Cheyenne Floyd is the only Black Teen Mom star, and has been quick to call out her castmates for not using their platforms to condemn racism.
Now, she is opening up about her own experiences at the intersection of race, racism, and reality TV stardom.
Cheyenne Floyd stopped by for a chat with Bayleigh Dayton of The Challenge and Big Brother for a chat on the latter's YouTube channel.
Together, the two women spoke about the stereotypes that they have faced as young Black women on reality TV.
They even offered advice to other young Black women who are considering reality stardom.
Cheyenne revealed that she had engaged in a very candid conversation with Teen Mom OG producers.
Specifically, she had discussed racial stereotypes with them before she signed on to the series.
Her concern at the time was that they show's decision to cast her and Corey Wharton in 2018 was for all of the wrong reasons.
The worry? That they were hoping that Black reality stars would be inherently more dramatic.
“When we got on ‘Teen Mom,’ one of the very first talks I had with production," Cheyenne recalls.
She continues: "I just put it out there which was really awkward because I was talking to a room full of non-Black people.”
Cheyenne narrates: “[I told them], ‘If you guys are trying to find the stereotypical Black family who are a little struggle, a bunch of come-up stories."
She warned them: "you’re not going to find it here."
“[I also told them], ‘If you guys want us to be screaming at each other every episodes, or calling each other names, or pulling each other’s hair out, we’re still not it,” Cheyenne recalled.
Cheyenne recalled telling producers “If you want baby mama drama, we’re still not it!’"
Pleasantly, she reports: "And they were all looking at me like, “No, no, no, it’s OK.”
That is a relief to hear, as we are sure that it was for her at the time.
Cheyenne notes that, despite her relationship being relatively drama-free, she has received backlash from the Black community.
“There’s a lot of confusion and controversy,” Cheyenne she acknowledges.
“There’s even a confusion," she continues, "and not just with Black versus non-Black [people], but within our own Black community."
"I’m looking at them [adhering to the stereotypes], and thinking, ‘Why are y’all doing this?’" Cheyenne admits.
She continues: "And they’re looking at me like, ‘Oh, she’s stuck up.'”
Many minorities and marginalized groups face a similar situation. Respectability politics are a complicated subject matter.
Se, Cheyenne has worked hard to ensure that no amount of editing can make her come across as a stereotypical "loud Black girl" to viewers.
“You can be put into a box," she laments, "where you’re just a ‘loud Black woman’ or the ‘angry Black girl.'"
Minorities are extra vulnerable to stereotypes, because viewers have a huge double standard -- in general -- for how white castmates are perceived.
“I’m sitting there, watching my non-Black cast mates, who get just as angry as me and who go off," Cheyenne observes.
She expresses: "And [people look at them and say], ‘Oh she’s so passionate.'”
Cheyenne notes that she had to grapple with this a lot while appearing on Are You The One?
“My first reality show was a real check, real quick,” Cheyenne admits.
She explains: “Like, I’m not allowed to do certain things…[without being stereotyped].”
When someone our society (through white supremacy) views as "default" does something, it's seen as personal.
If they are part of a marginalized group, they can be seen as reflecting a larger community.
Cheyenne credits her parents with advising her to be careful about how she presents herself.
“Other Black cast members may not have gotten that talk,” she admits.
Cheyenne adds: “They feed into these stereotypical things…like, to be on TV you have to do these things…."
"We’d have such good talks without the cameras," Cheyenne notes, "but then the cameras come on and [they act] like a whole other person."
"It’s like, stop. You don’t have to be loud to be seen.” she expresses.
That said, Cheyenne and Bayleigh agree that they do not regret their reality TV careers, and Bayleigh is gearing up for Big Brother 22 (reportedly).
“Let’s have positive conversations; let’s openly express our emotions,” Bayleigh suggests. “Let’s show them there are no ‘stereotypical Black girls.’ There’a lot of different Black girls.”