(The Root) — Nineties R&B singer Monifah is putting it all out there: She’s been dating women exclusively for more than a decade and she’s an ex-cocaine addict.
The former Uptown Records hot girl’s sexual orientation surfaced recently in promos for her new TV One reality series, R&B Divas, which premieres Aug. 20. A clip shows her with her girlfriend of two years, Terez, and arguing with her 21-year-old daughter, who disapproves of the same-sex union. In the new reality series, viewers will get a look inside Monifah’s life and experience some of the ups and downs of fellow soul music divas Faith Evans, Brownstone’s Nicci Gilbert, Syleena Johnson and KeKe Wyatt.
While Monifah insists she’s “never been in anyone’s friggin’ closet,” the idea of an African-American celebrity publicly engaged in a same-sex relationship may take some getting used to for some. Sure, singer-songwriter Frank Ocean garnered support from many of his peers when he revealed on his Tumblr page last month that he’d loved a man. Meanwhile megastar Queen Latifah has faced lesbian rumors for nearly two decades — including denying that she’d come out after a performance at the 2012 Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride festival in May — but maintains that her private life will stay private.
The Root caught up with Monifah, who was promoting her new show in Atlanta, and discussed her thoughts on why celebrities stay in the closet, her daughter’s views on LGBT matters and what viewers can expect this season.
The Root: How does R&B Divas compare to other reality shows?
Monifah: To me the difference is that we’re not obscure; we’re not trying to become famous. We’ve already had some of those accolades. We’re truly friends and have grown even closer during this process. The difference is that we’re trying to share our stories to be inspiring.
I don’t thumb my nose at these other shows. There just needs to be some balance [of the type of images on television] and that we’re coming with that balance. No one’s flying across the tables and throwing stuff. It’s not that type of party. We don’t always see eye to eye and we give each other words every now and then, but it’s where we come from with it — we’re coming from a place of respect and love.
TR: One aspect of your life that will be shown is your involvement with your girlfriend and your daughter’s disapproval of that relationship. Were the show’s producers open to sharing those intimate parts of your life?