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R&B star Monica interview to promote her new BET show ‘Still Standing’

Monica still standing

In the fast-moving world of R&B, three years feels like 20 – kind of like dog years.

Monica, the Atlanta-based singer whose star shined brightest in the late 1990s, has stayed under the radar the past four years raising her two kids. So what better way to get back on the scene than a reality show?

“Monica: Still Standing” debuts tonight on BET at 10 p.m. after the BET Hip Hop Awards.

“I think it gives people an in-depth look how hard it is to stay relevant in the music business and balancing family life,” she said in a phone interview last week. “A lot of people aren’t comfortable baring their souls. I am. I’m a work in progress. I’m going through things every day just like everybody else.”’

Monica has ridden a roller coaster of a life, packed with highs and lows. Highs include breaking it big with a quintuple platinum debut album at the age of 15 and taking home a Grammy three years later.

But life took a left turn in 2000 when she saw her boyfriend commit suicide in front of her. She followed that with a rocky relationship with rapper C-Murder. And she didn’t meet eye to eye with her label over her last album in 2006, her least successful to date.

“I’ve learned to rely on faith,” she said, “how to depend on things within and stop looking at worldly possessions as real success and find out who Monica really is. That’s what the show reflects.”

“Still Standing” is executive produced by James DuBose, who has also done a string of other Atlanta-based BET shows, including “Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is,” the spinoff “Frankie & Neffe” and “Tiny & Toya.”

Monica, in fact, is friends with Cole and said her experience with DuBose through Cole’s show convinced her to do her own. Unlike many other reality shows, she said nothing was staged. There is no manufactured drama, as often is the case on Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

“I respect ‘Housewives,’ “ she said. “But my show is the complete opposite. It really is. It’s about love and God.” She said she may have a chance to talk to 100 kids at a group home. A TV show allows her to reach hundreds of thousands.

In some ways, the show is therapy for her, though she said she won’t spend a lot of time dredging up the details of past incidents.

And the song “Still Standing” is symbolic of where she feels her life is. “I didn’t think it was possible to summarize my life in three minutes but that’s exactly what [producer] Bryan Michael Cox did.” (Her cousin Ludacris helped write the song and does guest vocals.)

Happily timed with the show, her newest ballad-heavy album is slated to come out in December.

“I’m kind of wowed by the time I stepped away,” Monica mused. “I gave my entire childhood to music. I started my first album at age 12 and didn’t stop until I was 24 when I gave birth to my oldest son. I wanted to experience motherhood without anything else mixed in.”

She had her second son last year with her long-time boyfriend and rapper Rodney “Rocko” Hill Jr.
“I was overdue,” she added, “for a vacation.”

Her thoughts on “Tiny & Toya”: “People assumed their show would be about the men in their lives but it was really about them. I’m proud of them. Tiny & I have known each other for a long time. I was about 12 or 13 when she and I first communicated. We have never stopped. I’m proud of how hard she works and strives to be her own person.”

Her take on Kandi Burruss dealing with AJ’s death: “She has great family, great friends. She’ll be fine. This is probably one of the hardest things she’s ever faced. I was in her shoes. I’m able to give her advice. I’m living proof you can find love again and live your life you’ve always wanted. I ask her what she needs day to day. She hasn’t asked for anything.”

What were Monica’s feelings when she head about AJ’s passing: “It was very hard for me because it brought me right back to what I felt ten years ago. It’s the type of pain you don’t want anyone else to experience. There is life after death. When you love people and lost them, that’s one thing I consistently tell her.”

71 comments Add your comment

Move On People

October 26th, 2009
12:17 pm

BET=Black Entertainment Television…racism, racism, racism…you can’t argue it! Wrong is wrong!

Beverly

October 26th, 2009
12:18 pm

Who wrote this article? There are a lot of misspelled words!

Shamekia

October 26th, 2009
12:20 pm

I will be watching her show…. Very supportive of Monica …..

angela nevitt

October 26th, 2009
12:26 pm

spelling check before printing the story. I couldnt pay focus on the story because of the mispelled words

angela nevitt

October 26th, 2009
12:26 pm

learn how to spell

glam

October 26th, 2009
12:28 pm

I am a true fan of Monica and her last CD was great but didnt get the PR it deserved. I have listened to her since her 1st CD and she is a true singer, no fabrication needed!!! Her song “Still Standing” is awesome–a true testimony of her life,loss and ability to perserve on, and I hope her next CD will get the respect it deserves.I am sure it will be great also! I look forward to hearing it Monica and I will watch the show, cause I like you and want to support your efforts!!

Jaye

October 26th, 2009
12:40 pm

Monica’s always talking about God but having two kids out of wedlock and living in sin with her boyfriend isn’t behavior that God would be pleased with. She needs to get her priorities straight. Maybe if she gets back on track by honoring God in the way she lives her life, he will bless her by putting her recording career back on track.

Rod

October 26th, 2009
12:58 pm

@ “Move on People”, there’s nothing racist about a station that is geared toward the African American community. I mean, think about it-before BET or TV One, what stations broadcasted issues, shows, or anything that related to the African American community? An though the station’s name, Black Entertainment Television, is overt in naming its audience, compare it to ABC, NBC, TNT, and USA. Who’s the focus there?

Nonetheless, I support Monica in her efforts in showing the “behind the scenes” life of a star. I hope she portrays it better than some of the other shows in production, ie Atlanta Housewives. This article was poorly written with many grammatical errors and mispellings-but at the same time, most articles I read on AJC have these same errors.

Too Short

October 26th, 2009
1:00 pm

Where do you get racist from BET get over it.

Very Funny

October 26th, 2009
1:09 pm

Jaye, stop judging! Dang, are you “sin free”? Yes, all sin is displeasing to God, but one thing about God, He is very forgiving. All of us sin DAILY! That’s why the Bible tells us that ALL have fallen short. If He judged, like we judge, we would all be in a heap of trouble heading straight to hell. Don’t do that…just pray. We are all brothers and sisters in the kingdom of God so let us lift each other up in prayer. That’s easier than putting each other down.

Shananeeeee Fananeeeeeeee

October 26th, 2009
1:12 pm

Another Crap-tacular reality show.

Tab

October 26th, 2009
1:15 pm

Monica is awesome and REAL. I cannot wait to watch her show.

Randall

October 26th, 2009
1:16 pm

Rodney Ho, if you wrote this article -I suspect you did- it is poorly written with horrible grammar. The AJC is a world class paper, respect it and your job dude.

Reggie Reg

October 26th, 2009
1:18 pm

Monica used to live around the corner from my best friend in Riverdale. I completely remember whne they were shooting her fist video “Sitting Up In My Room”. She has grown and blossomed into a strong Black woman. I wish you much luck and much love on all your endeavors. I already know your new album will do well. Believe and trust in the Almighty and yourself.

God Bless….

Jazzy

October 26th, 2009
1:21 pm

@Move on people you need a reality check. NBC,ABC FOX don’t have BLACK SHOWS. And what about CW who had all the black show and dropped them all.SO I AM PROUD OF BET. ANd monica is not doing nothing wrong. and this is to a newspaper and who do they have people with BAD GRAMMER and MISSPELLED WORDS. AJC NEEDS TO SSEND THEIR WRITER’S BACK TO SCHOOL FOR REMEDICAL.MOVE ON PEOPLE you need to get off this blog before you’re feeling get hurt.

Selita

October 26th, 2009
1:22 pm

Jaye: I heard Monica on a radio interview & for her to talk so much about God, she also criticizes Christians. She said, “a lot of people criticize her for her choices, usually Christians, but instead of criticizing, why don’t they help her to do what’s right”. Monica: you know right from wrong & the Bible says living in sin is wrong. Having kids is no reason to get married, but to keep having them outside of marriage is wrong. You’ve been engaged 2 years (just before your 2nd son was born), so either you or him have a problem with marriage. Being busy is not an excuse since you have time for everything else. People throw around the word engaged as if it’s a prize. Anyone can get engaged and they do, but never get married. Please show your sons that you will not settle and that they should make a total commitment to the woman they love when it’s their time by not allowing yourself to settle for any less. Your children will look to their parents to obtain their values.
If you had a daughter would you want her to keep having kids without the guy making the commitment and playing house?!?!? I believe you are highly intelligent, beautiful, talented, a great mom & a great girlfriend, so follow through on what you and your children deserve..a full commitment. It’s offensive for you to outright blast Christians because you aren’t living right!

FAMUAKA

October 26th, 2009
1:25 pm

@ Jaye’s comment. She’s just Monica and she’s not perfect. About her kids being borned out of wedlock. Children are a gift and a blessing from God and he(God) blessed Monica w/two handsome sons. And she chose to take a break w/her music industry to devote her time to being a devoted mother to her kids, now that their older she’s ready to restart her career. She will definitely be successful and the reason is because God is in control of her life and not Jaye.

Lynn

October 26th, 2009
1:27 pm

Monica has always been mature for her age. She started traveling with a gospel group, but now she talks about Christians criticizing her when they should help her, please!
Another baby mama show to help her dead career & mad because she knows she’s happy to just be a girlfriend by calling it fiancee. If you want to show our youth (esp. the young ladies) something, show them you refuse to just settle and get married and stop being another “star” who has kids out of wedlock and never get married and try to make it seem ok.

Engrid

October 26th, 2009
1:28 pm

This will be another play on the intelligence of young women. Please note that most single African American mothers do not choose to be single, the father of the children may have challenges that stem from a broken belief system. The tragedy is a cultural one and BET truly is not interested in teaching the are going to exploit anything that will bring viewers…viewers mean $$$. They more people watching the more they make from advertisers. People do connect with situations that don’t connect to. The average viewer for BET can relate to Monica because she gives the appearance that she is just like them “THEY HOODSTAR”. In all fairness she wants to be accepted just like everyone else and she has to present perfect to the audience because to show anything else would be unattractive to the viewer. You don’t want to know she has relationships issues, financial worries, emotional problems and mental pain. The thing about is the truth is out there and these reality shows are not responsible for teaching you or our children.

Uncle Tom

October 26th, 2009
1:42 pm

Will this be the same show that aired briefly on Peachtree TV several months ago?

Uh oh...

October 26th, 2009
1:52 pm

The BET Hip Hop awards are Tuesday, October 27 at 10 p.m. – not tonight (Monday, Oct. 26) … you may want to correct the fourth line.

- Just a thought -

T. Rogers

October 26th, 2009
2:01 pm

While Monica is indeed talented, this same story is getting old. I agree with Lynn. Can we get a black woman on TV who is NOT a baby mama? That is not to disrespect Monica, but I am tired of seeing this all over the TV. When it comes to media I am tired of seeing black men who won’t commit (marry) and the simple women who still lay up and have children with them.

Why

October 26th, 2009
2:06 pm

Another not-so-reality show? I’m sorry, but why should we care about what’s going on in Monica’s life. Is there some type of lesson that we are supposed to be learning or is there some type of message?

I’m sorry folks, but BET needs to be taken off of the air if this is all that they have to offer us.

Just me

October 26th, 2009
2:10 pm

BET was Black owned, now it is White owned so I am not sure about the racism point. Also, many schools, magazines and businesses were created when Blacks could not vote, were not seen as citizens, could not eat wtih whites, go to school with whites etc. etc.-What were they to do? have nothing-no they had to create their own to function in society. Now that these things are in existence, why should they be done away with because the title includes the word Black?

Move On People

October 26th, 2009
2:17 pm

Jazzy- you made my point….when you see a show such as the Wonder Years, you see it as a WHITE show…however, it’s not played on anything called white entertainment television. You are complaining about the AJC staff…proof read you blogs…dude. Rod- Keep living in the past. I’m simply saying change the name from Black Entertainment to somthing else…not change the shows…

Black Girl

October 26th, 2009
2:23 pm

@Very Funny, I don’t think that anyone is judging Monica, but they are stating the facts. Many people get the two confused. Judging is forming an opinion. Stating the facts is making an observation and telling what you saw. Monica speaks about God, however she lives with her boyfriend, not husband. She has chosen to have 2 children out of wedlock. Those are sins, not a judgement. Does that make her a bad person? Of course not. It does show that she is still struggling with living a Christian life. I am too so I don’t judge her, however I do recognize that my choices are not always pleasing in God’s eyes. She should at least acknowledge that fact.

Cynthia

October 26th, 2009
2:53 pm

First this is to Move On People BET stands for Black Entertainment Television so stop being a redneck from the trailer park and move on. AS for Monica she has a beautiful voice and her personal life is her business. Judge not that we be judged Monica is not the only person who has had kids out of wedlock. God is the only person that can judge us. People are so quick to throw stones at someone like there life is perfect. Lets enjoy Monica the great artist she is and ask AJC why the hell they did not not proof read this article before it was posted. I am proud to be a black womaan and I raised to wonderful sons. Black woman are strong and can hold things together in front our kids and break down when the doors are closed. So for Lynn and T. Rogers go get the book Hooked on Phonice and educated yourself again.

Kevin

October 26th, 2009
3:03 pm

STOP JUDGING! Wake up, people, we are all human and we all struggle to be so called christians. I have had the opportunity to meet Monica and family and I personally was impressed of the love of their family. Her mother is the rock and her step dad is a very loving soul. Both parents are a light of love that shines on their children and community. I know Monica knows this however it is worth mentioning on this blog. Monica,you are in great hands with Jesus Christ, my savior and your parents who shines and protects that love that you cherish. Do your thing, Monica. You are a light in our community and I am proud and so is your community that you are our homegirl. Peace and love to you and your family and may God continue to bless and protect you and your family. Do your thing!

Beauty Queen

October 26th, 2009
3:12 pm

Monica is one of the best. She’s had it hard! I mean, how many people have had someone commit suicide in your presence? That’s extremely traumatic! So she’s an independent woman, learning to find herself and make the right decisions. Both her children are from the same man and she COULD HAVE been married, but I think she’s putting God first and making sure he’s the ‘right one’ for her. We all make mistakes, but how many can handle them with such grace and ease?

Miss Hip hop

October 26th, 2009
3:13 pm

There are so many misspelled words and wrong information. Writer’s don’t have misspelled words or broken sentences.

Move On People

October 26th, 2009
3:23 pm

Cynthia, I’m glad you are proud to be a STRONG BLACK WOMAN…although being white or black has nothing to do with having a strong mind. You are the problem I’m talking about…why can’t you just be a “strong woman” (racist)? It seems like you only want what’s good for black people. I want what’s good for all people!

Maria

October 26th, 2009
3:24 pm

I hope Monica does well, she is truly talented. BET is not racist because every other channel is WET, White Entertainment Television. Without BET, people like Monica or Monique would never have shows…think about it. Nobody considers Telemundo racist. hmmmmmmm!

Jaye

October 26th, 2009
3:30 pm

Beauty Queen, don’t you think if she was putting God first, she would have made sure the man was right for her before shacking with him and having two kids?

Reggie Reg “Sitting Up In My Room wasn’t Monica’s song, that was done by Brandy.

feli

October 26th, 2009
3:36 pm

Jaye, are you without sin, look at your life before you try to judge someone else.
Monica, there will be a lot of haters, but don’t let what people say stop you. You must be doing something right, that’s why they are talking. I’m proud of you. You are a strong woman, and a role model to many. Never stop being you.

Jazzy

October 26th, 2009
3:45 pm

MOVE On People You need to really get it TOGETHER. Wonder YEARS was many years ago we are talking about now.

Lee

October 26th, 2009
3:48 pm

If you ever wonder why blacks act the way they do, watch BET for a few hours. All these shows are about gettin’ $$, selling drugs, acting ignorant. Its like blacks think its cool to act like a fool. And all the young kids watch this nonsense and strive to be ghetto. Its truly sad watching this cylce continue and with no end in sight. The only way they have a chance is hopefully they find some teachers in the system to learn from because they are not going to prosper in these homes they grow up in. Maybe these ghetto mothers will stop after the 6th kid since they can’t afford to nurture 1. Sad…. very sad!!

Your Boss

October 26th, 2009
3:49 pm

GET BACK TO WORK

Ms. Atlanta

October 26th, 2009
3:57 pm

Monica keep up the good work and GOD will continue to bless you and your kids. Half of you all down grading this young woman, probably are the same people sitting at home living in sin, with three or more kids and “No Husband”. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.

SHER

October 26th, 2009
3:59 pm

If you disagree with her choices don’t watch the show. Watch someone else that’s not a baby mama as you put it. Some of you people get off on downing others. If you are married fine that’s your business. You have to crap on some else to make yourself fell better. Did you get a call to do a show Aw. My thoughts exactly!! Find something better to do.

Lee's Mirror

October 26th, 2009
4:05 pm

If you ever wonder why whites act the way they do, watch MTV for a few hours. All these shows are about spending $$, pretending to be something their not, acting ignorant. Its like whites think its cool to act like a fool. And all the young kids watch this nonsense and strive to be trash. Its truly sad watching this cylce continue and with no end in sight. The only way they have a chance is hopefully they find some teachers in the system to learn from because they are not going to prosper in these homes they grow up in. Maybe these trailer park mothers will stop after they put the meth pipe down 1. Sad…. very sad!!

Val

October 26th, 2009
4:10 pm

Each person must have a willing heart to want to live the way that is pleasing in the sight of God. It is a process of letting go of all things that we KNOW are wrong. Be a doer of the word, not hearers only. All of us has to want God in our lives more than SIN that makes us “comfortable” or “good” at the moment. Are we willing to give it up???

Cynthia

October 26th, 2009
4:13 pm

This is for Move on People – you need to take a look in the mirror and see the real problem is you. Yes I am a proud black woman and will go to my grave repeating that. I see the good in everybody and hope everybody reach there goals .The article is about Monica not Lynn,you are me so do what you say and move on………….

truthpaste 1

October 26th, 2009
4:23 pm

As much as I would like to support Monica, I stopped watching BET many years ago. BTW, BET is owned by Viacom, so who is really racist?

Ooops.

October 26th, 2009
4:28 pm

——–“Monica: Still Standing” debuts tonight on BET at 10 p.m. after the BET Hip Hop Awards.——–

Ummmm, TONITE? It’s not Tuesday! According to BET’s Web site, the shows air on Tuesday, Oct. 27th.

Is it tonight or Tuesday?

Lauren

October 26th, 2009
4:40 pm

Honestly guys the BET thing is true. We as black people always love to see the double standard, but think about it. If a station called WET (White entertainment television)were to become you people would have a cow!!! BUT BET is (did you not know) run by a regualr network… so white people run BET. and not all of us BLACK people watch BET. it should be called GET Ghetto Entertainment TV. Just my opinion though.

Tyree

October 26th, 2009
4:41 pm

I hope this show entertains. Maybe we can get a look at a successful African American woman in Atlanta. The “Real Housewives of Atlanta” tarnished the image of a successful African American woman. The exception being Kandi.

Monica hopefully will be a breakaway from the fake drama.

Lee

October 26th, 2009
4:44 pm

I like that G.E.T Ghetto Entertainment TV! So true! haha!

Divalove47

October 26th, 2009
4:48 pm

I think Monica is a brave woman to put her life and business out there to have all to see, and to all of those people who have a problem with Mother having kids out of wedlock get a grip on yourself. The reality is that there is a great deal of women who have kids and are not married I being one of them. I used Birth control and it failed!! What do you want women to do have an abortion? Or maybe put the child up for adoption, all of you who feel so proud about their moral compass need to take a look at themselves and then go out and help someone because most women take care of their children. Judge not less ye be judge.

Jay

October 26th, 2009
4:57 pm

Thank GOD the hip hop awards aren’t in Atlanta this year!! Everytime I see an advertisement for this, it makes me wonder how can these uneducated menaces who are worthless to society that write songs about doing drugs, sleeping with women and dancin in the club actually get awarded for their work. Every rap song has the same lyrics. No talent thugs yelling into a microphone to a beat. What a joke. But I guess since that’s the only thing they are qualified for, than you can’t expect much.

Cland

October 26th, 2009
5:04 pm

I don’t watch BET because the programming is awful. There are way too many rap videos and stupid, ghetto reality shows being shown instead of educational and uplifting programs. It’s a shame that the BET doesn’t feel the need to change its format.

I like Monica’s music, but I’m not all that interested in her personal life. I’m not sure what message her show is supposed to send, but if someone wants to watch it – more power to them. I also don’t know why people are talking about her being an unwed single mother. As if that’s the only SIN in the world. People need to get off of their high horses and holier-than-thou attitudes. Okay, so she had some kids without being married. What, should she have had abortions just so the “Christians” could say she’s a good Christian because she didn’t have kids without being married? Give me a break! The people who are sooooooo disgusted that she’s a single mother are the same ones who honor and praise their lying, stealing, hypocritcal Pastors. What about the many “Christians” who commit adultery, steal, lie, cheat, abuse alcohol and drugs, go to the bar and strip clubs? Get over it – she already had the kids. No amount of complaining about her status is going to change the fact that she had kids. People need to stop focusing on the past and work to help and encourage people to make a change. (WWJD – Christians…. are you really???