On rapper Bow Wow’s minor 2001 hit “Ghetto Girls,” he has a line about loving real-ass chicks who “won’t front for some Mickey D’s.” I’m sure that was a real priority for him at the time, being 13 and all, but last night’s Catfish saw a woman taking the lyric a little too seriously.
McDonald’s employee and “part-time model” Keyonnah was roughly “60 percent convinced” she was in an online relationship with Bow Wow when she called in Nev and Max. A Bow Wow fan since her playground days, Keyonnah connected with the rapper (real name Shad Gregory Moss) through a Facebook fan page. Not only does Facebook now have its own “verified” stamp for celebs and people of interest, it’s not all that difficult to spot the real page from an imitator. There are some jank-ass Bow Wow imitators on Facebook, cover photo all wonky and whatnot, and then there is a pristine one with more than 4 million “Likes” and the URL “facebook.com/bowwow.”
Either Keyonnah just wanted to believe in her child rap star fantasies, or this episode was set up to angle in a celebrity as Catfish season two heads into its finale next week. Bow Wow is, after all, part of the Viacom family, hosting 106 & Park over on sister network BET. Publicity for the network and Bow Wow, as well as higher ratings — Nev, Bow Wow, and Van Toffler skip off into the sunset holding hands.
Let’s go with Keyonnah being that delusional, at least for the sake of evaluating what the show was trying to do (as we’ve done all season despite skepticism of its honesty). Essentially, she has no proof besides $10,000 that Bow Wow (technically his assistant, “Larry Brown”) wired her. All throughout the episode, Nev particularly is sold on this money as proof. To that I say: Y’all know non-famous folks got money, too, right? It’s not $100K or something even crazier, that only a one-percenter would have. The rest of Keyonnah’s “proof” is as follows: She messaged this Facebook fan page thinking it was Bow Wow officially. She got a response back immediately wanting her number, and soon they bonded over their young daughters. They do not Skype because of bad connections on Bow Wow’s end, but it doesn’t matter ‘cause this is Bow Wow, man. “People [at school] used to get so mad at me ‘cause he was all I talked about,” she explains. “Bow Wow this, Bow Wow that.”
The red flags continue: The page Keyonnah met him through has been deleted, and his phone number is registered to a woman named Renee, who lives about an hour and a half away from Keyonnah in central North Carolina. They also read an interview with Bow Wow in which he praises Skype for keeping him connected with his young daughter. Nev and Max make the most posed phone call all season, to a media relations exec at MTV who just so happens to know the name of Bow Wow’s assistant off the top of her head. It’s Ant, in case you were wondering, not Larry Brown. Then “Bow Wow” picks a fight with Nev on text and says he has no time to meet Keyonnah, only to change his mind the next morning. So! They drive ten hours to Atlanta and roll up only to find out that Bow Wow is a butch chick named Dee. Keyonnah is on the brink of cussing her out, but Dee is super relaxed. She doesn’t understand why Keyonnah would be disappointed — she’s fly, she nearly passes for a dude, and she gave her $10K.
Dee is unlike any other catfish on the show. She does not seem apologetic in the slightest, but she’s also not vengeful. She keeps saying that she wants to move forward with Keyonnah, that she likes the challenge of straight girls. While Keyonnah is in the car bawling her eyes out, Dee is cheekily explaining to Max all the ways she tricks straight girls into thinking she’s a dude. First there’s the designer men’s clothes, then there’s the very realistic dildo (“it feels like human skin”) she wears in her underwear. Dee claims to have had sex with women who to this day still think she’s male, and damn it, she is proud of that.
As Dee sees it, this Bow Wow con was her thing, and you can’t fault her for having a thing. It’s funny, then, that she makes up a whole ‘nother thing about being some big-time Atlanta musician, Dee Pimpin’, who apparently doesn’t know that open mike nights aren’t paying gigs and does not have a website. She tells Keyonnah that she made that $10K playing open mike nights for “$1,000, $300, $500” (for one thing, get an agent and get your fee in order). It turns out that Dee borrowed all that money from her friends and family, who “support her dreams.” When she reveals this unflinchingly, it becomes clear to me that not only is she a liar, she’s a sociopath. Keyonnah doesn’t really cuss her out, though; she just shuts down. The latter half of the episode is the Dee show, and it’s a fascinating watch — like it was engineered to be that way.
There is one glimmering sliver of real emotion in this publicity stunt of an episode. At one point, Keyonnah says, “I feel stupid.” Nev counters, “Don’t forget this happened to me, too.” I think it’s the first time he’s verbally acknowledged it all season, though that fact is implicit in every episode. For as much shit as I sling at Nev and his thoroughly weak “investigation” methods, he is a good fit to lead the show because of his empathy, verbalized or not. He doesn’t have to say, “I’ve been there, man,” because the world watched him there.
Keyonnah’s Delusion Score (out of 10): 8.6 — I mean, she kinda thought she was dating Bow Wow …
Dee’s Delusion Score (out of 10): 9.9 — She doesn’t really get why Keyonnah doesn’t want to be with her.
Outcome: Celeb con catfish!