The Irony Of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta's Open Relationship

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It’s safe to say that of all the Love & Hip Hop installments, LHH: Atlanta is by far the most outlandish. Every season, it tries to outdo itself in scandalous shock value by drudging up the sexual pasts of its cast members. Season 6 is already off to a sensational start. We know that one of the show’s original couples, rapper Rasheeda and her husband Kirk Frost, are on rocky terms with allegations of Kirk having fathered a child with another woman named Jasmine.
Since cheating is pretty common across the franchise (as in real life), this is rather uninteresting news. It didn’t take six seasons for even the most aloof viewer to know that Kirk has never been husband of the year. However, Jasmine’s situation is a bit more complex and interesting. Since ending her affair with Kirk, Jasmine has been in a plural relationship with a man, Rod, and woman, Keanna. They live together and have been collectively raising the child she had with Kirk.
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For LHHATL, this kind of story line is gold. With very few exceptions, cast members are usually trying to pivot their relationships toward a standard of heterosexual monogamy. By prioritizing this traditional dating model, LHHATL creates a spectacle of any practices that fall outside of those narrow parameters. The more alternative the scenario, the bigger the spectacle. Nontraditional set ups like consensual non-monogamy, plural relationships, and, as we’ll recall from an earlier season, sex tapes, are all all framed as shocking taboos on LHHATL. Last night, Jasmine's threesome was met with outright hostility from friends of Kirk who doubt the credibility of her paternity claims. To these naysayers, her refusal to practice strict monogamy and respectability are a sign of Jasmine’s immorality and recklessness.
But on a show where very few people actually adhere to monogamy, these things shouldn’t be surprising or lead to Jasmine being ostracized. Not to mention that all around us, more people are exploring alternative relationship practices and redefining what it looks like to be cuffed. These love models often require more communication and compassion by design. It would be a great lesson in honesty and empathy for some of the other cast members to understand Jasmine's unconventional setup. But healthy relationships do not an entertaining LHHATL episode make.