“R&B Divas” recap (Ep. 7): An R&B “Sex and the City”

I must say, for the first half of this episode, I felt slightly disappointed in R&B Divas for the first time. It appeared like it was just going to be one long episode of advertisements: for Nicci’s Curvato clothing line, for Faith’s new hair product, for Faith’s friend’s beauty school, for Monifah’s friend’s clothing store. These blatant ads are a signature component of all reality shows, of course, but we’ve been spoiled with the authenticity and complex human issues presented in this show thus far, which is what really makes it a worthwhile hour of our time.

But alas! I was appeased by the end by a few different nuggets of fine R&B Divas gold, including a super sweet moment between Monifah and Terez, a big announcement at the end, and busting out the big guns with getting to meet Faith and Biggie’s mommas. When you bring out the moms, it’s all over. I’m on your side again, divas!

Really, things were already starting to look up this episode when all the ladies headed to New York, because as Nicci would say, I love New York, honey child.

They were there for Nicci’s official launch of Curvato at Full Figured Fashion Week, which I previously didn’t know was a thing, but I’m glad that it is. We also got to spend a lot of time this episode with Nicci’s daughter Brandy, who seems to be in that “trying to figure out what to do with my life” stage that, let’s be honest, most of us are perpetually in. She helps out as Nicci’s assistant and seems to do smashingly, and she also meets up with Mo’s daughter Akema to talk about Life. Their meeting seems somewhat staged and slightly awkward, but Brandy shares some heavy information. Nicci isn’t her biological mother; she’s her cousin.

Her biological mother has suffered from substance abuse problems, which is why Brandy brings it up with Akema, who has apparently looked into non-profit work before. Brandy wants to do fashion, but she also wants to start a non-profit for kids who have dealt with parents who suffer from substance abuse, such as themselves. But Nicci, in effect, truly is Brandy’s mother, as she has raised her since she was a baby. I have to say, while I’ve bitched about Nicci before, this does finally show a different side of her, a side that helps warm me to her.

But transitioning from heartwarming to drama, the conflict of the episode comes when Nicci receives a Facebook message about Syleena’s acoustic show, which had been the disaster stress attack of last week. Nicci is apparently friends with the drama queen event manager, Kim, who put up a stink about Syleena after the show, and who is now apparently still putting up a stink about her online. Oh, peeps bein’ classy.

It obviously gets brought up when the divas all meet at a swanky club that night. Nicci wants to defend her friend, while the rest of the divas are all, we were there, girl, and it wasn’t good.

Yet while they bicker back and forth for a while, it actually seems to get resolved relatively quickly and peacefully. Perhaps Nicci realizes there are bigger fish to fry, such as preparing for her big show, and the many events that are happening before it. As they prepare for a night of being on the town, Nicci says, “You might as well call tonight the R&B Sex and the City, honey.” And I will!

At one of the first stops, where Faith is launching her hair product, some of Nicci’s assistants get stuck in one of those terrifying tiny elevators that exist in these ancient city buildings.

As they’re waiting for them to be rescued, Keke is in top form as she turns to the people around her and says, “Can you imagine if that was me? I would have had a sweat attack. A heart attack. A shit attack.” That guy not being able to restrain his laughter next to her? That would be me. Why is Keke the best?

Speaking of Keke, she’s also rocking a different hairstyle in some of her solo interview shots this week, which I am really digging.

But proceeding swiftly onwards to lesbian lovers’ lane!

We get to hang out with Terez and Monifah for a while, who reveal that they spur-of-the-moment looked at rings last time Terez was in Atlanta. As in, rings for a big gay marriage. Mo talks about how all of this is really, actually happening: taking the next big steps, thinking about babies, making wills. As she so aptly puts it, “Real big girl shit.” She smiles and sighs and fans herself and talks in overwhelmed half-sentences while Terez just looks at her and grins. Terez isn’t that loquacious, but I get a feeling that’s just because she isn’t as comfortable being as expressive with her emotions on camera as Monifah is. But you don’t even need words when you’re able to hug your girl to you like this, and she fits perfectly right in the crook of your neck.

Doesn’t this make you just want to die?! Or at least hug your pillow to your chest real tight and squee a little?

Sigh. You cuties.

Moving on (sadly), we arrive at the Big Event, and Nicci’s Curvato show seems to be a big success, with only the smallest amounts of drama. She gets to walk the runway with Brandy, which clearly makes her happiest of all.

But even more exciting to me is what comes after all the fancy, shiny events in the city: a barbecue at Faith’s mom’s house in Jersey.

Not only do we get to meet Faith’s mom, and one of Faith’s kids, but Miss Wallace is there, too. WE GET TO MEET BIGGIE’S MOM, Y’ALL! She seems real sweet and real old!

Faith definitely has the biggest star power of all the divas, and it seems like she’s always running around doing different events or meeting different people or organizing something or other. It’s not that she’s any less down-to-earth than the other divas; I just feel like we get to see her simply being herself, a real human being, less than the other ladies. Seeing her in her mom’s backyard in Jersey surrounded by her family and friends, along with that amazing scene of her falling off the couch last week, has been a pleasure to see. She feels like one of the most genuine and kind people I have ever seen, and I want her to be able to relax and be herself. Basically I just want to give Faith Evans a hug, okay?

Faith also has an announcement for everyone at the end of the barbecue. All of the divas have been invited to perform at the main stage at Essence Fest in New Orleans. This is a big deal. Big names perform at this festival. It’s such a big deal, in fact, that Keke begins to cry.

Faith Evans AND Keke Wyatt, just get into my arms right now! Also, Michael–that smile you give Keke whenever she’s being particularly adorable melts my heart a little.

Next week, it looks like we arrive in New Orleans for said Essence Fest, but things might not all be going as smoothly as planned. (Shocker!) Uh oh.

What was YOUR favorite part of this episode?