Keke Wyatt is no stranger to reality TV. Many watched her on TV One’s R&B Divas where she starred alongside other powerhouse R&B vocalists like Kelly Price, Faith Evans, Chante Moore, Syleena Johnson and more. Today, Wyatt states that she wasn’t always portrayed in the best light on the show. In fact, she says editors and producers made her look like “a horrible person.” Then there was her stint on Marriage Bootcamp, where she appeared with her now ex-husband Michael Jamar Ford. On that show, she said famously, through tears, that no one understood her.
But in her new show, Keke Wyatt’s World on WE tv, audiences will get a better understanding. In the new reality series, Wyatt manages mothering 11 children, nurturing her marriage to Zackariah Darring, and releasing a new project after a six-year hiatus. As she says in the show’s introduction, “You thought you knew Keke Wyatt but you don’t know me.”
ESSENCE had a chance to chat with the enigmatic singer about the show, motherhood, her youngest son’s current condition as he deals with the genetic disorder Trisomy 13, and her new music.
ESSENCE: What made you want to come back to reality tv?
I wouldn’t necessarily say wanted to come back but I was open to come back when I was offered executive producer on my show. That made me be like, “Okay, they can’t just edit words together and just do whatever they want to do without my say so.” Plus, I have a special needs baby and I want to help other mothers and families that may be going through. I also want my fans, I call them friend-fans, to be able to see directly into my home, see what we’re going through with the baby, while mothering all of our other children and trying to get along with my husband and juggling my career.
How is your youngest son Ke’Zyah doing?
He’s doing wonderful. I just got a weird, random text of him in a walker moving around in the walker. That was crazy. I can’t even…God is good.
How would you say motherhood has changed now that some of your children are adults?
Oh girl, it’s crazy. When I was a tater tot, I used to always hear they go from being on your feet to being on your heart. And it’s so true. They’re not on my feet anymore but they are on my heart. And it’s crazy because as much as I’m crazy about my younger ones and so overly protective, I’m the same way with my older ones because I’ve had more time with them. They’re still my babies even though they think they’re grown. They’re still my babies. They’re driving…oh God! You should see me, I be like, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…” It’s crazy. That’s probably where a lot of people get gray hair from, them older babies.
Tell me about bringing your own mom onto the show. How did that happen?
Honey, she’s my momma. Everywhere I am, she is. Everywhere she is, I am.
Did you have to convince her or she was just down for it?
She was like, “Girl, whatever chile. Honey, hurry up.”
You’re releasing an album for the first time in six years. What about now felt like the right time to release music?
Life circumstances and just the things that I’m going through. It’s a good way to relieve the pressure and release the worry and just feel good, feel free and feel like a woman; feel sexy on some songs, on other songs feel like I’m saying what I need to say.
How do you balance being a mother, wife, artist?
Of course, it all starts out with love, honey. Trust me. The love of it all. But you have to watch the show so you can see. I can show you better than I can tell you.
Why should people tune into the show?
I think they should tune in if they’re trying to navigate through life and they keep hitting a brick wall and they’re trying to figure out how to get through certain situations that I may have already been through or going through. Maybe I can show them how to get through. Because I’m definitely one who don’t want to listen to nobody who ain’t been through nothing.
Keke Wyatt’s World airs on Thursday nights on WE tv at 9 p.m. ET with new episodes available on the popular AMC streaming service ALLBLK every Monday.