JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Women’s empowerment brunches, multi-million dollar empires, a project to revitalize Farish Street, the new Belle Collective reality tv-show on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) features an aspect of black women in Jackson, Mississippi, you don’t see every day.
Belle Collective details the personal and professional lives of five successful, African American women who are redefining what it means to be a southern belle.
In a virtual, behind-the-scenes press event to promote the show, OWN introduced the cast, hosted by celebrity talk-show host Loni Love, who kicked off the preview party taking note of an obvious truth.
“You know the queen herself, Oprah is from Mississippi, so it was only a matter of time before this was on OWN,” Love laughed.
The women, all dolled up and super excited about the show introduced themselves first.
The five belles include:
- Dr. Antoinette Liles, one of the few Black female dentists in the state. Dr. Liles is navigating a recent divorce and opening her own dental practice.
- Lateshia Pearson, CEO of the National Women’s Brunch Organization. Her brunches bring powerful women together and help promote self-empowerment, but now she has one goal in mind: revitalizing Farish Street, an iconic Jackson neighborhood.
- Latrice Rogers, a young entrepreneur behind Goddess Lengths, a successful hair care emporium along the Southeast coast.
- Marie Hamilton-Abston, a self-made millionaire and CEO of the popular Hamilton Davis Mental Health empire.
- Tambra Cherie, the newly single midday on-air radio personality for 97.7FM, Jackson’s hip-hop and R&B station and host of “The Relationship Hour.”
Then, the women began to chime in about how they met.
“We all know each other from the Brunch,” Lateshia Pearson said, CEO of the National Women’s Brunch Organization.
Pearson’s national women’s organization is bringing the belles together to resurrect Farish Street in Jackson. OWN says the ladies are determined to set aside their differences and redevelop the historic Farish district, once known as the hub for Black-owned businesses.
“We don’t have the resources that other states have, so if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” Latrice Rogers said.
The women also talked about historic headlines they believe are helping people embrace newness in the South.
“We just got a new state flag. It’s long overdue! I literally put the state flag on my social media,” Tambra Cherie said. “I’ve never been able to do that. It made me tear up because I have family that never got to see it.”
So what can you expect from the show?
“I think we’re opening up aspects of our lives that people don’t normally open up about,” Marie Hamilton-Abston said.
“We are very transparent, maybe too transparent,” Dr. Antoinette Liles smiled. “We had the opportunity to break the stereotype of what it means to be a black woman in the South.”
And as with any reality tv show, with rich, bold, women, you can expect real, raw, drama.
“You’re gonna get authenticity, real women, real curves,” Lateshia Pearson said. “We all have one purpose, one vision in mind, to become the best version of ourselves and serve others, but it’s the real deal. We have ups and downs... you get country, country bougie, and real reality in its rawest form.”
Towards the end of the media event, the women played a game that helps us see their spicy personalities.
Below are the questions Loni Love posed to the group and how the women responded by the majority vote.
- Who has the most side-hustles? Latrice & Marie
- Who’s most likely to stay home on a Friday night? Lateshia & Marie
- Who’s will most likely start a brawl at a bar? Marie or Latrice
- Who’s most likely to forget an important event? Antoinette
- Whose unable to keep a secret? Latrice or Antoinette (tough to answer)
- Whose most likely to live in Jackson forever? Tambra
“Belle Collective” is executive produced by Kingdom Reign Entertainment with Carlos King and Slane Hatch as executive producers. Angela Dugan, Mimi Adams, and Cherelle Hinds are co-executive producers.
The series premieres Friday, January 15th at 10/9c on OWN.