If you are not an Empire fan, then you probably don’t know that our very own Miss Lawrence was on Empire last night dolled up to the nines and looking fantastic as usual. And she got to SING! It was my favorite of the 99 cameo appearances on the show and the one with the most face time. Congrats to Miss Lawrence!
Interestingly enough, someone sent me this great interview that BET’s Clay Cane did with Miss Lawrence lately and I wanted to share some of it with you. I really encourage you to click the link above and read the interview in its entirety. I’m going to need to purple pen this just a little bit.
First, here is what she told BET about being cast on Empire.
BET: Tell us about your appearance on Empire, you must be really excited.
I’m super excited! I met Lee Daniels a few years ago; he came up to me at a restaurant and introduced himself. He had recognized me from being on Bravo. (WOW! How cool is that!?) Fast forwarding to Empire, which was gaining tremendous amounts of success, I’m in Bevy Smith’s dressing room goofing around and I go into an impromptu skit of Cookie and Jamal Lyon. Bevy is recording me, she sends it to Lee and says, “Hire this girl!”
Few months later, Bevy gets a phone call from Lee and he’s like, “Somebody told me that Miss Lawrence can sing!” He asked Bevy for me to send him something; I recorded the first verse and hook of Sylvester‘s “Mighty Real.” About two weeks later, Lee Daniels calls, tells me I could sing and puts Lenny Kravitz on the phone. (WOW!!!) Lenny is telling me how much he loves my voice. He gave the phone back and Lee said, “I’m gonna be in touch.” I jokingly said, “You need to put me on Empire!” and he said, “I got you!” Casting called, gave me my dates, I went, did it and there’s nothing that I would change about what I did there. Lee was extremely impressed and very happy.
And now for the RHOA stuff.
BET: What do you think about Amiyah Scott, a transgender woman, coming to Real Housewives at Atlanta?
Amiyah is a dear friend of mine. She’s a sweetheart. I try not to look at it as a transgender woman coming to the Housewives; I look at it as this beautiful model that’s coming on the show. I don’t know what her storyline will be, but I look at it as excitement for the show. I think the show needed a face-lift and I think Amiyah is great for that.
This makes it seem like Amiyah has a recurring role. I do no think that is the case. I think she came to Cynthia’s Eyewear Launch and that is about it. She probably had enough really quickly after that.
BET: Some people have felt like some of the women of Real Housewives of Atlanta are unconsciously homophobic — Nene saying “Queen,” Porsha getting caught with her anti-gay video a couple years ago and Marlo saying “f****t.” Are people being too critical or is there some unconscious homophobia? (Thank you Clay Cane for asking the question we have all wondered about. Except it’s not homophobia, it’s gay bashing and there is nothing unconscious about it.)
I left the Housewives of Atlanta for that very reason — well, that’s one of the reasons that I left. We don’t hold a lot of women accountable for culture appropriation. They love to borrow from the culture, steal intellectual property from the gay community, ( oh hey now, I get that the RHOA sort of began the mainstream propagation of gay slang, but it is hardly intellectual property. Also you can expect inclusion in mainstream society and then want to keep all of your uniqueness just for your community) and most of them don’t give back. The first time an inflammatory situation arises the first thing that comes out of their mouth is “queen” or the whole f-bomb. The one episode where Kenya [Moore]‘s friend got beat up at Nene’s party, no one was held accountable, there was no real apology put in place. (Not only that but at the scene at the Asian spa no one seemed concerned that Brandon DeShazer was attacked at all!) I knew then that was not a place to occupy my time. I knew that there’s no way I can call myself a social activist and be a real activist for my community on that show. I’m not angry with them; I just think they need to be educated. At some point, we as a community have to make them respect us. It saddens me that most gay prides, especially Black gay pride, when they want to book celebrities, you look on the flyers, there’s a Porsha Williams on the flyer, Nene Leakes or Marlo Hampton. What exactly have they done for our community? We don’t hold them accountable. Excellent points. I do wish that you would have spoken out more on the show about these issues.
Are you saying part of the reason you left the show was because of the homophobia you saw?
I don’t want to call them homophobic, that’s not what I’m saying. I don’t think they’re homophobic. What I’m saying is, they need to be held accountable for the cultural appropriation (cultural appropriation is what makes this country great. We all need to interrelate. While the gay community does have it’s own jargon, it would be a mistake to say that straight people can’t use certain phrases much the same way as if someone told you to stop appropriating straight culture. It’s a ridiculous concept either way.) and they need to understand how to respect our culture — what’s appropriate to say and what’s not. (This I understand. Perhaps I am misunderstanding your previous comment. Everyone needs to learn to respect cultural differences.) I can almost assure you that if a white man was on a reality show and he got upset with a Black woman and said, “Black bitch,” it would be a huge uproar across America. But it’s OK if a Black woman calls a gay man a “queen” or “f****t” … some of these women, especially Marlo Hampton, when she said that years ago, it was a teachable moment for her. She didn’t know it was because of the way she was raised. She expressed that to me. She came to me privately and apologized, it was a teachable moment and a person like that I can respect.
BET: Did you ever feel like you were an accessory to these straight women on Atlanta Housewives?
Absolutely! Not everybody, I have genuine friendships with some of the girls, but I do know that most of it came out of convenience. Most of it came out of being the token gay.(You were not the token gay. There are tons of other gay men on the show) The go-to person, “Oh, I need a new word to say, I need some gay slang! How do I say, ‘Yaasss’?” (Ah, I am glad he sees Nene for what she is. Perhaps the intellectual property theft comment was about Nene stealing everyone else’s phrases and selling them on shirts. I had no idea she was bold enough just to approach Miss Lawrence and say, “tell me all your signature phrases. So tacky. But it is Nene we are talking about.) All of that type of stuff. When you know better, you do better. With me, I’m moving in a different direction just with who I am. So I’m still friends with all the girls and I love them dearly. They’ll do well.
I wish the interviewer would have taken it a step further and asked Miss Lawrence about how she felt about Andy Cohen exploiting flamboyant gays and women in negative ways. But since Andy put him on two TV shows, I doubt he would have answered honestly.