(The Root) — Reality-television shows are a dime a dozen. This fall, celebrities are dancing their way into our living rooms, wannabe stars are singing their hearts out in pursuit of fame and, of course, the Real Housewives, Love & Hip-Hop and Basketball Wives franchises give us our steady dosage of mean-girl shenanigans.
Season two of Basketball Wives L.A. recently premiered with the ladies pursuing business interests. Aspiring actress Gloria Govan is working on a cookbook featuring foods that reflect her black and Mexican roots. Last season's bad girl Draya Michelle is launching a bikini line, while Malaysia Pargo's "Three Beats" custom children's jewelry line seems to be taking off. Laura Govan reappears with a new everything — face and body included. She seems to recognize that her look is her brand, and this show is her bread and butter, aside from off-and-on provider and fiancé Gilbert Arenas. While the ladies are still upset with long-time actual basketball wife Jackie Christie about her tomfoolery from season one, they are willing to concede that much of their progress in the area of business is due to Christie's mentorship.
Taking a page from other reality shows raked over the coals for negative images of women (insert any of the Real Housewives franchises), the ladies of Basketball Wives L.A. appear to be focused on something other than digging up dirt on one another and hazing each other into the contrived "sisterhood" — at least for the moment.
While these young ladies are taking notes on Christie's prowess as a business woman (author, fashion designer and philanthropist), they may want to tune into TV One's hit reality show R&B Divas, which is well into its first season. R&B Divas features some of the R&B industry's most talented singers — Faith Evans, Syleena Johnson, Monifah Carter, Keke Wyatt and Nicci Gilbert-Daniels — and for the most part, they get along.
Any show with the word "diva" in the title is bound to have some friction, but these women, who are all at or nearing 40 (with the exception of 30-year-old Wyatt) are still contenders in an industry that is not kind to women in their age bracket. They have staying power because they have real talent and approach singing as a business, rehearsing constantly, seeing vocal coaches, writing songs, performing live and, besides Gilbert-Daniels, maintaining their professionalism at all times.
A good attitude and a serious approach to business have a lot to do with long-term success and staying power — something that the ladies of Basketball Wives L.A. should jot down. Storming off of sets, mistreating a published author — even one who was uninvited — at a tasting for your cookbook and choosing to stay mired in conflict is not the recipe for long-term success.
Can viewers remember what Govan was serving or if the ladies even enjoyed her food? Probably not. I bet viewers remember Govan's petulant behavior toward Christie, the woman with two books under her belt, when Govan could have been professional and invited her feedback on the tasting, possibly gaining advice on pursuing a book deal.
The women on R&B Divas are far from perfect — in fact, Gilbert-Daniels, who is an executive producer on the show, has zero likability. Being a know-it-all who is wrong a lot, inflexible and prone to tantrums is not a good look. As professionals focused on the business of singing, these ladies know that if they want their TV series and charity albums to succeed, they'll have to continue to deliver on the uplifting nature of the show highlighted in the promos.
Despite Gilbert-Daniels' antics, Evans, Carter and Wyatt prove each week why they are still relevant and forces to be reckoned with in the R&B arena. Even Gilbert-Daniels, who can be combative and resistant to everything, has enough business know-how to sign on as an executive producer of the show, which means she'll be paid whether or not she remains as talent. If the ladies of Basketball Wives L.A. plan on relevancy or longevity, then they may want to put on their big-girl pants and tune in to R&B Divas to get some tried-and-true lessons from divas who have actually earned their titles and have staying power.
Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., is editor-at-large for The Root. She is also editor-in-chief of the Burton Wire, a blog dedicated to world news related to the African Diaspora and global culture. Follow her on Twitter.
Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., a media scholar, is digital editor in chief at Grady Newsource and a faculty member of the Cox Institute of Journalism, Innovation, Management & Leadership at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. She is founder and editor in chief of the award-winning news blog the Burton Wire. Follow her on Twitter here or here.