Tonight was the season finale of TV One’s “R&B Divas.” Did anybody watch? Anyone? The series started off with a bang, bringing in 900,000 viewers, becoming TV One’s highest rated show in history. However, ratings fell as the season continued and without a second one confirmed, one has to ask the question: what went wrong?
One issue with R&B Divas could be the cast in question. Faith Evans is the biggest name and one with fame, while the others besides Nicci Gilbert of Brownstone fame are only known for a few hits. Keke Wyatt, known for “My First Love” with Avant fell out of the spotlight until she stabbed her husband on Christmas morning in 2001. Syleena Johnson is most known for her vocals on Kanye West’s “All Falls Down” and Monifah for her radio hit “I Miss You” in 1996. If we go back to Beyonce’s definition of a diva, none of them can really be classified as female hustlers besides Faith and Nicci, who still have success spanning more than a song or album. Die-hard R&B fans have supported the show, but those unfamiliar with the artists weren’t so inclined to watch.
I also have to bring up the obvious question. Was the fact that “R&B Divas” wasn’t ratchet a reason for the decline in ratings? How many episodes can the public go without seeing a bottle thrown or someone being called a bitch? Well, the show wanted to show that black women can have a sisterly bond, and although fights may break out, love overpowers all disagreements. Corny? Maybe so, but it was actually refreshing to see positivity between friends and not backstabbing.
Finally, TV One isn’t a channel that everyone rushes to watch. Let’s face it, we have mostly all seen every “Martin” episode at least twice. With other shows in the primetime 10pm slot, many have switched to something else. Had the show been on a different channel, we may have seen the ratings stay consistent with the first few episodes.
Overall, I think R&B Divas showed how black women can have amazing talents but struggle. Going through that with sisters, although they may fight, helps to ease the pain and form a bond that is seemingly unbreakable. Now we don’t know how these women acted when the cameras were off, there were rumors that Nicci was difficult, but excessive violence towards each other wasn’t shown. Was this the remedy for a successful show in the long run? No, because in this television era, drama gets and keeps ratings. Was it a remedy for breaking the normalcy of reality television for black audiences? Definitely. The last line in the theme song says it all, “Let me see you put your hands in the air if you love yourself.”