Check out the July 18, 2017 episode of ESSENCE Now, where we discuss Romeo Miller's 'Growing Up Hip Hop' and R. Kelly's alleged cult of women.
[BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] I'm Makho Ndiovu and welcome to Essence Now, the live show of black women come come first. Hey you all. Now coming up on today's show, Romeo Miller dishes on the new season of Growing Up Hip Hop. Plus, just in time for this Sunday's season premiere, Issa Rae gives us an exclusive look into the Insecure writers Room, but right now it's time for the Hot List, the biggest stories you're buzzing about today. [MUSIC] Here's some good news. The Texas police officer who was fired for killing teenager Jordan Edwards has officially been indicted for murder. Back in April, Officer Roy Oliver shot into a car that Jordan and his brothers were riding in as they were attempting to leave a party that had gotten out of hand. Now that you'll remember that the police originally said that the car was driving towards the officer but body camera footage quickly proved otherwise. The district attorney on the case said that [UNKNOWN] Oliver was not quote a political statement but just the right thing to do. Hm, now let see if we can get a conviction. [MUSIC] So, are T.I. and Tiny back together or not? All thought Tiny filed for divorce a while back, the two have been pretty cozy with each other lately. First, Tiny dedicated one of her escape performances to Tip, and then TI went on an Instagram about how the two had broken up but had evolved to something kinda conditional. Okay, whatever that means, and now the shade room has photos of the two cuddled up on Tiny's birthday-cation in St. Lucia. monica_itsbeenreal commented, they don't know what they are, Jackoboxx wrote, get dogged and played and talked down in public But as long as he take u on a trip all is well? LOL #newgenerationgoals ..sad. After Buzzfeed's explosive story about an R.Kelly cult hit the Internet One of the women at the center of the controversy is speaking out. Jocelyn Savage has told TMZ that she is not being held against her will by the singer, and that her parents overreacted by the contacting the authorities. But things got a little weird when she was asked for her location. Watch this. Are you currently in Georgia or where are you? No, I'm not. I wouldn't wanna speak on that. It's real. Are you with other roommates? Are you free to go from where you are? No. I won't speak on that as well. Hmm. Now, R. Kelly is vehemently denying Buzzfeed's claims. But Jocelyn's parents are sticking to their story, and they said, they'll see R. Kelly in court if necessary. So that's todays viewer's poll, Do you believe Buzzfeed's report about R. Kelly having a cult of young women? Send us your votes right now using the hashtag #ESSENCENOW, because we're talking about it next. It's Tuesday, July 18 and It's time for ESSENCE NOW. [MUSIC] You're watching Essence Now. Now if you're watching for the first time, hey there! We air every Tuesday at 3:00 PM right here on Twitter and on Essence.com. I'm hour host Makho Ndlovu and we always, always want to hear from you. So send us your comments and questions anytime using the hashtag essencenow or email us At email@example.com if you ever wanna come on the show to sound off on hot topics. We'd love to have you, we really would. All right, you all, this Buzzfeed article about R Kelly is a doozy. The website claims that Kells has been recruiting women to be a part of what is It's effectively a cult where he controls what they wear, who they talk to and more. Now more of the young women are legally adults. And many of their parents encourage the relationship with R. Kelly thinking that the singer would help their music career. And R. Kelly and one of the women at the center of the controversy are both denying the claim. But we're asking you. Do you believe BuzzFeed's report about R Kelly having a cult of young women? Use the hashtag, #ESSENCENOW, to vote A, YES, considering his history. Or B for NO, the women are consenting adults. And we'll read the results later on in the show. But let's do a quick check in with our ear to the social streets. Kayla, hey Kayla. Hey. What are folks saying on social media? The comments are already coming in. So on Twitter, @chrisscoop this man needed help as a child, still needs it as a result At no need is, God, would you just leave this man alone? Sandy [UNKNOWN] says, [LAUGH] lock his behind away, let the inside deal with them. Maloney Osbey says, soon as these girls went with him, why didn't the parents call the police then? Hm. Very interesting comments. Please make sure to keep those comments coming in. This is such a hard topic and we wanna hear from you definitely. Now switching gears, joining us in the studio is the man we watch grow up in this spot light and he is back for another season of the Hate We TV show growing up. Which premiere is this Thursday, July 20th. Please welcome back to Essencenow Romeo Miller! Hey Romeo! How you're doing? You're looking beautiful. Thank you so much! I appreciate that. And ladies he looks handsome. He looks just as good in person. Now on the last season of the show, we saw you and Angela sort of going through a rough patch. What is your relationship status with Angela now? What is my relationship status? Yeah! I haven't tune in. You gotta tell me->> The light 20 and third they didn't know all of that. Come on, that's why it's on TV. I can't tell you everything, then you're not gonna watch the show. Can you at least tell me if you all are friends, you're all on good terms right? I think we'll always be friends. We've had a connection from day one. Being honest, we're business partners on this. We created Growing Up Hip Hop and now [UNKNOWN] see it. Having franchises like Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta and hopefully we'll have Miami. Yeah. Japan. I don't know. Wherever we could go. But that was always the vision but we'll always have that connection. I love that you have executive producer title. Now, speaking of Angela though, how did you feel about her pregnancy announcement and her relationship news? What were your thoughts on that, Romeo? Look, I found out like everybody else. Y'all Scene on season two. But it's one of those things where life hits you fast sometimes. I'm just happy for her overall. I mean, it's always a blessing bringing life into this world And she have like the cutest little baby ever so. And you've met the baby, the baby is so cute, right? Yeah it's literally the cutest baby, I've got damn baby fever. Now, did you ever at one point, and she's such a beautiful woman and you're a handsome young man, was there ever any point that you wanted a relationship with Angela? Yeah, well that's, this is what people don't understand. When you're a guy and you're a woman you meet one way that connection, so when we first met it was that, we were talking because we did have that connection, was attracted to each other But then we realized, we don't want to ruin anything and it's not all about the physical aspect and we grew to be great friends. So, God work in mysterious ways and now she's one of my best friends. We have a hit TV Show. That's awesome. Season three. Yeah, season three this Thursday. Yeah. Now, you're quite a heart-throb. There were ladies screaming at you at Essence Fest in New Orleans. Who, me? Yes, at you, yes. So tell me about your music career. Are you- [LAUGH] [LAUGH] We saw you on stage performing. Yes. Are you still performing? Do you have any intentions of growing that? Yeah, music always, that's my passion, that's where it started. My Pops founded No Limit and built that. And I'm always gonna love music but it came to a point where I was so successful at a young age to where people stopped doing music with me for the passion and more about the money. What can they get out of it? But now I found that passion again. And like they say, lightning strike twice. And I'll be coming back. And I'll tell you all first. Okay, tell us first, yes. The name of my new single is called Idol. It's featuring my pops and I'm in the works with Gucci and Kodak Black right now. I'm gonna reach out to Lil Wayne. So I'm trying to bring back that vintage New Orleans style with a little bit of vintage loving. I love that. So no limit in cash money, working together on a Romeo album. Yeah that's why my first single, we're working together. Okay, can you tell us when that's coming out, or what we can->> Can't tell you. You just got to follow me Instagram and you'll know, @RomeoMiller. [LAUGH] [LAUGH] Now what about your acting cuz we've seen the acting on the show and that you really wanted to really pursue your Acting career. Are you still acting as well as doing the music as well? Well, let me tell you something about my acting, okay? Yeah. I got six movies coming out at the end of this year. Six, one, two, three, four, five, six? It's all types. Actually, I did a movie with Karrueche. It's called Never Heard. It's faith based movie. And I have a drama called Adolescence based off a true story of this kid who was chasing love and literally lost his life, three times chasing love.. I have an action movie called Dead Trigger. And I'm actually starting up my own film company and film studio called Romeo Land Studios which will be based out of Miami. I just got greenlit for three movies that I'll be starring in and directing in I wrote. So I have that coming, so Romeo [INAUDIBLE] studios, I got my comic series, thedream.com. You're busy. Yeah I'm busy. There's a lot, I mean you've gleaned so much from your dad, he's taught you so much about the entrepreneurial spirit, and one of the things we love seeing on this show is the relationship you have with your dad. Yeah. [LAUGH] Which is very interesting, but what is your relationship like with your mom? Yeah, you know I love my mom to death. But the thing that happens with TV and then just social media in the world, everybody has an opinion. There's nobody on this planet who love my mom more than me. But the thing is we are only human. And certain people go through certain struggles. So you know when I was on the show where my mom had the whole suing thing. She was being led by lawyers who don't care for her. Because these lawyers wanted one thing Money. They didn't care about my mom, they wanted money. And she finally seen that. And now you know we're building and building, and I'm happy. You know, I put it in God hands and he definitely been working. That awesome, I'm so happy to hear that. Now, [INAUDIBLE] To go.You have to dive deeper [INAUDIBLE] I'm just saying [INAUDIBLE] We're gonna talk about your relationship status. Are you, what is your relationship status? Are you single? Are you- [INAUDIBLE] help me out with [INAUDIBLE] What is- It's all right I was in a relationship, and what I learned from my past relationships is that You know you can love somebody but that doesn't mean that that's the person for you. And you can't let you know your surroundings and just all of that depend, you can't be locked in a bos when it comes to love. So I'm just trying to be free, meet more women out there. This season, actually I'm going [UNKNOWN] I'm going on dates. Okay, so we get to see that on the show. Yeah, I may find love, I may not find love, but I'm following the vibes, baby. That's what I'm doing right now. Well, as you're going out on these dates, you gotta have a list of things, or just at least an idea of what qualities you look for. What are some of the qualities that you look for in women? I love smell. Smell, okay. [LAUGH] I love a smart woman. Okay. What else I like? It's like I'm very open. As long as you got brains and you smell good, you in there baby. [LAUGH] You get your nails done. So those are the only two qualities. What should she smell like? I mean she, strawberries, is there a particular perfume that you like or it's just- Just smell good but The most important thing is, I like a God fearing woman too. So, that's the most important. I go to church every Sunday, we have a bible study at my house. So, just a God fearing woman. Somebody who is, you know, focused and determined. Because to understand a man like me. You have to be very passionate and determined yourself. Mm-hm, and you're so busy, passionate and determined and so busy, and we're getting to see all that. Yeah. On growing up hip hop. Now Romeo, do you watch any of the other franchises? Do you watch Atlanta or. Atlantic in the cutting room, but honestly, I've seen bits and pieces when I get time I'm a go watch everything over. Okay. I'm just on season two of Orange is the New Black.>>Okay.>>Okay. So i'm catching up on everything [LAUGH] And Insecure, you watch all those shows.>>Yeah. All the shows.>>Okay. Cool.>>Netflix and chill and it's my thing baby.>>So just smell good and have a brain.>>Yeah. You make it sound so easy. It's hard actually And remember to tune in this Thursday to WeTV for an all new season of Growing Up Hip Hop. And coming up, we're talking about BuzzFeed's explosive article on R Kelly and revealing the results of today's viewer poll. But first, who's ready for the return of Insecure? Romeo and I are, on Sunday, yep. Well we recently caught up with Issa Rae to discuss the show's breakout success, and she even let us inside the writers room. Watch this. [MUSIC] Welcome to the writers room. The good thing about having a show, is that you're able to curate who you work with. And now I find myself having the teachable moments, and just like. Cuz white people are the minority in our, we're heavy on the LGBT side, so, making sure it's like a safe space to just be yourself. So that's the best part. The microaggressions just don't exist as much. So if anything, you just have to have an open mind to be in the room. [LAUGH] The first hire was Was our children [INAUDIBLE] study. And believe it, in terms of being a director and [INAUDIBLE] her own crew, who she works closely with were all on the same page, like we all want to get in these rooms. People who Don't necessarily have the opportunity. It's about giving people a chance as opposed to recycling the same people that we use over and over again. So we're just thankful to be on a network that supports that. [MUSIC] It's exciting just to see how people are reacting. Yeah, [UNKNOWN] some of our writers are Proud members of the [UNKNOWN]. Anyway. [LAUGH] You know what, Esa and I share a name, that does not mean that I'm anti-Lawrence, I just am team Esa. We knew we were breaking them up. We kinda knew that that's where the season was going. Stop calling me. I'm done. Originally episode seven was going to be the finale. It was just supposed to end with Lawrence leaving. Lawrence was supposed to leave. And it was just in the earlier with just a kiss. [UNKNOWN] them having sex and then they were like. [UNKNOWN] Lawrence is a great guy I think they just Didn't communicate well or in time enough. But I'm always gonna ride for my girl. When working with HBO, we have the constant conversation of notes. And one of the things that came up is. Is like don't wait for stuff to happen, just like make the action happen. So that was kinda all the go we needed because eventually it was supposed to just be a kiss between Daniel and Ethan. He thought he did that in Episode 201. She already kissed Daniel. You can only cheat on Lawrence once so we decided that we're gonna have Esa have sex with Daniel in 205, and of course You can't have an action and not have consequences. And so, the discovery happening in 207 and then him retaliating in 208 just seemed natural. And we didn't even think anything of- Not at all. I think Prentiss was like he should just be like having sex with Tasha at the end [LAUGH] and we were like yeah, that makes sense. And we didn't think that would be a moment. That people would be so offended by and react so viscerally. [LAUGH] But that comes from even these experiences in the room, like we said that everybody has shared a personal story where there's a small negative vibe or something that's had a huge impact on them in their own personal relationships. And that's what helps the stories to feel so real. Because we're tapping into real human experiences. [MUSIC] I tried to avoid the comment section on my stuff and I could not last. I just you know, you're curious.>>I mean we're buried in terms of reading the feedback of the show.>>Sometimes of course I get in my feelings, I'm like you don't even get it that's why But it's a fun part of the process. I got photoshopped onto Nas' head for his album cover, I did not even draw any parallels or any comparisons to that and the Best Buy t-shirt. We didn't even think about that. But shout out to the Internet. It stays creative. People be on their memes so quick. But I was honored To be featured on [UNKNOWN] [LAUGH] Your watching Essence Now. I'm your host, Makho Ndlovu and everyone is buzzing about this latest R. Kelly scandal. As we mentioned earlier this singers [UNKNOWN] denying Buzzfeeds claims that he recruits young women to be a part of a cult. Here's a quick quick recap, according to Buzz Feed, several people in Kelly's inner circle confirmed that the singer finds women with dreams of stardom, moves them into his homes in Chicago and Georgia and then controls every aspect of their life. But here's the rub, for a lot of these women it was their parents who asked R. Kelly to mentor their careers in the first place. A parent named Theresa says she regrets not taking his 2008 acquittal of child pornography more seriously. Quote she says, my thing was I trusted. I have never been in the music industry before, ever. And the fact is he went to court, he was never found guilty, he was acquitted. And we were led to believe that there was no truth in it. Now I got all these people asking about my daughter, my daughter is there telling me all of that, the charges against Kelly are true. Well how come you didn't tell me that before. Now here to talk about are two people who know the music industry very well is journalist, Please welcome, via Skype, Chuck Creekmore, founder and CEO of All Hip-Hop, and Shanequa Golding. Associate editor for Vibe Magazine. Welcome to Essence Now. Hey Hi Thanks for having me. I know, the pleasure is ours. Thank You. Now Chuck, let's start with you. As the parent of a young daughter, what do you think about the parent statement to BuzzFeed about how they trusted R. Kelly. I mean, I think it's ridiculous. I mean it's just completely laughable. It makes me smile could they even be so stupid? And it's not even funny. A few years ago I wrote a story for another publication about this as a parents. I used to have a father at [UNKNOWN]. And I believe in protecting my daughter at all cost. And I think other parents prioritize other things above their child's Well being and so I think that's where the disconnect is. A lot of parents, unfortunately, put money, potentially fame and career in front of their children, in hopes that they can strike gold and R. Kelly is a successful Hit maker, with a lot of money. That's so unfortunate. Now you've been in the music business for a really long time. Now, how do you think R. Kelly's scandals have affected sales and popularity. Well unfortunately, I don't think it's affected it a lot. I mean obviously he's an older gentleman now, so He maybe regulated to adult contemporary, but in terms of him filling venues and people still doing the step step to the at the barbecue. I think he's in good shape and I think it's unfortunate. I had the most telling moment when he got more applause than the late Jam Master Jay, who was murdered after shortly, I believe Shortly after or around the same time that he was acquitted, and that was a telling moment, that he was still getting cheered despite these very strong allegations of abuse. And in fact, with Aliyah A lot of this was confirmed to be a person who has a predisposition, [LAUGH] a disease, a sickness. Yeah, to young women. Towards young women, and I know young women personally who are older now, but they said they were with their sisters, and they were the youngest person in three of them, and he picked them to Approach. Yeah. These are people I know personally, so it's not just me being a voyeur and having a strong opinion on it. So I'm so glad you brought up the Vibe article cuz [UNKNOWN] is here. And [UNKNOWN] I know that Vibe published A marriage certificate that R Kelly had with Aaliyah. What do you think the allure is? Is it the fame that still has women sort of flocking towards him? The allure is that R Kelly is a talented man. I mean, I'm not condoning in any way, shape, or form, but R Kelly is a singer, and he's a songwriter, and he. Does what he does professionally very well. And especially now in the age of social media where you wanna be famous for not having put in any of your work. I completely understand why somebody might entertain The idea. I do not condone it, but I understand it. You understand the notion why. So you say that you're not shocked at the new allegations. And that you take issue with R. Kelly fans who say, we should be able to separate the man from his art. Why is that? I was born in the 80s, raised in the 90s. Huge Vibe fan, you know, [UNKNOWN]. We wrote our own story on him. If there is one thing that R. Kelly has done throughout his career. He has remained consistent. He has consistently proven to us who he is and what he is capable of. What bothers me, is that. When you hear R. Kelly's music, you know what he is often times referring to. He is referring to sex. And to know that he uses. Of his records are under age, that should bother you. I'm also upset because I just think that the total protection of women physical, mental, emotional protection of women has never been at the forefront of this country. And I also believe that If R.Kelly were accused of sexual assaulting little boys, this would be completely different, hip hop and R and B would have been like no we not doing this. But because it's okay to defile and disrespect women, you hear statements like that, and it's not cool. Particularly black women, right, because a lot of this has been centered around black women. Now, finally, Buzzfeed's article has mentioned that since the women are legally adults, there's not much that can be done. I'm posing this question to both of you, what would you like, both, to see happen next? Well, I would like people to Take their head out of the ground and wake up. I don't believe that there's nothing we can do. I don't believe, the problem that I have Is the music. No one's perfect. We know that all artists have excentric and they have eccentricities or however you wanna put it. But then there's just this other news that surrounds R. Kelly. And I just can't get over it. And those others like him that you just can't move beyond that. And I think This is predator. There's Afrika Bambaataa, unfortunately, stands accused of molesting young boys, young black boys, and very little was done in that case too. So I think we just have to really take a stand beyond the celebrity and we have to again get back to the community collectively. And say is this good for us? Is this person someone that we should hug and embrace and uphold and if you can't answer that with a firm yes then I think it's time for it to stop. It has to stop. Now Shaniqua I'll let you have a last word on this. What do you think should happen next? I think we need to just Not be cool with everything. I think we need to be able to say right is right, wrong is wrong. I think we need to stand firm and say, nah, this is not okay. You can't do this. I don't know when We all started making rent payments in the gray. I don't know when we all started living in the gray and this whole belief that I mean, hey it's all right. If you like it, I love it. No we need to stop doing that. What R.Kelly is accused, has been accused of, and is doing now is flat out wrong and The notion well if you had a daughter you wouldn't want it to happen to them. Maybe. Men, young girls are humans so just stop. And that's it. Just stop. Thank you so much for joining us. I know we all feel so passionately about this. Thank you so much for joining us and this topic definitely has everyone talking. Kayla, what are folks saying on social? Okay, more of a mixed bag, so Juanita Shawntee says,"With his pass, he definitely needs treatment, but I think it's funny how everyone wants the super sexual relations when they were consensual." Roxanna Dunn says, It says it's explain so much about the sexual behaviour. He needs treatment. I pray he gets the help he needs. Women that often become a prey of sexual predators are often victims of sexual stuff themselves. Thea Smith says, I usually don't take time to defend stupid In this but aren't all the women involved grown? How is this different from 50 Shades of Gray, she says. But everyone doesn't feels the same. Terrence Jones says 100% slander. I'm not even that much of a fan but even a blind man can see what's really going on here. He's not here for it. It's really interesting, because a lot of R Kelly fans like they support him, they go to the concert, they go to the tours, but it looks like the comments are overwhelmingly saying that you know what he is doing is not right. And a lot of questions about the parents, and where were the parents, I'm just at for all parties involved. The women, the families, and R Kelly himself cuz he's also talked about being abused himself at a young age, So, there's a lot going on here. Yeah, that's a good point to bring up. Okay, it's time to show the results of today's viewer poll. And we asked you, do you believe BuzzFeed's report about R. Kelly having a cult of young women? And here's how you voted, Ok, 86% say yes, look at his history and 14% say no, the women are consenting adults. Wow! That's really interesting. Thanks to Romeo Miller and all of our guests for coming by. And of course to all of you for watching us live and tweeting along. Now remember to tune in next Tuesday at 3 pm eastern for an all new Essence Now. The live show where black women come first. That's 3 pm eastern right here on Twitter and Essence.com and subscribe to our YouTube channel to see all of our videos. They're really really good. I am Akunzo Vu and I'll see you next week. Bye. [MUSIC]