All Articles Tagged "reality"

Hollywood’s Little Known Thugs: A-List Stars With Criminal Backgrounds

March 26th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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A lot of reality stars seem to be having legal trouble lately. Sundy Carter used to boost merchandise, and Apollo Nida may have stolen a few identities. But what about the rest of Hollywood? We’ve got a star-studded list of criminals who prove that Hollywood can be a shadier place than you think.

Stars With Criminal Backgrounds

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Tim Allen Sold Weight

Remember the TV show “Tool Time”? It’s star Tim Allen was arrested for possessing nearly 2 pounds of cocaine. How was he freed in time to go on to be a world famous face of kids’ programming? He became an informant against his fellow dealers and served just over 2 years behind bars.

“The Family Struggle” And 13 Other Reality TV Spin-offs We’d Actually Watch

February 21st, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Have you heard the rumor that Cyn Santana and Erica Mena from Love and Hip-Hop might get there own show? We’re not too excited about that, but here are a few reality TV spin-offs we would actually like to see.

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“We Have Something In Common”

Nick Gordon and Bobbi Kristina just got hitched. And we’re sure we’re not the only ones who’d love to see a season or two of this particular chapter of black music royalty play itself out — unlike that Lifetime mess that came way too soon.

Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough: Toya Is Coming Back To Reality Television!

January 13th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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"Toya Wright pf"

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Because it’s not enough that their marriage has been featured on reality television in some capacity for almost as long as they’ve been married, Toya and Memphitz are on their way back to a small screen near you.

That’s right, TMZ is reporting that Toya and her husband, Mickey (aka “Memphitz”) are in the process of filming a reality show pilot. According to sources, the working title is Mickey and Toya: The Wright Way and it’ll feature the couple attempting to start a new business while trying to keep their marriage together.

It appears Toya’s full-time job is now reality star. Many people already knew Toya as the ex-wife of rap star Lil Wayne (they also chare a child together, 14 year old Reginae). That title helped land her first reality show on BET, Tiny and Toya, in which she co-starred with rapper T.I.’s wife, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle.  While the show was a success, it only last one season (allegedly due to Tiny’s husband’s “concerns”). Luckily for her, Toya’s reality star “power” was revealed and she was able to land her own show, Toya: A Family Affair, which also aired on BET and featured the ups and downs she went through with a family full of problems, raising her daughter, and eventually being married to Memphitz.

Toya and Mickey were married in 2011 and while they seem to be a nice couple, they’ve had a little “cloud” over their relationship for the past few months based on Mickey’s alleged past “issues.” In 2012, singer K. Michelle starred in VH1′s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta and she alleged that Mickey was physically and verbally abusive during their business and personal relationship. Mickey denied all the allegations and Toya stood by her man.

Sources say the show is being shopped to BET, MTV, Oxygen and FUSE but if history is any indication, we know where it’ll land.

Will you be watching?

Are Ya’ll For Real For Real? Celebrity Couples Who Might Be Fronting For Publicity

December 17th, 2012 - By Meg Butler
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Everyone has been on Kenya Moore’s back about fabricating her relationship to get on the Real Housewives of Atlanta,  but while it’s fun to hate on Kenya and that attitude of hers, let’s not act like she’s the only person that might be frontin’ a relationship for publicity’s sake. Half of the relationships in Hollywood are business deals and these are just a handful of the celebrity couples who don’t seem sincere at all.

Reality Personalities Who’ve Extended Their 15 Minutes With Successful Crossover Careers

September 7th, 2012 - By Nicole Akoukou Thompson
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Some…most reality television stars are a dime a dozen. Producers find these people on the streets, on the Internet or audition rooms, and no matter if they have talent or not, they are suddenly on your television screen, intruding into your home, and forcing you to ride along on their journeys to be models, singers or millionaires.

But for those few who are talented, and manage to extend that 15-minute window wide, they achieve true celebrity, earn real money and garner awards for their talent. Notorious celebrities from “The Apprentice,” “Flavor of Love,” “America’s Next Top Model” and “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” have been taking strides to remove the word ‘reality’ from the title ‘Reality Stars.’

Nene Leakes

The Queens, New York native initially gained fame in 2008, cumulatively earning more than 3 million as a lead player on the show “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” –and was further popularized on “Celebrity Apprentice.” Nowadays, Leakes is busier than ever, achieving a reoccurring role as Coach Roz on the hit television show “Glee” and pushing shoes and wine. She recently turned down a featured spot on “Celebrity Apprentice All Stars,” but will be appearing on a new sitcom this fall on NBC called, “The New Normal.” Recently featured in The Wall Street Journal, Leakes has also just had a grandchild and is looking for a possible spin-off reality show under the patented name, “I Dream of Nene.”

Is Reality Too Rachet For BET?

August 29th, 2012 - By C. Cleveland
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When I read “Why BET Shouldn’t Compete With VH1’s Ratchet Reality Shows,” I was puzzled by criticism of my article, “If Black Reality TV Is A Winner for VH1, Why Is BET Still Losing?”  Clutch magazine writer Britni Danielle feels that to “insinuate that [BET] lower their standards instead of raising them is a problem.” I agree.

My article pointed to “real stories of African Americans – not the sanitized or overcompensating versions” as a possible solution to BET’s failure to produce a reality show as popular as VH1’s offerings. “[These stories] have more than enough drama to keep audiences coming back for more.”

I can’t speak for the race, but the drama in my life and those around me doesn’t look like anything on Love & Hip Hop…most of the time. Some stereotypes are based on reality, but many of the stories black culture has to offer don’t play out like a Mona Scott-Young production or what’s on BET.

It’s a testament to the quality of programming geared toward African Americans that drama automatically has a negative connotation. To that I say, “all rachet-ry is drama, but not all drama is rachet.”

When I ask for drama, I want stories that are interesting. I want characters that aren’t caricatures, but real people with good and bad attributes. Kerry Washington’s Scandal character Olivia Pope is a prime example. Despite [SPOILER ALERT] sleeping with the President and a host of other quirks that kept Twitter buzzing, her character has yet to be dubbed a stereotype. Idris Elba’s Luther is another example, which I’m happy to see BET has chosen to air in syndication.

Why doesn’t BET attempt this complexity in its original programming? BET could try to change the game of reality television with a show that portrays issues African Americans are facing without relying on the stereotypes and storylines we always see. They opt to rely on tired formulas of squeaky-clean performances that lack authenticity, stereotyping that does the same, or the old standby of trotting out a celebrity.

Danielle writes:

And while BET can certainly improve the writing on some of its shows, the answer isn’t to jump into the muddy waters of negative black female stereotypes, but rather continue to improve on what they’ve already started: (re)building a network that shows us in various lights, not just through the hot prism of a modern day minstrel show.

I’m glad BET is attempting to show us in various lights. Shows like Sunday Best, Black Girls Rock!, and Real Husbands of Hollywood are signs the network is thinking outside the box. But, BET has to continue to push itself.

Whether they want to or not, BET competes with the watercooler and Twitter-friendly excitement on VH1. You can disagree with the stories VH1 tells, but you can’t deny that they keep their viewers engaged. Positivity alone doesn’t cut it; you have to tell a good story. Even Oprah had to learn that programming has to be entertaining.

I speculated that pressure to uplift the race was the issue holding BET back. Perhaps the network feels we would take anything that doesn’t pander to Black America as a slight to the race. For example, would Scandal have been received as well if it was a BET production?

We need to continue to critique the content the network produces (as well as the criticism we level against it), offering solutions rather than vague complaints, or we will never see change. What is the purpose of a channel devoted to black entertainment other than to tell the true stories of black culture with all its diversity and complications? If BET doesn’t serve its purpose, what’s the point of it?

Cortney Cleveland is a freelance writer and content strategist in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter @CleveInTheCity and visit her personal column The Red Read.


If Black Reality TV is A Winner For VH1, Why Is BET Still Losing?

August 27th, 2012 - By C. Cleveland
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The season finale of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta garnered record ratings for VH1 — 6.5 million people tuned in, tying the series with NFL pre-season coverage and once again solidifying VH1 as a leader in reality television. It’s interesting that VH1 continues to turn to majority Black casts for success in reality programming, a strategy that seems a better fit for its sister station BET.

Despite being owned by the same company, BET hasn’t been able to capture the success VH1 has seen in reality television. It seems like the network is scared to attempt anything groundbreaking. The history of criticism of BET’s portrayal of African-Americans is a long one.  Ever since Bob Johnson sold the channel to Viacom in 2003, BET can’t seem to get on the good side of its target audience.

The channel saw moderate success with the series College Hill, the closest BET has come to getting their strategy for reality television right. Seasons three and four brought record ratings at the time, though they’re dwarfed in comparison to Love & Hip Hop’s numbers. We won’t even talk about Baldwin Hills and Harlem Heights,” the network’s shows chronicling the lives of the young and the attractive (and let’s not forget the boring). They don’t make a blip on the radar of Mona Scott-Young, the creator of the Love & Hip Hop franchise.

BET’s other strategy for reality television is to follow around celebrities. Keyshia Cole, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, Toya Wright and even skateboarder Terry Kennedy have lent their lives to BET’s lens. Offering a sneak peek into celebrities’ lives sounds like a gold mine. But the stars they choose don’t have the influence to bring in overly impressive ratings.

Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is set a record as the number one series telecast in BET history with more than 2.9 million viewers tuning in for the show’s season finale. Again, Mona Scott-Young is unbothered. Keyshia Cole is famous and had a platinum album at the time, but her star power alone doesn’t translate to blockbuster ratings.

What’s BET missing? Aesthetically, VH1’s shows look better. You can tell they are putting more money into production. More than that, VH1 isn’t afraid for their characters to look bad. Almost every show on VH1 depicting African Americans has been met with calls for boycotts. But, while the network is receiving petitions, they are simultaneously pulling record-breaking ratings. It’s a mixed message BET has never experienced.

27 Going on 50: Signs You’re Going Through A Quarter-Life Crisis

August 9th, 2012 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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A mid-life crisis isn’t the only kind of crisis people go through when they’re overwhelmed by the realities of their ever-changing (or stagnant) life. Nobody really talks about it, but in your early twenties to mid-30s, ish gets a bit too real. You’re an adult now (a real live one! *in Pinocchio voice*), and with the title comes a whole bunch of responsibility you saw coming, but weren’t as prepared as you thought to tackle. It’s all good, many of us are going through it, or have been through it, and we probably didn’t even realize it. (Unless you’re one of those people who fell into a deep depression the day before your 30th birthday, then yeah, you know.) Here are a few signs that you’re going through or went through a quarter-life crisis at one time or another.

You start second-guessing your choice of work…

Sure, working at the bookstore has been cool, but you don’t have any insurance, you don’t make enough to get out of your mother’s crib, and there isn’t much room for advancement. On the other side of the fence, you can be that young businesswoman on the rise, making a mean salary (in comparison to your meager earnings that could only afford you noodles in college), and are slowly but surely paying down those student loan debts. However, you low-key hate getting up in the morning to go to work. For some reason your job isn’t fulfilling, and maybe it’s just your place of work or the the occupation altogether. Is this where you see yourself in 10 years? Getting a job is a huge step in moving out of helpless collegiate territory and into adulthood, but when the job you have doesn’t seem to be the job you really want, or you just feel unsure about your choices when it comes to that job…you could be going through a quarter-life crisis.

Is This Real Love? How To Avoid Getting Into a Relationship That Does Not Exist

June 28th, 2012 - By Liz Lampkin
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Blacl couple Embracing

Do we allow our feelings for someone to create a relationship that doesn’t exist, or do we allow our feelings to create a reality within a relationship that doesn’t exist? A relationship is defined as an emotional connection, association, or involvement between two people that have mutually decided to commit to each other based on feelings they have for each other. Feelings are an effective state of psychological consciousness in which joy, fear, hate, sorrow, love, etc. are experienced and expressed. They are also spontaneous efforts that are accompanied by physiological changes that drive a number of actions and reactions.

Most relationships begin with a feeling. They initially start with physical attraction accompanied with the desire to learn more about a person which leads to the desire to spend more time with them. After the initial physical attraction, people then move forward to the courting stage, getting to know someone on a more personal level, then being drawn to them mentally, emotionally and spiritually. After taking these steps, a couple may then mutually decide to have and develop a monogamous relationship based on more than the initial feelings they felt for each other. In today’s relationships, many couples skip the step of mutually deciding to have a relationship. They skip, or overlook this step because they are primarily focused on the way the other person makes them feel, and allow their feelings to cloud their common sense and better judgment. Instead of establishing and agreeing upon having a monogamous relationship, they settle for engaging in relationship-like activities without the commitment of a relationship.

Our feelings can often create relationships we think we want because the focus is on self-gratification, rather than building a relationship with a purpose and meeting the other person’s needs. When two people are involved with each other, and things are going well, at some point one person will have the desire to take the courting stage to the next level, but the other person may not. So rather than stepping away from the situation, they settle for less and continue to pretend to be involved in a committed relationship. This happens more often than not because of fear of being alone, the strong desire to be with a certain person, or a lack of self-confidence within.

When reality sets in to the fact that they are not in a relationship, the same feelings that led the desires for a relationship are now crushed.  Learning to mask your feelings for someone is a difficult thing to do, especially after spending quality time with them and getting to know them on a personal and/or intimate level. However, what people must do is set and maintain standards and boundaries for their relationships together from the start to avoid confusion. Even if you are starting as friends, both parties must be clear on the expectations of each other and the relationship.

One of the most common mistakes often made is the conscious or subconscious decision to be sexually intimate with someone you are not in a relationship with. This is a mistake because when you are sexually intimate with someone you give them a part of you and you take a part of them which can bring you closer which makes the relationship more personal and deeper feelings begin to develop. That’s why it is important to set boundaries for the relationship that you both agree on to avoid getting trapped in the reality of a relationship that does not exist. Doing this will spare feelings, avoid confusion and potential drama. When making the decision to become involved with someone, you must be mindful of your intentions and honestly discuss the expectations of both parties. It takes two people to initiate, develop and maintain any type of relationship, and both people must be willing to commit and carry the load.

Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.

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No Fantasies Allowed: Spend For The Life You Have, Not The Life You Want

June 19th, 2012 - By Alissa Henry
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"Window shopping"


Are you spending for the life you have or the life you want?

That’s the question I had to ask myself as I stood in an electronic store recently mulling over an iPad purchase. As I stood there considering how much this purchase would set me back financially, I glanced down at my shoes. The rubber had all but completely worn off the bottom near my toes and it looked to be only a matter of time before my big toe came out for air.  These were my only pair of decent flats to wear to work and they were at a point way past raggedy. I’d been too cheap to purchase a new pair, yet I was justifying a shiny, new electronics purchase that was easily forty times the price of a new pair of shoes.

There I stood between the life I have: a working girl who needs dress shoes for the office versus the life I want: a lucrative, self-employed woman whose line of business requires flip-flops…and the latest electronics. The lives were mutually exclusive at that point, one decidedly less expensive and the other undoubtedly rooted in fantasy. Yet, I was much more willing to throw away my life savings chasing a mirage instead of investing my disposable income to improve upon what I already possessed.

I’d done this time and time again:

Deciding I wanted to be a “Woman who Scrapbooks”, I bought a ton of scrapbook materials and never made a single scrapbook page.

Deciding I wanted to be a marathon-runner, I bought a pair of custom running shoes and signed up for a gym membership only to use them both twice in six months.

Deciding I wanted to be a great cook, I purchased a Wok to make cool Asian-inspired cuisine…and that Wok is collecting a considerable amount of dust.

Deciding I wanted to go to grad school, I bought several GRE study guides and vocabulary books and hardly cracked one of them.

Author Scott Young, would call my efforts “feel good tasks”: tasks I do to make me feel like I’m doing something without my actually doing anything. He says a feel good task is a task not essential to getting started nor directly contributing to success; therefore this task rarely results in achieving a particular goal and instead becomes an end unto itself.

In other words, I determine I want to be well-read so I subscribe to the New Yorker and immediately feel like I’ve reached my goal despite not having actually read a thing.

This isn’t to say I can never change, pursue my dreams or pick up a new hobby, but maybe I can ease into those changes financially once I’ve made a serious commitment (evidenced by follow-through) rather than using my desire to change as an excuse to spend money.

If I’m serious about scrapbooking, I can start by collecting and organizing all the pictures lying around the house.  If I’m serious about running, I can go outside and run every day for a month. If I’m serious about cooking, I can unthaw the meat that’s been in my freezer for a considerable amount of time. If I’m serious about grad school, there are tons of free, online practice guides for the GRE. And if I’m serious about saving money and building wealth then I can stop spending money on random, unrelated projects just to feel like I’m doing something.

Prioritizing purchases is one thing, financing a life I don’t actually live is another. It’s a sure-fire way to end up in debt or, at the very least, with a lot of stuff I don’t need or use.

What do you think? Have you ever found yourself financing a life you don’t actually live?

Alissa Henry is a freelance writer living in Columbus, OH. Follow her on Twitter @AlissaInPink

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