The “Real Housewives of Atlanta” are back, and anyone tuning in has noticed a distinct change in NeNe Leakes. From reminding her friends and viewers of her time spent on “Celebrity Apprentice” (which she infamously quit) to just plain out saying again and again, and again, “I’m rich!” She could barely get a sentence out with mentioning her come up, over and over. And over.
During her sit down with Sheree Whitfield in episode one, NeNe defended herself against allegations of interfering with Sheree’s money with, “What you don’t understand is while you were running your mouth with [your manger], I was running to the bank, sweetie. To deposit a Trump check. Donald Trump. I am rich. I don’t need anything from you.”
In case we all missed it the first time, she shouted it again. “I am very rich, b—-. Understand? I am very rich.”
During the just-girls getaway to Miami in episode two, Kandi Burruss, who has had money all along, couldn’t quite believe what she’d heard from Sheree about NeNe flaunting her wealth, so she asked. NeNe unapologetically responded, “I told her I’m rich. Guess what? I am.” (Kandi and the other co-stars promptly clowned NeNe’s new catchphrase at Kim Zolciak’s birthday party.)
NeNe’s new tagline (“borrowed from a skit about new money living on “The Chappelle Show”) was so noticeable that when NeNe appeared on “Watch What Happens Live: The After Show,” host Andy Cohen made “rich” the word of the night. Every time NeNe said “rich” readers were instructed to take a sip of their cocktails. Anyone playing along would have had several refills and may have had a hard time making it to the office yesterday.
NeNe explained to Cohen that her boasts of wealth were not about what’s in her bank account, but rather being rich in life as a whole. Of course, that’s what “rich” should mean, but since NeNe’s boasts were directly about money, few bought her explanation.
NeNe, and Cohen, accused the other co-stars of being “haters” because of their response to NeNe’s new found money. Maybe there’s a little envy, but more than anything, I think they were just plain annoyed by the tackiness of it all. The ladies didn’t seem mad that NeNe got paid, and it wasn’t that they didn’t want her to have the lifestyle she desired. It was more like no one wanted to hear about it all the time, especially when everyone she was telling had what she just earned. Nothing’s wrong with getting paid, but let your actions reflect your new lifestyle, not your mouth. And instead of flaunting your blessings, take a shot of humility and be thankful you have them.
Sheree, who’s lived through “having it all” and seeing most of it taken away, summed it up best. “Donald Trump has made her delusional,” she said of NeNe. “As fast as you go up, you can do down — just like a stripper pole.”
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk