Who doesn’t have a favorite “Real World” season? Even if you no longer watch because you’re distracted by psuedo wives and singing competitions, I’m sure if I threw some of the names from this list at you, you could tell me your views on the drama these black folks brought into the house and why you did or didn’t enjoy seeing them on your TV thanks to MTV. This show definitely paved the way for most reality TV, and in the process of growing and getting more popular (or less), we’ve seen a few black folks who were just too interesting to forget. Let’s figure out where they are now, and what they’re looking like. By the way, we did pick our five favorite females from the show back in the day, but this is totally different. AND oh yeah, be prepared to click, per the usual.
A Real World alumnus from his days on the first Las Vegas installment, Williams was a cutie and kind of a jerk, and he had his share of drama while on the show thanks to relationship triangles and such. In the end, he found himself in a relationship with cast mate Irulan Wilson, with the two staying together for three years and even living in LA together before breaking up in 2005. A popular castmember, Williams later went on to take part in the spin-off challenge, “The Gauntlet 2” (he also was a contestant on the first Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet) on MTV, and with his athletic prowess, actually went on to win the challenge and a whopping $100,000. Since his time on the show, Williams is allegedly in a new relationship, and is also said to be a radio host. There are also rumors that Williams will make an MTV comeback, competing in the upcoming new season of MTV’s “The Challenge.”
We were first introduced to the very crunk Coral when she first appeared on the “Back to New York” season, back when she was schooling cast member Mike about Malcolm X and more. Homegirl didn’t take no mess. That was clear as Smith participated in many MTV challenges after appearing on the show, and bumped heads with everyone. She was even awarded as the “Roommate You Love to Hate.” Who could forget when she told cast member Julie in the “Inferno” challenge that she didn’t wrestle, but that she “beat b***hes up!”? Her fiery temper and personality definitely made Miss Thang a favorite and a villain all in one. Though Smith never won one of the six challenges she competed in after appearing on “The Real World,” she’s doing good for herself. Smith is said to be the host of an Internet-based travel show, she is trying her hand at writing and is fighting to help those of the LGBT community to gain equal rights.
Appearing on the first season of “The Real World,” Kevin Powell was definitely a memorable character as he was a young activist with a strong stance on any and everything. He, like Coral, was known for bumping heads with his roommates when it came to discussions about race and social issues. But after the show ended, Powell ended up having some of the most substantial success of any of “The Real World” cast members we’ve seen. He went on to be a founding staff member and senior writer for VIBE magazine, wrote for many other prominent publications, has written a number of books, and has of course, tried to get involved in politics to no avail. He most recently was noted as being a writing fellow for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
Heather B Gardner
Speaking of Season 1, female MC Heather B was one of the young people handpicked to live in “The Real World” house. At the time that she was on the show, she was trying to really get her name out there in hip-hop as a burgeoning member of Boogie Down Productions, and she was also trying to duck and dodge stereotypes that were thrown at her by some of her small-minded cast mates. Heather B was a memorable but lovable face on the first season, and since then, she’s dropped albums (including Takin’ Mine, Eternal Affairs and Open Bars as recent as 2010). As was noted in a previous “Where Are They Now?” which documented Heather B (the one on Female MCs), Heather B was last seen working with DJ Premier on an album called Open Bar that still hasn’t been released, and she owns a business or two in Manhattan these days. If you keep up with the rap group The Bravehearts, then you probably know that she is married to the member “Horse.”
Talk about a misunderstood brotha. David Edwards was from the first “Real World” season in Los Angeles, and he was, of course, the first cast member on the show to be kicked out of the house. As you know if you tuned in back in the day, Edwards was kicked out for playing too much. As a hilarious writer for Uproxx.com put it: “He raped one of the roommates. And by raped, I mean, he playfully yanked bedcovers off of Tami while she was in her underwear as part of a harmless, fun game where the girls were laughing throughout the tug of war.” And that’s exactly what happened. But instead of folks brushing it off as a joke gone bad, cast mates turned on Edwards and made it seem as though they didn’t feel safe in the house with him. He was later kicked out. Nowadays, well, after having roles in movies like House Party 3 and more, Edwards is a working comedian. On a side note, do you remember the “Mad Real World” skit from “The Chappelle Show”? Well, it was influenced by the incident between David and Tami Akbar (aka, Tami Roman), as it was to poke fun at the often racist perceptions cast members often have about the black cast members after small things are blown out of proportion.
A very free-spirited but quick tempered woman, Aneesa was from “The Real World” season in Chicago. A lesbian, she dated numerous people during her time on the show, and clashed with her reserved/close-minded roommates and her own mother because of her love of walking around the home unclothed and because of her sexual orientation. After her time on the show, Aneesa went on to do a whopping eight challenges and clashed even more with other contestants. She spent more time doing that than she did winning, but when asked why she kept on participating, she said: “It’s a free vacation. I don’t have to pay for food. I don’t have to pay any bills, and I get to go to fun, amazing places I probably couldn’t afford to go for six weeks on my own budget.” Nowadays, she bartends back in Philly, discusses her experiences on the show with others and allegedly even dances (as in stripper) from time to time…
A very controversial cast member, Stephen Williams stepped in the stoplight when he was a member of “The Real World” cast in Seattle. Williams really played into an ugly stereotype when he fell out with outgoing cast member Irene. He berated the young woman as she announced that she was leaving the house, and when she prepared to depart, she threw her own shade by telling him that a marriage between them wouldn’t work because he was a “homosexual.” Safe to say, Stephen didn’t like that ish. He took a left over stuffed animal of Irene’s and threw it into water, and then, as she was leaving in a car, he ran up to the vehicle, opened the door and slapped her in the face. He was allowed to stay in the house, but of course, Stephen’s behavior made him one of the more infamous characters in “Real World” history. Where is he now? After being arrested for prostitution in 2001, ironically, Williams came out of the closet in 2008 and told the world that he was engaged to be married to a man as well. Guess that makes the whole slap 10 times worse since homegirl was right all along…
Tami Akbar (aka, Roman)
But of course we had to add this lady right here. She was the cooky character on the first Los Angeles installment of the series (which was the second season), and she was also a very controversial one. A whole episode was centered around her abortion, she randomly had her jaw locked shut, and of course, she and David went at it after the whole blanket incident (IT WASN’T NOT FUNNY!). Controversy would follow Akbar when she eventually found herself back in the reality TV realm. Since she appeared on “Basketball Wives,” she’s become somewhat of a tell-it-like-it-is hero, as well as a big a** bully. It’s clear that Tami learned from her early “Real World” days what it takes to keep your name in people’s mouths, and her behavior since then has helped her do that to this day (even if things said about her aren’t so good…).
Who would you love to catch up with from the series?