The divas have returned, glory, glory, hallelujah!
If you missed the first season of R&B Divas, it’s a reality show conceived by Faith Evans about a group of, well, R&B divas, getting together to record an album, support each other, and be generally good people (sometimes). Even if you’re not a reality show fan, I can promise you that this one shows more genuine heart than most I’ve seen. While the first season, which aired last year, revolved around the record, this season is set up around the premise of: To Tour or Not To Tour, That is the Question.
The technical title is also now “R&B Divas Atlanta,” since there will also be a new “R&B Divas Los Angeles” airing this summer. But with no offense taken to the City of Angels, honey child, if you’re not in Atlanta, I don’t care. (Just kidding, I will totally watch the LA one, as there’s a former member of En Vogue and a former member of City High appearing in it, so, stop twisting my arm, TVOne.)
While we have the same main cast of characters here in the ATL–Syleena, Nicci, Monifah, and Keke (and Faith, when she has time?)–it appears there will also be a few new divas thrown into the mix this season, which should be interesting.
This first episode of the second season launched off slightly awkwardly, with Keke starting to sing the national anthem at a Martin Luther King parade but then trailing off and refusing to finish when her musical accompaniment wasn’t up to par. If anything, it gives us time to reacquaint ourselves with the temperamental sass of Keke Wyatt, which is without a doubt the best part of the show after Monifah and Terez.
So let’s get to Monifah and Terez, shall we?
We first see our girl Monifah and her girlfriend Terez shopping at some totally hip looking, all-local grocery store/coffee shop in Atlanta, like the good lesbians they are. Monifah seems to be in the same place she was at the end of last season, which is a good place: getting her career back on track after long struggles with addiction, and still being in love with her boo.
They discuss just what is going to happen at a group dinner Syleena is calling everyone to at her house that evening, which appears to be the first time in a few months that all the divas (minus Faith) will be reunited. The big question is whether Nicci will show up, as tensions are high in the Syleena and Nicci show, as they sort of always have been, setting up the first dramaz of the season. Monifah says she just hopes she doesn’t have to “hose some hoes down,” which is my second favorite ho comment of the episode. Don’t worry, my very favorite is yet to come!
To everyone’s surprise, Nicci does indeed show up at Syleena’s house, eventually, just as everyone’s digging into the food and Syleecia’s about to make The Big Announcement. Syleecia, for those just tuning in, is Syleena’s sister and manager and pretty much an honorary diva. The announcement is of course this: she’s been in contact with some tour management folks and they are into the idea of a diva tour if the divas are into the idea of a diva tour, which seems uncertain. Monifah loves the idea but asks the obvious question: will they all be able to survive harmoniously on tour, not just on stage but off? She gets her answer when things then quickly disintegrate, particularly when Nicci accuses Syleena of mushin’. I had never heard of mushing before, but I like learning new things! I’m still a little unclear on the entire details of mushing, to be honest, but I did get the message that it is BAD, y’all. And after such an accusation, Syleena quickly tells Nicci to get her ass out of her house.
Keke comments into the camera, “I ain’t going on tour with these hoes. Hell no.” which is my actual favorite ho moment, because while it’s not as clever as Monifah’s, her delivery is flawless!
Stepping right into her peacekeeper role, Monifah works out with Nicci in the park the next morning and tries to work out exactly what her problem is. Nothing really gets solved, but this scene is worth mentioning if just for how damn badass Monifah looks even when she’s just working out!
Alas, drama or no, all the ladies convene once again in Big Jim’s studio to rehearse for the actual main event of this episode–a diva tribute to Chaka Khan at the Trumpet Awards. Well, all the ladies except for Faith, who is apparently one busy ass lady and can’t make it, surprise, surprise. To replace her–for just this event, or for the whole show, who’s to say?–is LaTocha Scott, formerly from the R&B group Xscape. LaTocha on first impressions seems both sweet and professional, so, we’ll see how that works out. The other ladies are pleased to see her, and after rehearsal at Big Jim’s we’re soon at red carpet time for the awards, and ladies are looking fiiiiine.
The most exciting part of this whole shebang is that for the first time ever, Monifah gets to walk the red carpet with her girlfriend by her side. As she says, finally, she gets to be herself. Cue me holding myself together, but barely!