Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert, Monifah Carter, Syleena Johnson, and Keke Wyatt! Talk about Black and beautiful–these sisters of heart, throughout their careers have satisfied our souls with sweet music and verse. It is fitting that they would come together and give us a brief glimpse into their lives as artists, wives, mothers and business women.
Yes, I’m writing about yet another reality show, TV One’s “R&B Divas,” starring Black women who by the nature of what they do are called to be strong, focused and outspoken. Divas. But this is not your typical snatch-the-earrings-off, take-off-your-shoes-and-jump-over-the-table-to-slap-the-crap-out-of-your-friend show. No, this is a show about hardworking Black women who are about something and are willing to share their lives, the ups and the downs with us, in order that we might learn from them. True divas.
The show description given to reporters goes as such: “R&B Divas” tells the current, real-life story of five multitalented, beautiful R&B stars–Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert, Monifah Carter, Syleena Johnson and Keke Wyatt. Once at the top of their game and the R&B charts, these ladies know what it’s like to command the spotlight, then see it dim. Now, armed with important life lessons, they’re fighting to put their careers–and their lives–back on track. However, this time, they have the love and support of each other to help them through.
Now don’t get me wrong, there will be conflict, but it gets resolved. These women are living and working in the highly pressured entertainment business, raising children and operating personal businesses on the side from hair care products, to slimming apparel and clothing lines. These sisters “got it going on.”
I had the privilege of sitting down with these beautiful women, and I honestly felt I had known them all of my life. They were warm, honest, vibrant, and yes, divas. But in the most wonderful, solid sense. As I joined in the conversation with other reporters and listened to their responses, I began to understand that this is perhaps going to be one of the most important television shows for anyone who is aspiring to follow their heart, or to step out on faith, not to mention getting back up.
Evans, mother of four, is the co-executive producer of “R&B Divas,” yet she carries herself as part of the group. She lets her fellow singers share in the limelight, but they graciously throw it back to her. There’s a lot of honesty and respect with these women, so be prepared for some frank discussions designed to edify and not vilify.
Gilbert says, “We’re being honest, we’re being transparent, and we are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we’re also not crazy. And we understand that there are brands we have to protect.” They all confirmed that they are concerned about the images that are projected to little Black girls, and they intend to be honest, and come from a place of love.
They all bring something to the table that women and girls across America will relate to, be it domestic violence, the violent death of a loved one, single parenting, parenting period, being called underrated and putting creativity to paper, print and on the stage. These sisters have done it all. All of these women deserve to have their individual stories told, but unfortunately I don’t have the space to do it here.
But mark your calendars, because “R&B Divas” will premiere Monday, Aug. 20, at 7 p.m. on TV One. The eight-episode, one-hour series was filmed primarily in Atlanta, with additional shooting in Washington, D.C., New York and New Orleans. Check it out! You won’t be sorry.
Gail can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org