Shaunie O'Neal Talks Favoritism On "Basketball Wives" Ahead Of New Season

BOSSIP Exclusive: Shaunie O’Neal Talks New Season Of “Basketball Wives,” Addresses Claims Of Colorism And Favoritism

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“Basketball Wives” is back!

Basketball Wives Key Art For New Season

Source: Courtesy VH1 / ViacomCBS

Tonight is the night that the new season premieres and BOSSIP’s Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden had a little chat with the show’s executive producer Shaunie O’Neal about her 11 years on air, being accused of favoritism, this season’s newbies and last season’s accusations of colorism.

Check out the interview and highlights below:

On the reality of whether the ladies actually make peace this season:

“Every season it’s like ‘Oh let’s see if we gon’ get some peace,’ and there will be a snippet, but I will say hands down this season you’ll get a lot more. Matter of fact I personally used the word peace a ridiculous amount of times, but it is so much more calm this season. For sure.”

On whether the pandemic helped keep the drama to a minimum:

The pandemic, the climate right now, had everybody kind of sitting back and saying that is so dumb or ‘why do we even care?’ or maybe you cared last year but now you’re like there are so many other things for me to be concerned about? There was a lot of, wait what was I mad about? There were a lot of lightbulb moments of ‘I need to do better.’

On the lawsuits OG and Evelyn threatened each other with:

“I don’t think there is any movement there, legally, I’m not too savvy on that information but seems pretty quiet right now, hopefully it stays that way.”

On newcomer Liza Morales, the mother of Lamar Odom’s children:

“I’ve known Liza for a long time. I don’t think Liza was interested in doing this for awhile. Now she is making a change personally. Doing Liza. She just wanted to see if it was something for her. She’s trying new things. She’s in a new place in life and wanted to try new things and we were here for it. She’s a sweetheart. I’ve known her for a few years and she’s actually pretty quiet and to herself. But she has a great story, similar to a lot of single moms and she ready to tell it and we were here to welcome her to do so.”

On newcomers Nia Dorsey and Noria Dorsey:

“I didn’t know the Dorsey sisters until we started filming. I believe they knew Jackie, and that’s how they were introduced into the group. I met them and their energy, their personalities I just love. I think they bring a good dynamic to this group. They were positive, intelligent young women and they have a story to tell that was heartbreaking but in what we were dealing with right now I know there are so many people who have a similar story that they have to tell with their family. But they’re just some really good energy. Positive, bright young ladies, who I think bring a new mood to the group. We needed that.”

On accusations of favoritism:

“Wearing both hats as an executive producer and a cast member, and actually a third hat as a friend, has probably been one of the hardest things I’ve done over the last 11 years of doing this show. It’s hard to film with people that you know personally and know so well. There’s things that I won’t budge at seeing Evelyn do because I know her so well. I kind of know what going to happen or I know how far she’ll go. Okay, she looks really really mad and sound really really mad, but I’ll know she’s really at like a six and I know it gets worse. There are things I’ll totally own and they’ll say it’s favoritism and actually yeah I guess that would fall under the category of favoritism because yes I know Jackie Christie. I was in the Staples Center when she came down and started beating Rick Fox with her purse. I know her. And it’s different when there are new people who might act similar or say things and it’s like ‘Okay, I don’t know you like that so it’s like is it real? Are you going to do that?’ And it’s hard for audiences because they see us and think we spend every moment together and everybody’s relationships are on the same playing field and it’s not. Some of us have 15 years in, before “Basketball Wives” the show even exists. We were already friends. We know each other like the back of our hands. We don’t have to talk every day. It’s like real sisters. So I don’t know. It’s a tough thing and I get so tired of explaining it ‘I’ve known her for 15 years.’ I didn’t say aggressive on TV. Do you know how many phone calls we’ve had where I’m like, ‘Girl, that was too much!’ So it’s different. And people don’t understand and I’m too old and tired to keep explaining.

On whether any of the cast members are irreplaceable:

“There’s no one that would say no I’m not coming back that we couldn’t keep going.”

On whether she regrets giving anyone a platform:

“No I loved everybody and I’m so happy they all came.”

On how difficult the colorism claims were for her:

“It was extremely difficult because I know it to not be true in my experience of doing this for 11 years. Now what I’m not going to do is knock OG’s experience. Because what her experience is is what it is and I don’t want to discredit what she feels. But my experience is that I have never ever ever experienced any colorism in this franchise. So I really cannot speak on it. It was something that I wish never happened. I still don’t understand it right now. But again, I don’t want to dismiss OG’s feelings so I’m going to leave that topic for her to share or explain if she chooses to do so.”

On her son Shareef’s health:

“He had a procedure done on his heart and it is fixed. He is in tip top shape. He’s playing basketball at LSU. I try to get to every game if I can.”

On moving to Houston, TX:

“I moved to Houston because of everybody kind of shifting to this side of the world. I got two kids, my daughter and my son, who are playing basketball at LSU. My youngest is living with his dad his senior year in Georgia. I have two sisters in Houston. There’s not much I won’t do for my kids. I needed to be at these games and it’s actually a nice feeling. This feels good. It feels chill. I’m in a car driving to Louisiana or Georgia every other weekend.

“Basketball Wives” premieres on VH1 tonight, Tuesday, February 9th at 8PM ET/PT.

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