For Women Who Want The Ballerific Life!
Rewind to the early-2000's when the Black Mafia Family was at it's peak. They ran the streets of Detroit and they ran the Hip Hop game. In 2005 the BMF reign began to fall as members were being indicted and later charged with drug convictions. Picture the families they left behind. Picture the children, the loved ones and most of all, picture the wives.
Fast forward to late 2011 when news broke that the wives of BMF members were coming together to film their own reality show, "BMF Wives". The reaction wasn't a savory one so I felt it was only right to reach out to one of the stars Lisa (wife of PJ), and get her take on the whole thing. Fortunately she agreed and gave us the FIRST EVER interview about the show.
BA: Who are all of the cast members and what are your relation to each other?
Lisa: Tonesa (Toni) Welch (far right) is Southwest T's girlfriend of 16 years, might as well say wife. She's one of my best friends. Tiffany Davis (2nd to right) is J Rock's wife and I've known her since she was 16. I used to do Tiffany's hair. My daughter is actually named after her. Grace (Gricelda) Chavez (far left) was dating Damon Thomas at the time. I just recently met her within the last 8 months so I don't really know her like that. I don't really even remember her from that time. I didn't really see her around.
Lisa: It was Toni and I. We talked about it. She came out and she wanted to get her story out some kind of way and since I'm in the industry, I've been in the Union for probably 15 years, I have a lot of contacts with different producers and directors. Me and her sat down with the ideas, I got her in contact with a few people and we just talked about putting it together. Her and I are the executive producers of the show.
BA: Is the show officially called "BMF Wives"?
Lisa: We don't have a stamped official name yet but it is set to be called "Married To The
BA: You made a comment that the show idea was to bring awareness to your charity, care to touch on what the charity is?
Lisa: The charity is called 'Sylent Hearts'. Tonesa and Tiffany both did federal time and when a man goes to jail it's one thing. You still have the woman in place and the family structure in place. When a woman
goes to prison, a lot of times the men are already not in the home. So, when a woman goes to jail you have great grand-mothers raising the kids. You have children put in to foster care you have misplaced children. A lot of these kids can't get up to the prison to see their mothers. They haven't seen their mothers in 5, 6, 7 years. It's a really bad situation when any parent goes to jail but when a mother goes to jail it's even harder on the structure of the family.
By them (Tonesa and Tiffany) being in prison and seeing this for themselves she (Tonesa) came up with an idea that she wanted to do something for the children with parents that are incarcerated. The charity is set up to help children because it's not their fault and a lot of the times the children fall by the wayside. I think she said, and don't quote me, but I think she said the percentage of reoccurrence for a child if their mother goes to jail is 85%. Which is crazy, 85% of all children will go to prison if their mother has been to prison.
BA: So do you guys bus the children to the prisons?
Lisa: That's exactly what we're trying to do. It's just getting in place. Toni has only been out of the system for 2 weeks. We've set the charity up and the goal is to get the children bussed, get someone to adopt a family or whatever it might be to get these children up to the prison. They said the biggest thing that these children need are shoes. We want to get people to donate shoes and do the things that will make a difference to these children and these families. It's whatever needs to be done. We're just getting up off the ground. We're also looking for the hip hop community to step in because they are part of BMF. We're looking for athletes to step up. We're looking for everyone to step up and help these children.
BA: How do you feel about the negative attention the show has been getting?
Lisa: [Laughs] You know what? It is what it is. Everyone's gonna have an opinion and it is what it is. It's actually helped us because it's put a spotlight on us, which is fine. In the end when the show airs and when they hear us speak and when we set up different venues for different things they'll see very smart women. We're all smart women. We're all very different but we're all smart. We're not out here trying to actually trying to turn something that was so negative into something positive but everyone has a redemption value in their life. Everybody can make something better out of a horrible situation. For people to feel like they'd rather you be dead than to do something out of redemption is crazy! People have to really step back and realize that no one can judge someone else. I don't care what you've done.
BA: Has the show been halted because of all of the negative attention?
Lisa: Noooooo! I don't even know where all these stories are coming from. The story has changed so many times because it's been told so many times. Southwest T is behind us! He even recorded something for the show. We speak to him regularly, Toni talks to him every single day. He hasn't spoke out in 7 years and he's going to put an article out and speak out and let everyone know that he's behind us. All of our men are behind us and they know what's going on. I email my husband back and forth. Tiffany talks to J Rock every day. The men are behind us, and they have our back but at the end of the day even if they weren't, it's our story. No one can tell me I can't tell my story. It's not a negative show. It's not a 'wives' show. We've got too much structure in our life, we're boss women. We're not gonna be on TV scrapping with each other and gossiping with each other. We're different type of women. That's not what this show is about. You're going to see structure. You're going to see real boss women. It hasn't stopped anything, we're in negotiation right now with different networks. All of the networks are very interested in it and not just VH1. Nothing has been stopped.
BA: Big Meech and his mother claim that there aren't any true BMF "Wives", what do you say to this?
Lisa: First of all, the mother has her opinion on whatever she wants to say. Like I said, Southwest T is behind us. Tiffany is married, I'm married. Toni was with T for 16 years -- that's married! So, at the end of the day we're wives and to say we're not BMF? I wish someone would have stood up there and said that when my husband was being prosecuted! When he was indicted and prosecuted he was indicted and prosecuted under the BMF indictment. Nobody stood up and said he wasn't BMF then! Now it's too late! I don't understand why everybody is so mad. Why is everybody so mad at someone trying to do something positive. No one has heard what we've had to say so for someone to say it's negative, we're hoes, we're jumpoffs, we're this or that, who are you talking to? You haven't talked to us!
BA: Do they feel like somehow you're going to expose a part of the lifestyle they didn't want to talk about?
Lisa: I don't know what they're afraid of. You'll have to ask them that. That's what I'm trying to figure out. Why are you mad? What's the anger? What's the anxiety for?
BA: Is there a misconception about BMF that you would like to address? I'm sure it
wasn't ALL bad!
Lisa: Of course not. There's bad in every situation. There's bad in corporate America. There's
bad in everything so of course they're going to shine on the negative because that's what human nature kind of thrives off of. But, we're family. We were taught structure. We all go in together and we all go out together. We all got each others back. If you need something, you got it, you don't gotta ask for it. It was a lot of love. We went to church together. We ate together. We had Christmas' together and Thanksgivings together. It was a family. Southwest T was one of the best men ever. Best heart. He did so much for the community and the people. People overlook all the good that he's done. It's really sad. It's sad that he could do something that wasn't a violent crime, he didn't rape nobody, didn't kill nobody, and they look at that and discount his whole life? Because of drug charges? To me the laws are really messed up. These guys are doing these kind of years for a non violent crime but you can get 5, 6 years for a VIOLENT crime!
Lisa: No! [laughs] like I said, we're bosses. These men chose bosses. If you look at my Twitter at all you will understand my mind frame. We don't even get down like that. Not to say we wouldn't get down like that if someone else came at us but we're taught 'United We Stand Divided We Fall'. When there is a division within the group there's no structure. We're not going to break each other down, we're going to hold each other up. That's what we're going to do and we're going to be a strong force to be reckoned with.
BA: Where will the show be shot and how many episodes have you done?
BA: Would you guys consider doing the show, but not discussing BMF or any of the men involved? How important is BMF to your entire storyline?
Lisa: It's a part of my life. It's a part of Toni's life. It's a part of everybody's life. Like I said, you can't tell me I can't tell MY story. Nobody is trying to glorify the game. Nobody's trying to expose the game, none of that. That's not even something that's in us. That's why people have to wait to see the show. The negativity is fine because it's giving an anticipation to see what the show is REALLY about, so it's fine. You have to take some of that negative and charge it to the game. It's cool. If you want to talk about me and call me a hoe, a jumpoff, whatever? Then that's what it is.
Afterwords Lisa and I spent another 5 minutes off the record discussing the interview. I will admit to being one of the first to think this whole show idea was a hot ratchet mess HOWEVER after speaking to her and seeing that she was well spoken, smart and not another bird looking for a come up, I did find a newfound respect for her. I too have been in a similar situation to a smaller scale. I've had to sell crack to the elderly to support myself and my then incarcerated boyfriend. If anyone knows what a tenth of this lifestyle is like, I do. If they can manage to stay away from the drink throwing, weave pulling and gossiping, this show could actually be something worth watching. Like T.I.'s "Family Hustle" but from Tiny's point of view.
Follow Lisa on Twitter at @Cats_Dogs_