Keyshia Cole, the Atlanta R&B singer, was last seen on reality TV screens in 2008 on BET’s “Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is.” She decided to take a break from the cameras while her sister Neffeteria Pugh and mom Frankie Lons spent a season on a short-lived spinoff “Frankie & Neffe.”
Cole in 2009 met the man of her dreams, Cleveland Cavalier player Daniel Gibson, who actually said he had a crush on her on TV before meeting her. They quickly fell in love, had a baby, then got married last year in Las Vegas. Four months later, they held a family gathering/vow renewal in Hawaii.
James DuBose, who produced the first Cole reality show, convinced BET to bring Cole back in a different light, to show how she is adjusting to life as a mother and wife while juggling her music career.
“We really want to complete the journey,” DuBose said. “We want to educate and inspire people.”
The first reality show boosted her career. Now will this version, which will run for eight episodes, help her again? That’s your call, viewers.
Cole herself isn’t keen on interviews. (In fact, I’ve only spoken to her briefly while she was having her makeup done during the filming of season one six years ago.) So I opted to talk to DuBose, who also created the VH1’s “The Michael Vick Project,” BET’s “Monica: Still Standing,” and BET’s “Tiny & Toya.”
DuBose has a knack for portraying his cast in a sympathetic light. For someone like Cole, he’s not just a producer but a real friend.
Cole herself has never been a colorful reality show “character.” She is pretty even keeled. Her first show relied on the histrionics generated by her mother and her sister. Her mom returns for this series, but is only a recurring character. The focus, DuBose said, is on Cole and Gibson.
He said Cole’s mom Frankie is doing better in sobriety. (She appeared on VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew” a couple years ago.) “She looks fantastic,” he said. “She’s gained weight. Fans will cheer her when they see how far she’s come, how far Keyshia has come never giving up on her mother.”
At the same time, she’s learning not to enable her mom.
“At some point, you can love your family but you have to stop enabling them and show them how to fish for themselves,” Dubose said. (Cole’s sister Neffe does not show up in this series, even for her wedding. But DuBose insists their relationship is “fine.”)
Like “T.I. & Tiny,” this couple appears to be loyal and loving. But like other couples who have been shown on TV like this such as “Kendra,” the challenges of two celebrity lifestyles and maintaining a marriage is difficult. And Gibson struggles with an injury that lands him in the hospital during the taping while Cole works on her latest album.
DuBose isn’t the type of producer to “create” events and situations for the subjects, which is typical on the more drama-filled reality shows such as “Real Housewives” and “Love & Hip Hop.” He tries hard to just capture what’s going on in their lives. “You have to shoot a little more and shoot a little longer,” he said. “And it takes longer to edit. Real stories don’t have a script to go by.”
“Keyshia & Daniel: Family First”
10 p.m. Tuesday, BET, debuting Oct. 9