RHOA: The Brawl of Shame, Part I

You can alternately title this one, “No Sex in the Champagne Room”.  Wow, I hardly know where to begin, except here – What.The.Hell.Was.That?  We’ve been teased a full season about this episode and what did the wives deliver?  The most shameful display of inhuman behavior I’ve seen since the RHONJ Christening Brawl.  There were so many levels of wrong this episode, that I can only console myself by starting with what was right:

APPLAUSE APPLAUSE

Brandon DeShazer

RHOA Brandon@BrandonDeShay is a stand up guy! Ugly rumors have dogged Christopher Williams since the 90s.  His relationships with high profile actresses of that time left him with the reputation of being abusive. To be clear, he has denied the rumors and I’m not aware of any evidence that suggests he is lying.  The problem, as you well know friends, is that no matter how hard you proclaim your innocence, the stench of those rumors is hard to clear.  I point that out to say this, that when Christopher grabbed Kenya’s arm, Brandon DeShazer most likely saw a friend in danger.

He did what any man/woman may have done under the circumstances.  He wanted to protect his friend.  This is a perfect storm situation in which not knowing someone’s intentions (and I don’t believe Williams was planning to hit Moore), being in the midst of  a heated moment, and only having a persistent rumor about someone you’ve just met joined forces and created a horrible mess.  Ultimately, trying to live down these rumors, I’d be willing to bet that Christopher Williams would have chosen a different action if given the chance to undo his behavior from that evening.  The problem is – he can’t.

Whatever the case, someone like Brandon DeShazer is the man I want calling himself my friend, or friend to someone I love.  The man is a true blue upstander, and Kenya is lucky to have him in her life.  Brandon stood up while everyone stood by, as if dumbstruck.  There is not ONE househusband I wouldn’t trade to keep this guy around.  In a heartbeat, I would take a 4-for-1 trade to keep him!

Kenya Moore

RHOA Do Not TouchAs @KenyaMoore  has said, don’t come for her unless she sends for you!  The other RHOA continue to underestimate this woman and they should stop. They approach her with weak taunts (looking at you Phaedra) and with half-wit plots and schemes (looking at you Nene) because they seem to expect her to fold.  Kenya’s  confessionals (the interviews between scenes)  show her to be a far more astute study of human nature than any of the other wives. Her confessionals have also become sharper and funnier.  She’s been asking the right questions all along (who WAS Apollo with in L.A.?).   She asked the question every person in that room should have been asking.  When Apollo was released from prison in 2009, where did he get the money to spend between $5 – 8,000 a day in strip clubs?  The year of his release is the same year the Feds are alleging his current enterprise began.  As far as I know, the guy has no family money.  I don’t recall hearing that he had money saved and was permitted to put it away before leaving for prison.  It has never been suggested that he’s ever held a high-powered white collar job.  

Kenya did part of the federal government’s job for them – with a HUGE assist from Apollo himself.  I can only imagine that Phaedra  was cringing watching that episode with a broader perspective, now.   If both she and Apollo claim the money was his, not hers, it also begs the question of what Mrs. Parks-Nida knew about her husband’s finances and his “Asset Recovery” job, and when she knew it.  Things don’t seem to be adding up.

Given how long ago the confessionals were taped, it’s clear that Kenya could have gone the low road many times by addressing, on air,  the rumors of affairs and of less than stellar activity on Nida’s part.  She could have dragged Phaedra into the hot mess of her husband’s rumored behavior, and has typically avoided doing so, unless Phaedra came for her, without being sent.

Kenya maintained her cool for most of the pajama party from hell when it seemed clear that she was being targeted from the time she walked through the door until the time the bloody brawl began.

P.S.  When Moore says don’t come for her?  She means it.  Apparently Ms. Kenya has linked to a video of Christopher Williams’ sister referring to him as single (heard from off camera).  Well now.  He doesn’t correct her and states that he does have “someone special” in his life but doesn’t like her using his name.  His wife wouldn’t want her name uttered?

WHAT MAKES ME HANG MY HEAD IN SHAME

Nene Leakes

Admittedly, I don’t know anyone who is working, or has worked, as an exotic dancer.  I haven’t read much about exotic dancers.  I can’t tell you about the exotic dance culture other than the speculations I have about who gets into that industry and why.   Having disclosed that, I’m thinking about the comments Ms. Leakes made about the kinds of women she’s worked with and I have to say that it feels to me that while she has moved on, professionally – her behavior during this shamefest appears to be consistent with the old life she describes.

RHOA Nene Pajama PartyA number of housewives have repeated the phrase that they are being “paid” to behave the way they do.  My advice?  Just don’t do it.  There are some things you just should not accept money to do if for no other reason than being able to sleep at night.  Attacking your friends/cast mates (or “helping them” in the manner Nene has chosen)  is one of those things.   Nene dragged the audience into the champagne room with her this episode and it was scary. I could say that no one got screwed, and literally that’s true.  Figuratively?  Everyone got screwed, including the audience.  In the champagne room, Nene got a little too close, revealed a little too much, and now we’re uncomfortable and it doesn’t feel right. I can’t look my family in the eye, now, because I let her take me in there. I blame her for leading me there.  I blame myself for following.   Champagne room?????  It’s a Chris Rock reference, look it up, young one! 

Nene’s behavior toward Kenya had a definite “House Mother” vibe – a term I learned from Mob Wives’ Karen Gravano during her NY job search.  The HM is the strong arm who keeps the women in line.  I see Nene playing that role on the show.  Minus Kenya, they all appear to be intimated by her, most especially when she gets loud or physically aggressive.

Why was Nene pacing so wildly about the room?  Several of her guests commented or watched nervously.  Was she nervous, knowing what was planned for the evening?  I have a feeling that Nene knew she’d jumped the shark with this one but decided not to turn back.   I can’t imagine any other reason for displaying the odd energy she displayed during the Pajama Party billed as a therapy session, minus the therapist.  Surely she knew a therapist would never ask the sort of questions she asked, most especially not of  the people she’s called friends (and if not friends, at least co-workers).

Examples?

Am I mistaken that Nene encouraged Porsha to contact Kordell Stewart while they were all together in S. Carolina?  Did Nene not persuade Porsha to talk to her then-husband to see if the marriage could be salvaged?  If so, what was the dig at Porsha for understanding the habits/preferences of bi-sexual men?  For all of her work with Ryan Murphy, and being on the set of the New Normal, I thought she showed a remarkable lack of sensitivity toward the LGBT community with her comments.  Another person’s identity is not a joke, it’s not meant to be used a slam, it should never be used to shame anyone, and certainly not used as an accusation.  Nene’s chickens came home to roost when she ended out being outclassed by Porsha!  PORSHA!!!!  The Porsha-sexual response to Nene’s comments was pitch perfect.  They may all believe they’re smarter than Porsha, but Porsha just proved, to me, that she has a bigger heart than at least one of her co-stars.

Christopher Williams.  What was the point of having him stand up, or allow him to cross the room for his attack on Kenya?  Why did Nene not scream at Christopher for getting out of HIS seat or starting an argument?   We, friends, weren’t in the room, so maybe the acoustics were bad – causing her to pace in order  to be heard by all and requiring Christopher to stand, but I doubt it.  They seemed to hear one another just fine, before that point.  The issue of Williams’ maybe-marriage had been resolved earlier, what was the point of bringing it up again?  Both Christopher and Natalie seemed primed for that fight, prepared for it, and all too willing to engage the fight at what was supposed to be a party.

Overall?  I believe that Nene grossly miscalculated fan support for her behavior and fans’ willingness to forgive any/everything she does.  There is such a thing as too far, and this episode passed it by miles.  “Too far” begins to look reasonable in light of the humiliating actions of much of this group that night.  Bravo producers should worry, at this rate, that we’ll be keeping our singles tucked in our pockets and go home.  The ratings will spike, for now, but this can’t and shouldn’t be sustained (see New Jersey).

FYI, the rights to all images are retained by their original owners.

More trouble ahead for the Parks-Nida Family?

RHOAParksNidaYou’ve probably read your fill regarding Apollo’s arrest and alleged activities, at least until more details are posted!  Reality Tea has a fair number of new details posted (Click here).    What viewers haven’t paid attention to is the long awaited defamation suit against Angela Stanton and then Stanton’s countersuit against Phaedra, now scheduled to take place Feb. 4th.  I wouldn’t count on that date, friends and readers.

Given Apollo’s recent arrest, I would imagine that Phaedra’s new legal team will want more time to digest Stanton’s claims.  Yes, NEW legal team, if  the earlier report from “Rhymes with Snitch” is accurate.  I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to know why they dropped her as a client.   As if the lawsuit and countersuit weren’t enough, UrbanBelle Magazine  picked up in 2o13 where Hip Hop Daily left off in its  earlier conversations with Jessica Lacy Voker (the 2012 conversation linked above, the 2013 conversation linked below).  

Who is she Jessica Lacy Voker?  She is the woman who claims that Phaedra is the godmother of her child, and a long time family friend.  Last heard from, she was also planning to write a tell-all book. In prior interviews JLValleges that:

  • Phaedra was connected to a prostitution ring, one that she (JLV) claims to have run with her.
  • That Phaedra has her own criminal past beyond that  – and that she believes Apollo’s hands are cleaner than his wife’s
  • Phaedra’s partying got a little dirty at times
  • Phaedra slept with her husband and helped wreck her marriage.

Hip Hop Daily’s 2013 interview posts  text messages Jessica claims to have exchanged with Phaedra regarding a “party” she was planning for pro athletes and needed to, ahem, procure few women to get the party going.  You can hear Jessica, in her own words, discuss her relationship with Phaedra.  Like Stanton, if she’s making it all up, she’s either pretty damned convincing or I’m pretty easily fooled.  If she’s lying, it’s one of the few times I’ve been fooled by something like this.

P.S. … Phaedra is not the only RHOA targeted in Jessica’s account of the shady side of life in ATL.  I’ll let you discover that one on your own – but it most likely won’t surprise you!  I have no doubt that the feds are giving the accusations from both Stanton and Volker against Phaedra a second look, given Apollo’s current legal issues.  The claims made by alleged co-conspirator St. Julien, aka, the “Right Hand B–“, are so shockingly similar to those of Stanton that they are too troubling to not investigate.  Even though there are NO charges (None, nada, zip, dead air -nothing there) against Phaedra at this time, I have no doubt that even if his wife is innocent, she is now most likely under investigation because of his alleged actions.

Innocent until proven guilty?  Yes.  Feds with wiretaps?  There are no words. Ultimately, between Apollo’s case, the suit against Stanton, Stanton’s counter, and now Jessica Lacy Voker’s claims and possible upcoming book, the Parks-Nida is in a position of potentially losing it all.  Their reputation has been marred and the cost of fighting these claims will become, if it hasn’t already been, a serious financial burden.  This is a real American tragedy.  If it’s true, these are people who were on the verge of having it all, only to throw it away.  If it’s not true, and neither is actually guilty, this is a family that will most likely never be able to remove the stench of this case.

Is this the price of reality TV?  Is  there something about this format that causes people who might not otherwise have been able to withstand public scrutiny in some other setting to sign up for reality TV – which then becomes the televised forum for their ultimate downfall (Parks-Nida, Giudices, Lauritas, etc)?  What kind of people are being attracted to this form of media? Are we all in the dark?  Are there stars in other forms of media (television and film in particular) having the same kinds of problems, but with better PR and management teams to handle their risky business issues and other legal troubles?   Somehow I doubt it.  Reality TV seems to be it’s own worst enemy.

Do you agree with Wendy Williams that it’s time to let Phaedra go?  Bossip on WW and PP, April 2013