Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood
Let’s talk about masculinity in Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood. Sometimes, it involves two women fighting over a man at a sparsely attended showcase signaling his sexual dominance. Other times, it involves hiding a secret family in plain sight to display his brazen selfishness. Usually the characters in this series define manhood by how they mistreat the women in their orbit. But one new addition to the LHHH cast challenges that men can wear orange wigs, press-on nails, and go by the name Kandie — all without the degradation of women.
We start this week with A1 Sauce and Lyrica still reeling from the dissolution of their marriage. Their thoughts and feelings are more twisted up than A1’s Alien vs. Predator braids. A1 is at a hotel apparently owned by Mood Fabrics and Lyrica is poolside at a photoshoot. It’s apparent that neither of these unnatural blondes are over their blowout.
On the other side of town, Paris and Nikki meet for massages and gossip about their friend Teairra Mari’s controlling boyfriend, Akbar, who may or may not have a whole wife. I use the word “whole” to emphasize that he is actively hiding her. As in, I had a whole rotisserie ham in my purse at the BlacKkKlansman screening. But I digress. Paris prepares to text Teairra Mari that her boyfriend is cheating and Nikki, guided by reason and presence of mind, states that that’s not a conversation to have via text. Nay, it’s a conversation for the bathroom of a Chili’s or, as we’ll see soon, an open-spaced club on national television.
Next, we go to some studio where A1 Sauce and McIntosh Apple Watts are making music where our favorite dancer turned rapper rhymes “bitches” with “bitches.” She confides in A1 that RoccStar tried to steal her as an artist but she is loyal to him. Honeycrisp Apple Watts’s best quality is that she’s real, stays in her lane, and is focused on her music — this will serve her well.
At a different studio, Lyrica meets up with RoccStar, who asks her what runway she just walked off of. I’m assuming it was Project Runway: Latex Challenge because Lyrica looks like an extra in Batman Beyond. (This is not an insult. I’d wear this to any postapocalyptic rave or Bushwick housewarming.) Lyrica makes the tragic mistake of responding, “This is what single looks like.” NOPE! This is what “I’m Definitely Still Married” looks like because nary a paperwork has been signed or filed. Lyrica is about as single as a conjoined twin and she has no business gossiping to her husband’s enemy. Then, RoccStar refers to A1 as the “Guy with the Pearls” as if that’s an insult. What’s wrong with pearls? Last I checked, the girl with the pearl earring had a painting, a book, and a movie. That’s in my dream journal, right in between “buy a Yacht called Yachty” and “drink more water.” What is it about RoccStar and his masculinity that makes him think liking certain jewelry makes someone less of a man? Seems toxic…
But let’s hop over to totally different story line about … *checks notes* … two women fighting over Marcus. Honestly, everything about this plot is manufactured, but it gives us amazing insight into the “Mona Scott School of Dramatic Acting.” Stassi (WHO?) goes over to Brooke’s house, and Brooke greets her by calling her “Latasha.” Brooke’s intentions are clear, Stassi’s are not. But I’ll assume that the reason why Stassi visited the home of someone who torments her is because she’s compelled by a dark force. For me, it’s the little voice that tells me to log on Twitter first thing in the morning and ruin my day. For Stassi, it’s being on TV. Marcus comes over, and at this point we realize Brooke set a very obvious trap to get everyone in the same room. They argue over who gets to be Marcus’s girlfriend and Stassi suggests she might be pregnant. Brooke, ever the delusional villainess says she welcomes Stassi as a surrogate. This is cruel. Brooke Valentine is the black Maleficent that’ll curse your baby at his christening. And for some reason, this turns Marcus on.
A1 has a show where he raps as La’Britney twerks. Afterward, A1, who is named Floyd, reconnects with his brother Lloyd. Sometime during this conversation Solo Lucci says, “I hope the strip party I threw isn’t the reason they’re getting a divorce…” You know, it didn’t help! Then A1 makes the same mistake his Not Wife™ did and tells everyone his personal business. Meanwhile, Nikki, Paris, and Teairra discuss how Akbar’s cheating ways are making her look crazy. It does not make you look crazy, Teairra Mari. It makes him like like a trifling polygamist.
We head back to a different studio where Lyrica admits she shouldn’t have discussed her marriage with RoccStar. Duh! RoccStar, who is this week’s Master of Messy, shows her a video of La’Britney twerking all over her husband’s stage. Lyrica gets so upset she has to leave the studio. No! Haven’t you ever heard of Mary J. Blige? Put that pain into a song and make a hit record! This is the capitalist’s creed.
Now, we’re at the clinic. Which makes me wonder: Do the stars and starlets of Love & Hip Hop get health care? They deserve benefits, Lord knows they need the coverage for all their fist fights. Speaking of, Brooke confronts Marcus and Stassi outside of the clinic and throws condoms at Stassi. Marcus and Stassi break up as the LHHH tactical team carry her away and Brooke screams, “Sorry it had to end in front of the free clinic.” That really stings. Especially since Stassi has done nothing wrong but consent to relationship with a guy Brooke also likes!
We move to an indiscriminate rooftop where we meet JayWill, a bisexual rapper from Compton who is tired of his sexuality being a punch line. He wants his art to speak for itself. I can support that. I can also support the fact that he called out La’Britney for booty-dropping on a married man’s stage. I didn’t realize this was disrespectful because I’m not in many booty-dropping scenarios … although I just wrote a song called “Make It Clap for Democracy,” so maybe that’ll change.
Moving along on the Messy Express™, we find ourselves with Nikki and Paris at a lunch meeting with Akbar’s wife, Sade, whom I will from now on refer to as “Not Sade.” In Not Sade’s defense, Paris brings her to this meeting under false pretenses. But as soon as Not Sade catches wind that they are discussing her “marriage” and not business, she should make like Cam’ron and dipset. Instead, she indulges in their incredibly invasive questions about her shady husband. It’s only after the women imply that she’s in an open relationship that she gets upset — and she has every right to. Whether she and her suspect husband are in an open relationship is none of their business.
We end this episode at the showcase we’ve been overhyping for several weeks. The performances are a mixed bag of gold and turds. La’Britney sings. Granny Smith Apple Watts raps. And then the King Bee himself comes out and slays us all. I’m of course talking about JayWill’s alter ego, Kandie. On a show that measures masculinity by the number of women in one’s harem (or orgy party if you’re Solo Lucci), Kandie directly opposes every trope. In a hypermasculine environment, it’s Kandie that lights the stage on fire in a wig, nails, and Fashion Nova bodycon. His masculinity celebrates femininity, pointing at what the Love and Hip Hop: Hollywood franchise is missing: a love for women. He brings much-needed depth and showmanship to a very tired showcase.
Speaking of tired, Apple Watts reaches for drama and brings Lyrica to fight La’Britney. They fight over A1. A1 gets into an altercation with RoccStar. They fight over Lyrica and by proxy which man is a bigger boss. Then, RoccStar gets into a fight with gravity and trips. I love when people on reality TV fall because it always produces a genuine reaction. His scream hits five octaves, just like Tevin Campbell. But aside from a literal misstep, the showcase was pretty exhausting. Which is surprising because apparently it took place at 1:00 p.m. on a Tuesday … why is it so bright when A1 and La’Britney go outside?! But I digress. All this fighting could have been avoided if A1 and Lyrica took the time to actually talk to each other. But that wouldn’t be a fun show, would it? The only people that win this petty drama is us, the viewers, (and Kandie!). Until next week on Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood, where we’ll have a black auntie food fight!