In 2011, it still saddens me when cases of racial stereotyping happen, especially in the case of children. The Lifetime series “Dance Moms” displayed an undertone of racial stereotyping in last night’s episode.

Usually, the show is about the ongoing battle between mothers living out their dreams through their young daughters. It took a twist when the only African-American girl on the show, Nia, was required to wear a leopard outfit with an Afro wig while performing a dance number called “LaQueefa.”

Holly, Nia’s mother, was immediately offended by the stereotyping but ironically still put her daughter through the performance and purchased her the Afro wig.

The owner of the dance studio, Abbey, was rather blunt about the fact that she knew she was racially stereotyping Nia. She said that she needed to learn her “ethnic” dance. The mother and Abbey went back and forth and unsurprisingly, nothing was resolved.

With such disrespect, if I were a mother, I would have pulled my child out of the show with urgency. Racial stereotyping in general is outrageous but especially should never be placed on children.

Watch the video here via Jezebel.

What do you think of racial stereotyping taught to little girls? Would you have let your daughter perform?

-Krystal Holmes


  • Kya

    Watched the clips and this is what I concluded. That for the chance to be on a reality tv show you will allow your daughter to do something you would probably (I take from her opposition) not allow to happen if it were not being filmed.

    The child is not responsible, the mother however is very responsible. I really want to know does though, does her contract not allow her to tell the diva instructor where to go? Since you’re required to sell your soul, I guess you do have to sign in blood. Please!

    • TheFashionistachic

      i’ve signed a reality show contract before. no excuse me i read one but didn’t sign it. its ridiculous. But in regard to Holly, she’s a black upper class professional. You come across attitudes and ignorance when you are in that environment. Educated intelligent people learn to rise about those attitudes and stay focused. She wants her daughter to be a great dancer. Living in suburbia you are limited. I would like my daughter to dance at Debbie Allen’s studio. Its over an hour from my home in Los Angeles and she requires 4 days a week. I still would like my daughter to take dance but the studio in my area or laughable. So Holly is doing whats best for her daughter and not allowing her ego to interfere. She is an intelligent women and I respect her for her efforts.

  • Therese

    I was actually more offended that the mother, Holly, was oh so offended by the thought of an afro wig. When referring to the afro, she immediately went to picking cotton and such. What’s so bad about an afro?

  • TheFashionistachic

    I watch this show, first I was offended. Then I watched the last two episodes. The last dance Nia did a middle eastern style dance one prior the Laqueefa. The instructor made a speech about Holly wanting her daughter to be like every other little girl. At first I looked like, what did she say? Then as I watched on, seeing Nia win the last category made me see things differently. Yes, Nia is different and she will get role other other girls wouldn’t be considered to do. The instructor attempt to be progressive and current. Laqueefa was suppose to be a HIP URBAN PIECE, it didn’t go over so well because Nia isn’t urban. It’s kind of a catch 22 to some degree. But the more I think about it, the more I realize it gives us the opportunity to be urban or mainstream.

    • Tonya

      I can see your point as I watched the next few episodes, but I think for me if all the girls were in a routine that was “ethnic” (I use those quotation marks heavily) – then it might not have been protrayed so poorly. I like that Holly brought attention to it but I wish she would have fought harder for her daughter. Abbey, I don’t believe or I hope is not coming from a place of hate – such as a definition of racisim – however, she is ignorant and misguided if she believes this dance was not uncomfortable and offensive to most. The judges did not score the Laqueefa performance well. They knew better.

  • Kat Flare

    There is nothing wrong with the dance she did if u ever saw the show you would no she can not dance!! She never points her toes abbey tells her over and over again about it. Abbey also said that when she gets an audition they will ask her to do ethnic and she will have that down perfect and could nail any act out there….. in my opinion the dances are for fun and teaches kids dancing isn’t all about oh look at me I can spin in circles!! They also show people that they can be serious now I do admit lequeeffa wasn’t the most serious piece but it did tell a story

    • K-Toa

      Sorry, but this reeks of fallacy. I live in SoCal, and have volunteered at high schools renown for their performing arts programs. The directors of these programs would be aghast at Abby’s straight outta Podunk ignorance of other cultures. If the show choirs or dance ensembles here do a West African dance, ALL the girls, regardless of color, dress in traditional African costume. If it’s an 18th century French piece, ALL the girls dress up in European gowns of that era; the director does NOT take aside girls of color and have them dress as Moorish slaves.

      Ms. Abby needs to broaden her horizons!

    • Amber

      This statement just shows you don’t know much about dance at all. It told a story? -_- oh okay

  •!/groups/canceldancemoms/ Michelle Garcia

    I’m the proud mother of a dancer from Miami, Florida. My 12 year old has been dancing since she was three and our home is full of trophies, plaques and ribbons that she’s won through the years. Our hearts are full of very fond and very positive memories from these same events. Thanks to organizations like yours, my daughter has made new friends from all over the country and she’s been able to take master classes from very gifted teachers.

    The show is a very cynical and sick depiction of what happens in the dance world. Studio’s don’t learn new routines every month, nor would they ever place a child on stage to perform a routine without knowing the music. So much of this show is based on a script and it’s not real. This just isn’t what happens in the true dance world. This show is an insult to every dance professional, dance student and dance instructor. It’s wrong TV and I want this show cancelled. Dancer’s work so hard and this show doesn’t send a positive message.

    I have a facebook page which I’d like to ask you to join. The page is calling for the cancellation of this show. I’ve also emailed several dance organizations asking that they not allow Lifetime to film at their venue. If they have no place to film, they have nothing to show every week.

  • dave mahoney

    Laqueefa is someone who has an extreme tendency to queef. Seems like Abby was just trying to push the envelope knowing shes got fame behind her and the network wouldn’t drop her over this. She could always say that she had no intentions of offending anyone if it came down to that. The mother could quit the studio but would lose her fame if she did. So Abby’s got her by the ball sack. Someone should queef in Abby’s face.

  • honeyxzillah

    yeah, i’d kick Abby in her face if she suggested my daughter do some crap like that. we would be finding a different studio, nothing is worth sacrificing your self-respect over. every concession one makes for a person who disrespects you adds up in the psyche in a bad way.

    wtf is an ethnic dance, anyway?

    no one should pay for another person’s ignorance, just ridiculous.

  • Kim Fenwick

    Hey Holly,

    Please throw away that Ivy league doctorate. You and your daughter have set black people back 200 years. Not only have you allowed your daughter to perform as a buffoon, but you continue to finance it. My daughters will never watch this show. Girlfriend, you should have gone to an HBCU….you would have received a GREAT education. Ummph, video is forever.

  • Amber

    This episode was terrible. I’m 19 & a dancer. Currently a junior dance major pursuing a BFA in Dance. I had problems with both the mother & Abby during this episode. First off, the fact that Abby called THAT ethnic dance REALLY bothered me. People referring to just African dance styles as ethnic dance bothers me period since I believe that even ballet should be considered an ethnic dance form (check out “An Anthropologist Looks at Ballet as a Form of Ethnic Dance” if interested). Also, the choice of music & movement was just upsetting for me! But the problem I had with the mother were her feelings about the afro. She made a statement that it’s 2011, we don’t wear afros anymore. o_O we don’t? I can’t even say anymore. The whole situation upset me. SMH

  • Jasmine

    I actually danced for Abbey about 15 years ago and she hasn’t changed a bit. I do think the fame is going to her head and this would just bring her more attention. It doesn’t matter what kind of attention she gets and at who’s expense it comes. She is definitely going great lengths to get ratings. To be honest, if Holly she should have stood her ground and not allowed her child to wear the costume.

    Abbey’s attitude toward dancing has always been extreme. She bullied me when I was younger and danced for her. My mother pulled me from the dance studio soon after. Granted, many of her students have gone to Broadway, but looking back, it amazed me how badly she would talk to the students… and we were kids.

    I’ve never had respect for Abbey and still don’t.

  • Pingback: Dance Moms: Miami Is Much More Legitimate, Therefore Less Fun To Watch

Read previous post: