Chrissy brutally punched and kicked Kimbella on “Love and Hip Hop”; Evelyn threw a wine bottle, then jumped over a table to hit Jennifer on “Basketball Wives”; “Drita and Karen got into a brawl on “Mob Wives.” Violent fights that were a fixture on “Jerry Springer” are now a staple in reality TV shows centered on women's lives. Women with perfectly coiffed hair and makeup, dressed in designer clothes who live in country clubs get into shouting matches that inevitably lead to a hair-pulling slugfest.
These adult women’s meretricious behavior generates cruel comments from the general public and the press. Reality TV stars are regular tabloid fodder, constantly ridiculed on social media and on the Internet.
So, why do so these so-called successful socialites want to be on reality TV shows?
Take Sharlinda Parker, for instance. Parker, wife of R&B star Que of "112," is a successful businesswoman who co-owns “Tu La 2 Nail Salon” in Atlanta, and is a celebrity manicurist to A-list stars such as Tyler Perry, Queen Latifah and Gabrielle Union. She is the on-set manicurist for various Hollywood movies and TV shows, including "Steel Magnolias," "The Watch" and "Necessary Roughness." Parker, her daughter, Kahdijiha Rowe,and her twin sister, Sabrina "Brie" Rowe, are the latest set of African-American women who have made the foray into reality TV. They are the stars of the new "Big Rich Atlanta" cable TV show that airs on Style.
Parker explains why she decided to do a reality TV show.
"To become a household name, build your business, have fun with it, everyone knows you, that's the benefit of being on a reality show," said the 41-year-old Richmond, Va., native.
Parker had already been approached by Bravo TV to be part of the first cast of their popular “Real Housewives of Atlanta” franchise and was asked again to join the last season. She was also asked by Style to join the cast of “Big Rich Atlanta.”
"The reason I did not join the ‘Housewives’ and I decided to do the mother/daughter show (‘Big Rich Atlanta’), was because it was something new – being on TV with my sister and my daughter,” said Parker. “The ‘Housewives,’ I already knew what I was going into, it was already into its fourth and fifth season, I just knew what I was going up against, going in with drama that was [already] there. I already had my bullets in my chamber."
Parker may have made the right choice in her quest for fame, because the breakout controversial storyline for "Big Rich Atlanta" is the inevitable slugfest between her daughter, Kahdijiha Rowe, and another star of the show, former Miss Georgia Teen Ashlee Wilson-Hawn.
So, how does Parker, a respected businesswoman, one of Atlanta’s prominent manicurists and beloved celebrity wife, justify the undignified behavior involving her daughter?
“With the fight with Kahdijiha, Kahdijiha was provoked,” Parker explained. “You can’t put your hands on anyone, everyone has freedom of speech. You can say what you’d like to say, [but] you can’t touch anybody. I teach my daughter and my son to always protect yourself, if you get backed up into a corner and you need to defend yourself, by all means, defend yourself.”
When asked if the bad behavior on reality TV shows set a bad example for young people, considering Kahdijiha Rowe is part of the so-called elite of Atlanta, Parker said “No.”
Rowe defended her actions, saying, “At the end of the day, I will say that we are humans first. And just because it’s displayed on TV doesn’t make that any different. The specific case between Ashlee and I – that is a legal matter, so I’m not really going to touch on that. But about the image of it, at the end of the day, we’re real people. I truly believe that when put into certain situations sometimes people don’t always react the way you think they should, regardless if that was the appropriate thing to do. I stand by what happened – people get into fights all the time.”
People also wonder if the drama on “Big Rich Atlanta” is manufactured.
“You’ve probably heard from some of my other cast members that it’s suggested, but I will say it’s not suggested…drama sells,” said Rowe. “That does not mean we fabricated the drama. If we didn’t have drama, you would not watch.”
Rowes’ physical altercation with her cast member, Wilson-Hawn, may result in jail time as Wilson-Hawn has pressed charges for assault. When asked if she’s worried about going to jail, Rowe’s response was “No.” She then, added: “I’d like to know a show that you know with no drama that’s doing well?”
“Big Rich Atlanta” airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on the Style Network.