Monday, April 22, 2013

The definition of doggystyle at 'Love & Hip Hop Atlanta's' press premiere party

Posted By on Mon, Apr 22, 2013 at 4:26 PM

It was a three-ring circus.

But sometimes one has to wonder who the real animals are: the ones trained to jump on cue or the ones who pay to watch?

In the pop phenomenon that has become "Love and Hip Hop Atlanta," everyone is culpable: the talent, the handlers and security guards, the show producers and publicists, and most especially, we the media.

Last Monday, I joined Atlanta press, along with CL photo editor Joeff Davis, at Cream Ultra Lounge on Buford Highway for the Season 2 press premiere of VH1's hit reality show.

The press event was also being taped for the show so everyone was dressed to impress, just in case. I wore my pink Marc Ecko button up from Dillard's. And some extra-blue blue jeans.

Following the viewing of the first episode, the real drama began. During a cast Q&A hosted by Bossip senior editor Janeé Bolden, shit got heated. Mimi told Joseline she could have Stevie J's "dick" as long as he gave her the money. Shay Johnson fronted on Erica and Lil Scrappy's engagement-gone-sour while Lil Scrappy's mama, Momma Dee, backed Johnson up. Meanwhile, Erica had her mama on deck, too, just in case some ish popped off. And for a while, it looked as if something would. We all stood poised and ready for a glass or a fist to be thrown. The more security crowded in, the more the photographers and bloggers did. "This shit is real, ain't it?" another videographer and friend said to me with a nudge. "Yeah," I tried to respond casually, embarrassed to realize I'd been standing on my tiptoes.

A journalist friend from New York I hadn't seen in years recognized me. You could see the shame in both our faces. "I never cover stuff like this," she said as she rolled her eyes. "I just thought I'd come out tonight since I'm new to Atlanta." Brand new to Atlanta and already getting the wrong impression, I thought.

After the Q&A, one-on-ones with cast members almost turned into press pandemonium: Hordes of reporters with mini-recorders scrambled for interviews. Aggressive security guards dressed like Secret Service barked orders. And the talent, some more tipsy than others, entertained our prodding and poking as much as they could stand.

About the time star couple Stevie J and Joseline Hernandez stormed off to the bathroom, leaving a trail of cameras and brandished voice recorders in their wake, I took a step back in an attempt to absorb it all. In some way, all of us were here making money off this manufactured chaos. It didn't make it any less real. In fact, it made it more real than ever. Everybody was invested in such a way that it made it impossible to be critical. We were all playing roles we'd assigned ourselves. Even I, in my pink shirt, pissed because I'd failed to score a one-on-one with Stevie J or Joseline before they peeled out in an old-school Cutlass.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" Joeff yelled through the passenger window at Joseline.

"I wanna be a dicksucker!" she said with a winning smile.

At least she was up-front about it.

Video edited by CL photo intern Heather Hendricks. Shot by Joeff Davis. Interviewer: Rodney Carmichael. Season 2 of "Love & Hip Hop Atlanta" premieres tonight on VH1 at 8 p.m. EST.

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