What’s that saying again? You can take the man out of a ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of a man? Yes, that sounds about right.
To those who are reading this for the first time, this statement simply means that when a person grows up with a certain state of mind, that may or may not be influenced by his/her surroundings, it is hard to change that mentality, even if you change the surroundings. And even though that’s debatable, it is true to an extent.
For example, the Western world is big on using cutlery when eating, (and we are talking a clean set for every dish served) and in general those on the African continent are most comfortable using their hands.
So if you were then to take the African out of his comfort zone and ask him to dine with the queen of England, it would not be surprising if he preferred to use his hands, even though he may know how to use the silverware.
The point I am trying to make is that perhaps people should just be allowed to be themselves. The reality show, From G’s to Gents, seems to disagree with this kind of thinking. A group of young men from rough backgrounds turn themselves in to this show to be transformed from their G (short for gangsta) way of thinking and living into gentlemen.
Hosted by the ever prim and proper Fonzworth Bentley, the show takes the troubled young men from the ’hood and shows them a thing or two about the good life.
The tattooed, corn-rowed and foul-mouthed youngsters fight their abrasive natures to gain Bentley’s favour. It is a long way from sagging jeans and du-rags to three-piece suits and cufflinks. It then becomes Bentley's job to see that these misdirected guys learn a thing or two about becoming real men.
It is interesting that this is a Jamie Foxx creation, because he is the embodiment of what these young men aspire to be.
He was given up for adoption. He grew up in a racially tense environ- ment, but now he is one of the few people to boast that he is both a Grammy and Oscar-winner. If he could do it, then the Gs on this reality show can too.
But that is not always the case, as we have seen on the show. Each week as someone is eliminated, we see that the young men have a lot of issues in common.
If one is not angry, or violent, then he has an alcohol problem. Then there are those who are disqualified for being established already, as this show is looking for unemployed people with no idea of what to do with their lives.
Here is hoping at least one of these broken men will be saved, not just for the show, but for life.
• From G’s to Gents airs Tuesdays to Fridays on MTV Base (DStv channel 322) at 9pm.