The season premiere of Frankie & Neffe, the BET reality show featuring Frankie Lons and Neffeteria Pugh, otherwise known as singer/songwriter Keyshia Cole’s mother and sister respectively, debuted August 25. There is a LOT of back story here, even more so than Tiny and Toya!
Keyshia Cole is not one to mess around with. Coming from Oakland, it’s apparent she knows what hard work and dedication is, having three successful albums and a reality show (funny how success is measured by shows nowadays, but I digress.) But as much as Keyshia’s life is a story of triumph, her dysfunctional family plays a crucial role in why and possibly, how she overcame.
Keyshia’s latest role is executive producer of “Frankie and Neffe”, a reality show revolving around her own mother and sister. Are we ready for this?
Frankie Lavern Lons is from Oakland, CA, comfortable in her own skin and loves being the life of the party, consistently seen in the hot spots of Atlanta yelling out her signature pick up line, “Holla!”
Frankie admits that for almost 20 years she abused drugs and alcohol throughout most of her life but doesn’t blame her surroundings for her pitfalls. She in fact claims drugs got her through her troubling times. But after being in and out of jail, living in the streets, and at the same time trying to take care of her kids, Frankie eventually had no choice but to send her oldest daughter Keyshia to live in foster care.
Neffeteria Pugh, her second oldest child, transferred to numerous group homes until she was old enough to live by herself. Frankie lost touch with her other five kids until they reunited on the set of “The Way It Is.”
Frankie Lons enjoys time with her children and grandchildren, and nights at Mr. Chow’s clowning around:
at the airport with Neffe:
(ladies, try not to envy the hairstylist’s own hair too much)
Neffe has seen her share of pain as well.
Coming from the Eastside of Oakland, Neffeteria unfortunately never got to experience a healthy family environment. Living in Brookfield, one of Oakland’s most notoriously crime-ridden areas, Neffe and her grandmother shared a small 3-bedroom house; living there eventually got the best of Neffe and caused her to run away at the age of 12.
As she got older, Neffe’s biggest ordeal was with her marriage. She fought to maintain happiness with her husband even when everything became too much to handle for the both of them. They cheated on each other with different partners (Neffe’s husband at the time developed a “relationship” with a member of her family) and together lost a baby. The marriage, needless to say, ended. To cope with all of this, Neffe became an alcoholic to get her mind off the pain and the hard times she endured in her marriage.
But today it seems the family sings a different song.
From left to right: Neffe, Keyshia Cole, Frankie
Neffe is now an empowered and reformed mother of four, and resides in Atlanta with her children, mother, and little sister Elite Noel.
Neffe has been quoted as saying, “If I can do it all over again, I wouldn’t do anything different because I wouldn’t be who I am today.” She also admits that she has always lived her own life and it was God that brought her from the bottom to the top. Her life motto? “At the end of the day, love God first and family. My happiness is my sanity.”
In closing, it is again my hope this show has success, if in fact it can positively portray Black women who are authentically trying to make something of themselves, and not playing to the usual ridiculous stereotypes that Black people face as a whole.
There will most likely be an episode recap series for this season of “Frankie and Neffe”, but of course I want to know your thoughts on the show so far, so let’s hear your opinions in the comments!
“Frankie & Neffe” airs Tuesdays at 10PM local time.