Whether you’re tuning in or wishing them away, reality stars are the new celebrities. The smart ones figure out how to turn their 15 minutes into a fortune, a $55 million dollar a year fortune if you’re Bethenny Frankel. A handful of black reality stars—Nene Leakes, Tamar Braxton, K.Michelle and Tami Roman—have turned their reality TV fame into a lucrative future. But in all fairness K.Michelle and Tamar had actual talent long before stepping in front of the camera. Both secured the No. 2 Billboard 200 spot when their albums were released in large part because of the audience they’d gained from reality TV. For the women like Nene Leakes who was an unknown name before her debut on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, banking on reality TV to secure rich futures is likely. We all know Nene Leakes is “very rich, bitch!”
Nene is the closest black Bethenny Frankel there is, and in comparison she hasn’t quite reached Bethenny’s status. Why aren’t there more black Bethenny Frankels?
Bethenny used the The Real Housewives of New York City opportunity to launch her Skinnygirls brand, which ultimately led to book deals, a spin-off, a talk show and racks on racks on racks. She was a smart businesswoman no doubt. But certainly she can’t be the only smart one presenting lucrative ideas to larger brands. Are the doors that are open to Bethenny not the same kind of doors open to black female reality stars, or are black reality stars not creating products that have the potential to earn as much as Bethenny’s Skinnygirl Margarita?