Nene Leakes Deserves Better

I am a long time fan of the show “Real Housewives of Atlanta”.  I’ve watched it from the beginning and since the beginning Nene Leakes has been on the program.  She is the matriarch and the anchor of the franchise whether you like Nene or not.  But I don’t think that Nene is getting the platform she deserves for her loyalty and dedication to the franchise.

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About a year ago a RHOA marathon came on TV and it showed the early seasons.  I was reminded about why I fell in love with the show.  Those women are hilarious.  I love the dry humor, sarcasm, deadpan expression and reserved cattiness of the so called housewives with a touch and sometimes a lot of African American spunk (It’s not attitude it’s spunk).  And Nene Leakes has become famous for being the spunkiest of them all.

I will admit that watching RHOA is like watching science fiction.  It’s far fetched but you accept the story within the world that is being presented to you.  We the audience have made a decision to accept the real housewives and just play along.  Reality TV is as believable as WWE wrestling but we tune in for the entertainment value and now that so much time has past we feel invested in the characters and their lives.

I believe that Nene Leakes is a nice person.  I really do.  I think she appreciates the Housewives franchise and the opportunities it has created for her.  I think Nene is down to Earth and has never forgotten her roots or tried to be something she’s not.  Yes, I can tell she’s had a nose job and wears blonde hair but I’m sticking with my previous statement.

Here is the problem with Nene Leakes and RHOA as it stands.  Cast members have come and gone from RHOA and producers are casting younger women.  One of the new stars is thirty four year old Eva with the Taratula from America’s Next Top Model and the wife of Ronnie Devoe of New Edition and BBD fame who is quite young.

RHOA has taken a nasty turn and no longer relies on dry whit and humor for entertainment.  Without Sheree and Phaedra that went out of the window.  Now they rely on drama and bitchiness.  Porsha resorted to violence one season during the reunion show.  Nene is placed at the center of a lot of the cattiness but at fifty one she’s too old for all that.  She should know better and be above it all.  Being a part of that type ratchetness is really undignified but for a woman Nene’s age it’s tragic.

Why on Earth is a woman at Nene’s stage of life arguing with thirty year olds over gossip?  Why is she arguing with fans on IG?  It shouldn’t happen.  I caught a glimpse of Lindsey Lohan’s reality show and she came across as a mature, mother hen that was concerned about the people that she described  as children that work at her resort or whatever it is.

The “children” are people in their twenties and Lindsey is only thirty two.  But we all know that Lindsey has been through some wild stuff which would give her a mature perspective on life.  Lindsey didn’t involve herself in the reckless, youthful activities.  She, like Nene Leakes has been there and done that.  There is no more energy for childishness, at least there shouldn’t be.

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Since I believe reality shows are staged and loosely written I think the producers of RHOA need to develop a new persona for Nene.  Her rebirth should be modeled after the very likeable Angela Raiola b.k.a. Big Ange from “Mob Wives”.  Rest in peace Angie.  During the reunion special of “Mob Wives” the host asked Big Ange why she wasn’t involved with the drama between the other women on the show.  Big Ange said she didn’t relate to them as peers because she was a lot older than them.  She was their parents age.  Ange sat quietly for most of that reunion special as an observer.  That’s called being a good and grown woman and that’s  what I want Nene to start doing.

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Andy Cohen is making a fool out of Nene at this point.  He is using her larger than life personality to hold RHOA together because producers are experimenting with newer cast members but Nene is coming out on the losing end.  I want Nene to show some leadership skills and extend her maternal instincts to her young cast mates.

I want the other cast mates to look up to her and see her as a mother figure instead of squabbling with her about nonsense.  She’ll still be the star because we all know her and she is the cornerstone of  the show.  Judge Judy says that the goal should be to do less work and make more money as one gets older.  Nene is working too damn hard!

Nothing is Promised

Last week supermodel and America’s Next Top Modelfinalist, Winnie Harlow a.k.a Chantelle answered questions from Bravo’s Andy Cohen that set off, I won’t say controversy but a bit of social media cattiness from former America’s Next Top Model contestants and fans.  Winnie said that the show didn’t do anything to help her develop her career.  Other former contestants and fans think she’s being ungrateful.  But a few ANTM alumni agree with Winnie.

The first winner of America’s Next Top Model Adrianne Curry said years ago that the show didn’t do anything for her career.  Other models from early seasons said that the show not only didn’t help them become successful but it was a hindrance to getting signed with an agency.  Other former contestants on the show credit ANTM for giving them their start in the business and giving them a platform from which to speak.

I don’t have a problem with Winnie telling her story and giving her opinion on the matter.  But I do take her words with a grain of salt.  I watched her season of the show and she didn’t come across as a very likable character.  There was an arrogance and sense of entitlement about her and she wasn’t well liked by other cast mates in the Top Model House.

It’s hard to gauge how effective ANTM is in launching careers because there aren’t many super star models anymore.  Fashion magazines use actresses, reality show stars and the children of famous people in their ads.  The models that don’t fit into those categories may be successful but they aren’t household names like the super models of the 80s and 90s.

I am a long time fan of America’s Next Top Model and while viewing each season I have questioned whether many of the girls could really go on and model.  The contestants that are chosen are people that look good on TV but they don’t really look like people that you see walking in fashion shows or in fashion magazines.  I don’t think that it matter much because each season thousands of hopefuls audition to fill fourteen spots on the show.

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Tyra also uses the show as her own personal soap box.  She has used the show as a platform to challenge beauty standards and she picks models accordingly.  Yet, fashion models are overwhelmingly tall, thin, young and European.  ANTM has featured contestants that speak well to Tyra’s beliefs but I’m not sure they are what the fashion industry is looking for.

Nonetheless, I have seen ANTM contestants acting on TV programs and in print ads.  I follow many of the former contestants on Instagram and they seem to have entertainment careers.  But I’ll admit it’s always hard to tell who is successful and who isn’t from Instagram pages.

I’m sure being on a show like America’s Next Top Model is a great learning and opportunity for young models especially in the social media age.  But just like American Idol, The Voice and other talent finding competitions there are some contestants that are successful once their season is over and others that are never heard from again.

So it seems that being a contestant on ANTM is a lot like going to college.  You show up with hopes and dreams for the future.  Your experience in the program may give some valuable lessons that will help you achieve your goals but winning ANTM, American Idol, making it to the NFL or NBA draft does not in and of itself promise success.  Often times people that struggle in the initial stages of their career become stars.

When you hear Jennifer Hudson’s powerful voice remember that she was an American Idol loser and she only got as far as she did in the competition because Randy Jackson saved her.  Tom Brady wasn’t a top NFL draft pick and Michael Jordan didn’t make his school’s basketball tryouts one year.  You just have to make the most of your opportunities and keep plugging away at your goals.  I believe that people that don’t give up achieve a measure of success but stay humble because nothing is promised to anyone.

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Why do Children Bully?

Bullying has been a hot topic for the last few years and this week the bullying hype has reached a fever pitch due to the #Keaton hashtag on Twitter.  People love to reflect on why children are so cruel to each other.  To me it is painfully obvious why children mistreat each other to the point that a student may commit suicide because of taunting at school.  Children mistreat each other because they are growing up in a mean, disrespectful society that does not value others.

I’ve been noticing for years that people love to strong arm one another in modern day America.  There is no respect for a difference of opinion and when people do not do what we want we try to force our will on them.  I noticed that in various customer service positions I’ve held.

If a store clerk says “Sorry you can’t bring this back you’ve owned it longer than what our return policy allows” or “Sorry this coupon is expired” or “Sorry you can’t substitute the sides and still get this at the same price” people become mean as hell.  They use language to demean the clerk and demand to speak with a manager.  If management doesn’t do what they want they call the corporate office and rudely make demands and if they don’t get their way they threaten to slander the company on the internet.  They’re bullies that don’t respect the boundaries of others and want to force their will.

The “Real Housewives”, “Basketball Wives” and “Love and Hip Hop” are popular reality show franchises that give us a glimpse into the private lives of the wealthy and privileged.  These tales involve adults, some of whom are grandmothers, that treat each other terribly and sometimes they are even violent to one another.  The characters on these shows are sensitive and have hair trigger tempers.  Their interactions often lead to mean words being thrown back and forth, wine being thrown in someone’s face and/or punches being thrown.  There is no doubt in my mind that a lot of these shows are family viewing in many American households.

Social media is another place where mean, rude, crass behavior has become normal.  People call strangers names and demean each other for their opinions.  The behavior gets even worse when people start talking about and to celebrities.  Geez, people love to build celebrities up and then drag them through the mud or “cancel” them.

To top it off look at who Americans chose to be their leader in 2016.  A man was democratically elected because Americans want a president that speaks his mind and isn’t politically correct.  In other words America wanted crass and brazen behavior in the White House.  He does what he wants and doesn’t consider others.  He grabs bitches by the pussy!  In other words Americans wanted a bully as a president.  The last president we had was considerate, polite, professional and tried to help people.  What a punk!

So the next time anyone ponders why children bully each other just look at what is surrounding them as they grow up.  They are surrounded by bullying in real life, in the media, in entertainment and in the White House.

Bullying and treating others with disdain is normal for children because of the behavior the see modeled before them.  So don’t blame children for the bullying.  It’s not their fault that they are growing up in this modern day trashy American culture.