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In the early Naughties, Mary J Blige released an album called No More Drama which included songs like Family Affair, on which she made up words such as “hateration” and “dancery” and my personal fave, “holleration”.
That was around the time that the Queen of Hip Hop/Soul claimed that her core fanbase preferred the broken-hearted Mary over the drama-free Mary on songs.
Share My World, an album that was released years before No More Drama, was her best-selling album and with that, it became clear that she’d lost some of her followers.
Keyshia Cole is an R&B artist who, in the past, has been pigeon-holed as a MJB sound-alike who has parallel storylines of ghetto hard- ships and a close relationship with hip hop artists.
Like Blige, Keyshia suffered the loss of followers after she started to forego “he’s-so-triflin’-and-did-me-wrong” kinds of songs for happier ones about being in a relationship with reciprocity.
Which is why she has gone back to that formula for her latest album, Woman to Woman, which has a single called, wait for it, Enough of No Love.
All of this is to illustrate how it’s easier to get people to buy albums when they can relate to the hurt, but can’t do the same for a happy person.
The same can be said about reality shows. The more ratchet the cast of the reality shows, the higher the ratings will be.
Just a quick search for Shaunie O’Neal’s Basketball Wives franchise will prove this.
Cole’s biological mother, Frankie, is a recovering substance abuser who had a highly entertaining TV show that chronicled her battling her demons and family feuds.
But Cole has chosen to buck the trend with her new reality show, Keyshia and Daniel: Family First, which airs on TopTV’s BET.
It’s about motherhood, being a newlywed with NBA player Daniel “Boobie” Gibson and their yawn-worthy trials and tribulations.
Family First takes a left turn from what channels like VH1 strongly push with shows such as Love and Hip Hop that include fists flying, high heels on people’s jaws and weaves being flung into the air in just about every episode.
It presents the other side to what has been fodder for columnists to discuss race and gender in reality shows that don’t show black women as responsible, sane citizens.
We’re looking at you, Real Housewives of Atlanta.
And although Cole and her hubby aren’t alone in presenting black people in a good light – see shows such as R&B Divas starring Faith Evans, Monifah and Mary Mary (about the contemporary gospel duo) – they do seem to be less supported by viewers and syndicators worldwide.
Maybe it’s just hateration, but in the same way people don’t buy CDs when their favourite artist is happy, it could be that people want to see others fight on reality shows instead of love each other.
• Keyshia and Daniel: Family First is on BET (TopTV Channel 190) on Tuesdays at 8.30pm.