chapter  13
18 Pages

Why Must Roma Minorities be Always Seen on the Stage and Never in the Audience? Children’s Opinions of Reality Roma TV

ByANNABEL TREMLETT

The rise of the Roma2 media star across Europe is said to be a “love to hate” phenomenon, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe where the traditional Roma musical entertainer has been transformed into an “admired, albeit ambiguous, celebrity” (Imre 2011, 2). The Eurovision Song Contest (broadcast across Europe and beyond), along with local versions of Pop Idol and Big Brother, have turned Roma musicians into nationwide celebrities. Furthermore, shows such as Hungary’s Győzike (2005-10, RTL Klub) and Romania’s Aventurile familiei Vijelie (The Adventures of the Vijelie Family, 2005-present, Prima TV) have linked “Gypsy” with “reality” formats to grab large audience shares in some of the most successful shows for these channels in recent times. Whilst this trend is publicly debated and beginning to analyzed and theorized, there is still one gaping hole in the discourses: who is actually watching these shows? What do the Roma audiences think of such “reality” stars? Whereas we are prepared to discuss and critique the Roma-as-performer, there has been a dearth of literature on Roma as media consumers.