Trainwrecks are best watched twice, even three times, especially if those trainwrecks feature R&B singer Keyshia Cole and her family. Yes, BET’s reality docu-drama Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is (Tuesdays 10 p.m.) is back for a third season with Keyshia, sister Neffie and mother (I used this term very loosely) Frankie — and from the appearance of things, little has changed.
It seems Keyshia went against her business manager’s wishes (as expressed in Season 2) and bought Neffie and her children, which now includes an infant son, a home of their own. Last season, Neffie spoke about trying to get a job and may have secured one. But thus far this season, there is no talk of becoming self-sufficient and providing for herself and her children. And then there is Frankie. The loud talking, always combative, former crack addict birth mother of Keyshia and Neffie is still up to her old ways — fighting with Keyshia, Keyshia’s adoptive mother, Yvonne and Neffie. Although she has never been an active part of her children’s lives until now, Frankie demands that she be given the utmost respect. Keyshia and Neffie clearly disagree with Frankie’s views of motherhood often reminding her that others were more instrumental in their care and development. Unlike her daughter, Neffie, Frankie does work. Her job? Pimping her daughter’s fame for profit by securing paid guest appearances at local organizations. Quite a role reversal for the former crack ho. (Okay, let me stop right here. If I heard correctly, Frankie was being paid $2,000 by a local church. Who knew that fuckery paid so well.)
I wasn’t planning to watch the show’s premiere but I was unwittingly sucked into their powerful vortex of crazay. Although disappointed by the main “characters” lack of personal transformation, I will continue to watch the show but my heart will be heavy while doing so. I pray that Keyshia doesn’t suffer the same fate as the tennis playing Williams sisters or Jennifer Hudson whose ghetto-loving family members’ untimely murders led tremendous personal grief and had life and career altering consequences. As I have grown older and perhaps a bit wiser, I have come to realize this much: You can’t turn a hooker into housewife. You can’t take a stripper off the pole. And you can’t turn a crack ho into Claire Huxtable.
My heart will also be heavy because I do think that Keyshia thought this reality series might help her singing career and provide opportunities in other areas. Unfortunately, I don’t believe this is the case. There are too few scenes featuring Keyshia singing. (After two years of watching the series, I can’t name one Keyshia Cole song and/or CD. Nor do I desire to purchase any.) We are told she is quite popular but I really don’t see any evidence of her notoriety beyond her reality television show. Absent are her mainstream media interviews. Absent also are videos in rotation on VH1 and/or MTV (The very “urban” MTV2 “Sucker Free” sets don’t count. They might as well be the poor orphaned stepchildren of BET.) Ironically, NeNe Leakes from Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Altlanta, who has caught the attention of CNN’s Anderson Cooper among others, seems to have a more diverse and wide-reaching fan base than Keyshia.
Well, there isn’t any more for me to say. All I can do is shake my head. Sometimes we have to realize that the way it is is not the way it should be.