Queen Latifah and Nicci Gilbert teamed up to bring Centric viewers a true docu-series of women who fell from the top of their game and are now rising from the bottom up. After a successful run on television, Gilbert, the creator of “R & B Divas” tried her executive production hand again, switching networks and joining the Centric team primarily because of their willingness to highlight women on the rise.
Nicci Gilbert hand selected natives from her hometown of Detroit: Christine Beatty (former Chief of Staff and longtime mistress of Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpartrick); Sarah Stokes (an aspiring singer best known from Diddy’s Making the Band); Stacii Jae Johnson (former Atlanta Mayor’s office staffer) and locally selected actress Crystale Wilson (best known from The Player’s Club) and Kimberly Smedley (illegal butt shot injection surgeon in the black market). What did these women all have in common? Run ins with the law in some form or fashion and severe charges that served as a major distraction and knocked them to the bottom of their career paths.
Actor Clifton Powell gave a moving speech, speaking on how at one point he experienced going through certain situations and losing the long time friends he once had due to the court of public opinion. Powell described Chrystale Wilson as a long time loyal friend who is also a stand up type of person. He applauded her and the cast members for telling their stories and making this show happen in an attempt to help another person gain like courage.
These women are very brave to share on national television their skeletons and secrets. To open up your story requires some serious bravery, especially in the social media world and court of public opinion in which many are scrutinized. It speaks volumes. Some of these women had more severe charges than others; DUIs, attempted murder charges, domestic violence, fraud and money laundering. We will see the journey these women are taking to pull their lives back together.
Hopefully their stories will help to heal others going through similar situations and serve as encouragement for those currently trying to rise from the bottom up. The show, which is airing on Centric, a sister company of BET, is produced by Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit Entertainment.