by G. Brown
Lifetime has a new docuseries coming up called “Hopelessly In Love: Biggie and Faith Evans” and it’s a safe bet Evans won’t be tuning in.
In an interview with Page Six Evans says “she got duped into participating in the “sensational” doc.” Evans implies she was lead to believe the doc would be a positive story about their relationship and her singing career…instead, the doc is a typical hit piece rehashing old headlines. Evans says “It wasn’t pitched to me as a story rehashing the sensationalized events that took place…I am beyond that and have no need to open old wounds, damage repaired relationships and, above all, soil the legacy of Christopher Wallace a k a the Notorious B.I.G.”
A trailer for the upcoming doc opens with the line “the most controversial love story in hip-hop history” which lets you know this is not going to be a fairytale love story…
“Hopelessly in Love” is an original series Lifetime describes as a “limited series event that dives deep into the love stories of infamous couples in pop culture.” The series promises true stories of “tumultuous love affairs”. So far, the docs have delved into romances of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez from TLC fame and a scheduled episode on Anna Nicole Smith.
The network has poured 35 years into building a brand that focuses on women. Starting out on a part-time basis with only four hours of daytime viewing, the channel struggled to attract viewers and reportedly lost “$36 million in its first two years of operation”(Wikipedia). The channel was on a carousel of identities trying to find the right format switching from health news to reality shows and documentaries. The network found its winning ingredient with gritty movies and docs which as Buzzfeed notes combines “high and low culture” by offering “multifaceted, complex, even contradictory women’s stories”. Stories that show all the sex, violence and victimization of its female subjects.
Sordid stories that have boosted Lifetime’s audience to around 93 million viewers. What’s good for Lifetime isn’t good for the subjects of aired documentaries. Last year this time, the network aired “Surviving R. Kelly”–a doc that gave detailed testimonies from women who say they were sexually abused by the R&B singer. The 3-night documentary brought Lifetime it’s highest ratings ever with nearly two million people tuning in.
For Kelly, the documentary has meant doom and destruction. Shortly after the series aired, Kelly was dropped by his record label, streaming services and radio stations banned airing his music and concert performances began to disappear. Kelly was charged with 10 counts of criminal sexual abuse and he has been caught in a revolving door in and out of jail on various other charges. Many would say it is a reckoning for Kelly that was long overdue, but Evans has to be wondering if the upcoming docuseries can potentially shatter her life as well.
While she nor Biggie has been accused of criminal sexual abuse like Kelly, the rapper’s life was touched and ended by the violence that has always been linked to the rap industry. Maybe Evans was tricked or maybe she’s having buyers remorse closer to the premiere, but it’s too late now. Evans says “how many times are people going to talk about that? It was supposed to be a love story and in turns into cheating [Lil’] Kim. We’ve come so far past that. [Lifetime’s] all about drama.”
Lifetime is also all about big ratings. The network is hoping to grab more of them when it airs “Hopelessly in Love: Biggie and Faith Evans January 10 on Lifetime.