Saturday, April 10, 2021

Loni Love Gets ‘Unfiltered’ with Cast of ‘Little Women: Atlanta’ [EUR Exclusive]

LONI LOVE

*Loni Love is executive producer and host of “Little Women: Atlanta Unfiltered,” which airs every Friday night immediately following episodes of “Little Women: Atlanta.”

Every week Loni catches up with the ladies to dish on the week’s drama and they take a look back at some of the hilarious moments that are caught on the show. The ladies will also get candid about some of the more serious life challenges that they go through this season, including the tragic loss of their castmate Minnie.

Loni will take fans of the series behind the scenes to talk about all of the memorable moments including the pain and drama as well as the good times that the cast has together.  

We wanted to give the fans a behind-the-scenes look. So in order to do that, we decided to just have a simple set, have a couple of the ladies come on and just talk about what happened for each show,” Love tells EURweb.com exclusively. “It’s just to make people feel at home because what a lot of people don’t realize is that for the unfiltered shows, the ladies have not seen the cut of the show that we’re showing right before. So this is their first time seeing some of the clips because we wanted to get their true reactions,” she continued. 

“So for them, some are nervous, maybe the episode has had a little drama in it or something like that, so this is the first time that they’re seeing it. But we wanted a nice, chilled, relaxed vibe. Also, we’re going to have performances,” she adds. “We’re going to have a wonderful tribute to Ms. Minnie. It’s nice when you’re an executive producer because you can actually give your input and it’s nice to see what you think actually come to life. So I’m really happy with how that the episodes are turning out.”

Check out the rest of our conversation below with Loni Love about what viewers can expect to see on the aftershow.

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Were you a fan of the series before you signed on the EP the aftershow?

I was a super fan of the series. First of all, the whole Little Women franchise is great, but when they decided that they were going to do the Little Women Atlanta, I really got invested because these are women that, of course, are women of color, they’re trying to survive. But I think that people have to understand that little women are just like average-sized women, but they have even more obstacles. So to understand and to see that these are women that are hustling, they’re mothers, they are in marriages, but they also have to overcome the obstacle of society not actually … being with them, I thought was very interesting. So that was my first thing, but I love their personalities.

I love Ms. Juicy and Monie and the twins and Abira and just seeing them come together in this sisterhood was fascinating to me. So I just loved the whole series and I’m just glad to be a part of it. To answer your question, I’ve been working with Lifetime on some other projects. So you saw me do the Salt-N-Pepa after-interview from their show. My production company that I opened up, True Love, Inc., we’re trying to work on projects that uplift inspire and encourage women. So Lifetime was one of the networks that agreed to work with me and I’m just excited to start working with them. So naturally, after that, we decided to see if we could do an after-show for Little Women and it’s turning out so great. I’m just happy that these women are getting their due.

Will you follow the Little Women hashtags on Twitter every week to see what the fans have to say about Unfiltered?

Definitely. We do a live tweet session every Friday night because there’s so much drama that’s happening. Also, because of the passing of Miss Minnie, the fans want to be heard. So we decided to do a live tweet session every Friday while the show is running and that’s the beauty of social media. Also, we do some live hits with the actual cast members. We also put up clips that we think are very intriguing for social media so that the fans, they get to say what they want to say and they get to put in their comments because we are a family when it comes to this. So I’m happy that we do have social media at this time so that you can have that instant gratification and instant reaction from the fans.

Will watch new episodes of Little Women for the first time each week when we do?

For each episode, I have to see the final cut or either, it’s not necessarily the final cut, but I have to see a cut in order to produce the after show. So I get to see it before the women get to see it and that way, I can decide what to actually talk about, what clips to concentrate on, because it’s so much. In 90 minutes, there’s so much that happens with these ladies and I want to highlight all, but I try to pick the ones that are the most intriguing. You just want to make it fair to have, like one week you may have on The Twinz.

The next week, you may have Ms. Juicy along with Abira or you have Monie on. We also have other women that are not the permanent cast, but the co-castmates, like Tamera. We have them to come on as well. So I have to look at it in order to develop the after show. So I do get a little peek first before they do. But I’m telling you, to see their reactions, that’s gold to me, because then while we’re taping the after show, it’s like, “Okay, what are you thinking?” It’s like, “Wow,” just to see their reactions. So I love that part.

LITTLE WOMEN ATL - LONI LOVE

Something we don’t get to see as fans and viewers, we don’t get to see what happens after the tape stops rolling. So have there been moments where cast members come up to you afterward and they’re like, “Loni, really? Did you have to show that? Did we have to go there?

Well, we haven’t taped all of the after shows. We’ve only taped about five or six because we wanted to make sure that we got in the Ms. Minnie tribute. But so far, I’m going to tell you, initially, the only person that knew me was Ms. Juicy. The other girls didn’t and so it was really hard that first day of getting them to trust me because I think they thought that maybe it was a reunion type of show, but this is not a reunion show. This is just us talking about what happened for that specific episode, understanding where their mind was. We also play games, we have fun. I didn’t want this to be something where it would be tense and it’s more about a celebration and the laughs and look at the funny things that they do.

It’s not to go over the, “What’s the drama?” I just didn’t want that for the after-show. Now on a few, maybe, I may ask them a couple of questions, but mostly these shows are lighthearted and fun, more behind-the-scenes. That’s what I wanted and once we got through the first couple of episodes, now the cast, they’ve built a trust in me. They know I’m not trying to get them, but that we’re just trying to have fun. There is one episode coming up with the twins and Abira and if you’ve been watching the show, there is some tension between Abira and The Tiny Twinz. So I had to have them on an aftershow together and it was tense at first, but in the end, it came out really, really well. So you get to see all of that. That’s why you have to watch the after shows because it’s just as great as the actual episodes.

How did you approach the tribute for Minnie? 

The thing is as women of color and Black people, we know how to give a proper homegoing to our people and so we definitely give a tribute to Ms. Minnie, but we also want to talk about just how great she was. So it’s like, yes, you’re sad, but also, I felt like as a Black woman, I wanted to celebrate her. She was in the prime of her life, wanted to get to know a little more about her, maybe things that the fans didn’t know about Ms. Minnie. So that’s what we put into the tribute. We also have her mother, Ms. Tammy, as part of the tribute because we could not have a tribute without her.

I’m so happy that she was willing to be part of this because that’s her baby girl. People will be surprised and that’s why I want people to tune in. That’s why I’m doing all of this press because Ms. Minnie deserves a proper tribute. She deserves to be properly celebrated. This is our sister that has gone through so much as a little woman and she was just in the prime of her life. So I want people to celebrate her and to know what she did and to remember her. She will not be forgotten. So I hope that the fans see that when they see this tribute on Friday. I really do hope they believe that and see it.

 

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A post shared by Loni Love (@comiclonilove)

As a fan of reality television, sometimes they can be ratchet, sometimes they’re wild, sometimes there are endearing moments and sometimes at the heart of them, we can learn a lot from the women who star on these shows as we watch them overcome personal life challenges. So I’m wondering, now that you have spent time getting to know the Little Women of Atlanta, what would you say is at the heartbeat of this series? Is sisterhood is the through-line of the Little Women saga?

I’m going to answer your question, but the first thing is about reality shows. I think that for a long time, you didn’t get to see Black women or in prime time. If you did, it was one or two of us on, maybe, a scripted show or a sitcom. You never seen too many of us. It’s just a handful of us that have actually had a lead in a sitcom and there are a few of us that, when I say league, where you’re the star. Reality shows, no matter what anybody wants to say and argue, you cannot argue for the fact that you have had more women of color in prime time, in prime time, because of reality shows whether you liked them or not.

It shows a part of Black life that I think people didn’t realize. So I used to be one of those people that’s like, “Oh my God, I think that reality shows are embarrassing us. I just don’t like it.” It depends on what type of reality show it is. But I’m a person, I believe you have to give credit where credit is due. You have to look at the good part of it. For over a good part of 10 years, we’ve seen more women of color and Black women in prime time and it’s because of reality shows. Now with that said, there’ve been good and there’ve been bad. Without drama, a lot of these shows would not exist and that is just the truth. You can’t bypass that.

So when I look at a show like Little Women, it’s interesting because they are little people and I’ve never had a little person as my friend. This show has introduced me to living a life of what is life like if I had little women as my friends? So for me, that’s good and that falls within my brand of helping to inspire and encourage and uplift other women. So I just believe that we can say what we want about reality shows, we want them to get better and it’s up to us, the Black creatives, to push. It’s up to us, the people that start in these reality shows, to try to push the narrative and make it more positive, make it more uplifting. But yes, there will be some drama.

A lot of times the drama is just real-life drama that we all go through, that we can all relate to and it may be a little bit over the top, but it is what it is. So when it comes to picking projects and things like that, I am proud of the little women and I’ve learned so much from them that it has helped improve me. Overall, and the answer to your question, yes, it is a sisterhood and you could see it. This was a tragedy that happened in the middle of the casting. Not only did we have the pandemic while they were shooting this season, but you had the racial injustices.

Then to have a tragedy where you lose one of the cast members, that’s a lot on a show. So the question is, will they come together? Do you have the guilt of maybe you had some unresolved issue with the person that passed? That’s real-life stuff. So as a viewer and as a fan, you can learn from that. You could see how it progresses, how it comes out, but this is real. I’m proud of them. I’m proud of this season and I just hope people tune in and continue to understand and have fun with these women.

“Little Women: Atlanta Unfiltered” airs every Friday night at 10:30pm ET/PT immediately following “Little Women: Atlanta” at 9pm PT/ET on Lifetime.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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