40,000, is the number of signatures it took to get "All My Baby Mamas", a ghetto melodrama starring one hit hip-hop wonder Shawty Lo, and his 11 children with 10 different women, one of whom happens to be the same age as his 19 year old girlfriend. The Oxygen networks decision to air this show sparked controversy in the black community because of its subject matter. There has been widespread concern from myself and many others in reference to the negative imagery of represented in this show. Not to mention the obvious stereotypes that it perpetuates.
This is a victory for African-American's everywhere, (except for Shawty and his village), proves that our voices and opinion's have an impact and make a difference. This is proof positive that "economic sanctions" work. The Oxygen network did not make its decision based on the concerns of Black people. They canceled this program for fear that they would lose advertising dollars. Advertiser's purchase air time during programming with high viewership. If a program airs and its ratings are low, buying advertising time is a bad investment for any organization looking to promote their product. If they do choose to spend advertising dollars during such programs, they could also risk facing the wrath of angry consumer's who are boycotting certain program's because of a social issue. Lets face it nobody wants to be known as the company who supports a show like "All My Baby Mamas". Especially given the fact that most African-American's have expresses disdain for the idea. For example, Frito Lay does not want to risk losing the African- American market share for Dorito's any more than Chryslers wants to lose their African-American market share of Chrysler 300's. They recognize that we have a strong economic base, and if we choose not to spend money on their product to prove a point (economic sanctions), it would have an adverse effect on their bottom line. If a television network is willing to halt the production of a show because of 40,000 signatures and a fear of losing sponsorship. Imagine what impact we could have if we specifically targeted products or services who don't support our community and chose not to patronize them. The impact would be phenomenal. We could force corporations to invest in our community by not economically supporting them until they do so. Pretty much the same way that the mere possibility of advertisers pulling out of programming forced Oxygen to stop production of "All My Baby's Mamas".
The advertising revenue is considered so valuable that steps are taken to avoid the slightest possibility of conflict. As consumers we have to realize that our dollars have just as much power, and can be used to get what we need. We have to begin to understand that the best way to negotiate is through flexing our economic muscle.