The show's primary cast members—Jim Jones, Chrissy Lampkin, Olivia and her manager Rich Dollaz, plus its creator, Mona Scott (above center)—spoke to a room full of journalists and bloggers who viewed snippets from each episode about what's to come. Between bites of Asian-fusion fare and sips of Bartunda Moscato, who co-sponsored the screening held at Pranna restaurant in New York City, we got a chance to learn more about the cast.
But first a little back story. The show, confirmed Mona, was originally about Jim. But since Chrissy and his mother became the breakout stars of the pilot—and all successful programming at VH-1 were now centered around women—it made better sense to create a show around the the other half of these famous faces. And it worked. Over the course of its eight episodes, 16 million people tuned in. "The women behind the scenes are the backbone for these men," says Mona. "Yet their voices and experiences are rarely represented." However, Mona who is executive producer of the relations show, isn't one of those women, but has seen first-hand how they are treated. She's been at the forefront of crafting and managing some of hip hop's legends—from Missy Elliott to Busta Rhymes—as cofounder of Violator Management for over 20 years. Transitioning her artists into television under her Monami Entertainment venture, was a natural part of her company's evolution.
With the new direction, she also sees the show as a way for women in the game, who haven't had as much success, to finally get theirs. Olivia, who was a part of G-Unit, and Somaya, who is still an unsigned artist, were selected for that reason. But there was another rationale why Mona wanted to shed light on the girlfriends. "A lot of these women put time and effort into their relationships with hip-hop artists, and unfortunately, they are unable to either recoup or leverage their investment once its over," she shares.
But in between those life lessons are a lot of dragged-out brawls that really made us cringe and certainly had us wondering, again, is this a fair representation of women of color—or more importantly—is it the type of image we want a captive audience to be engrossed in. So we asked Mona and the cast members present, about the most offensive scenes and here's what they had to say: