Flavor Flav in 2006
Rick Diamond—WireImage/Getty Images
August 4, 2022 8:24 AM EDT

When MTV’s Flavor of Love hit television screens in 2006, it represented, despite its flaws, a breakthrough in reality dating shows. Centered on the romantic pursuits of Public Enemy hype man Flavor Flav, the show offered a rare, unapologetic view of Black and brown romance and desire at a moment when shows like The Bachelor featured a precious few contestants of color. But while its representation of Black love was historic, the show also struck many viewers as reinforcing negative racial stereotypes. Flavor of Love only aired for three seasons, but it spawned a notable spinoff—I Love New York, starring season 1’s memorable and oft-memed breakout Tiffany Pollard, a.k.a. New York—that built on the gregarious appeal of its predecessor. If the proliferation of internet content speaks to the lasting influence of a show, the impact of Flavor of Love on its perennially underserved audience is still felt today through its many GIF-able moments. —Cady Lang

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