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Apryl Jones

Source: VH1 / Viacom

I know that many people have decided to wash their hands of Apryl Jones. The once well-liked Love and Hip Hop Hollywood cast member has become a constantly criticized figure ever since she publicly decided to date Dreux “Fizz” Frédéric, the bandmate of her ex Omarion. Some of that ire came from people feeling that the couple’s choice was disloyal and disrespectful. She also received flack because of the way in which it appeared that the relationship between Fizz and Omarion was affected as they reunited to tour with B2K. After their relationship became public, Omarion decided to not include Fizz and his other bandmates on a short-lived second iteration of the Millenium Tour, which left very grown B2K fans upset.

Apryl’s reaction to all of that has been to stand her ground, remind people that her ex hasn’t been a saint, and to laud Fizz as someone who provided her with the genuine love and support she needed at a really dark time in her life. They were “best friends” who turned into lovers, and those who couldn’t deal with it could well…kick rocks.

However, their relationship didn’t last long after the last season of Love and Hip Hop Hollywood ended, and the two best friends went a whopping eight months without speaking after the fact. To lose a relationship is one thing, but also a friend is not easy. And while Apryl was reunited with Fizz for Family Reunion: Love and Hip Hop Edition and seemed in a good place, it’s clear there was hurt there from the way things ended between the two. While Fizz seemingly had no desire to have a conversation in the hopes of moving forward on a positive note, Apryl needed closure. When she didn’t get that, things turned a bit wild and into a physical altercation thanks to the alcohol both parties had been drinking. After being separated by security, the tough exterior we’ve come to know Apryl for came down. She broke down in tears while confiding in cast members Sierra Gates and Bambi, sharing how exhausted she was by the men in her life.

“I still love people who hurt me and that’s the problem I have,” she said as she cried. “How many times do a woman got to hold a muthaf–ka down? How many times do we got to be the strong ones out of the bunch? I’m tired! I’m tired and the weight is on my shoulders.”

She talked about the difficulties of loving Black men because as she put it, of no fault of their own, they go through a lot. The effort required to be a support through that requires a woman to oftentimes, give more of herself than she gets in return. And while I’m sure some of her frustration had to do with Dreux, the message definitely seemed more aimed at Omarion.

“That’s a lot on us. On top of that: domestic, carry the baby, postpartum, breastfeed, c–chie gotta bounce back, insecurities, I gotta provide, I gotta put 50/50 on the bills, I’m just the trophy on your arm, I’m just the person that gotta build you up, I gotta motivate myself, you ain’t motivating me, I gotta feel pretty, I gotta feel all of these things. What are you doing?! I’m depleted!” she shouted.

A very upset Apryl then turned to the camera and looked in it to make it clear how truly tired she was, saying that when it comes to the way some men handle the Black women in their lives, “Y’all treat us like we not sh-t!”

After I spoke with Apryl last month when Family Reunion was beginning where she shared about the sacrifices she made during her relationship with Omarion, including joining reality TV for the betterment of his image despite a strong desire not to do so, I talked with a friend about the clear pain people tend to miss when it comes to her. She will casually, in conversation, talk about the struggles she went through and give the impression that she’s at peace. However, the circumstances have definitely been rough. While people rallied to Omarion’s side after she started dating Dreux, many forgot that as the story went, he left her high and dry.

When I asked Omarion in an interview in early 2020 about why they didn’t work out, he simply gave the impression that they’d both changed.

“I mean, to answer your question, I think that everyone goes through changes. For me, in particular, at that period of time in my life, I was going through a lot of changes, especially within my business,” he said. “So at that time, I was asking myself a lot of questions. I just had kids. I was like, why am I doing this? I needed a moment to be able to just recalibrate and refocus and really think about what I wanted to do. I would really attribute her not understanding to lack of communication and upbringing. I was raised a little bit different than she was raised and I think that is really, at the end of the day, always a thing in relationships. It’s just miscommunication and different love languages. So that’s what I would really attribute it to. People grow and some people grow out of each other. I would say that is, from my perspective, truly is what happened.”

But this change inconveniently came at a time when she had just delivered his second child. For Apryl, she’s always maintained that he was never clear about why he wanted to move on. Maybe she couldn’t get clarity because she was in the midst of grappling with postpartum depression. That came up when I asked her if she ever felt she needed to run her relationship with Dreux by Omarion as a heads up before it became public.

“I didn’t owe O that. After all O did to me? I didn’t owe him anything, period,” she said. “After all that I went through with him, I wasn’t going to have the respect to be like, ‘Hey, guess what?’ It’s like, we had been through too much at that point. So at this point, I’m at the lowest point of my life and the only person who was there for me was Dreux. I don’t have family here. It was one of those moments where it was like, man, OK, a person’s not just saying this, a person is showing up. Mentally I could have went downhill. I have two kids. When I had my daughter I had postpartum [depression]. But you’re talking about three years later, I’m still struggling because I have someone who should be helping me and he’s not.”

People have often looked at her as “bitter,” but who wouldn’t be?

I think because of the way Apryl went about things with Dreux and her defiant stance concerning it, people have been quick to call her out and not be sympathetic of her. Still, she has the right to be angry. Say it’s her fault if you like, but she was with a man for years, made sacrifices for him, had two children with him, and he picked up and left because he grew out of her. And then everything after that, including child support and decisions about schooling became a fight (including in court). Hell yeah, she’s angry. And does it always show itself in the healthiest ways or ways that other people can be empathetic of? No. But only she has lived through her experiences, and as last night’s episode showed, they’ve weighed heavily on her. So while we’re quick to say we’re “tired” of Apryl or criticize her Instagram Lives and whatever else she publicly does, I say, give her some grace. She holds a lot of hurt, and perhaps, if we’d been in her shoes, maybe we’d see her as less of a personality to villainize and more of one worth trying to understand.

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