Kenya Bell and Kesha Nichols should officially be committed on account that they’ve willingly signed up for the popular VH1 show Basketball Wives. I mean, you’ve got to be insane to expose your life’s darkest tales to the world while being thrust into an experiment-worthy circle of drama-filled days and nights, right? Well, when they were first introduced to us as the “new girls” on the popular TV spot, fans rushed the Internet to investigate just who these women were and we believed just that. From the news, Bell was a former Miss Michigan, knife-wielding psycho looking for 15 minutes of fame. And Nichols? She was solely the NBA dancer or The One Who Was Left At The Altar looking to find solace in front of the camera. But there’s much more to the Detroit native and North Carolina-born, respectively.
Both women made their way onto the show because of time spent (more or less) with basketball players. After being asked twice to join the BBW ranks, Kenya–wife of now Italy ball player Charlie Bell–finally decided to carve out her spot. She plans on making the reality show a forum to clear up her good name and step outside the shadow of her hubby while boosting her music efforts. Currently in a complicated separation with her old flame, who she was reported as stabbing during an altercation, the mother of two maintains her innocence on the matter but does dish about her short stint behind bars.
“First of all, it was all a hot, fiery mess. The truth of the matter is he was not mad. I did not stab my husband,” she explains. “It was horrible experience for me. At this point in my life, I think it changed me for the better because I was taught in that situation that when somebody has problems or issues, it’s not in my place to even try to change them. They need to change them themselves. That’s kind of where that whole drama took me. I think I’m in a better place [now].”
Also in a better place is Kesha. The former bride-to-be of Spurs baller Richard Jefferson was swarmed by a the media storm surrounding her devastating break up, and it still looms. Nevertheless, Nichols is adamant about keeping her time past times with Jefferson out of her future spotlight.
“I don’t want to focus on my relationship with Richard. I feel like that story has been told so many times. I’m over that and it’s in the past,” she says before dishing on her current guy. “I am dating someone now. He’s an amazing person, but he chooses not to be in the spotlight, chooses not to have anything to do with reality TV, and it’s just so amazing that I want to keep that part to myself.”
Due to editing and the new ladies’ individual rights to privacy, I’m sure a lot will be left to the imagination, but one thing audiences can assume is a collide between the personalities of old and the new ladies on the scene. In the past, we’ve seen Meeka Claxton enter into the fashionably dressed yet catty waters of Miami and drown. Even a few of the original cast mates (ahem, Suzie and Jennifer) have been thrown over the deep end due to alleged disloyal behavior and simple childishness. So how will the new duo fair in the Shaunie-led crew?
“I’ve developed some friendships,” says Bell. “Some of the chicks are really cool. I dig cool chicks that are working hard, trying to do their thing. For the most part, we’re all out here trying to make it. I really appreciate that aspect of some of the women.”
As for the southern belle, she’s just trying to bring some positive energy to the mix.
“They already have a Tami, they already have an Evelyn, they already have a Jen and a Royce, so they wanted to bring in someone who would be the anti-basketball wife.That’s kind of what I am,” says Nichols. “I’m very different from them and my reactions are different than the other girls and I’ve never been in my life around a group of people like this. These ladies have short fuse and it’s a learning process for me every single day for me.”
She does mention that she clicked with Royce immediately.
“We have a lot in common. We both don’t take life too seriously. We don’t look for confrontation and we like to get out to do things. We both dance, we cheered, we both ran track, we love to rollerblade. We’re more active than the other girls, and we can be silly together.”
Shedding a bit of their old lives to start a new whirlwind of a chapter may puzzle few viewers, but it makes all the sense in the world for these two. Each are on the brink of beginning new projects. Kenya is finishing up a R&B and pop-inspired album, leading with a record titled “Fly” that is set to release on April 2. “It’s a huge, huge moment for me. I’m pushing [it] to radio stations, and I’m just trying to get it out to let people listen to it. That’s where I am right now.”
On the other side of entertainment, Kesha is building Sugar and Spice, an entertainment company that incorporates dance and female empowerment.
“It’s a dance entertainment company so what we do is perform choreographed routines and live shows for private parties and corporate events. I started Sugar and Spice as a fun side thing when I was dancing with the Nets. My main goal was to be able to perform with my girlfriends and make more money then we would dancing at an NBA game in less time.”
With goals and projects in tow, it seems like maybe a new light will cast upon the show. However, we’re sure to see some shit-starters and fights, indeed. With so much still up in the air until the show premieres this month, one thing is for sure: Bell will combat any flack the ladies catch for not officially being married to the players.
“To me, if a women has been with a guy for years, you know, 10 years or so, just because you didn’t get married but you’ve been together for that long, I think You’ve earned the respect that a wife should get. A lot of these girls met these guys when they were young,” she explains. “A lot of times you meet these guys and they’re younger and the girls are younger and you fall in love and you’re in this situation and you find yourself in it for years. Then, when it’s over, it’s like, ‘Geez, I wasn’t even married.’ To me, that doesn’t speak to who these women are. Just because they aren’t wives doesn’t mean they’re not significant. I think a lot of these women are very significant and were very significant in these players’ lives.”