Our Exclusive Interview with Imani from Basketball Wives L.A. Take time to read it, because there is alot of important things she says. Especially the editing of the whole show. You Can Follow her on Twitter Here: @IamMelissaImani
As we all know you agreed to join the cast of this year's most talked about VH1 Show "Basketball Wives L.A." How did you sign on?
I was originally approached by Gloria and my initial thought was HELL to the NO!!! About 3 months later I was contacted by the VH1 and they gave me an overview of how they wanted this version of BBW to be and the direction they wanted to move in (totally different than Miami, a more positive show without all the fighting and drink throwing), and so after that meeting I agreed.
Before Filming, What were your thoughts, Were you Like "OMG I’m putting my life out there"?
Before we started filming I was very nervous about how this would be received by my loved ones. I have always been a VERY private person and I like my anonymity, however, I thought this would be a great opportunity to show the other side of being a BBW. We are mothers taking care of our families, supportive friends, faithful partners, and stable positive people. Not all BBW were “groupies” that got lucky, which is a common misconception I hear over and over. I met Stephen in the Lincoln Tunnel (in a car so I didn't even know he was tall Hahira) not in a club, and I was working holding it down for myself with a VERY well-paying job on Wall Street.... Just FYI ;-)
Coming into group girls, did you know any of the other cast beforehand?
I’d known Gloria for about a year and was introduced to her sister Laura maybe about 6 months before we started filming. Kimsha (whom I adore) and I met while we both lived Indiana a few years prior when our guys were both playing for the Pacers. The other girls I met on the first day of shooting.
At the Beginning the controversy was between You & Draya, Why did you call her Worthless?
That was a very emotional and impulsive action on my part. Prior to us going into the passion party (completely off camera and in the hotel lobby), it was bought to all of our attention by Jackie, about Draya’s arrest and what the charges were. At the time, Casey Anthony was a huge topic in the news for “neglecting” her child as well, and we all know how that ended. We all were disturbed by the report that Jackie showed us and once we got into the room and stated filming it was still fresh on my mind. So when the box of adjectives was passed around for me to pick from, I looked on top and that was one of the first words I saw, and out of emotion and in the heat of the moment I just picked it and put it in Drayas box. I regretted it instantly and wanted to change it but by that time the game had started. I immediately apologized to her; off camera and on, we spoke about it cleared the air and was actually super cool from that day on.
How did it feel to date again after so long?
It was VERY awkward! I never really dated in my life. I’ve had 2 extremely log relationships (both for about 9yrs apiece) so I have never really been single since I was a teenager. Kyle was so nice and so warm (not to mention sexy as hell LOL) that he immediately made me feel comfortable and took the edge off.
What advice can you give to women about dating after a hard relationship?
My advice would be to take the time to completely heal and make yourself whole again before you bring someone else into your life. I’ve had a lot of people tell me the “the best way to get over a man, is under a NEW man” but to me that was never an option. I think that is why I’ve had such long term relationships in the past because I came into them whole, instead of looking for someone to “complete” me and jumping right back into any kind of relationship. Just take the time and wait on what you want instead of just picking up whatever stragglers happen to be there at the moment.
VH1 has a history of editing stuff and twisting things, in your opinion how you’re like the way they are portraying you?
I was extremely disappointed with the way I was portrayed. I feel as though I was portrayed as judgmental and mean, which is the farthest thing from who I am. I made statements and stood up for what I believe in, but I also was a very supportive friend to all the ladies, and tried to help them in any way I could. I do however understand that it is Reality TV and they need the drama to sell and to keep people interested and tuned in. During the first 5 or so episodes they kept making the show about us talking about Draya as if that was all we did, when honestly that was not how it was at all. If we tape a scene for 3 hours and talk about everything under the sun and Drayas name came up for all of 2 minutes and that’s the 2 minutes that VH1 wants to show for that scene, there is nothing we can do about it, that’s all in the editing. To me they painted the show to make Draya Little Bo Peep and all the other girls as the Big Bad Wolves, and it was sooooooo not like that in real life. Also there was a lot of HUGE and EXPLOSIVE issues that came out during taping between 2 of the ladies that the viewer’s don’t know about or have a chance to see, which added to some of the hostility between the group. All in all its entertainment disguised as reality :-)
Do you watch the show along with viewers?
Yes! I thought we would be able to see the show beforehand but, nope! Every Monday I am on the edge of me seat waiting to see what happens ha-ha, because even though I was there, you just never know how they editing is going to cut it up. Plus it’s fun to see the other scenes that I wasn’t a part of and watch what was going on with the other ladies. Also I like to see what everyone said in their interviews, because babyyyyy you hear what they really think of you when they are in that room alone speaking freely!
The comments about the show are very harsh considering that Basketball Wives Miami has had 3 seasons, what is your take on that?
I feel that it is kind of unfair to compare the two. It’s our first season, no one knows us yet and they’ve already kind of formed “relationships” with the Miami ladies and are familiar with them. Change is hard for most people so I guess it will take time to win them over ;-). As far as how we look compared to the other show, all I will say is that if you look at any show in the first season, from BBW, Real Housewives of Atlanta, Keeping up with the Kardashians, they ALLLLLL looked rough! Ha! I was home on a Saturday and caught the first season of RHOA and the Kardashians and I was like damn!!!! LOLOL. I think once we get in a grove, know what kind of looks work for us, proper makeup, stylist etc. like all the other girls on reality TV that have made it past the first season, we will be fine. I actually like the fact that we look normal. 2 ladies had babies less than a year before filming, and I myself was on medication for my Lupus that made me gain weight and swell up before we started filming. We HAD weight issues then, but so does half of the women in America! I thought that would make us relatable not ridiculed. *shrug* oh well
During one of the parties you were very emotional, was actually going on?
I blame it on the Patron!!! Patron makes me very inappropriate! Usually it makes me hyper sexual and flirty or mean and ready to fight LOLOL!!! Well, I don’t know if it was because of the wedding and the emotions that come with that or the fact that I had PMS, but for some reason after that one round of shots I leaned in and was talking to Jackie and became super sad and started to cry!?!?!?! And I’m not a crier!!!!! I kind of shocked myself hahaha! Didn’t realize I still had tears left!
What viewers didn’t know that you were a singer before, tell us a little about that.
I was in a girl group for all of 8 months hahaha I was working at Solomon Smith Barney at the time and was in a group with 2 other girls on the side. My really good friend Shakir Stewart shopped a deal for us with LA Reid and before the group took off I met Stephen and we were engaged and traded to San Antonio so I left NYC. He actually was VERY against me continuing on with the group at that time because, as he would say “we only need one star in our family” LOL so I backed out and devoted myself to taking care of him and our children.
The viewer’s kept saying that you all were bullying draya, do you agree, or disagree?
As a viewer I agree, but as someone that was in a lot of the scenes for the full 2-4 hour duration, I strongly disagree! There were a lot of things that transpired that the viewers have no clue about because ALOT of important details were edited out. I can only speak for myself, but I will say that after the first week of taping with her (and after we spoke about the passion party drama) I had absolutely no ill will towards Draya... We actually were VERY cool!!! But I guess that doesn't make for good TV ha-ha. I’ve hung out with her and actually spent a lot of time talking to her on a personal level (off camera). I never see a reason to bully anyone. That’s not what I’m about AT ALL
If you could choose an episode to relive for a day which one would it is?
It’s not an episode so much as it is a time! During our time in Hawaii there was a point when all the drama and people creating it was gone and we all just let loose! We laughed about everything forgave cleared the air and bonded so much in that last 2 days on the island. I wish you guys could have seen it all! Even the producers and productions staff felt relief and joined in on the festivities, it was like we’d all become a family at that moment (maybe a slightly dysfunctional family LOL but a family none the less :-))
What really happened in Hawaii, It seems that you were very close to Laura, until she started talking about everyone.
In Hawaii a lot of things came to light. We all realized that all the animosity and anger that we had towards one another was something that was created by Jackie to get us to all turn on each other. I and Laura were extremely close, closer than even what was shown on the show. She was at my house everyday with the kids and I even bonded with her mom so to hear that she had all this hate towards me was very disturbing and confusing. So once I found out that Jackie had just made all of those things up to break up our friendship I felt so much anger towards her (Jackie). I’ve never met someone that would purposefully go out of her way to hurt other people and damage relationships like she did, not only with me and Laura, but with all the girls, the production, and even other basketball wives not even on this show. It is all very sad....
Did the person ever come clear on who said what?
Basically it all came back to Jackie Christie. The things she had told me Laura had said, was actually what SHE had said to Laura. She used this tactic with all of us and no one knew because we didn’t really speak to each other on a regular basis except for Jackie, who made sure to call each of us every day for hours individually and make us feel like she was the only real friend we could count on and that she had our back. In hind sight it sound really stupid, but at the time with the pressure of filming 5-8 hours a day with girls you think hate you, it made perfect sense.
Is Jackie Really Crazy?
How do you stay so calm around all the fights?
I was told a long time ago to “Never argue with fools, because people watching from a distance won’t be able to tell who is who” so I always keep this in the back of my mind. Plus there were never any indiscretions that were that important to me to get belligerent. However if you affect my children, my life style, my freedom, my sanity etc. then I will fight to the death!!! Anything other than that is irrelevant, not that serious, and definitely not worth me embarrassing myself, my family, my loved ones on national TV. I’m to strong minded for that weak shit.
Overall how you think the show defined what "Basketball Wives" Are?
I don’t know if they actually defined what a Basketball Wife is. Everyone is different. I know some wives that are just as crazy and ghetto as they come, and I know some wives that are calm Christian peace makers that wouldn’t hurt a fly. It’s the same kind of diversity that you find in any group. Basketball Wives, Post office Wives, Police Officer wives, Mob wives etc. Women are all different and can never be defined by the actions of another!
What can we expect from the reunion?
The reunion went well! A lot of things came out on that show... ALOT!!! I hope they air it all so you guy can get a REAL feel of how things were/are. I think we all showed who we REALLY are at the reunion. Some came out redeemed, others were exposed for the nut bag they are... You just have to watch.
If Season 2 is go, will you join on again?
At first I couldn’t wait for it to be over but once we wrapped I was really surprised at how much I missed every one of the girls and even the production team. We spent a lot of time together and had some amazing experiences! I am one of those people that don’t really dwell on the negative, so even through all the drama I choose to reflect on the positive fun times we had and the friendships I’ve made and cherish at this point. I have my reservations, however I would consider a Season 2 if it were to happen.
Any closing words, contact, so the fans can reach you?
I just want to thank those that stuck it out with us and gave us a chance. The people that love us and those that love to hate us LOL it’s all good. I hope everyone was able to gain something from the show. I learned a lot about myself and the show actually helped me to grow as a person. I am looking forward to touching more people with my book, and my community outreach efforts. Thanks so much for this opportunity to show a side of Imani :-)