Producers explain Love and Hip Hop Atlanta

Mid December, Love and Hip Hop Atlanta producers explained their choice for creating Vh1's most popular reality show.

And make no mistake about it, Vh1 has several popular reality shows, from Mob Wives to Basketball Wives, but LHHA took the viewership cake. So much so, Vh1 blacked out on satellite for a while which prevented DirecTV customers from watching the Atlanta crew at all.

"Dirty Little Secrets" is the producers inside look at LHHA. The producers said they weren't sure about casting Erica because it takes serious effort to get anything out of Erica. She responded with one word answers during her screen test, but it was clear that her drama revolved around Scrappy and Scrappy's mom.

Producers also thought K-Michelle was destined to be a star and hence, K-Michelle was cast. K-Michelle also landed a record deal during LHHA's off season. Even if viewers aren't sure that K-Michelle is a reliable or even a good character, they mostly agree she can sing.

Mimi joined the cast as a woman who wasn't sure if her boyfriend was cheating. The producers listened to Mimi's story about Stevie J and immediately recognized Stevie as the guy who was kissing Joseline just before he stepped inside to do his LHHA interview/screentest.

During her screen test, Joseline denied that she and Stevie J. were involved. The producers were tickled, but they also followed the drama between Mimi, Joseline and Stevie J. closely. Perhaps producers wanted a clear understanding of what was going on. Or perhaps they really wanted to document for Mimi the fears about Stevie J that she'd expressed during her screen test.

LHHA didn't have any really violent or horribly upsetting physical violence. KMichelle shook a table and threw a fork at Karlie. But nothing like glass throwing and wine flying at a rooftop restaurant. The Dirty Little Secrets episode did reveal that during that tiff between Scrappy and Stevie J., Joseline mushed Erica in the face.

Erica wanted to go after Joseline, but producers picked Erica up and carried her back to the vans and away from Joseline. Since the Scrappy and Shay story line was developing and Erica had become more important to the cast than anticipated, (not to mention lawsuits) Erica's safety came first.

Aside from Stevie J's trouble with monogamy, Love and Hip Hop Atlanta underwent a boatload of social, moral and personal conflicts that made some call for the show's boycott. More reasonable viewers only wondered why the show was created and searched for answers.

Some believed that Mona Scott wanted to document the story of a wayward father and his journey to a real relationship with his daughter. With the story on film, perhaps Stevie J. would look at a his behavior and because of the show, choose reconciliation over total separation from Mimi and their daughter.

Others think LHHA was created with one intent: and that's to show people in the music industry at their highs and lows and in the process, prove that hip hop and its performers really are people with little on their minds aside from videos, money and fame.

Take Home Message:

Viewers can never really know the intentions of producers and writers without asking. It may have appeared to many that the only reason anyone would produce LHHA is to show black folks in a negative light. But Dirty Little Secrets revealed a host of producers who are rather young and were born in the MTV Real World reality age.

Therefore, they don't necessarily think of entertainment or entertainment's value in terms of race and culture. They see reality television for what it is, entertainment. They choose cast members, like K-Michelle who will keep scripting to a minimum. They also choose cast members who will bring viewers back (Joseline Hernandez).

Viewers make the final call, however. When LHHA is no longer appreciated, fans will voice that by switching channels. To date however, fans only want more. And that may mean LHHA touches the heart of modern black American lives, regardless of income, education and social status.

photo credit: Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, Vh1

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