The perpetually morphing WE-TV reality “Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta” added several new cast members to the show, dumping the three it tried last year during the second half of season two. The show returns on WE-TV on Thursday, June 13 at 9 p.m.
The primary newbies are:
* Waka Flocka Flame, a veteran of VH1's "Love and Hip Hop Atlanta" and son of Deb Antney, a well-known artist manager. The 33-year-old rap star is easily the best known of the trio with hits such as "No Hands" and "O Let's Do It." He is also a WE-TV alum since he recently did "Marriage Boot Camp" with his wife Tammy Rivera, who will also be on "Growing Up Hip Hop." They have had a rocky relationship but patched things up and recently got married.
* Joann "Buku" Kelly. She's the 21-year-old daughter of Andrea Kelly and the infamous, embattled R. Kelly. She too is an inspiring musician. Her mom Andrea Kelly, the former wife of R. Kelly from 1997 to 2009, will be featured as well. In the "Surviving R. Kelly" documentary earlier this year, Andrea accused R. Kelly of isolating and abusing her. Buku is not a fan of her dad, posting on Instagram: "The same monster you all confronting me about is my father. I am well aware of who and what he is. I grew up in that house." Andrea's two other kids with R. Kelly will appear in the series as well.
*ReeMarkable (real name: Henree Cherron Wright), youngest daughter of the late rap star Eazy E, part of the seminal group N.W.A., who died of AIDS in 1995.She grew up in East Atlanta. "I am an Atlanta native artist, a creative genius with a universal sound blessed and placed on this earth by God," she told Kontrol magazine in 2016. She said that as a kid, "I was teased a lot and still to this day the trolls on social media make nasty AIDS-related comments."
The returnees include:
- Bow Wow. He was arrested in February for battery after a fight with his former girlfriend Kiyomi Leslie. This is featured prominently in the trailer.
- Shania Mauldin, daughter of Jermaine Dupri.
- Brandon Barnes, godson of Deb Antney. He returns and WE-TV said "his charlatan ways finally catch up to him in an explosive uncovering of the truth." The trailer shows Waka Flocka confronting him, potentially violently.
- Ayana Fite, daughter of DJ Hurricane. WE-TV said she "is on a warpath when Brandon tries to break through the family circle in a hurricane of lies."
- Da Brat. According to WE-TV, she "tries to reform both her image and her finances. To keep her head in the game, Brat joins forces with legendary hip hop manager Debra Antney to create an Artist Boot Camp designed to help foster and develop young musical talent in Atlanta." She also appears on "Dish Nation" and "The Rap Game."
The three full-time cast members who appeared briefly last year were Masika Kalysha, Kiyomi Leslie (and will appear again this season in relation to the alleged attack) and Lil Mama. At the time, I reported that as the third season but WE-TV chose to make it the second half of season two instead.
“Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta,” 9 p.m. Thursdays, season three starting June 13, 2019 on WE-TV
Rodney Ho writes about entertainment for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution including TV, radio, film, comedy and all things in between. A native New Yorker, he has covered education at The Virginian-Pilot, small business for The Wall Street Journal and a host of beats at the AJC over 20-plus years. He loves tennis, pop culture & seeing live events.