“R&B Divas” recap (3.7): Country Twang

 
 

Last week on R&B Divas, Monifah tried on wedding dresses and Syleena kicked it with Da Brat. This week, we didn’t get a lot of gayness, if that’s all you’re here for. We didn’t even get to see Terez’s beautiful face! BUT a lot of this episode focused on Keke Wyatt. And immediately after Monifah and Terez, I love me some Keke Wyatt, and there are a LOT of Keke feelings during this hour. Spoiler alert: She cries! I cry!

We begin with her in the studio, pumping out some new jams, and by “jams” I mean “soulful country ballads.” Keke’s music is taking a new direction, and she’s both extremely comfortable and extremely nervous in this new country space. The song she’s singing is called “You,” a track by Chuck Harmony, and it is good. It’s been stuck in my head ever since, in fact. Her voice is on-point, crisp and clear, and melds perfectly with the style. Which makes me think that Keke Wyatt can just do no wrong.

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But, as Keke says: “Unfortunately, people just have a problem [with] people who aren’t white in country.” There’s a lot of truth in this, which is a damn shame, because in a lot of ways, country and R&B music have a lot in common—the emphasis on emotion, the themes of heartache and loss, and getting back to musical folk roots out of which both sprung. I think it’s an important topic to discuss. But with folks like Keke Wyatt and Kacey Musgraves stepping into the country mix, though, I think there can be a lot of change for good in country in the coming decades: queer country artists, black country artists, country artists being whoever they want to be.

After this successful studio session, we then see a series of failed One Night Only rehearsals. I know! I’m shocked about it, too! In the first one, Angie pushes LaTavia about singing, in a very Angie style, to the point where everyone is just begging her to shut up and LaTavia ends up walking out. What Angie often conceives of as caring and sisterly in her head turns out just sounding aggressive and bullying to everyone else. But Angie actually does have a point here. Like, why is LaTavia still showing up to these rehearsals if she’s not planning on performing at the concert? I’m just over it.

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Anyway, back to Keke! She and Michael are planning a “Fan Appreciation Night,” a big ol’ free party to celebrate her and share some of her new songs. She goes on the Rickey Smiley radio show to promote it, during which all kinds of goofiness happens, and later, her closest entourage will stroll through downtown Atlanta in order to see her very own billboard advertising the event, on which she looks fierce. Keke! So happy for you! But when Michael shows her around the venue, which is gorgeous and humongous, Keke starts to worry that not enough people will come to fill it.

The real drama of the episode, though, makes its way to town when Syleena visits Mo in the studio. First, let’s talk about how it feels like we’ve seen Mo, Syleena, and Keke having more studio sessions this season than ever before. It feels good! Like they’re making more music than before, like they’re all in really good places with their careers. (Speaking of, you can also now see all the divas’ planned concerts and events on TV One’s website.) But Leena’s not in the best place mentally at this very moment, which is why she’s come to vent to Mo. The situation is this: a few months ago, Angie had invited Syleena to go on a European tour with her, but later it had been decided that it wouldn’t work financially. But then! Through the wonders of the Internet, Syleena has discovered that Angie’s booked the tour anyway—for herself.

Because of this, it feels like Syleena—and Monifah—are just DONE with Angie at this point. Of course, it is true that we haven’t been able to see Angie’s side of the story, and it looks like we don’t get to see that confrontation until next episode. But I’m not exactly sure what Angie’s side of the story could be that wouldn’t still disrespect Syleena in some way.

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