MTV’s G’s to Gents

About The Show
I thought it would be interesting for you all to see this show mentioned in class.

This is MTV’s description of the show:

Gentleman (jent’l man): A courteous, gracious man with a strong sense of honor.

You know what it means, but what does it take to be a true gentleman? You’re about to find out…

From G’s to Gents rounds up 14 rough-around-the-edges young men from across the country and gives them the opportunity of a lifetime — the chance to go from G to gent and walk away with some cold, hard cash!

From executive producer Jamie Foxx, From G’s to Gents schools diamonds in the rough on how to lose the front, learn self-respect, realize their self-worth and market themselves accordingly. The wannabe gentlemen learn everything from style and grace to etiquette and chivalry. The G’s discover that with the right tools, they can become true gents.

Upon setting foot inside their posh Hollywood Hills mansion — known as the Gentleman’s Club — the boys are whipped into shape by host Fonzworth Bentley, the quintessential gentleman.

After stealing the spotlight as Diddy’s flawlessly dressed personal assistant, Fonzworth’s sense of style and impeccable manners earned him a reputation as a man of class. His book, Advance Your Swagger: How to Use Manners, Confidence and Style to Get Ahead, focuses on bringing grace and dignity back to everyday life. Indeed, the dapper gent dreams of a day when “please” and “thank you” are part of the world’s vernacular again.

When it comes to going From G’s to Gents, no stone is left unturned. Each episode, the G’s will be taught an important lesson — from how to make a good first impression and always look their best to how to maintain a positive attitude and keep their composure in the face of conflict to how to treat a lady and speak eloquently.

Watching these G’s shed their grills, shave their mohawks, lay down their 40s and forget all those four-letter words is a guaranteed good time. But this isn’t just a life lesson; this is a competition — one that’s worth $100,000. So each episode, the G that fails to grow closer to becoming a gent is denied entrance into the Gentleman’s Club.

The G’s will undergo a total transformation; one that forces them to answer tough questions about who they are and who they hope to become. They will strive to show the world their full potential. But, in the end, only one will graduate from G to gent. Who will it be?

Here’s the video of Season 1 Episode1

http://www.mtv.com/videos/from-gs-to-gents-ep-1-gees-whiz/1590644/playlplaylist.jhtmlst.jhtml

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12 thoughts on “MTV’s G’s to Gents

  1. I think that the show From G’s to Gents is a really interesting demonstration of our societies’ ideal man and the failure of our society to acknowledge or understand the politics behind fashion. Just as we learned with the politics behind the Zoot suits, the style of the “gangsters” represented in the show has a critical political and social background that needs to be explored on a deeper level. This show fails to deeply investigate the meaning behind the styles that the show is aiming to get rid of, missing the opportunity that the show has with understanding the style of “gangsters”. I think it would be really interesting to explore why certain clothes are associated with being “ghetto” even if they aren’t cheap. For example, there are many brands that are still considered to be “ghetto” clothes, that are more expensive then your Forever 21 dress that is somehow deemed classier.
    I also think the racial aspect of this show is interesting. The majority of the cast seems to always be black or hispanic. The clothing that is shown that the host is trying to get rid of is also commonly associated with black clothing. I think that the host of the show being black is also symbolic. It reminds me of a reading I did for in another class that focused on black culture in the civil rights movement, and how there was a movement led by Booker T. Washington that pushed for self-improvement and to resemble the black upper class. In order to achieve upward mobility, there was an emphasis on not only successful moving up in the work place, but looking the part. It seems that this philosophy has not changed. This show puts an emphasis on looking the part, in other words looking like an upper-class, white man (for example, many of the men get haircuts), as well as working on their personalities and social skills.

  2. In response to the previous comment, I highly agree with the statement about the Forever 21 dress being ‘classier’ than the other ‘ghetto’ clothes that is more expensive. I feel that society judges the clothes/hairstyles depending on the people that wear these clothes and hairstyles. When someone thinks Forever 21, they automatically imagine a mainstream American girl in her late teens/20’s walking around in a flowery dress with a matching clutch and heels, even though she may try to put up the image of being classy with her clothes, there is no guarantee that as a person she acts more classy than a person wearing ‘ghetto’ clothes which caters to a completely different demographic.

  3. I just think the implications of ghetto clothing is simply racialized because otherwise what signifies ghetto clothing ? Is it due to misconstrued branding seen on companies such as babyphat and derreon or is it because certain brands are attributed with the designer and therefore the whole aesthetic is seen as ghetto ? Not going to lie, I do believe my mind has been warped a bit when it comes to racialzing clothing due to my attentiveness to main stream fashion and labels. But when I think more scholarly about the effects of this conceptualization of ghetto clothing. which we are told over and over that it is shameful , unsightly clothing through shows such as From G’s to gent, at the end of the day its simply clothing that a group of individuals adhere to within a certain society.

  4. MTV’s television show “From G’s to Gents” is an excellent example of how society also polices what is appropriate for men to be wearing in public. In addition the show is also intriguing because it is demonstration that there is a connection between men’s fashion and their manners and life style choices. The show is hosted by Fonzworth Bentley, who the show claims is “the first gentleman of hip hop,” which is a rather offensive comment to the rest of the hip hop community. This statement is asserting that other hip hop stars like Diddy or Kanye West, who were also mentioned in the clip, are somehow not worthy of gentleman status. Yet, these two men have the money, power, and clothes that could deem them gentleman status, so is the clip suggesting that their manners and behavior make them unworthy of being called a gentleman? The show focuses on the transformation of fourteen young men that are trying to “leave their thug ways behind,” but what does that exactly mean? The show seems to be suggesting that these “thugs” need an attitude adjustment, but their transformation also includes ditching the baggy clothes for new suits. Do people think that asking these young men to ditch their urban style, in order, to be considered gentleman, a highly radicalized problem? Similarly, this show reminds me of Susan Kaiser’s article “Entangling the Fashion Subject Through the African Diaspora,” which partly discusses how people police young African men who wear baggy pants/shorts and how this issue is entangled in race.

  5. This episode and the way G’s and gentlemen are portrayed is very interesting. Being a gentlemen in our society is mainly based on personality traits yet this show is trying to say that it is based on physical appearance. This show portrays Gentlemen by their clothing and the way they speak instead of the way they act. The point of this show is to conform these men into certain societal ideals of fashion and etiquette. It is essentially saying that these men cannot express their own styles of clothing and still be considered gentlemen. If this is true, then does this stereotype meant to carry over to those who cannot afford expensive clothing or choose to wear eccentric pieces?
    Another disturbing aspect is the title of the host Fonzworth Bentley as the first gentlemen of hiphop. This is a very untrue and ignorant statement to make the generalization that there have been no previous gentlemen in this industry before him. This show restricts the qualifications of being a gentlemen to very specific characteristics that are based more so on outward appearances than internal thoughts and external actions. This can be related to last week’s readings about the zoot suits and how discriminated and even criminalized these men were treated solely on their choice in outfits. Personally, I believe gentlemen should be judged by their moral character and their actions rather than their outward appearance and the way in which they speak.

  6. This particular reality show nuances our initial discussion in class regarding a racialized definition of “clean” and “professional” and what those look like. It is first notable that a reality show with an almost entirely Black and brown cast, including the hosts, exists on MTV, a major media channel. The message of the show, to “clean up” the G’s so they become “presentable,” also seems reasonable. This fits the mantra of most reality shows, many of which focus on transforming the participants into the best ‘them’ they can possibly be.

    The nuances of the show’s message reveal themselves when we analyze what the show means by “clean,” “well-dressed,” and “presentable.” As we discussed in class, the definition of “professional” inherently contradicts the natural state of the hair of many African Americans. It also often contradicts with the reality of dress in “ghetto” communities, often made up of minorities, usually of lesser means, who have minimal access to high paying jobs that require the kind of professional dress purported in the show. Telling the people in this show, ostensibly from those communities, is to push a set of values onto them that is out of context with their daily lives and that is traditionally “white.” However, the G fashion style became popular as a reflection of clothing worn in jail, where many men of color, in increasing numbers over the decades, have been. The policies put into place to speed this process and the enforcement of them came from a largely white population. So to say that dressing professionally is “white” and shouldn’t be imposed on men/people of color serves to ignore the missed opportunity to reclaim suits and snappy dress in the first place. Claiming that suits and dressing well is white still promotes the current equation of whiteness with professionalism and prevents people of color from reclaiming that space as one that fits dark bodies just as well. This reality show, while still containing racially oppressive undertones, seems to put the image of non-white culture on mass TV and increases visibility for ghetto culture while redefining the image of professionalism.

  7. Does anyone remember the show “Tool Academy”? It was a VH1 show that came out around the same time as “From G’s to Gents”. I think it is really interesting to compare these two shows because the premise of both revolves around an attempt to reform young men to be more chauvinistic and “gentlemanly”. However, “Tool Academy” features mostly white men (I think there was maybe one guy who wasn’t white in the first season), and one of the main focuses of the show seemed to be an implied critique of the young men’s femininity, at least as far as a preoccupation with their looks. Many of the men on this show were obsessed with their clothes, being fashionable, and having perfect bodies, which is one of the reasons that they were shown to be “tools” – because they supposedly cared more about these things (and about using these things to get attention) than about their girlfriends. Even though it isn’t outwardly stated, I think there is definitely an attitude that these things are more acceptable for women to be preoccupied with than for men to be. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the guys in that show were obnoxious and terrible partners to their girlfriends, from what I remember, but I had never really thought about the fashion aspects until now.

    Anyway, it is interesting, in comparison, that in “From G’s to Gents”, young African American men who are “thugs” are pushed to , in a sense, become more conscious of their clothing in the sense that they are forced to have less “urban” style, which is almost like forcing them to be more “feminine” in some sense (at least as far as what Western society views as “feminine”), while the white men in “Tool Academy” are expected to do the opposite in some respects – to be less preoccupied with fashion, whether it is in regards to their clothes, hair, or bodies. What, I wonder, might this comparison say about gender expectations – how and why are they different in relation to different races/ethnicity/types of bodies and the fashions and outward attitudes toward fashion that are assumed appropriate for them?

  8. I remember watching this show a few times and I thought it was hilarious. I feel like the entire thing was mainly scripted based on Fonzworth’s exaggerated personality. This show actually reminds me of the Nivea ad we talked about in class a few weeks ago, where it featured an African-American male and the slogan, “re-civilize yourself.” This show is the exact same concept, and I just find it funny that P. Diddy and his assistant would basically reinforce stereotypes of Black men, Latinos, and other marginalized groups. In the video, you can see that most of the men there are minorities. The fact that this show tries to tell them what is “right” is just recreating the notion that they are inferior in society. Additionally, it’s unrealistic to be dressed up all the time because not everyone needs to unless your job calls for it. The show is just ridiculous to me.

  9. Cat brings up an excellent point in comparing the two television shows. The one reflects a much more standard theme on television of hypermasculinity, with an implied underlying whiteness, whereas the other reflects a different type of masculinity for a very different demographic. “Tool Academy” represents the media from which a lot of us, especially whites, receive our notions of what masculinity means, and this necessarily limits us in our self expression. This type of masculinity seems very American to me, since European men often care almost as much or more about their appearance than European women do. The white man’s (and woman’s) ability to dress casually and not put effort into their appearances also reflects a history and privilege that often goes un-addressed in these conversations. Whites have privileged access to jobs, service in public places, housing, etc., and therefore don’t have a pressing need to dress well. Minorities, however, and especially African Americans, carry the history of the Racialized Other, an image which is itself often classed, and are often presumed to be lazier much more easily, based on more minute physical/aesthetic characteristics. Therefore it seems they have to work extra hard in order to be perceived as hard-working, resulting in the creation of “G’s to Gents.” Furthermore, I think it’s ok to have separate types of masculinities existing at the same time. A show focused mainly on white men can portray a different message than one focusing on Black and Hispanic men (even if those messages themselves can be analyzed).

  10. I have heard about this show before, but this is the first time I took time out of my day to watch an episode. This is highly disturbing and posed. I don’t thing that anything in this show is realistic… at all.
    I do agree that this show promotes the idea of societal norms policing fashion. Its so unfortunate that this translates into the policing of other individual characteristics such as culture, gender, and social status. I think its critical to realize that the majority of the people on this show felt like a change in, mostly appearance, would change their ENTIRE lives for the better. That this change was necessary to properly function in society. I think another thing to consider is the fact that most of these acts were staged… i’m not sure if everyone would be this willing to make these changes so quickly. And if they were staged, how are “Gs” embodied in our society? It was fairly easy for someone to fake this lifestyle, was it not? Just as it is easy to pretend you are a “G” it is easy to pretend you are a “Gent” because at the end of the day they are saying that fashion dictates social class and possible success.

    This show is disturbing…

  11. I think this show does a really good job of demonstrating how important clothes are in signifying things such as class. The show focuses on “G’s” and these men are all suggested to be the same kind of men. Before the transformation into becoming “gentlemen,” they all are signified to be of a questionable class status because of their fashion choices. These men are encouraged to change their lives and work towards something impressive and significant which means, in this case, becoming “gentlemen.” The emphasis this show places on fashion and its importance is very interesting, as the kinds of clothes and accessories a person wears is not necessarily a clear indicator of that person’s character.

    In looking at promotional pictures from “From G’s to Gents,” all of the contestants are all posed very casually, and this casualness is what the show is trying to remove from these contestants. The ultimate goal is to have these people wearing suits and ties and dressing “professionally,” and while the “before” transformation signifies a lower class, the signifying power of a suit is demonstrated in this show. It is incredibly interesting to view the power of fashion in this way, and the lack of mention of the signifying meanings of fashion in this show are, I think, also interesting to note.

  12. I think the post above describes my thoughts better about this show. I wrote a previous statement for this show on the other blog post however now I am reconsidering some of what I said. The proper way to explain these feelings is that they are trying to remove the casualness from these men but they seem to be focusing on class a lot.

    Casualness and the casual attire shown in the promotions looks more like they could be from a less wealthy area. Thus implying that those from lower income areas need a boost on manners and dress. I’m not sure how I feel about this topic and it’s a hard line to decide whether or not these men are being targeted for that.

    In general I think the show has a good idea but is a challenging one to keep viewers intrigued without drama and love.

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