TV One is introducing “R&B Divas” Monifah Carter, Nicci Gilbert, Faith Evans, Syleena Johnson & Keke Wyatt. CREDIT: TV One Atlanta has its “real” housewives” over on Bravo and hip-hop crew over on VH1 while TLC is praying with an upcoming group of local preacher wives.
Now TV One wants to get in on the action with a quintet of female R&B singers on its new reality show “R&B Divas,” which debuts on August 20.
All have homes in metro Atlanta, the publicist told me, and much of the action will be here. The biggest name on the cast is Faith Evans, who spends most of her time in Los Angeles but does have a home here. The other four are Monifah Carter, Nicci Gilbert, Syleena Johnson and Keke Wyatt.
There will be eight one-hour episodes.
Here’s the quick and dirty summary of what the show is like from TV One:
They are all juggling myriad personal challenges and responsibilities in addition to making music – including raising families. Faith prepares for a major move as she maintains her businesses and helps manage the estate of a music icon. She also launches a new hair care product line, Glass Hair Products. Monifah reveals a bombshell that could drive a wedge between them. Keke is pregnant and the women are convinced that she can’t go anywhere without her husband/manager. Nicci is launching a new plus-sized clothing line called Curvato, while Syleena makes a career decision that will affect her entire family and put additional strain on her financially. Also captured is their most recent powerhouse tribute performances during the 2012 Essence Music Festival, where the ladies honored Donna Summer, Vesta Williams, Nick Ashford, Etta James, and Whitney Houston.
TV One is also trying to differentiate this from some other reality shows by noting that all the women know each other. Since the word “reality” has taken a beating, the executive below uses the word “authentic” twice in this quote: ”TV One looks to bring viewers great storytelling that portrays authentic black life in America today,” said TV One Executive Vice President of Original Programming and Production Toni Judkins. “The ladies of R&B Divas are truly talented and amazing women individually and when you bring them together into one TV show, you have an incredibly compelling story. And, these ladies have known each other in the industry for quite a while. We aren’t creating relationships for the sake of a television show, so their actions, relationships and emotions are authentic and true to life – and it makes for a powerful narrative.”
Here are quick bios of each woman:
- Faith Evans. She won a Grammy for “I’ll Be Missing You,” her tribute to her late husband Notorious B.I.G. She has three platinum albums under her belt, too. The 39-year-old singer has six total Grammy nominations.
- Nicci Gilbert. She’s the lead singer/songwriter with Brownstone and was nominated for a Grammy for their biggest hit in 1995, “If You Love Me.’ While starring in Tyler Perry’s hit play “Meet the Browns,” Nicci decided to pursue a career as a playwright and producer.
- Monifah. She has a Wikipedia page and a few minor R&B hits under her belt but has never broken it big. She has worked with the likes of Heavy D and Teddy Riley.
- Syleena Johnson, a soul singer, has released several albums. She too has never had any major hits but has built a following. (Her Facebook page has 12,000 followers.)
- Keke Wyatt had a platinum-selling solo debut album “Soul Sista” but her career suffered after she was arrested for stabbing her husband. (Charges were later dropped. She herself later said she was a victim of domestic violence and merely defending herself.)
TV One is entering a crowded field packed with women engaged in reality-injected drama. VH1 is the king with “Basketball Wives,” “Mob Wives,” “Mob Wives Chicago,” “Love & Hip Hop,” “Love & Hip: Atlanta” and “T.I. & Tiny.” BET is coming back with “Keyshia Cole: Family First.” WE-TV has a hit with “The Braxtons.” Oxygen tortures us all with “The Bad Girls Club.” And Bravo, of course, owns its “Real Housewives” franchise.
I’ll post more when I get the trailer. There is also a media screening day with the cast on August 9.