By RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org, filed January 15, 2015
Atlanta's April McRae, a cast member on the embattled VH1 show "Sorority Sisters," said she has no regrets joining the reality program despite all the turmoil it has caused with black female Greek organizations.
"I'm not bitter," she said in an interview Wednesday. "I'm not upset. I'm at peace."
McRae was reportedly suspended from her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha for 18 months over her actions on the show.
"I really don't need to speak on that,' she said. "That's personal information. That's communication between my sorority and I."
(Personally, I have only watched bits and pieces of the first six episodes and the worst I saw was her verbally insulting Adrene.)
She found out earlier this week that VH1 was burying the show's remaining three episodes this Friday. She told me she wasn't upset. "They communicated well with us," she said. "I respect their decision. They know what's best."
McRae said she anticipated some backlash to the show but was dumbfounded by the death threats. "Everyone was surprised by that," she said. "VH1 has done a good job protecting us and ensuring our lives are not in danger."
She said she lives in a downtown apartment with a security desk. Strangers, she said, have found where she lives and have requested to talk to her, which freaked her out a bit.
McRae said she wanted to emphasize the fact she's a speech pathologist who wants to delve deeper into fashion. She wanted to use the show as a vehicle to promote her store House of Couture, which is no longer a downtown Atlanta retail shop as seen on TV but online only. On that front, she said she has seen more traffic into her store and she has sold out of inventory multiple times since the show's launch.
At the same time, she said the sorority angle was just an in for her to get exposure for her brand. "I'm not here to represent any Greek organization," she said.
(The producers, though, seemed to ensure a sorority reference was made on the show at least once every three minutes.)
McRae, an Atlanta native who graduated from Georgia State University, also wanted to note that she is the daughter of pastors and is active in her parent's church Exousia Lighthouse Christian Ministries in Lithonia.
"My intention was not to do anything wrong," she said. "It was to represent myself as an individual and live my life according to standards I set myself."
Her thoughts on her critics: "People are entitled to feel how they feel. That's all I can say. Opinions are not my reality." She said nobody has confronted her face to face. She cherishes the supportive notes she's gotten, including some from Dubai, where the show has apparently aired.
She said she has worked had to forgive her haters. "We have to be able to move forward and walk in forgiveness," she said. "You have to forgive people but that doesn't mean you condone their behavior."
The group which led the boycotting of advertisers that likely forced VH1's hand sent out a statement yesterday saying it was happy to see VH1 end the season early but is awaiting a definitive statement of cancellation. VH1, for now, said it hasn't decided what to do with the show but based on its public actions, there appears to be no realistic chance the network will bring it back.
Even if VH1 decided on a second season, McRae wouldn't say if she'd stick around or not.
In an odd way, all this controversy has brought the women closer together. "I have a great friendship with these women," she said. "We're encouraging each other. We pray together. I think it's been a great situation getting to know these ladies."
She said she made up with Adrene to a degree; "We're in a neutral place. We locked hands and prayed together."
And the whole odyssey has taught her not to be so judgmental of other people.
As for her own reality TV preferences, she is not into "Love and Hip Hop" or "Basketball Wives." But she does watch Bravo's "Real Housewives of Atlanta" and "Braxton Family Values" on WE-TV. And she loves Fox's "Masterchef Junior."
She's a fan of NeNe Leakes because she's real and she also finds Kenya Moore and Kandi Burruss entertaining.
"Sorority Sisters," final three season one episodes 9:10 p.m. to 12:10 a.m., Friday, VH1
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