I was utterly surprised to learn Lifetime had added another reality show to their lineup. Casually catching up on the addictive dance series Bring It, I saw the Blackstreet-tuned advert for BAPs. Immediately I imagined Neicey and Mickey parading around Rodeo Drive to Inner City’s “Good Life.” I felt a hint of nostalgia as well as apprehension. What exactly did Lifetime know about Robert Townsend’s urban gem? And then I was reassured – absolutely nothing.
These Black American Princesses or Princes (Yeah. Right) are le creme de le creme of black suburbia. Think if BET’s Baldwin Hills took a detour to the streets of St. Louis, minus the Hollywood connections. These folks are “Cosby” black. They would have rubbed ELBOWs with Regine’s uppity wives’s council and sought out internships from Greg Bougie. (If you don’t know those references, you may be a BAP) As a matter of fact, the way the show’s subjects describe themselves, I’d be more inclined to think they wouldn’t have watched B.A.P.S.
Our guide to the world of the rich and melanin-induced is Anisha, a recent divorcee and mother of little Jean Baptiste. While a little aloof and dramatic, she seems to be kindhearted and genuine. Through Anisha we are introduced to the rest of the cast: her best male friend; the other guy Jason; the independently-successful Gina; the spicy Riccarda; and, finally, Anisha’s frenemy, Kristen. The entire episode focuses on Anisha and Kristen’s diffused friendship because of a squabble two years prior. Allegedly they both were talking behind each other’s back (and the re-enactments at the salon sorta proved that (?)) and Kristen dealt Anisha a low blow denouncing her as a bad mother. Anisha retorted with cursing Kristen’s womb barren.
I think we all have been watching women squabble on TV long enough to know motherhood and children are the two no-nos in reality fighting, next to talking ill of Kandi’s mother and calling men “bitches.” Fast forward to present day, Anisha shares joint custody with her ex-husband and Kristen has had a child, so neither of those statements rang true. Yet the grudge is being held like a Japanese horror film. And it’s quite exhausting. Their friends force reconciliation at numerous gatherings to only beget an explosive bout of words and shade. Even in the most heated discourse, in the middle of a posh kitchen, the zenith of the argument results in Anisha actually spitting in Kristen’s face. The last time someone tossed a loogie in the name of reality television, Pumpkin was almost smashed by New York.
Hands weren’t thrown. A weave wasn’t snatched. A cuticle wasn’t scratched. Are they too cultured to reduce themselves to the normal coming of the hands; or, they just ain’t about that life. I’m going to choose the latter. Being it was only the first episode, the show has room to grow. Especially once it introduces new players to the scene. And I understand it’s direction of showcasing a different blackness than viewers are used to digesting. I just hope it gives us what we all want and expect to a certain extent: drama and a reason to care. Or else they should have taken their cameras to East St. Louis.