Stevie J and Joseline Hernandez have their game faces on. The Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta couple are at Hot 97’s Manhattan office, crashing a poker match between the radio station’s staff. And despite a series of losing hands, Stevie’s being his usual obnoxious self, bragging about his net worth (he’s got 10-grand to spare) and quoting Jay Z (that “D’usse so myself” line). Worst of all, he’s trashing his ex-girlfriend/daughter’s mother, Mimi Faust. The Atlanta cast member’s shower rod calisthenics in a sex tape with her boyfriend, Nikko, has been a trending topic lately. Stevie isn’t impressed. Joseline’s “got way more curves,” he says. His personal corner woman, Joseline, massages his shoulders and participates in the smack talking via one-liners. They’re both built for this. “I’m an actress,” she says.None of this is real. Stevie and Joseline blew in from Atlanta to tape a cameo for Mona Scott-Young’s latest TV venture, This Is Hot 97, which is more an Office-like mockumentary than the chicks behaving badly programming that’s become Mona’s bread and butter. The made-up scenario for this episode: a poker game gone awry. From the sidelines, next to a conference table cluttered with camera equipment and stray phones, Mona plays point. “I want Joseline to be more playful and funny,” she tells the executive producer, Ian Gelfand. Her tone is warm but authoritative. The entire scene is taped multiple times with different improv lines. “It’s not as exciting as people think it is, huh?” says Mona.Since the original Love & Hip-Hop premiered in 2010—with Dipset’s Jim Jones, singer Olivia Longott and Fabolous’ girlfriend Emily B. among its cast—Mona has been cross-examined about her role in the madness. She’s been painted as a puppeteer for exhibitionists who live by the motto, “Turn down for what?” The drama seems too outrageous to be real. And none of the incessant backlash has forced her to cancel any of the shows. It’s remained Vh1′s top-rated program. (Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta season 2 was the No. 1 cable series among women ages 18-49, averaging 3.3 million viewers.) She may not bust a Nae Nae when ratings slide in, but she does profit from a series that feeds off brawls and stereotypes. Yet, she’s confident in her good intentions and her platform. Her conscience is clear. And that’s the part that pisses people off the most.
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Photo Credit: Stacy-Ann Ellis