When Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood debuted a few seasons ago, I was all in for one reason and one reason only: Willie Ray Norwood Jr., aka Ray J, aka Ray J da Gawd. There are very few celebrities who, in my estimation, provide as much unintentional entertainment as Ray.
From playing piano for Floyd to his infamous phone call that, according to Charlamagne, saved The Breakfast Club; to his stints as a terrible actor to reality shows to the porn clip that is responsible for an ENTIRE family’s riches at this point—seriously, if Ray J doesn’t get his own sentence of prayer during Kardashian family Thanksgiving dinners, they ought to be ashamed of themselves—to songs like “I Hit It First” and “Smashed the Homies,” to his own REAL recording career that I feel is WAY better than it gets credit for, Ray is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Seriously, Ray J’s career is one that Bow Wow dreams of having. Think about that for a minute.
Now, my life with Ray hasn’t been entirely a basket of kittens. He’s not exactly the most mature person on the planet, though he seems to be growing in that capacity. While I chuckled heartily at his pushing/tripping/moving-out-of-the-way that landed Princess Love in a pool of water, admittedly, that wasn’t cool. But as Shug Avery would say, they’s married nah, so no pool formed against them shall prosper. And the show with him and his sister, you may remember her—Brandy—made him seem like an insufferable asshole. But, with Ray, the good outweighs the bad, so I continue to watch LHHH. Lord knows everybody else on that show needs Jesus.
So imagine my genuine surprise that one Safaree Lloyd Samuels has overtaken, or at the very least become as much, the reason why I want to watch LHHH nowadays. Dare I say that I’ve become a fan of Safaree? I dare say it. Since he showed up, he’s been nothing short of a joy to watch. And I mean that in the LHHH way, not the stripper way. It turns out, though, that Safaree is kind of a nice, fun and corny-to-the-point-of-endearing, harmless dude who almost seems like he can’t believe this is the life he’s living. He’s damn near charming.
Look, for the entire first season that he was on the show (LHHH’s season 2), he rocked furs with relentless passion. Now, I don’t live in Los Angeles, but my impression of it during the times that I have been was that furs are a wee bit too warm for most occasions. Yet and still, here comes Safaree wearing furs nonsensically because why not.
He’s absolutely ridiculous. He’s way too corny to be a real player, as evidenced by the fact that he legit had to have Ray J and Soulja Boy coach him through a convo with I-Can’t-Remember-Her-Name, and even his dalliance with Miss Nikki was more of a “he’s in over his head even though she’s annoying” experience than it was him dating some Hollywood starlet.
And don’t get me wrong; none of this is negative. I actually think he’s cool despite how corny he is. He seems like he’d be fun to hang around. He’d randomly move between the King’s English and his version of patois for no reason and he’d always be smiling. Even when he’s trying to look nice-guy menacing, he falls flat because he actually seems like he just wants to hug people.
For goodness’ sake, the dude is now hawking coconut oil. You have to be a fun person to believe that you can sell coconut oil to a mass market. Truth be told, the guys on this latest season are the funnest part of the show. Ray, Safaree and A1 probably could handle the heavy lifting on a show all their own because they seem to actually like one another, aren’t really terrible people and are having fun with life. They even turned going to the doctor to find out who had the highest (and lowest) sperm count into a fun contest.
We got healthy living PLUS comedy all in one. I mean, you have three black men who went to the doctor. Sure, it started out as a joke of sorts, but ultimately, they want their man Ray, who is trying to get his wife—Princess Love—pregnant, to become healthier so that he can be the family man he claims to want to be. Look at Gawd. Shoot, if we could just have a show featuring those three, I’d count that as a win.
Long story short, Safaree, for all of the jokes lobbed his way behind the breakup with Nicki I, and his terrible song, apparently is a lot more interesting than I thought and, more importantly, is a lot more entertaining. And considering how bad the rest of the LHHH cast (and show) is right now, I appreciate the ray of sunshine that Safaree is bringing to the table. In a world where Ray J already brings so much, he and Safaree together are both the icing and the cake.
Shoot, I might even get some coconut oil.