Last night was the premiere of TV One’s Hollywood Divas, and though they say it never rains in Southern California, apparently the forecast calls for tons of shade—and this show is full of it.
Paula Jai Parker is most known for her work in Friday, The Proud Family and Hustle & Flow, and according to her, she hasn’t been able to find work in years because she’s been blackballed for finding love in a hopeless place. Paula made the bad decision of falling in love with a Hustle & Flow production assistant named Forrest, and having a child.
Due to the fact that she hasn’t worked in years, Paula, Forrest and their son Onederful are practically homeless and living in a hotel. It’s quite sad if you think about it. (Disclaimer: It’s sad she’s homeless, not that she named her son Onederful… though that’s certainly a “unique” name.) Paula’s homelessness is definitely not the true Hollywood story I was hoping to hear from the woman who played Trudy Proud.
Hollywood Divas is basically set around the wonderful idea that Paula has to direct her very own film starring a cast of all Black actresses. It’s a great idea in theory, until you remember that she’s homeless and has absolutely no way of funding a project like this. But hey, that’s what TV One checks are for, right?
Speaking of TV One checks, Countess Vaughn plans to use hers to get cosmetic surgery. After The Parkers, Countess got married, had a child, got divorced, got a boyfriend, and had another child. It’s done a number on her body over the years, and she hasn’t had much time to fit work into her schedule for over five years. Countess knows that if she plans to get back to work, she’s got to look the part, and that means it’s time for… exercise? New diet? Nooo: liposuction.
Elise Neal, on the other hand, knows she looks good and gives us her best Beyoncé impression during the rehearsals for her dance group, Elise & the Assorted Flavors. Think of them as the Pussycat Dolls if they were your mom’s age. Basically, Destiny’s Aunties.
Countess, Paula, Elise and Girlfriends star Golden Brooks get together for dinner and to discuss Paula’s movie idea. One person it’s clear they aren’t here for is Lisa Wu, formerly of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Golden and Elise take turns taking stabs at Lisa’s credentials and lack of training. “Acting is not a spectator sport,” says Golden (who admittedly has been doing nothing but spectating since Girlfriends went off the air in 2008).
It’s immediately clear Lisa is going to have to prove herself to these women if she wants to be taken seriously. It’s even clearer that this project has to work out for Paula’s sake, because no one wants to raise their child in a Motel 6.
Expect lots of drama, shade and tears on Hollywood Divas when it airs every Wednesday at 10/9c on TV One.
Stephanie Ogbogu is a freelance writer who has been featured on ESPN, Anderson Cooper, USA Today, The New York Post, Huffington Post Live and more. Follow her at @eleven8 on Instagram and Twitter.