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February 27, 2015

Faces From Ferguson: Ashley 'Brown Blaze' Yates

Ashleyyatespersonalonetimeuse Ashley Yates

In the basement of St. Louis' Saint John's United Church of Christ at the end of the Labor Day weekend, Yates recounted almost a month's worth of harrowing encounters with a militarized police force to a room of Black Lives Matter freedom riders. She woefully explained that as the days bled into one another, she began "marking days by police tactics."

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NeNe's Back for a Second Round of 'Housewives'

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For NeNe Leakes, the tell-it-like-it-is firecracker on Bravo's 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta,' returning for a second season of the hit reality television series was a no-brainer.

BV Newswire got a sneak peak at the first episode of the new season and chatted up Leakes. She told us how it feels to be back on TV, why she's still the same NeNe and the reason she can't respect a weak-ass woman.

"We got great reviews the first season, and people loved me. So, when they said [there would be a] second season...it was on," Leakes declared.

To say that the first season did well for the cable network would be putting it mildly. Although Orange County and New York versions of the 'Housewives' franchise premiered first, the ladies from the Peach State became Bravo's first reality show to hit more than 2 million adult viewers in the 18-49 age range. The reunion special pulled in an impressive 3 million viewers.

With that celebrity came wide-spread criticism that this batch of mothers, wives, divorcees and businesswomen are not really as wealthy some of their counterparts. Leakes says that she's frustrated that the black community has been at the root of these rumors.

"The black community just talks about one another and don't truly support each other the way that they should. People say, the Atlanta housewives are posers, but I can say this, NeNe Leakes, I don't pose. I don't front. I am not superficial. What you see is what you get."

She continued, "I think they say that because we are black....black people are flashy. We like to be the boss, baby."

Real Deal On Real Housewives of Atlanta

    Real Deal On 'Real Housewives of Atlanta'
    It looks at though Bravo has another hit on their hand with their latest reality series, 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta.' With a 20 percent increase from its 'New York City' predecessor, the much-buzzed about "docu-drama" -- which follows the life and times of some of Atlanta area's rich and shameless has become a sensation of the blogosphere and the water cooler. BlackVoices.com invites you to take an inside look at the major players of the seven episode series that has become the latest guilty pleasure for millions of TV viewers.

    Sheree Whitfield
    Single mother of three, Sheree previously owned a popular clothing store, Bella Azul, in Atlanta. Now, she has closed shop on the store to focus on her first clothing line called "She by Sheree." In the show's pilot she declared that she expects her alimony to be seven figures and allow her to maintain or exceed the lifestyle she had when married to NFL player Bob Whitfield. Sheree maintains an entourage of personal assistants, publicists and hair stylists at all times.

    Bob Whitfield
    Shereé's soon to be ex-husband is former NFL offensive tackle Bob Whitfield. The two are currently in the midst of a three-year long divorce battle. In episode 2 of 'Housewives' we see Whitfield picking up one of the couple's three children, Tierra. Whitfield announced his NFL retirement in 2007.

    Lisa Wu Hartwell
    Lisa is the career woman of the group. In addition to owning her own real estate firm, Hartwell & Associates, she also has a jewelry line and baby clothing line. She's a mother of three and just married NFL player Ed Hartwell. Her ex-husband is R&B singer Keith Sweat.

    Ed Hartwell
    After four successful seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and two with the Atlanta Falcons, Ed Hartwell just recovered from an injury and has been working out with his wife Lisa to get back in shape to return to the NFL. Hartwell and Lisa have a one-year-old son, EJ together.

    Keith Sweat
    Lisa Wu Hartwell shares two sons, 13-year-old Jordan and ten-year-old Justin, with R&B singer and her ex-husband Keith Sweat. Lisa has been very vocal during her interviews over the past few weeks about how she was disappointed that Sweat refused to sign a waiver to allow their two sons to participate in the show's taping. Sweat has no regrets about his decision, and told Essence.com, "I do not want my children exploited in that way. It would be different if this was more of a family-oriented show on Nickelodeon or Disney."

    Deshawn Snow
    Lifting a finger around her home is not something that Deshawn Snow wants to worry about. After moving into her dream home in Alpharetta, Georgia, she attempts to hire a chef, governess, and full staff to maintain her palatial mansion. In addition to being the mother of three boys, Snow runs a non-profit, The DeShawn Snow Foundation, dedicated to improving self-esteem for teenage girls.

    Eric Snow
    Deshawn Snow and her husband NBA veteran Eric Snow were college sweethearts. Eric began his professional basketball career with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1995. He has since played for the Seattle SuperSonics, the Philadelphia 76ers and now is a guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Last year, he was named co-captain of the Cavaliers, a leadership position he shares with LeBron James.

    Kim Zolciak
    Divorcee Kim Zolciak is the lone white woman on the series. The mother of two girls, 11-year old Brielle and six-year-old Ariana, divorced from her ex-husband when she was pregnant with their youngest daughter. She is a stay-at-home mom and aspiring country singer. Kim is closest to Nene on the show. The two have known each other for years and are shopping buddies and all-around hang out partners. Kim spent $18,000 on her daughter Brielle's eleventh birthday on the second episode of 'Housewives.' Kim considers herself a classy lady and decides instead of changing her clothes in a gas station bathroom she would rather do it instead in the parking lot and protected by Nene and her stylist.

    Big Papa
    There have been lots of guesses of who Kim's Big Papa really is. He allowed her to drop sixty-eight thousand dollars on a Cadillac Escalade, so that she can drive the car off the lot. Some say Kim's boyfriend could be a married man and others think he may be private. What we do know is that Big Papa is a celebrity. He resides in Atlanta. Some of Kim's closest friends still do not know who he is and Kim hopes to marry him one day.

Leakes doesn't appear to be suffering by any means. In the first episode of the new season, viewers get an inside look at the mother of two decorating a new home that she and husband Gregg purchased. Her popular best gay friend Dwight turns up to give her tips.

But for Sheree Whitfield, the season premiere showcases more of what the blogosphere has been circulating: Whitfield is not as wealthy as she once was. The aspiring clothing wear designer's home went into foreclosure, a private matter made public, thanks to a large story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The ex-wife of Atlanta Falcons player Bob Whitfield has now downsized to a much smaller home with her two children, but she hasn't slowed down celebrating herself. This season sees her again butting heads with her party planner.

And while it isn't clear whether Kim Zolciak still has aspirations to become a country singer, we learn that the blonde vixen has severed ties with her "Big Poppa" boyfriend and is trying to become financially independent by starting a wig line.

At 38, NFL wife Lisa Wu Hartwell is contemplating having another baby, and NeNe, whose new home is close to Hartwell's, spends more time with her new friend.

Fans of the show will be introduced to the show's newest housewife, Kandi Burruss, the Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter who was a member of the platinum-selling 1990s R&B group Xscape.

As previously reported, NBA wife Deshawn Snow is out of the mix this time around.

From a teaser commercial, it is clear that Leakes and Burruss have a heated argument later in the season.

"I didn't know Kandi before the 'Housewives of Atlanta,' and I still don't know Kandi today," Leakes says. "Kandi came in our circle and prejudged me...she hangs out with Kim a lot, and I think Kim has fed her a lot of negativity."

"I would have appreciated her getting to know me first. I felt like she didn't do that. She is a weak-ass woman 'cause she should have gotten to know me first. How you know Kim ain't telling you a bunch of lies?"

Don't expect Leakes to go down without a fight. Tune in to the new season of Bravo's 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta,' when it returns July 30 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

If you were entertained by Leakes calling Burruss a "weak-ass" woman, wait until you hear what else she has to say in part two of our exclusive interview. Stay tuned!


Mel B Pictures

    In this photo provided by Kraft Foods, Spice Girl "Mel B" poses for a photo wearing a T-shirt she designed based on the classic pink ribbon used for breast cancer awareness, after a fashion show and launch of "Pose for the Cure" web site to help Kraft Foods raise money for the 'Susan G. Komen for the Cure' fight against breast cancer in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008. The shirt is for sale on the web site and the net proceeds will benefit the foundation. (AP Photo/Kraft Foods, Ray Stubblebine) **NO SALES**

    AP

    In this photo provided by Kraft Foods, Spice Girl "Mel B" poses for a photo wearing a T-shirt she designed based on the classic pink ribbon used for breast cancer awareness, after a fashion show and launch of "Pose for the Cure" web site to help Kraft Foods raise money for the 'Susan G. Komen for the Cure' fight against breast cancer in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008. The shirt is for sale on the web site and the net proceeds will benefit the foundation. (AP Photo/Kraft Foods, Ray Stubblebine) **NO SALES**

    AP

    In this undated image released by Oxfam Tuesday Sept. 23, 2008, British singer Mel B participates in the 'In My Name' global campaign calling for action against poverty and demanding world leaders keep their promises on millennium development goals. (AP Photo/Oxfam, HO) ** NO SALES **

    AP

    In this photo provided by Kraft Foods, Spice Girl Mel B, left, serves as the emcee at a fashion show and launch of "Pose for the Cure" web site to help Kraft Foods raise money for the 'Susan G. Komen for the Cure' fight against breast cancer in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008. Mel B wears a T-shirt she designed based on the classic pink ribbon used for breast cancer awareness. The shirt is for sale on the web site and the net proceeds will benefit the foundation. The woman at right is unidentified. (AP Photo/Kraft Foods, Ray Stubblebine) **NO SALES**

    AP

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: TV personality and designer Khloe Kardashian and Olympic-level swimmer and model Amanda Beard (R) pose backstage at the Mel B With Ultimo Spring 2009 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Metropolitan Pavilion on September 9, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images )

    Getty Images

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Ultimo Scottish designer lingerie brand founder Michelle Mone (L) and pop singer Melanie Brown pose backstage at the Mel B With Ultimo Spring 2009 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Metropolitan Pavilion on September 9, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images )

    Getty Images

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Pop singer Melanie Brown poses backstage at the Mel B With Ultimo Spring 2009 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Metropolitan Pavilion on September 9, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images )

    Getty Images

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Pop singer Melanie Brown and Olympic-level swimmer and model Amanda Beard (R) pose backstage at the Mel B With Ultimo Spring 2009 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Metropolitan Pavilion on September 9, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images )

    Getty Images

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Pop singer Melanie Brown and singer Aubrey O'Day (R) poses backstage at the Mel B With Ultimo Spring 2009 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Metropolitan Pavilion on September 9, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images )

    Getty Images

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Pop singer Melanie Brown, Olympic-level swimmer and model Amanda Beard, singer Aubrey O'Day and TV personality and designer Khloe Kardashian pose backstage at the Mel B With Ultimo Spring 2009 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Metropolitan Pavilion on September 9, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images )

    Getty Images

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