TV One has jumped on the Atlanta reality show bandwagon with “R&B Divas.”
They brought the five ladies to the W Hotel Midtown earlier this month for some interviews.(TV One did not provide me a screener to see what the show is like so I can’t say what it’s like at all.)
Over eight episodes, the ladies record a tribute album to Whitney Houston. Guest stars this season include Kelly Price, Fantasia and Anthony Hamilton. The show was primarily shot in Atlanta, with stops in Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans. Two of the women have lived in Atlanta for awhile. Two others used to live here.
Here’s a quick summary of each of the five women. The most forthcoming of the five was Nicci Gilbert:
History: Lead Singer for 90s R&B Group Brownstone
Grammy Award Nominee
Actress (Tyler Perry’s Meet The Browns, Martin, Living Single, Sister Sister, Living Out Loud, Woo)
Co-Executive Producer, R&B Divas
Creator / Designer - Curvato Fashion Line
Atlanta ties: Has lived here for eight years.
“Real Housewives of Atlanta” ties: Was offered a spot on the show twice but turned it down.
On “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta”: “Stevie J is this year’s Flavor Flav.”
Why TV One dubs her “The Busy Bee”: “I’m constantly working – and thinking and creating… I don’t know how to slow down.”
How the show came to be: “I reached out to the other ladies. They’re all my friends. We wanted to do something amazing for Whitney Houston, a tribute album. That’s how the show came together… We plan to take this business by the horns and flip it on its back side!”
Past due? Not to her. “People may call us has beens. I say our records ‘has been’ in rotation the last 20 years!’
Table throwing? Wig pulling? Not here. “You’ll see drama. We’re in fact divas. But you’re going to see drama rooted in love. Drama about people you can learn from. We don’t throw drinks at our girlfriends. We might give them a piece of our mind. But we resolve it… We don’t have the luxury in the black community for everything to be ridiculous.”
History: Grammy-nominated singer
Atlanta ties: Relocated three months ago for the show from Chicago.
Her past: She was on Jive Records from 1998 to 2005 but was unable to break through.
Why she’s on the show: “They allow us to be ourselves. We want to be inspiring to other women. And TV One is run by African-American women.”
Nicci’s take on her: “She’s been overlooked and underappreciated.”
Teaser: “The last episode is us at the Essence Festival [in New Orleans] right before Chaka Khan. We wouldn’t have had that opportunity without this TV platform.”
Who is she:
Multi-Platinum Grammy Award Winning Artist and widow of Biggie Smalls (The Notorious B.I.G.)
New York Times Best Selling Author
Co-Executive Producer, R&B Divas
Atlanta ties: she lived here form 1999 to 2004. “I don’t have any plans to relocate back to Atlanta. I love where I live in L.A.”
Reality shows galore: Evans has shot three pilots for reality shows before this. The first two focused on her and her family, then a third with a couple of friends. Her problem: her life isn’t fascinating enough to sustain an entire show. “I wasn’t in a place to give them what they wanted. I couldn’t provide the shock value… I’m pretty boring. Things that people were hyped about my life have already played out. I wrote a book. My life is fun but isn’t that interesting now.” This ensemble cast means she only has to be highlighted for maybe 10 to 15 minutes per episode.
Why TV One: “It’s one network that is about positively portraying our culture.”
The album: “I wouldn’t call it a tribute album. I feel it was best to say it’s in her honor. She really did influence all of us as singers. Portions of the sales will go to that Whitney Houston Academy.”
Who she is: Child Prodigy
Singer, Songwriter and Actress
Atlanta ties: She lived here in 2006-07 but returned to New York.
Why she’s on the show: “I’m reintroducing myself career wise. I’ve been gone from the game. There are reasons for that. You’ll see that unfold. I will share my story on the show.”
Her storyline: “I’ve struggled with addiction and am overcoming that. I’m very serious about my recovery. I was partying my a** off, high as hell. I was running, escaping. Eighteen months ago, I said, ‘I’m done!’ ”
Best quote: “The reality show is the new record deal.”
Who she is: Singer & Songwriter
Show nickname: “The Wild One” “I’m very opinionated. I don’t care what nobody says or nobody thinks I am. I care about my opinion!”
Why she moved to Atlanta: “I needed to get away from my ex husband [in Kentucky] and his abusive ways a few years ago.”
Her racial make-up: “My mother is white. My dad is Cherokee Indian and black.”
How she joined this project: “I was already doing my own reality project. [Who isn't?] I thought this would be fun. It has been fun.”
Mommy track: “I have six kids, including a two-month old.” [She had her youngest baby while the show is taping.]
Temperamental?: She admits getting upset with the camera crew at times when she didn’t want to be taped. “I’ve pulled the mike off and walked away.”
Being a diva: “It’s a compliment to me. Some people look at a diva as a drama queen, think she’s better than anybody and has her nose stuck up so you could see boogers for years. My definition is someone who takes pride in themselves, how they look, how they carry themselves, gifted, talented.”
A new Spice Girl? “I’m a sissy. I’m a whiny baby. Call me Whiny Spice!”
TV One, 10 p.m. Mondays, debuting Aug. 20
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk