Like many of their reality TV counterparts, the cast members of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” are quickly becoming polarized between two camps: Team Kim Zolciak and Team NeNe Leakes.
However, when it comes to this particular “RHOA” feud, Phaedra Parks said she’s trying to stay out of the drama.
“I try to mind my own business. It doesn’t really concern me to be very honest. From the first season, I don’t know if I had a very close friendship with NeNe anyway,” said Phaedra, who has interacted more with Kim thus far on season 4 than NeNe.
While Kandi Burruss still maintains a somewhat strained relationship with both—Kim because of business dealings gone awry and NeNe because of personality clashes—it seems more and more that women on reality shows end up forced to pick sides.
NeNe even accused Kandi of “playing both sides” because she still associates with NeNe’s TV nemesis, Kim.
Phaedra said conflicts should be expected when dealing with such Type-A women.
“It’s inevitable that controversies arise,” Phaedra told Sister 2 Sister. “At the end of the day, everyone has to always remember that we’re all very strong women with very different views and personalities. That’s what makes the show successful. Everybody is a spitfire.”
So far, Phaedra has been one of the few women to avoid engaging in screaming matches with her co-stars. She’s hoping her participation on the show offers a positive and unique view of Black women.
“I definitely realize there’s a lot of stereotyping. I’ve not always had positive thoughts about reality shows,” she admitted, before focusing on current efforts to change that.
“They are trying to embody multi-dimensional depictions by employing women with diverse backgrounds. We also have women of leisure and stereotypical Black women as well. You can see a glimpse of several dimensions of women. So, we don’t have that one character trait that people associate with Black culture or Black women,” she said.
While some reality series are offering more positive and diverse depictions of Black women, Phaedra warned viewers that if they don’t watch those shows, TV execs will assume the stereotypical images are what audiences want to see.
“We want to see strong, educated Black women on TV, but if you’re obviously viewing shows that don’t portray that, and you’re not making your voice heard, then that doesn’t reflect when the voting and who’s renewed takes place,” she said.
Phaedra talks about her exercise DVD in the February 2012 issue of Sister 2 Sister.
—Tracy L. Scott