’90s and ’00s nostalgia captivated social media timelines last Tuesday when BET debuted their new “Making The Band”-style reality show, BET Presents The Encore. We witnessed several fragmented girl groups file into the cast house. Several of them had chips on their shoulders and a whole lot to prove. And then, there was Nivea—the lone solo artist and the much-needed comic relief.
“Many of us also wanted to further expose our journeys to others,” Nivea tells EBONY of her reason for joining the show. “There are a lot of younger people who may not be familiar with Nivea and this show gave me the opportunity.”
For thirty days, the women are tasked with living together, collaborating on an album, undergoing vocal training, learning choreography, and pulling off a culminating performance. With so many personalities under one roof, the stage is set for drama and must-see television, but Nivea says that there are also moments of inspiration and dare we say, teachable moments.
“There’s a lot of drama, girl,” Nivea candidly explains. “It’s nine women, but I do believe that we were able to learn a lot from each other and show some sisterhood, which is rare in the world today. We all have so many stories to tell that will be shared.”
The songstress found her first taste of success as a solo artist in 2001. In 2003, her signature hit “Don’t Mess With My Man” was nominated for a Grammy. Since then, she has gone on to achieve moderate success with intermittent moments away from the spotlight sprinkled in between. However, when she did reemerge, her fans always welcomed her back with open arms. Hence, it was odd for some to see her on the show as part of a girl group. However, the songstress says that she simply wanted to try something new.
“I wanted to do something different in my career as I was just now starting to come back to music,” says the 39-year-old mom of four. “It’s been a while and so this presented a unique opportunity—especially with it being like a women’s empowerment type of show. So, I was like, well, you know, why not?”
Nivea, who has encountered her share of obstacles since 2002, including divorce, substance abuse, and a postnatal stroke—also hoped to show women that it’s never too late to pursue their dreams. While she says that she’s unsure that she will ever do reality TV again due to the all-day filming and limited privacy, it seems that the Georgia-born singer’s confidence and laid back personality helped to make the experience a positive one. “I work well with others, but when it comes to music, I’m the boss,” Nivea says. “Ironically, I fell into place very easily. I quickly realized this was a group effort, like figure out your place here and make it work.”
As for her children, Nivea says they’ll be tuning in each week just to laugh at and with their mom. “Honestly, they’re waiting to laugh at the things I do,” says Nivea. “I’m very silly. I laugh a lot.”
“BET Presents The Encore” airs Tuesdays at 10 pm on BET.