Not that rumors didn’t abound at the time.
“People called me all kinds of names,” Da Brat said. “I had to put on a coat of armor and not care. You also learn in this industry that not everyone is going to love you. They will hate on you. As long as you’re happy with yourself, you won’t worry about what others have to say. You should matter first.”
Not that this was easy. Da Brat struggled, especially having to hide her sexuality for so long.
This reality show is special because its exclusive focus is on a gay Black couple.
“I’ve never been so willing to show my personal life,” Da Brat said. “We can help motivate others in their relationships. That’s what we want to do.”
Meeting Judy was a game changer for Da Brat: “She made me fearless. I’m proud of my happiness no matter what gender they are. I want people to see real love and pain and vulnerability, the mundane and the salacious.”
For Judy, who has a big social media platform but has not done much TV, she was comforted by the fact that WE-TV agreed to make them executive producers so they had final say over what would air.
Judy said, though, she never felt entirely comfortable in front of the cameras and had to work part-time on her Kaleidoscope Hair Products business while shooting the show.
The first episode focuses on Judy’s efforts to create a big engagement party for Da Brat without her girlfriend knowing.
“She already doesn’t like me giving her a bunch of stuff,” Judy said. “I knew I wanted to do something excessive. I wanted to do it on TV. I felt like I would get fussed at if she found out.”
Fortunately, Da Brat was kept in the dark until the reveal. Judy used a special work-related “photo shoot” as cover.
“I had friends of hers flying in from out of town and hiding, not answering her calls,” Judy said. “It was a lot to hide!”
Da Brat said the show will also show her softer side, more so than her current roles as a host of both the syndicated Rickey Smiley radio morning show (heard locally on Classix 102.9) and the TV gossip show “Dish Nation” (seen locally on Fox 5.)
“I was known as this gangsta [expletive] with hardcore lyrics,” she said. “I was very intimidating. This person you’ll see on the show is pretty much my government name. I’m vulnerable Shawntae. It’s a different side of me. They will be shocked I’m such a creampuff. It’s hard for me to see that!”
Judy added: “She cringed watching the episodes. She’d ask, ‘Why did they edit it that way?’ I say, ‘It’s because that’s how it happened!’”
WHERE TO WATCH
“Brat Loves Judy,” 9 p.m. Thursdays, WE-TV starting August 5,