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March 5, 2015

'Rape Trumps Race': Is Bill Cosby's Image Tarnished in Black History?

Bill Cosby ASSOCIATED PRESS

As Black History Month comes and goes, television shows that foster black pride also come and go. I understand that many black men attached their self worth and their manhood to the character Bill Cosby made famous. In retrospect, I do not believe we need to look at television to give us our self worth.

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Monica: 'Still Standing' with New BET Reality Show and Forthcoming Music

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Monica: 'Still Standing' with New BET Reality Show and Forthcoming Music

Fourteen years ago, a then-15 year-old Monica Denise Arnold burst on the music scene in 1995 with her 'Miss Thang' debut – making history as the youngest singer to ever have two consecutive chart-topping hits on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart.

And since then, she's had her fair share of ups and downs.

Today, her personal and professional life are on display with a new BET reality show, titled 'Monica: Still Standing.' The mother of two sat down with the BV Newswire to chat about where she is in her life and how she was talked into putting her life on display for the world.

"As artists, the media glorifies what happens to us, but they don't tell the kids how we made it through," the Atlanta native said "This show altogether was a blessing...it will encourage the kids to keep pushing through trials and tribulations."

The 'Don't Take It Personal' singer said that she never thought about having a reality television show, but is "excited and grateful" for the opportunity to tell her story and reach people.

And although she and Keyshia Cole are friends and even recorded a song together, Monica clarified that 'Still Standing' will differ from 'Keyshia Cole: The Way It is.'

"Keyshia is a really dear friend of mine and we have a lot of similarities and we also have a lot of differences too, which makes our shows independently great," she said.

She rattled off a few of the key contrasts between their BET programs, "My family comes from the country in Newnan, GA and are all extremely close. My first cousin manages me. I have two children,"

Separate from the personal differences between the two entertainers, it is clear that the timing of Monica's new docu-drama series comes on the heels of the Grammy Award-winner's musical comeback of sorts. Her last album, 2006's 'The Makings of Me' included the hip-hop friendly 'Everytime Da Beat Drop,' which remains her least successful single to date.

Now with her upcoming fifth album, which is due in stores this Dec., the 29 year-old is hoping to return to her R&B roots.

"People want to hear music of substance from me and they still want to hear me sing, that was the only error in that particular album. I still appreciate the million people who bought that CD. It didn't do what the other CDs did, but it was a good learning experience," she noted. "Now, what I do is, if I don't feel it, then I don't record it."

Her J Records release, also titled 'Still Standing,' includes a song produced by Polow Da Don and featuring T-Pain, which she described as a track "about a guy and girl that were in a relationship and now that they are apart are critiquing the other person's mate." Included on the album is also a ballad called 'Here I Am,' that Monica says is "more true to who I am." She's also hoping to release a song with her fiancée and the father of her two sons, 'Umma Do Me' rapper Rocko.

Ultimately, Monica said wants the world to know that she's survived the difficulties of the music business and hardships in relationships, but she is here to stay.

"'Still Standing' is two words that if you put them together signify strength and I wanted that to be the basis of the show. I don't want them to feel sorry for me or like I'm the victim. I would like for them to see what I have learned as I've grown. I understand the mistakes I've made and I've moved on and that's where my strength comes from."

"All I can do is focus on being Monica the person and Monica the artist, and conveying that through my music."

'Monica: Still Standing' airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on BET.



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