Braxton Family Values under fire for ‘African Booty Scratcher’ comment

Makho Ndlovu February 11, 2012

(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on

Braxton Family Values under fire for 'African Booty Scratcher' comment

I will never forget the first time someone called me an African booty scratcher. Having migrated from Zimbabwe to America as a child, I had no idea what the derogatory term meant but the look of disgust and hate from the young girl who said it to me, conveyed the message loud and clear. I was thinking to myself at the time, how can someone hate me for my accent, culture and heritage… something I have no control over? How many other people think I'm this African booty scratcher thing? As a child from a foreign country growing up in the US, trust me when I tell you, it was no walk in the park.

I hadn't thought about that comment until tonight's episode of Braxton Family Values entitled Congo Workout Time (I'm still rolling my eyes at the episode title). The TV show centers around Grammy award winning R&B star Toni Braxton and her lesser known sisters Tamar, Traci, Trina and family matriarch Evelyn. As you know with reality shows (and I use the term reality loosely) each character  or person rather has a specific storyline. Traci's story is that she is the overweight sister who is finally heeding her sister's advice to shed the excess fat. Tonight's plot dealt with dramatic younger sis Tamar taking her older sibling Traci to a fitness training facility.

The outrageous African booty scratcher moment came when Traci was being pushed outside of her comfort zone by her Congolese trainer Sgt Tichaya. Spitfire Traci remarked to him " He gonna call me woman. You African booty scratcher. How in the hell you gon' call me woman? My name is Traci and you better not forget it".

Huh? Say what now!?! So let me get this right. It's not OK for Sgt Tichaya to call Traci woman but it's OK for her to call him an African booty scratcher?  In the immortal word of Amy Winehouse "what kind of f*ckery is this?"

Watch the ABS clip here:


I had a lot of issues with tonight's episode. For instance, when the sisters walked into the gym Traci complained about how hot it was in the fitness facility. Seemingly linking the heat to the trainer's African lineage. Think I am over exaggerating? Traci said later on the show " I think I will get a new trainer, an American one this time. With an air conditioner" Craziness! In a another segment of the show the sisters were shown poking fun at African culture by making clicking noises and sounds imitating African culture/ languages. Sorry if the humor was lost on me but I didn't find it funny at all. I thought I was going to throw something at my TV when I heard them calling the Sgt."Mandigo or "Mr. Boomtastik".

This my friends, is one of the reasons you have a devise gap between some African Americans and Africans. I speak for all Africans when I say making fun of our culture is just stupid, ignorant and flat out dumb. News flash: Our heritage is not your entertainment fodder. The unfortunate part of all this was that the trainer seemed to be cosigning in on the madness. "Mr Congo" as the women called him even showed up to the gym the next day in full out traditional African garb. I understand loving one's culture but showing up to workout decked in traditional African attire is absurd. When was the last time you saw that in your local gym?

In all honesty, I don't think Traci understands the error of her ways. The confidence in which she said her comment implies to me that she sees nothing wrong with it. I wonder if the network would have even allowed this to happen had a derogatory term been used about Hispanic, Asian or Jewish people? When I looked on twitter a few minutes ago African booty scratcher was still a trending topic with many people cheering on Traci's use of the word. At times like this I actually wonder if ignorance is really bliss.

Did you watch the show? Thoughts?


Last Edited by: Updated: September 12, 2018


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