Star Ivy Couch tells The Root that her reality show about pastors’ wives has a message for everyone.

Blacks in reality television have been front and center in the news, with the recent controversies surrounding Love & Hip Hop New YorkThe Best Damn Funeral Ever and the recently canceled show All My Babies’ Mamas.

In the midst of all the hoopla is The Sisterhood, a reality show that explores the so-called complex lives of five Georgia pastors’ wives, also known as “first ladies.” The show, which airs Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. on TLC, has been criticized for “mocking” Christianity. Singer and pastor Marvin Sapp and other religious leaders have denounced it for not being an accurate representation of ministry families. There was even apetition circulating to urge the network to cancel the series.

The Root caught up with Ivy Couch, one of the show’s featured wives, to see what she thought of the backlash. “We’re not doing stereotypical things that degrade women,” Couch explained. “We’re having discussions about can we have or afford a baby, or talking to [co-star Domonique’s] husband about pawning her ring for financial reasons. That’s what I’m proud of: our willingness to share these parts of our lives in order to offer some balance to those images.”

The wife of Pastor Mark A. Couch of Emmanuel Tabernacle Baptist Church in Atlanta, the Spelman graduate grew up in the Baptist church in Roxbury, Mass., and accepted God in her life at age 9. Her relationship with religion wavered at one point, until she met a woman who was a founding member of her would-be husband’s church, who kept inviting her to attend. She accepted the invitation, finding a church home and a husband in the process. The rest, as they say, is history.

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