Few feelings of joy parallel that of finding a premium reality show. Sure, we're living in the supposed "golden age of television" where scripted TV has never been truer, or rawer, or better... but the kinds of shows that really scratch my itch offer unscripted glimpses into real worlds full of ambition, pathos, wealth, and extremely dramatic costume parties totally unrelated to Halloween. You know, the shows about wealthy people who hate their friends, the oh-so-deliciously contrived "looking for love" shows, and of course the Love & Hip Hop franchise.
Lucky for you (and me) this holiday break will deliver us a new Love & Hip Hop. The drama-packed franchise is jetting to Miami to follow a fresh crop of talent. Among the new faces are some you might recognize, like pop culture/ hip-hop institutions Trina and Trick Daddy. On top of that, there's drama, bling, heat, and a whole lot of bold fashion choices.
As a devoted reality TV historian, I've highlighted a few key moments from the first episode of Love & Hip Hop Miami that are sure to satisfy your unscripted pleasures just as they do mine. You can look forward to watching the premiere of VH1's Love & Hip Hop Miami on Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT... aka, hungover on New Year's Day, when all great entertainment is consumed.
Here's why you should watch.
1. It Gives You A Glimpse Into A New World
This edition of Love & Hip Hop follows a variety of artists at different points in their careers. The venue: the Miami music scene, where Latin & hip-hop influences fuse to create a unique sound and energy. LGBTQ rapper Bobby Lytes is just starting out. Amara La Negra is an Afro-Latina artist who's established herself in the Latin music market but wants to go mainstream. Gunplay is a trap rapper on the rise, established in Atlanta but trying to make up for lost time after an incarceration. Trick and Trina are obviously at the top of their games, and Pleasure P (of Pretty Ricky) is staging a comeback after the bitter breakup of his group.
2. You'll Learn That Success May Come At A Price
As we see during Amara's meeting with producer Young Hollywood, the question of crossing over to the American market might mean compromising a piece of her identity. When Hollywood asks her to adopt a more "elegant" look — read, to straighten her signature Afro — her jaw dropped along with mine. It's not surprising, but boy, it's real.
3. There Are Prominent Reality TV Alums
Did I mention that Shay Johnson is a member of this cast? Yes. DAME Shay Johnson, aka Shay from Charm School, aka "Buckeey" from the canonical reality show Flavor of Love. She's now dating Pleasure P, so things are clearly looking up since Flav.
4. There Are Gripping Love Triangles
As we know from all the celebrity breakups, monogamy is tough to maintain when you're in the entertainment industry. Take Gunplay, for example: Keyana is his ride-or-die. But his collaboration (and ongoing chemistry) with fellow artist Miami Tip might spell out some potential for some ~romantic intrigue.~
5. The Insults Are Premium
Unlike in real life, holding back your real opinions of people on reality TV is not a thing. When Shay crashes Pleasure P's Pretty Ricky reunion show to express her belief that the band is exploiting her man, she lays some formidable blows against bandmate Baby Blue Whoaaa. Dubbing him a "weak-ass, fat-ass, funky-ass, pregnant-looking-ass" man, her insults have the energy and brilliance of freeform jazz. (ILY Buckeey.)
6. Someone Breaks The Theme Party Dress Code
As the gods decree, every reality TV show must have at least theme party, and drama must go down at said theme party (typically because some noob decides not to outfit themselves according to the dress code). Take Bobby Lytes, who drops by to see his cousin Trina perform at a white party (aka, a party where everyone is supposed to dress in white). The catch is, he shows up in a palm-print shirt and a black bowler hat. RUH-ROH!
When Bobby subsequently confronts his cousin about his belief that her assistant Alvin and fellow "minions" have turned her against him, Trina, clocking the issue of etiquette, receives him coolly and addresses the faux pas. "Bobby, you're so disrespectful... this is a white party, and this is what you show up in?" The horror!
7. Drinks Are Thrown From Square One
As we all know, a conflict isn't real until a drink is thrown or a glass smashed. Alvin reaches his breaking point with Bobby when he crashes a brunch where Trina is in attendance, telling him, "You're beneath me, and you will always be..." A moment of calm settles in... Then "BAM! CRASH!" Down goes Bobby's mimosa as he springs onto the table. BRB! Grabbing popcorn...
This article is sponsored by Love & Hip Hop Miami, which premieres on Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on VH1.