I haven’t delved into Love & Hip-Hop in quite a while, but in catching up on VH1’s latest reunion, I see nothing has changed. Cardi B is notably the fave on the show, her presence garnering think pieces on feminism, being unapologetic about the skin you’re in, and the past you’ve lived, but the storyline that gets the most attention are the love triangles, particularly between Tara Wallace, Amina Pankey and Peter Gunz.
We love a relationship that’s salacious and far from anything we’d possibly put ourselves in. The failures in someone else’s union makes for good TV, weeks of entertainment and harsh criticism. But it’s unfortunate that after three straight seasons, nothing or no one has evolved from the unhealthy relationships rooted in a rapper and his poor choices. The inception of their situation on the show resulted in pointed fingers and the labeling of “victims,” but if the pattern continues and history repeats itself, should we refocus our attention to other sources? Instead of saying Peter is solely to blame for the chaos he’s caused his family, is it possible to say the two women involved have also greatly contributed to the mess we witness on television? Joe Budden certainly thinks so.
Some of y’all are victims of piece of shit men…… Some of y’all volunteer….. The 2 shouldn’t share in empathy.
— Joe Budden (@JoeBudden) March 22, 2016
Nothing changes if nothing changes… Sounds so simple. — Joe Budden (@JoeBudden) March 22, 2016
The former Love & Hip-Hop star weighed in on Twitter after part one of Monday’s reunion, offering his two cents about the three way affair–an area the rapper has quite a bit of familiarity with. As tweets poured in from viewers who dragged Peter for his interminable desire to be with both his wife and ex simultaneously without a care in the world, Joe questioned why all the fault fell on the man. Letting it be known that he was in no way defending Peter, the rapper let off a series of tweets that implied that Tara and Amina were content with their situation because of the re-occurring incidents. Without going in depth behind his thoughts, Joe did drop some gems that left many questioning the worth of the women--the ones who tolerate the tomfoolery, yet, cry and fight about it later.
When ppl show u who they really are, believe them…… What’s not to get here ?
— Joe Budden (@JoeBudden) March 22, 2016
Admittedly, Joe had a point. When Tara and Amina first appeared on the show, I will admit that Peter’s lack of respect, his incessant need to have his cake and eat it too, and live a double life while straddling the fence left a sour taste in my mouth, leading me to empathize with both women. Tara cried about another woman playing the third wheel and every Monday night, I silently shamed Amina. In the season that would subsequently follow, Tara would go back for what she felt was rightfully hers in hopes of bringing her family together again–even if Peter made the decision to “move on” and marry someone else.
And as episodes progressed, Amina and Tara left me wondering if they respected themselves for putting up with the emotional turmoil and justifying Peter’s behavior. They made excuses as to why they permitted the back and forth: “I’ve been with him for over 10 years.” “Well, we’re married.” “But I have his children,” so on and so forth. After two seasons, I realized that the problem between the women wasn’t about who had Peter first and who “took” him away. The issue was who had one up on the other, who was the main chick, and who had to revert to the struggles of side piece live on national television. No man or woman wants that title.
Earlier this year, the xoTeam spoke on infidelity and how we’ve come to live in a world where the cheating ways of men are normalized. Entertainment Editor, Soraya, spoke on the realization of a thin line between women fighting to be the ‘main’ one versus the ‘only’ one.
“I think some girls think that a man having another chick is expected and accepted, and as a result, succumb to just wanting to be the ‘main.’”
It’s a fitting statement that mirrors that of Peter, Amina, and Tara’s situation, with the women bickering over personal history instead of looking at Peter’s past with women in general.
During the first part of the union, Amina made sure she added insult to injury by letting it be known she–not Tara–would be the last one to have children by Peter. It seems to be a competition between the two, with both failing to understand the losing game they’re playing. Amina took to Instagram to address her public announcement that she was with child again after opting to terminate her pregnancy months earlier. While a myriad of side eyes could come out of her caption, she did make a valid point in regards to locking down your partner.
There is one reason and one reason only why I got pregnant again. Actually there is no "I" in this, its "WE"! But since i am the one carrying: "I Got pregnant again because I made love to the man I love." Now y'all can debate on why we did it until ya hair turns grey.. I feel good knowing that WE know and you just 'think' you know... A baby does not keep a man and being spiteful does not make you a winner! This is not a game. This is my life. But No matter what the circumstances were and are, I now feel happy to be expecting again and even happier to know I have the best baby daddy I could ask for. @petergunz174 I love you 4ever and I will never be scared to show or say it because of people. #babyBX 💝 A photo posted by Amina Pankey (@aminabuddafly) on
For years in my twenties, I’ve realized the validity in Joe Budden’s tweets, in observing people who thought they can change someone in the name of love. I, for one, had a moment at 22, 23 when I thought that a baby would change the dynamics of my relationship for the better. My naïvety led to a rude awakening when that baby led to long nights, little money, and lots of arguments. I have girlfriends that believe a ring, a piece of paper and a Mrs. at the beginning of their name means everything would be smooth sailing now and forevermore. But if a person wants to change, they will, with or without your stamp of approval.
[Tweet "If a person wants to change, they will, with or without your stamp of approval."]
Although Peter acknowledges that he has a problem, the women that feed into his sexual desires by giving into what he wants only contribute to the complacency. Why would he feel compelled to change when the women are still there–available and willing to rationalize his toxic actions in hopes of being the one that ultimately gets him in the end?
Pete been Pete for 3 years now… I’m lost lol
— Joe Budden (@JoeBudden) March 22, 2016
3 years & 3 reunions he’s said verbatim “IM SICK, I HAVE A PROBLEM, THIS IS WHO I AM”.. https://t.co/QrvLOsjNa7 — Joe Budden (@JoeBudden) March 22, 2016
It is unfortunate that these women–these mothers–are putting their health at risk by willingly engaging in unprotected sex and exhibiting unsound decision making before their children’s eyes. With Amina already the mother to a daughter and Tara the mother to three sons, what examples are they setting about healthy choices in love? Surely we don’t all make the wisest decisions when it comes to relationships, but when you consent to continuing a dangerous cycle, you’ve normalized the problem. When it comes down to fighting over a man, stress wins, egos are stroked, pride gets in the way, and the initial issue is never really settled. In fact, it’s expanding the problem even further. Peter wins, while both are stuck in a lose/lose situation.
As women, we need to do better and stop aspiring to compete with the next person to look better. I love how Cardi B stood up for both woman, but what hurts is that the two women involved can’t seem to step their own standards and their self-love up. Maybe Joe Budden was right; maybe they’re aren’t be taken advantage of. They’re well aware and need to take accountability for their own actions. They still have that much power.