Catfights among women on Love & Hip Hop, Basketball Wives and The Real Housewives franchises are not unusual. In fact, harsh language and knock-down, drag-out fights are expected.
But R&B Divas, TV One’s newest reality series, looks to change that dynamic.
The show follows the lives of singers Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert-Daniels, Monifah Carter, Syleena Johnson and Keke Wyatt as they join forces to record R&B Divas, an Evans album that features all the ladies and also pays homage to inspirations such as Whitney Houston.
“We all know that life has drama,” said Evans, who is also the widow of rap legend Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace. “But what we wanted to showcase was that the drama doesn’t always have to be resolved in violence or fighting.”
Gilbert-Daniels, whose voice was among those in the 1990s trio Brownstone, and Evans devised the concept after lamenting the state of programming that constantly “glamorizes the buffoonery.”
“I’ve never jumped across a table to get my point across,” Gilbert-Daniels said, referencing the altercations regularly seen on other popular reality shows.
R&B Divas, which airs 10 p.m. Mondays, delves into Carter’s challenges with her daughter; Johnson’s financial struggles; and Wyatt’s battles with past abuse. One episode also shows the women’s tribute performance at the 2012 Essence Music Festival to Houston, Etta James and others.
Not all the feedback has been positive, Gilbert-Daniels said. “I get a little of that ‘You’re bossy, mean, controlling and have an Oprah complex,’ but that’s the price you pay when you open up your life for all to see,” she said.
Creative tension between Gilbert-Daniels and the album's producer reared its head in a couple of episodes after she appeared disconnected during a spontaneous writing collaboration with Johnson and Carter.
“Everybody had a clear understanding going in that I'm a bit disenchanted with the music industry and have not pursued a career in music so that I can create other opportunities in my life. I've been focused on the behind the scenes,” Gilbert-Daniels, who is launching a full-figured clothing line, explained. “Still, I have always been very excited and supportive and 100 percent on board for this project.”
The Whitney E. Houston Academy in East Orange, N.J., will receive some of the proceeds from sales of the CD. The first single, Tears of Joy, by Evans, is already heating up the airwaves.
Gilbert-Daniels noted that although there’s some conflict on the show, there’s also resolution.
“That’s the most important aspect of the show,” she said. “Everything is rooted in love and we work to resolve our problems in the most amicable and peaceful of ways. That’s what I hope resonates loudest with the fans.”
Watch it 10 p.m. Mondays on 328 on Direct TV and channel 173 on Comcast; www.tvoneonline.com