Reality TV has been getting a lot of flack lately, particularly shows like The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Basketball Wives. It has even forced me to create an open letter to Sheree Whitfield, Nene Leakes, and Tami Roman.
Reality stars Kandi Burruss, Tamar Braxton, Evelyn Lozado, and Chrissy Lampkin cover VIBE Magazine’s Sexy Issue, and go in depth about the reality TV genre that’s been disheartening many fans and critics.
VIBE: Star Jones started a petition, lashing out against women and violence on reality TV. What’s your reaction?
Evelyn: [Bursts into laughter] I think she’s going to have to get a whole lot of names. Actually, I like the petition and I like the controversy because I’ve learned controversy is good. But I think she’s irrelevant. And she’s using our coattails to get relevant again. Nobody gives a fuck about her.
Chrissy: Whatever Star Jones is feeling is a little deeper than what she sees. I think she has her own issues.
Kandi: She may not be violent, but I’m sure she goes off on people in her day-to-day. I just don’t think it’s fair to block somebody from getting money.
What was the pivotal factor in your decisions to live in front of a camera?
Chrissy: They offered Jimmy [her fiancé, rapper Jim Jones] a show years ago and he wasn’t really interested. It was something that sparked my interest. It felt like something fun. There was another opportunity brought to me for a show with some other girls and it didn’t pan out. I came home upset and disappointed and Jimmy’s response was, “If you really wanna do this reality TV thing, since they offered it to me, I’ll put a call in and see if they’re still interested.”
Kandi: I wasn’t even thinking about reality television. I didn’t think they would really want me on [Real Housewives] because I’m not married, but they decided they wanted me to be a part of it.
Evelyn: I was a little skeptical in the beginning, but Shaunie and I have been friends for a few years. She called me up and pitched the show. I didn’t sign on to be famous or anything. I was opening up a shoe store [Dulce in Miami] and I thought this would be great for business.
Tamar: We just felt it was necessary to show us as sisters living different lifestyles. We felt it was important to have an honest show that women can relate to and learn from. I can only speak for our show, though. We’re a family show; it’s not like we’re girlfriends.
Evelyn’s comment about Star Jones being irrelevant really turned me off (a comment she publicly apologized for on Twitter. Evelyn goes on to say that she’s surprised that so many people care. She can’t believe that people get emotionally involved in your life enough to want to comment, tweet, or post on your Facebook wall.
Well, Evelyn, you especially invoke a lot of emotion. On television, you seem as passionate as your fans are about you.
Evelyn: When I first signed on to the show, I said I’m going to be me whether the cameras are on or off. So you’ll see me crying, you’ll see me fighting, you’ll see me happy. You get to see everything. I think I show every aspect of who Evelyn is. Of course people only remember those moments when I happen to be…
Hurling a wine bottle.
Evelyn: Yeah, happen to be throwing a few things. It’s frustrating because, on the other hand, I’ve also done positive things like charities with kids. It’s unfortunate because those things don’t seem to mean anything.
Chrissy: It bothers me [too] because it’s not all of who I am. It’s a part of who I am. It’s also something that I’m working on because who am I to put my hands on somebody else?
Tamar: I just wanna address the biggest misconception with Evelyn. She’s not just beautiful on the outside; she’s a beautiful soul. I believe that people who want to make a difference in our community should be shown [doing so]. Sometimes, with our shows, you only see that [negative] side, but Evelyn will give you the shirt off of her back.
Evelyn: It’s tough because if we were only doing positive things, people wouldn’t want us. But if I say, “Tamar, you’re a stupid fucking bitch,” people love that.
Kandi: That’s because we’re a real life soap opera. You know how your family watched All My Children for 20 years? That’s what we are now.
Treating these reality shows like real life soap opera’s may be the best statement I have to agree with. People do like drama; it’s just despicable that this drama involves real lives. People protest and get disgusted when any “real” issue hits the media, and everyone becomes emotionally involved just like Evelyn says.
Be sure to read the entire article over at VIBE like how the producers orchestrate the violence and if the girls consider themselves to be role models. How do you feel about what the ladies had to say?