and advertisers ought to understand that you can’t go wrong betting on Black! So Bravo TV should showcase SHMV and be ready to go into a bidding war at their next upfront to keep this show alive because a TV show like this needs time to breathe.

There is an engaged audience; with proper marketing, advertising, and organic editorials like this about the show, more people will be aware of the show and viewership will increase tremendously. Bravo’s failure to renew Summer House Martha’s Vineyard, will be their loss for failing to recognize our strong buying power in the Black community and a bigger loss for being whitewashed and failing to see the power of Black storytelling and representation through media.

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