“VH1 Family Reunion: Love and Hip Hop Edition” is back for its second season, picking up where it last left off, promising to bring Black viewers joy and “a weeklong gathering of friendship, enmity, secrets, fling and forgiveness.”
Prior to the show’s premiere on Monday, December 13, Atlanta Black Star spoke to two of the series’ cast members, singer Brooke Valentine, and her husband, who proclaimed himself “Dr. Black” Marcus Black. The former ‘Love and Hip Hop: Hollywood’ stars presented on a variety of topics, including the decision to return to reality television after a significant hiatus and their journey to start a family together.
Elsewhere, Brooke and Marcus talked about what they’ve been up to, including Brooke’s up-and-coming hair care line and Marcus’ alter ego “Dr. Black.”
Atlanta Black Star: First off, “LHH Hollywood” fans want to know where Brooke and Marcus have been?
Brooke Valentine: “Absolutely difficult parenting. You know, my daughter is now 2. I guess people don’t know, but the last time they saw me, I think the last reunion we did, I was pregnant, like I was entering the second trimester, maybe. So now, you know, we’re doing a great job with that thing, we’ve got a total of three now. So I’m just educating, working.
ABS: We’ve seen many families emerge on reality TV, as we’ve seen with Scrappy and Bambie’s relationship. Why did you decide to get married and start your family behind the scenes, especially since we saw you, Brooke, plan a surprise wedding for Marcus on the show?
BV: I think being on TV can be healthy, and I think taking a break can be healthy too. It can also be a bit – you know – being on TV can also be a bit difficult for some people, where you just have to give something back to yourself. So, you know, and it’s reality TV, you know, but in most of our realities the cameras don’t roll and you don’t have to bother with every little thing you say over and over. You know what I mean?
So for me it wasn’t for me. I’m not judging anyone who decided to shoot while they were pregnant. Before me I have a son, he is 12, and I know what I was like during my first pregnancy. For me, I thought it would be a great idea to step back and not film while I was pregnant. No regrets. I liked it. I’ve enjoyed, you know, just having that time to myself, but coming back to the camera when we just want to go, like, to the family reunion that you guys are going to watch.
Marcus Black: She explained well. Yes. I mean, for us the most important thing was just health, you know, mental health, emotional health, spiritual health. And it was important to us, you know, we wanted her to have a healthy, stress-free pregnancy, you know what I mean? The show comes with so much; look what erica [Mena] went on.
ABS: You two are ready to appear on VH1’s “Family Reunion”. What are you most excited about when you return to television and what are you most nervous about?
BV: I am excited that everyone will have the opportunity to see everyone’s transparency. This was a very real season. I feel like everyone left, whatever rep anyone had, they left that at home. Everyone was very transparent, very open. Marcus and I can both say we got to know a lot of the other castmates better, you know, on a deeper mental level, co-parenting level. We have covered all types of bases as far as talks are concerned. Nothing was – nothing was left uncovered. You know what I mean? So it was really nice to jump in there.
Marcus was given many opportunities to operate for his purpose. And I think people can expect to just go on a roller coaster ride. There will be highs and lows and there will be fights and there will be makeup and breakups and sneaky links and whatever. Bad cooking, good cooking, everything that happens at a family reunion, right? Burgers and some drama.
Well, relive it, you know. There were some tears, you know, there was some anger, there were some sentimental moments. If you go through it and then you have to look at it again with the rest of the world. And not only do you have to feel those feelings again, you have to hear what everyone thinks. So I can’t say it makes me nervous. It does make me a bit uneasy. That part of it is like, oh God, you know, I know I said this, and I know I feel that way, but I’m not that interested in hearing what other people think about that. And I have to deal with that. Because if you log in to Instagram, you will see what kind of people [say] or people think whether you care or not.
MB: I do not care. I have no nervousness. I have no fear. Um, I’m actually most excited for everyone to see the evolution. You know what I mean? It’s not about who you were. It’s about who you are, and it’s about who you want to be and who you become. And I think it’s important that we don’t force people to be prisoners of who they were and let people evolve.
ABS: Brooke, you had some memorable moments on “LHH Hollywood.” What can we expect from the “Family Reunion”?
BV: Nothing has changed. A friend told me – I didn’t know this – a friend told me there are YouTube videos of just me and things I said. I’m like, what? It’s crazy. But I’m still the same person. I haven’t switched. You know, I’ll say I’m a little calmer, you know, a little.
Especially the last season when people saw me, it seemed like I was in some people’s business. And you know we played with a messy Brook, but Marcus was there and these people know they were on my line the whole time. Whether the cameras were rolling or not, I couldn’t shower, wash my face without someone calling me, talking to me about things. And then the cameras start rolling. And suddenly you have to have a vision. You don’t know what we’re talking about.
New. You kept me here until four in the morning. We’re going to talk about this. And let history show that everything I said when someone wasn’t there the next time I saw them, I said it to their face. I don’t play games for them or I called you or whatever. So that’s why we’re still talking to those same people that I had issues with or whatever. It’s respectful. It’s love. It doesn’t matter, because they know.
ABS: Brooke, you got a lot of credit after you released a video of you singing the song “On It” by Jazmine Sullivan and Ari Lennox. Can we expect music from you soon?
BV: I’d just be cool with, you know, the reels and the TikTok here and there. But people let me know that they wanted something more for me, and I feel like they deserve it. I haven’t released any music in a while, I don’t know how long, and my Spotify listeners are still crazy. So it’s like these people are here, they’re loyal, Brooke, give them something. So I’ll tell you I’ve been in the studio again. Marcus brought me back to the studio. I’ve worked with Eric Bellinger. Needless to say Eric Bellinger is amazing. Yes, something small is coming.
ABS: Marcus, tell us about your new venture as the “doctor of love?” What’s that about?
MB: It is truly [an] opportunity for me to walk in who I really am. You know what I mean? It’s crazy, because in my group of friends and in my circle I have always been the person people turn to for advice. I started making videos in my car and just talking about different things, tackling certain things, giving certain advice or whatever, and people started talking to me about Dr. to be called black. My next one is starting to go crazy. I think the last time I was on “Love & Hip Hop” I had maybe 200,000 followers and my number of followers increased by 400 [thousand] From that moment on.
I went on my IG story one day and I asked him “what are you following me for?” They said, “We love Dr. Black. We love to ask questions, get advice and see you with your family.” So I stopped posting other stuff that I was posting, I started posting more of that, and it went through the roof.
abs: Are there any updates on your hair care line that you can give us?
MB: It is a family product because she uses it in her hair. We use it in the kids’ hair and I use it in my head. You know what I mean? I have waves and everything.
BV: We’ve all used it. I had – I got it done and it was just a thing. And I — and, during the pandemic, I’m like, “Okay, why don’t I share what I’m using?” And you know, I was just so busy and so busy with life and whatever I was doing that I just didn’t have time for it. So the pandemic gave me time to sit down with a drug store and really perfect it, to make sure it’s safe for everyone and it’s organic. It smells good and it holds up or whatever, you know? So here we are. We’re here now. I am working on packaging. And then it comes out.
I just want to say I’m covered, ladies. Babies covered. Hey, I’ll tell you something. I covered your dog. Your dog has some hair. I covered your dog.
“VH1 Family Reunion: Love and Hip Hop Edition” airs every Monday at 8 p.m. EST on VH1 and VH1 platforms only.
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