Cast Blog: #RHOA

A Delightful Journey

Sheree dishes on all the Africa adventures.

Hey guys,
I know it's been a little while, but I'm back! So, let's jump right on in and catch up on our trip to South Africa, which was such a life-changing experience!

When the opportunity to travel abroad to South Africa came up, I was instantly on board. My mom and so many others I know who have traveled and/or lived there before have always said how beautiful it is and that it's an absolutely delightful journey. It makes you appreciate the small things we take for granted, and the people are so kind and appreciative of the little they have. So of course I wouldn't think of passing up this wonderful opportunity!

While we waited at the airport for NeNe to arrive, we had no idea that she would be bringing a companion. That was a complete shocker. Upon seeing Marlo, I knew instantly that there would be some drama, because she was not invited by Phaedra, the host. Why was no one informed that she would be coming on the trip? I knew she felt the need to do something to get attention! When we finally arrived at the villa in Cape Town, it was just gorgeous. I decided that because NeNe and I were not speaking, I would break the ice a bit by making the joke that NeNe, Phaedra, and I would stay together. I wanted us all to enjoy Africa and not put the other girls in an awkward position. If we are at least cordial, then things should go more smoothly and everyone could enjoy themselves. We all had a good laugh, but as you saw, that didn't last long!

Prior to leaving for Africa, I informed my friend Kevin that I was going to be in Cape Town for a day. He and his friend arranged an intimate dinner for ten. I told him I would be bringing Phaedra and Kandi, and he was inviting some of his friends. I didn't think to invite Cynthia, because I was sure she wouldn't attend without NeNe, and I certainly wasn't going to invite Nene. We had not spoken since the argument a few months ago and after the disrespectful way she acted at Kim's friend’s house in Miami last year, it just wasn't happening. As we are getting ready for dinner, my friend Kevin calls, who also knows Cynthia and NeNe, and asks me to invite Cynthia to the dinner. Well I did, and we all know what happened next!

Cynthia, Cynthia, Cynthia...messy. I'm not quite sure what the problem was. For Marlo to run over and go from 0 to 60 all because I did not invite her, the person who no one knew was coming (not even the host) and that came with NeNe (the person I don't speak to), to a party! Really?! Why would she want to go? Why would I want her to go? Why is she so angry? Why is she using hateful, derogatory words? Why would she choose to use that word to describe my friends? I'm not a judgmental person by any means. I love all kinds of people, regardless of their sexual preference.

For the record, finding a man has NEVER been my problem. I refuse at this day and time to sell myself short. I like what I like, and I can tell you for certain that sleeping with senior citizens just for bags, shoes, or money definitely isn’t it!
During the dinner with the Talls, Marlo mentions that I should Google her and check her record. Umm, that's not a good thing or even something anyone should be proud of especially under the circumstances. Go figure.

Anyway, the dinner with Kevin and his friends was an absolute breath of fresh air! I loved the drummer, the fire throwers, everyone was super nice with good energy, the house was beautiful, and the food was delicious. They really went out of their way to ensure we had a great time. Thanks again, Kevin!

The next day we head to Shamwari, and boy are we all beat! The property was so beautiful and at any moment you could see a monkey sitting on the roof or some of the other animals just breeze by. It was very peaceful and serene. After that debacle with Marlo, at this point I just wanted to enjoy my surroundings, appreciate the experience, and see what South Africa had to offer.

It was kind of cool that Kandi, Phaedra, and I picked the rooms we wanted. The rooms were really nice. We would stay up talking for hours or watching movies usually in Phaedra's room. I tell you, hanging out with the Smalls is a bunch of laughs! I was super psyched about going on the safari because I love doing things like that, so much so that the Smalls went even when the cameras were not rolling! I have some of the most amazing pictures of the animals from the safari trips. We have a place in GA that's similar to a safari (of course not on the same scale), but the kids and I enjoy going there.

The most touching part of this entire experience was going to the orphanage and the village to give away some much needed goods. Some of the very things we take for granted, the people in the village were so appreciative to receive. At the orphanage the kids were simply wonderful. It was an honor to meet and spend time with them. Such a sad but moving experience. The conditions at the orphanage were far from good, yet the kids and workers still managed to have a smile on their faces. They seemed genuinely upbeat and thankful even for the little things we brought them and for us just coming to spend time with them. This one little girl clung to me immediately when we entered the orphanage. She did not want to let go, nor did she want any other kids to come near me or spend time with me. It was such an emotional experience. It felt so good that all of us ladies were able to come together on this occasion to contribute to the goodwill of the community. I wish we could have done more and dedicated more time, but we were only there for a short period.
The safari ride with Phaedra, Cynthia, and Kandi got really interesting. A lot was said during that conversation as well as during the last dinner! Cynthia made the comment that she didn't see Kim in Africa holding African babies, Kandi (who is friends with Kim) chimed in and agreed with Cynthia and proceeded to say that she didn't see Kim going to an orphanage or even coming to Africa period. Now I stand corrected that Kandi did not make the initial statement about the black baby/African baby, however she agreed with Cynthia. Then said she didn't see her in an orphanage in Africa. Now the whole black baby thing was what seemed to get Kandi in such an uproar. No, she did not say that, however not only did she agree with Cynthia, she implied the same thing when stating that she wouldn't go to an orphanage in Africa. Was it just me or were there ONLY black babies/children there? To me, making those statements and agreeing with Cynthia on that sentiment was basically insulting Kim and implying she could possibly be racist. It seemed to me like she was throwing her friend Kim under the bus. I don't understand why Kandi can't seem to grasp that. Who wants to possibly have to defend their character to millions of people about something someone said, especially if it could possibly be untrue? It's not fun!

After the safari we head to our rooms and call Kim. I chose to mention what was said in the jeep not while Kandi wasn't present but while she sat next to me, because I didn't feel like that was right. If she really felt that way, then she should tell her and allow her to respond. Again, I stand corrected, Kandi did not say the black baby thing. I recanted my statement to Kandi during our discussion once we hung up, but to me there is really no difference in what either of them said. One was just more direct in her statement. I didn't mention Cynthia at the time, because Kim and Cynthia are not friends and she doesn't have that loyalty or bond of trust that I thought friends share. Believe me, if it were the other way around or if it were any of my other close friends and I witnessed someone they think is their friend talking badly about them, I would do the absolute same. And the people that are my real friends would do it for me too! I'm not saying that people are not entitled to their opinions by any means, because as you see, we all have them! Just own it!
Overall, my African experience was simply amazing and very educational. Despite all the drama, chaos, and fights this journey will forever be in my memory. I experienced every emotion one can feel on this excursion. Through the highs, the lows, the ups and downs, when it was time for us to come together as a whole, put our differences aside, and realize that this opportunity wasn't just about us but about helping others that were in need, we stood together strong. It was about doing something good that would make our parents and grandparents proud. We were not able to save the world on our ten day adventure, however we were able to make a difference in a few peoples’ lives, which to me made it all worthwhile. And if the Smalls and Talls never agree on anything else, I think we can all agree that this was a wonderful experience!

Until next time!

Twitter: @IamSheree


Claudia on Her Breakdown

Claudia Jordan explains what really brought her to tears. Are you loving your apartment now that’s decorated?
Claudia Jordan: I love my place, but it's not quite where I want it to be yet. In my other houses and apartments I'd be so fast to get my places together in the first few days I'm in there, but honestly I've been so busy with the transition to Atlanta and my new job that I haven't really been as on point as I'd like. And that's been across the board -- with my hair, clothes, apartment, etc. It's just been a bit overwhelming with working on the radio show five days a week plus appearances, live remotes, as well as my other work I do for CNN/Headline News and my podcast. My day starts at 5am and goes until 11pm some nights. But in my few spare moments here and there I was able to get some crystal chandeliers installed that I love! I bought that amazing black chair from Modani (the furniture store Kenya and I shopped at) and a few other items. I still want to get some accent walls painted and a few more pieces and then I'll have my place where I want it to be. I actually love decorating but at this point in the game I still didn't even know where to go to shop! But it's getting there! Why did you break down when discussing the Porsha situation with Kenya and Cynthia?
CJ: Really I was not crying about Porsha or the fact that I'm biracial! There was such a buildup of so many things that it just took one little thing to push me over the top. I am not that emotionally invested in Porsha, and if you ever catch me getting there, please take me out to pasture and put me out of my misery! Let's be very clear -- like crystal clear -- I am not jealous of Porsha, she has nothing I want or couldn't get if I wanted it. I do not want her life, hair, body, mouth, or situation. I've never been the type of woman that couldn't co-exist with successful women. I've never had the need to be the "star" in my group of friends. I actually like to surround myself with women that are upwardly mobile, intelligent, fabulous, successful, independent, and inspirational. So to suggest jealousy over a woman that only has more material items than me for now is laughable.

Again, being the new girl on the block on the radio show was extremely stressful. I had to sit in the seat and take over the position of a very beloved radio personality that's by far one of the best in the business. To say her fans were upset was an understatement, and that's totally understandable! It was pretty much a no-win situation for me. And I was very aware of what folks were saying. Now all I wanted to do was work and collect my check and go home with as little drama as possible. I was trying to fit in with a new crew in a new city; I had to leave my friends and family up north, and honestly I was overwhelmed and the move was bittersweet.

So when I was pulled aside by several people at the station and told they noticed the tension and it was making folks whisper and feel some type of way, honestly even though I knew it wasn't something I was doing, I kind of panicked. I so did not want to be that chick bringing drama to a new job. That and only that was the reason I asked Porsha to lunch in the first place and even bit my tongue that day when she was acting like a child at the table deflecting and discussing lotion in the middle of a talk. You guys now know I have no problems reading a chick, and looking back I think some can appreciate and acknowledge just how much I held back that day. I mention it to say this: I only held back to really try to make things be cool between us at work. You saw Porsha was being shady as hell to me at work way before Puerto Rico. So when I came for her on the bus it was beyond justified. It was a buildup and I let out all the things I had held back in all of our other interactions that she brought upon herself. So yes, my crying was not about being biracial and it was not over Porsha. I was stressed and sick of all the B.S. that was coming my way, and it was a culmination of lots of things. Basically I was over it. Was it awkward when Ricky pulled in Porsha to try and smooth things over between the two of you?
CJ: Hell yeah it was awkward! I did not go to Rickey to talk about Porsha! I handled Porsha just fine without anyone else's assistance and did not need back up. She is not a tough cookie to crack. I went to get feedback about my progress with the show, and when Rickey decided to bring Porsha in, it frustrated me because I didn't think it would be productive, and again, I wasn't there for that! But at the same time it's Rickey's show, and if he felt the tension (and he admitted he did) and wanted to see if he could help, then who am I to tell the man that gave me a job what to do regarding his show?

I never brought up Porsha's name. She's right about one thing -- we don't work together (besides the episodes of Dish Nation when the show asked me to come on), but we do work in the same space with the same people, who are casualties of our issues. I was fine with us ignoring each other in the hallway, but when it got to the point where folks are pulling me aside telling me it was getting weird for them and I wouldn't want that getting to Rickey, then I'm going to do my part to make it better. We both owe it to Rickey and the rest of the employees that are affected. Period. Point blank. If Porsha wants to play fake and act like I'm imagining things, that's fine. But at the end of the day, it is what it is. And the truth is the truth. I do not operate in the land of make believe; I tend to live in a thing called the real world. So I don't regret anything I've done, because I've done it with purpose and with no shady ulterior motives. I'm a realist and that's that!

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