It is always amusing to watch a father raise a daughter. Now throw in the fact that he’s a famous rapper topping Billboard charts, has a girlfriend who also dated another famous celebrity and has been pretty private about his life up until now. That definitely piqued the interest of “Nellyville” viewers on Tuesday, Nov. 25, on BET.
Nelly fans and viewers of “The Family Hustle” and “Real Husbands of Hollywood” already knew Nelly was hilarious. It’d be a difficult argument to dispute that he’s nice on the eyes. Even country fans have grown a liking to him after collaborations with Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line. But could he carry a show by himself? Definitely.
Viewers met his two biological children, Chanelle (Nana) and Cornell III (Tre), as well as his nephew Lil’ Shawn (Tab) and niece Sydney (Stink). So far, viewers know Nana is a college student mourning her boyfriend who was murdered. Tre is a football enthusiast and pretty nice on the field. Tab is an aspiring rapper in the group JGE who apparently beat the brakes off of his uncle in bowling. And while Stink has aspirations to be a model, viewers are still wondering why in the world she answers to the name “Stink.”
While Hot 97 morning host Ebro still believes Nelly and his ex-girlfriend/singer Ashanti are “still in love,” the former Murder Inc. singer may have done Nelly the best favor ever by unveiling that the reason their relationship was private was primarily her decision. From some of her song lyrics and the automatic defense mode women tend to get into when it comes to other women in relationships, the assumption was always that Nelly was the one holding back on a public relationship. It turns out it was Ashanti who was on incognito mode.
Why does this matter? Her confession makes watching “Nellyville” much easier. It’s pointless to harp on why Ashanti didn’t make it to the show instead of Nelly’s new belle Shantel (Miss Jackson) who has zip zero issues with being public in photos, on the reality show or even in interviews.
Outside of Nelly and Shantel, what works for the show is it brings another level of fatherhood to an industry that rarely if ever shows television shows, movies or even one-time cable films about African-American fathers, never mind African-American rapper fathers. Rap fans know these guys have kids but up until “Run’s House” and “The Family Hustle,” viewers had no idea just how normal but abnormal the relationships are.
It may be abnormal to want to go to a club where the father is more popular than his kid(s). But the first episode also showed a father who deeply cares about his children, is indignant on the topic of abstinence and adamant about education.
Unfortunately the show aired at the same time people are also emotional about the Ferguson trial with Mike Brown. Nelly made a point of talking about Ferguson and police interaction with young, black men as opposed to dodging the elephant in the Missouri room. So in addition to fatherhood, education and music, there’s a bit of current events that haven’t been seen on other hip-hop family shows. Judging from the first episode, there’s no way “Nellyville” could possibly go wrong.
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