"I'm not a star. The stuff I been through in my life, I can't be a star. I'm a survivor." -- K.Cole
Last fall, millions of us gathered around our television sets faithfully on Tuesday nights at 10:30, finding ourselves drawn to BET. Since I've come of age, it was one of the rare times I even bothered to flick on the channel. Why?
The answer was simple: we were all caught up in the rapture of the ghetto rags-to-riches story of R&B chanteuse Keyshia Cole, and the affairs of her drug addict mother, Frankie, and her sister, Neffe. Season 2 of The Way It Is shown us the aftermath of Frankie's release from jail, and exactly what happened when Cole decided to move her family into her new Georgia digs. We all shunned Frankie for her seemingly ungratefulness, and the women on the board sympathized with Neffe as she had to make the decision of terminating her pregnancy toward the end of the season. And we all had an opinion over that explosive season finale.
So, it's no wonder that we tuned into follow-up special, although it was a few months too late.
The special was hosted by BET former VJ Ananda Lewis, who honestly annoyed me the entire time, and wore a shirt that I felt was trying a little too hard. She also reminded me a bit of Tyra Banks due to the way she conducted the interview, which, to me, is not a good thing.
There were several reasons I decided to tune in:
a) I was hoping K. Cole would touch base on her song, "I Remember". At first listen, the lyrics sound like they're in relevance to an ex-beau, but I heard Ed Lover say on the radio that it actually has a filial meaning; it's about her relationship with her mother. As soon as I started interpreting it that way, I began to love the song because it made me think of my own family members that I have love/hate relationships with and wanted to hear it straight from her.
b) It was announced that they would bring out the new man in Keyshia's life, "and his name started with a 'J'". They DID reveal this... but guess what?! It wasn't Jeezy ::smile::
c) Most of all, I wanted to see how the family had grown since this:
As you can see, they've all switched their looks up..the most dramatically being Neffe, who's shed a few pounds (you go girl!) For some reason, she kind of reminds me of a thicker Fantasia now: beautifully hood. Keyshia's hair looks like what D.Woods was TRYING to do (but utilized the wrong stylist), and as usual, looks stunning in her white (she should ALWAYS wear white after Labor Day, it's her best color).
The special wasn't like something Flavor Flav or New York-esque; it wasn't scandalous at all... a few moments of ghetto-tude, but nonetheless drama free. Frankie annoyed me by her usual showboating and shouting the phrase "HULLA!" repeatedly. But you gotta love 'em.
Don't get me wrong, I don't need scandal to entertain me but I thought that the whole thing dragged at some points, especially when they went through the history of Keyshia getting her deal (that must've been for the non-Internet savvy folks). While you guys were absorbing and shaking your heads, I was scribbing down notes and quotes. Here's what I gathered as most mentionable from the special:
-- In the beginning, Keyshia revealed that her initial aspiration was to be a veterinarean (Aww! She's such a nurturer!)
-- Frankie used to be a singer and released an album that didn't chart. She was even featured in Right On! magazine, where I did my internship at (DID ANYONE KNOW/REMEMBER THIS?!)
-- Frankie made a statement about her past abuse and downfall into prostitution, blaming it on her strict upbringing and not being able to leave the house.
[When she grew up] "I was like, '20'? Let's make it rain!"
OH MY GOODNESS. That remark was a joke, but still. I don't know how I feel about that. They say it's always the ones that are kept on lockdown that go buckwild, but my parents played me close and although it pissed me the hell off, I never found the urge to sleep around, let alone for money. I did discover that college=freedom in all aspects, though. ANYWAY..
-- I thought the part where Frankie took the at-home drug test and they discovered her symptoms were possibly due to menopause was funny. Did anyone catch that?
-- One of the many tearjerker moments (for them, not for me) on the show was when Frankie mentioned that "everyday I'm learning to be a mother. Keyshia, don't give up on me." That kind of refers back to the clip I posted on the first page.
-- Like I said, the reunion had its ghetto moments. Check this out:
Neffe: [discussing her sobriety] I don't drink as much anymore. But I will take a shot of Patron, you got one? Frankie: HULLA! Don't act like you ain't got a dollar shot in your purse, you walk up IN the club like dat!"
-- During the show, the in-studio audience got to ask Keysh, Neffe, and Frankie questions. A moving question was posed by a young woman sitting in the audience, who, like Keyshia, came from a broken home with an ex-junkie mother. The woman (who said she was 30) asked Keyshia about how she learned to forgive her mother, for she still could not learn to do so for her own. Keyshia responded:
"We grow everyday, even when you're hurt... if I don't know anything, let it go."
-- (Just for y'all who didn't watch, "Let It Go" (the phrase as well as her single) proved to be the theme for this special. It comes up REPEATEDLY. This especially rings true when Neffe starts to cry while recounting her loser ex-husband drama, and realizing that when she heard the song and was able to face the message, she realized "this muthaf*cka f*cked my cousin!" and his @$$ had to go.)
-- The producers also let students from Clark Atlanta University ask questions of Keyshia. This was cool, but they aired a clip of a girl asking, "Who do you acknowledge more as a mother, Yvonne Cole or Frankie?" That was really, really bad taste, and I felt that BET lost by trying to CREATE a scene.. They knew Frankie was going to trip (which she did, sort of, and it just made her look like she took 3 steps backward)
LUCKILY, Keyshia demonstrated grace and decorum with her response.
-- Frankie admits that part of her resentment towards the Coles stems from the fact that she looks at them and realized that "they did what I should've done, something I didn't know how to."
Lastly, Ananda touched on Neffe's abortion issue, and asks how hard that decision was for her. Neffe starts crying during the re-airing of her phone call to set up the termination appointment, and then gets up and leaves while muttering something indecipherable.
After the commercial break airs.. she returns.... HOLDING A BABY!!!
This is the "new man in Keyshia's life"... Jaylen Welove (sp?) Cole.
Honestly, that threw me for a loop. I was smiling like an idiot when I saw that beautiful baby boy. They kept that one under wraps, boy! I didn't even know she'd kept the baby. I mean, I support every woman's right to choose either way, so her keeping her child didn't bother me at all. Keyshia looked so natural holding him, it was too sweet.
I think the show displayed a different side of what they tried to do with their reality show, exposing the fact that our families do have their problems, and its important to talk about them (sometimes using a therapist to intervene, AND THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT).. but most importantly, we have to move as a unit. This reunion showed that their family is DEFINITELY not perfect, but they have come A LONG WAY from where they were. I wish them nothing but happiness for the future.
For those of you who saw, what did you think? Did Ananda annoy you as much as she annoyed me? What did y'all think of Manny being on the show (this is addressed to those of you who didn't like him), do you think we saw another side of him, like the fact that he actually HAS a LIFE? Do you think there should be a Season Three? "HULLA!" LOL....
I'm out for the weekend. Have a lovely Easter, and check me Monday morning for the Making The Band Season Finale!