I'm not a big fan of Black television these days. In fact, I haven't watched BET in about five years and my cable package doesn't have TV One so I've been (pleasantly) in the dark. I've been hearing so much about this show and I was hesitant to watch it for two reasons: (1) I was truly expecting to see the usual neck-snapping, back-stabbing, bad-mouthing-ness that finds its way into these shows and (2) I know that Dawn's storyline discusses her infertility and I didn't know if I was ready to see that.
Now that I've watched the first four episodes, I am pleasantly surprised by what I've seen. I don't know if its manufactured for television, but I found myself very wistful for the kind of relationships these women have with each other. When was the last time I went to dinner with a group of women? Maybe 10 years ago. When was the last time I was truly honest with my feelings with a group of friends? Never.
Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD if you haven't watched the first four episodes!!!
I'm gonna start off by saying: Baaaa-byyyyy, I won't let them play youuuuuuuuu!
Brings back so many memories of the early 2000s!! Of all the women featured, Lil' Mo reminds me the most of myself--short, loud, brash and bold with a heart of gold. And yes, people do love to sit with me and tell me all their problems.
I don't think I've ever known how to sit back and just chill. I have to be all up in the action, giving my 25 cents. Somebody messin' with you? Imma handle that for you if you can't (or won't) do it yourself. I am fearless when it comes to those I love. It was nice to see Mo doing her thing with her husband and kids. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this husband as manager trend I see happening with R&B stars. I don't think I'd want to work with El Hubster and come home with him too. I find it hard to believe that some of the stress of the "business" doesn't bleed over heavily into the marriage and family life. But to each its own! If it works for them, it works. I loved that Mo took the audience to church in her little bit at the open mic. Yasssss!
I don't really have much to say about Kelly. I was definitely a huge fan of hers back in the day but I'm not seeing her storyline quite as clearly as the others for some reason. Is there more focus on the other women?? I dunno. Other than being the grand dame in terms of getting everyone together and doing the damn thing in terms of the entertainment hustle, I don't really feel like I've learned anything new about her yet.
I really didn't know who Michel'le was until they played the clip of Something In My Heart. I find her voice to be a little annoying. So annoying, in fact, that I wonder how she deals with listening to herself. I was straining to hear what she was saying most of the time because it was in such a high register. I was surprised by how markedly different her singing voice was. I respect her gangsta though. She's holding it down for her and her children and was messin' with Suge Knight, which to me means you're OK with taking your life in your hands from day to day.
My abuse radar was already pinging when Claudette appeared on the screen for the first time. She has these expressions that only women who are abused get. She reminded me so much of my mother. It's like an animal that has been abused and cornered and put down for so long, they don't know how to act when someone wants to love them. She has that vacant stare that catches you off guard. Her emotional walls are up so high, they just might rival the Great Wall of China. She's so talented but you can see that her self-esteem has taken a hit. I can't blame her, though. I've never been on the receiving end of physical abuse, thank God, but I lived in an abusive home until I was 15 years old. That shit colors your whole life.
To this day, it still makes me extremely uncomfortable to see people argue. My heart starts racing, my palms get sweaty. I just go back to that place of feeling unsafe as if I'd never left. I'm still dealing with the ramifications of that abusive environment; the hypervigilance that turns into acute anxiety and doesn't allow me to relax, the lack of trust in people's motives, the ability to walk into a room and immediately feel tension, anger, pain coming off of people around me.
Praise God I've been able to transform these emotional obstacles into tools I can now use for good to help others. Oh, Claudette, I feel you honey. It's hard to find your feet after they've been knocked out from under you so many times.
If Lil' Mo is most like me now, Chante is who I want to be most like in the future. This girl gets knocked down and gets back up and maintains her wonderful personality and class all the while. Looking like a fine piece of art at 46 years old! Just a classy, seafood loving dame. I was touched by the cordial relationship she still has with Kadeem Hardison. I was like, "See, Black folks can split and be amicable!" I know I don't really know what's going on behind the scenes but the whole thing with Kenny Lattimore.....ugh. I really do think that unless the child's mother is mentally unstable or in the throes of addiction, you never, never EVER should have the nerve to file for full custody of a child to piss off the mother. I'm looking at you too, Usher!!
Dawn is so much more soft spoken than I thought she would be. You can tell she's been through so much. That wistful, sheepish look she got when Michel'le asked her if she had kids. I've been there, my sister. I feel the yearning in your spirit. She's taken up her cross and she's carrying it with grace.
I love that infertility among Black women is getting a platform here. I hate that any of us have to bear the weight of it but I want the information to be out there and because of her maybe some sista out there will share their struggle and get the help and support they need.
I hope Dawn's dream of having a child comes true. I hope my dream of having a child comes true. I have a great online support group of women that are dealing with infertility along with me, but there's something about seeing your struggle on the screen, knowing that other women will see it. It reminds me that I'm not alone. The pain is real and the desire to have a child isn't something you can just set aside.
So now that I'm hooked, here are my R&B Diva picks for next season:
Toni Braxton (Even though she already has her show with her sisters, I feel like I never see her on the show)
One of the women from Jade
Amel Larrieux from Groove Theory
What about you? Who do you think should be on the show next season?