When it first premiered in 2011, no one would have ever expected or predicted Love and Hip Hop to be the multi-million dollar winning franchise as we know it today. Yet, the show is a huge ratings juggernaut nearly 10 years after its original iteration. Now, with spinoffs airing in New York, Hollywood, Atlanta, and Miami. Between all of these shows and spinoffs, 374 episodes and 25 seasons have aired among them all collectively. Series creator Mona Scott-Young surely must be patting herself on the back. That is, whenever she's done bathing in money.
Of course, a franchise does not remain on the air for eight years without running into a little bit of controversy. Both on and off camera, the show, its cast and even some producers have had us all talking with nothing too flattering to say. Some of what we have to say questions the authenticity of the supposed reality show, as well as the politics surrounding it.
20 Stars Openly Admit It's Fake
One of the worst kept secrets in the lore of Love and Hip Hop is the fact that much of the show is staged. This was confirmed by cast member Joseline Hernandez during a 2015 deposition. "With reality TV, it's called reality, but it's a lot of acting," she said in the video released by TMZ.
"I say that because a lot of the girls that's on the show, they act. So, it's a lot of acting in a reality TV show." She then added " the reality TV show showcases a lot of who we are not" when asked if she played a character on the show.
19 Remy Ma vs Britney Taylor Altercation
In an alleged squabble between castmates that somehow had no cameras present, Remy Ma allegedly punched Brittney Taylor while backstage at a benefit concert in New York City. When NYPD investigated the situation, the "Lean Back" rapper turned herself in and has been charged for assault. As of now, the case is ongoing.
18 Tommie Lee Skin Bleaching Rumors
Fans have raised an eyebrow in 2019 ever since Tommie Lee revealed herself looking much lighter than she used to look. The typically caramel-colored reality star was accused of bleaching her skin but promises it was just the lighting of the photo. Yet, she continues to look light in person after the fact.
17 Castmates Find Better Success After Leaving The Show
Most of the cast is filled with rap personalities with failed careers and they remain that way during their tenure on the show, but just about everyone finds a career resurgence once they leave the show.
One example is Joe Budden, who went from being a bitter one-hit-wonder to becoming a beloved family man and media personality, signing deals with Diddy and Spotify with a successful podcast. Another is Cardi B, who after leaving in 2016, charted the top of the Billboard charts in 2017 and won a Grammy.
16 Teairra Mari Allegedly Fired From Show Because of 50 Cent Case
Former show alumni Teairra Mari had a tape leaked out in May 2018 and to make fun of her situation, 50 Cent reposted explicit images of her from the tape onto his IG. Enraged, Mari sued 50 Cent, but wound up having to pay him $30,000 in an out of court settlement. Mari was then reportedly fired from the show on May 2019, and this case is rumored to be the reason why.
15 Stevie J Fired For Bossing Around Producers
Much of the appeal of Stevie J is that he bosses everyone around, but the same thing that won him fans allegedly got him fired from the show in 2019. Again, allegedly for bossing around producers on how to portray him on the show. While he never confirmed these rumors to be true, he did tweet the following in lieu of these reports: “Not returning for a full season. No need.”
14 Cardi B Didn't Start Hip Hop Career Until Leaving the Show
When she joined the cast of Love and Hip Hop: New York in 2015, Cardi B was not a rapper. She was merely an exotic dancer made popular from viral comedic videos she filmed behind the scenes. She actually had nothing to do with the rap industry, but apparently, the show needed ratings, so they brought her on. She didn't begin a rap career until leaving the show in December 2016.
13 The Ray J Hat Thing
In one of the show's stranger, unintentionally comical moments to ever go viral, there was an episode was Ray J was having a conversation with someone, and in every single shot, his hat tilts into a different place on his head; over his eyes at one point. Whether it was an elaborate ruse by producers to go viral or Ray J just kept tilting his hat every five seconds, we just have one question: Why?
12 Why The Whole Cast Got Fired
In 2016, it was reported that the entire cast of Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta was fired in favor of bringing in an entirely new cast. According to BET's official website, the reason was that the producers were sick of the cast drama. Even though the drama is exactly why the franchise is popular today.
11 Domino Effect of Relationships Among Cast
It seems like so many of the cast members of the show gravitate towards each other to the point that it's just hard to believe. In a previous season of the show, Cyn Santana dated Erica Mena. When those two broke up, Cyn started seeing Joe Budden; neither of them had a scene together on the show before dating despite both being cast members in the same season. Coincidentally, Mena then started dating Safaree, Joe Budden's best friend.
10 Mimi and Nikko Staged Their Own "Leaked" Tape
In 2014, the world was shocked to see cast members Mimi Faust and Nikko London had a creative, shower rod laden tape hit the internet. They said it was "leaked," and months afterward, the show depicted how it happened. Apparently, their homemade video was found in their lost luggage at an airport and sold to Vivid Entertainment. For such an elaborate storyline, it was just that: a staged storyline, something Mimi later confirmed after the fact a year later.
9 Every "Star" in the Cast is Either a Has-Been or Never-Was
Love and Hip Hop is promoted as a showcase of stars, but the cast is comprised of anything but a star. Most casts are made up of one-hit wonders (i.e. Joe Budden, Yung Joc) and people with loose connections to the industry; like backup dancers and music video extras. Or, like in Bobby Lytes' case, he's just the cousin of Trina, a chart-topping rapper.
8 Failed Houston Spin-Off
Show creator Mona Scott-Young has gone on record in saying that she wants to produce Love and Hip Hop spinoffs in Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, and especially Houston. A Houston spinoff was attempted in 2017 and filming went underway with names like Kirko Bangz, Jhonni Blaze, and J. Prince Jr. among the cast.
However, due to escalated cast violence, filming was shut down. Which is odd, because cast violence is exactly what producers tend to egg on as it's become a staple of the franchise. Nonetheless, it got violent to the point that production was shut down and the spinoff has since been shelved.
7 Failed Waka and Tammy Spin-Off
Another canceled spinoff was one made for fan-favorite couple Waka Flocka Flame and Tammy Rivera. In 2014, they announced they'd be leaving Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta so Mona Scott-Young could produce their own spinoff, Meet the Flockas. The spinoff never materialized and they instead returned to the show in 2016.
Again, they announced the spinoff was in production again in 2017 and again, for unknown reasons, it was shelved. The couple decided to just leave VH1 altogether for WE TV, where they finally produced their own show, Waka & Tammy Tie The Knot.
6 Failed Safaree Spin-Off
Safaree made a name for himself after dating Nicki Minaj in 2004 - long before she became famous - before splitting in 2014. After continuing his rap career and joining the cast of Love and Hip Hop: Hollywood, it'd make sense to make a spinoff on his life. Such was the case in 2017 when Wild Safaree was in the works, but for unknown reasons, never materialized.
5 No One Talks About Jim Jones as a Founding Member
Jim Jones was introduced as one of the franchise's earliest cast members and first recognizable faces, as he appeared in Love and Hip Hop: New York's first two seasons. In fact, the whole show began after Jones pitched to VH1 a docuseries on his life that would later flesh out as Love and Hip Hop. Despite being essential in the show's early success, his past on the show never gets brought up, not even now that he's enjoying something of an underground rap comeback.
4 Producers Allegedly Instigate Fights
While it's been confirmed that at least 90% of the show's content is scripted, there have been rarities where real-life animosities get captured onscreen and whenever it happens, producers often antagonize the situation.
As explained in an episode of Joe Budden's podcast, his friend/co-host Mal (who also appeared on the show) recalled a moment where producers brought in red cups with alcohol to turn a neutral situation into a chaotic one, and a fight broke out afterward.
3 The "Creep Squad" Concept
Comprised of rap personalities Rich Dollaz, Peter Gunz, DJ Self, and Cisco Rosado, the Creep Squad is a group of friends bonded by the fact that they sleep around with a bunch of women. Being bonded by cheating on their partners, creeping on women, and being creepy sounds, well, creepy.
2 Mimi Controversy
An episode of the latest season of Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta focused on Mimi Faust recovering from being shot at after finding someone break into her garage. For such a serious offense, one would assume this would get confirmed in the news prior to the episode airing, but it wasn't. Perhaps this another staged angle.
1 No Major News Outlets Covered Benzino's Either
Years before the Mimi incident, Benzino was "reported" to be shot at his mother's funeral. We put "reported" in quotation marks because for such a big case, no major news outlets (i.e. CNN) covered the news when it happened; before the episode aired. In fact, for a show to have cameras everywhere 24/7, no cameras were present to capture the shooting. The only "proof" we have is a scene of Benzino in a hospital bed. We won't say the scenario was fake, but we will say that we've seen plenty of actors in hospital beds for movies.
Sources: TMZ, thejasminbrand.com, houstonpress.com