This was posted Tuesday, July 18, 2017 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
The sixth season of "Love and Hip Hop Atlanta" is a wrap and speculation over who will be back for season seven has already begun.
Joseline Hernandez? Clearly a question mark. The Puerto Rican Princess has this idea she can do better elsewhere.
I met up with one of her few allies on the show Melissa Scott yesterday before the series finale at the Lobby bar in the Atlantic Station Twelve Hotel. She said she just got her contract for next season so she is certainly a returnee.
Melissa said business at her Soul Bar in Old Fourth Ward has doubled soon after she began appearing on the show. Her party bus business is often sold out. She recently bought a bus with Karlie Redd to transport corporate outings. While working with Karlie can test her patience, she likes her pluck and noted that she even has her own nickname, "Messy Messenger," given her penchant into getting into other people's business.
"She's coming from a good place," Melissa said of Karlie. "Sometimes, it comes across a little crazy."
Melissa's role on the show this past season was the voice of reason, a likable entrepreneur who just wants to get along with everybody. Well, almost everybody. She expressed some of her negative feelings Monday night toward Ariane Davis, who she thought helped mess up her relationship with Mimi Faust. During the reunion, Melissa called Ariane "evil."
She said her first season on the show went by relatively pain free for her despite her conflict with Mimi and Ariane.
"It's like a puppet show," Melissa said. The producers "can almost decide who you remain friends with and who you don't. You can make up your mind what you are going to do. They can put you in a compromising situation. You have to make adult decisions in terms of what you're going to do."
And with Ariane, "I felt she changed character when she got in front of the camera. That person on TV is someone else. Mimi had advised me to stay true to myself and react to situations like I always do."
Some of the women with little impulse control will get into fights with the tiniest bit of shade thrown their way e.g. Tresure P., Jessica Dime, Lovely Mimi and Tommie Lee are prime examples. Others seem more calculating like Karlie. A few avoid physical conflict if they can help it like Rasheeda Frost and Mimi.
Melissa, a math major and former software engineer who has known most of the core cast members for years, definitely falls into the keeping-it-verbal, avoid-the-Springer approach toward conflict management.
Amusingly, she said she still gets caught off guard by any physical fight on the show. Then her brain goes, "Oh, wait a minute. This is normal for 'Love and Hip Hop.' " She learned that fights might go down if two women are placed between a table or prop to give security more time to stop them if they choose to lunge at each other. She also knew when Karlie was ready to get down when she wore sneakers instead of heels.
Melissa, ever the peacemaker, feels bad for Rasheeda but avoided castigating Kirk Frost for cheating on her. "He's a really nice guy who got himself in a pickle," she said. She worries that Tommie lets her anger come out too often and has said some negative things about her on air. When she ran into her one not too long ago, Melissa disarmed Tommie by kissing her. "We've been cool ever since," she said.
She said as a newbie, she got used to the cameras relatively quickly. "I was recently at Cynthia Bailey's 50th birthday party and I didn't even notice the cameras," she said. One thing she noticed: Bravo's film crew for "Real Housewives of Atlanta" is far leaner than that for VH1's "Love and Hip Hop Atlanta." Typical scenes for "Love and Hip Hop" involved crews of at least 20 to 30 people. (She counted 27 for a scene between her and Mimi at her pad.)
"Real Housewives," she said, seemed to have just seven or eight.
Melissa said VH1 invests to ensure safety, providing each cast member a security person and a "handler"-type producer.
And she said other newcomers are surprised by the way the producers will throw them bombs out of nowhere. She remembers at Joseline's video shoot, Sierra was shocked to find out her employee Moriah had been sleeping with her husband Shooter. She had no idea. She was crying off camera.
She saw Joseline and asked, "Why didn't you tell me this was going to happen?" Joseline's response, according to Melissa: "Sorry, baby. You should have read your contract, ho."
Melissa is not judgmental in regards to Joseline. "She wants things the way she likes thing," she explained. "She's always been that way. She's more popular so she can say it louder. My opinion is she's about to blow up."
And she said Joseline was peeved when she spent $40,000 of her own money to show off her music and celebrate her birthday at the Gold Room, a scene she thought would end up on the season finale. But instead, the VH1 producers showed her recalcitrant fool. "She wanted to show her artistry," Melissa said. "She worked so hard. They took it all out!"
Melissa said many of the original cast members appear tired of the grind, the social media feedback, the producers' manipulations to amp up drama. But they can't walk away from the money. Karlie, she said, is an exception. Melissa said she still enjoys it: "She's different. She's a hustler. She makes things happen."
Before we departed, she said she was relieved that some of the roughest things she said to the camera never made it on air. "They took it easy on me," she said.
In a text after the reunion show, she wrote me: "I won't be holding back next season..."