The songbirds whose drama reaches as high as the notes they hit are back for a third season of TV One’s hit series, “R&B Divas: LA.” On the last season two of the show’s stars Lil’ Mo and Michel’le dealt with devastating personal blows. Lil’ Mo was trying to put her life and career back together while dealing with a divorce and Michel’le wrestled with depression after revealing a previous suicide attempt. In between they both released new music addressing their issues including Lil’ Mo’s album The Scarlet Letter and Michel’e’s single “It Still Hurts.”
Both divas return to the series along with fellow original cast members Chanté Moore, Chrisette Michele and Leela James plus two new divas, Stacy Francis and Christina “Brave” Williams. Prior to their February 11 premiere Lil’ Mo and Michel’le share with us their thoughts on everything from Michelle quitting the show to living with mental illness.
Lil’ Mo on maximizing the reality TV platform
“The great thing with reality TV is once people see you they buy into whatever you’re selling as long as you keep it real. It afforded me the opportunity to put out more music. This show helped rebirth me and while rebirthing me some are about to be unsung. Reality TV doesn’t automatically mean you will be rich. You got to work this platform and use it as such. I partnered with a water company and a liquor and clothing sponsor. I heard millionaires have seven streams of incomes.”
On Chrisette Michelle quitting during filming of season three
“I respect Chrisette and know she is touring and can’t go on. She wasn’t like Dawn [Robinson] quitting. Dawn quit ‘cause she ain’t have no mind of her own. Ain’t nobody heard from her since. Those who quit I haven’t heard or seen much from them since.”
On Claudette Ortiz not returning for season three
“A lot of people don’t realize the power of their story and that they can get paid for their pain. If you were in a relationship and it hurt you twist that and let people see your struggle. Band together and start these movements to show women you can make it. I don’t think she wants to do that. Reality TV ain’t for everybody. I haven’t seen or heard from her since.”
On her relationship with Chanté Moore
“A lot of people think we bonded the first season but it was that Kelly Price acted so crazy it superseded anything else going on. It’s a couple of times it got real. We cannot be violent but we keep it real. It was times I had to walk away.”
On the additions of Stacy Francis and Brave
“When Stacy first joined I was like, ‘what’s your angle?’ Many were scared when she first came around but I told her you ain’t got to be the loudest one or most turnt up. Choose your battles wisely. And with Brave she came from Baltimore and you will see her story. I’ve heard from some of the execs this is the best season out of all the ‘R&B Divas.’”
Michele’le on the state of her mental health
“Right now I am in a good place. I am educating myself and trying to educate others. Once you have suicidal thoughts and try to commit the act and stay here everything comes with it like depression, anxiety, and stress. I don’t have thoughts of suicide anymore and that means I am doing good but I still live with the depression and anxiety. I have things to work on to heal myself. I am still in therapy and it’s back on the show this season.”
On why her children with Dr. Dre and Suge Knight won’t appear on the show
“My children are not on the show because of their fathers. I respected that neither one of their fathers wanted them on the show. I think they looked at it like ‘Michel’le, you have to feed yourself, our children are fine’.”
On her love life after going on a date in season two
“I am not dating. I gave chivalry up last season.”
Next week, hear from co-stars Chanté Moore and Stacy Francis.
The weekly column, On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture entertainment and philanthropy in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of event/media content production company, Souleo Enterprises, LLC.