American singer, actress, and television personality Tamar Braxton, in a lengthy Instagram and Twitter post on Thursday, July 30, called out what she described as the “systemic bondage” of reality television. She accused WE tv, which airs ‘Braxton Family Values’ and planned to air ‘Tamar Braxton: Get Ya Life!’, of mistreatment, saying she was “betrayed, taken advantage of, overworked, and underpaid”.
This is her first post since being hospitalized following what was reported as an attempt to take her own life on July 16. Braxton was taken to hospital after LAPD responded to an emergency call from her Ritz-Carlton Residences in downtown Los Angeles after she was found unresponsive in her room by her boyfriend, David Adefeso.
Thanking her fans for all the prayers they sent her way while she was in recovery, Braxton wrote, “In this present moment, it is my only responsibility to be real with myself and to be real with the ones who truly love me and care for my healing.”
She called her ordeal in the past week her “darkest” days where she had felt “defeat”. She wrote, “Every one of us has a desire, whether small or big, to make it out of where we come from to an ideal future place that includes freedom to be who we choose, security for our children and families, and fortune to share with the ones we love.” She said that as a Black woman, as an artist, an influence, a personality she believed that she could shape her world, and “with whom I believed to be my partners, they could help me share my world.”
But she said that over the past 11 years there were promises made to “protect and portray” her story and that she was betrayed. “I was betrayed, taken advantage of, overworked, and underpaid,” Braxton wrote. “I wrote a letter over two months ago asking to be freed from what I believed was excessive and unfair. I explained in personal detail the demise I was experiencing. My cry for help went totally ignored.”
She said that even as she persisted with these demands, her “spirit” and “soul” were “tainted the most”. She said, “There are a few things I count on most to be, a good mother, a good daughter, a good partner, a good sister, and a good person. Who I was, begun to mean little to nothing, because it would only be how I was portrayed on television that would matter.”
“It was witnessing the slow death of the woman I became, that discouraged my will to fight. I felt like I was no longer living, I was existing for the purpose of a corporation’s gain and ratings, and that killed me,” she wrote.
Speaking about mental health, Braxton said, “Mental illness is real. We have to normalize acknowledging it and stop associating it with shame and humiliation. The pain that I have experienced over the past 11 years has slowly eaten away at my spirit and my mental health. I will do everything in my power to aid those who suffer from mental illness including those of us who’s mental was only a result of the toxic, systemic bondage that dwells in television. It was only God’s grace and his mercy on my attempt to end my pain and my life that I am here to utilize my voice.”
She said that reality TV personalities have “no union, no coat of protection, no formal representation” that protects their labor and rights and voices. “They promise us opportunity but produce exploitation, which has only developed a poor portrayal of Black people in show business,” she said.
But she added that she was on an “irreversible path to healing”. While WE tv has not issued any statement on this matter so far, fans have reacted with overwhelming support for Braxton. “I’m so glad that Tamar was able to speak her truth unfiltered… On her time. I continue to pray she receives the healing that she needs,” wrote a fan on Twitter.
Another wrote, “Having been a fan, I’ve watched the ‘Braxtons’ since the first season aired. What Tamar is talking about is painfully obvious and she’s always expressed how she feels about it. It’s truly sad to see that her cries for help were ignored.” Another fan wrote, “So glad she made it through. And shout out to her for being real about the psychological toll reality TV takes on its stars.”