The new season of Basketball Wives begins on Tuesday night (on VH1) and after the chaos of last season, which included allegations of colorism, family breakdowns, and fights, everyone is eager to see how the women will move forward.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight to promote Season 9, Shaunie O’Neal talked about the show’s overall legacy and mentioned that even they can admit that there are some things they could have gone about better.
“Of course there are things that we would change or if we knew better we would do better than,” she said when referring to past antics. “But I think it’s been a huge growing journey for us that we all would do again, just do better this time.”
Because people only know what they’ve seen though, O’Neal responded to criticisms that the series, which she is an executive producer of, has received for not being the best representation of Black women.
“You pick and choose who you look up to and who you decide to follow and who you take pointers from in life,” she said, noting that if critics had a problem with the way the cast lived their life, then simply, “those wouldn’t be the women you choose to look up to.”
“This is pure entertainment,” she continued. “This show caters to an audience that has stuck there for the last 11 years. I just think now is just a time for catering to a new audience. To me, that’s my opinion. I think we’ve all grown up and continue to grow.”
“Yes there’s been fights, yes there’s been drinks thrown, but there’s also been some awesome things that have happened that no one’s ever seen,” she added.
As for what people can expect in Season 9, O’Neal said that “sisterhood” is the theme. With the pandemic, they had “a lot of lightbulb moments” that brought the cast closer, including newbies Liza Morales, and sisters Nia and Noria Dorsey.
“This season, give these ladies another a chance,” she said. “Give everybody, including me, if whoever judges, another chance to see that growth is happening and things are changing. You’ll see some difference this season.”
But will we see growth from Evelyn Lozada and OG’s relationship? She said, “anything is possible.”
But more importantly, people want to know if they will see an acknowledgment of the colorism many of the cast were accused of perpetuating towards OG. From the sounds of her response, OG will be on her own with that.
“I would say that that is OG’s experience and that she needs to speak for that,” she said. “I can’t speak for something that I didn’t experience. So out of respect for her, I will allow her to handle that particular subject and deal with that being that it was her experience.”
Following claims from people online that OG was treated as a violent threat because she was darker with traditionally African features compared to her cast mates, O’Neal did briefly try and address the controversy at the end of Season 8’s reunion. The move was panned though, as OG wasn’t asked to be a part of the conversation and no real apologies were made, including for sequestering her by herself in a back room for the reunion.
While it would be great to see the women all experience a 180 change compared to the behavior they exhibited last season and truly be on a positive level, if they still treat OG like the problem instead of owning up to their antics, all that sisterhood talk will be just talk.