When the cameras stop rolling on R&B Divas: LA, life still happens for Lil’ Mo; the details of her divorce fill the gossip sites, her latest relationship is blog fodder and onscreen battles with a couple cast mates travel through social media. She’s poured everything she’s endured over the past few years into her latest album, The Scarlet Letter, a stunning glimpse into her “real” life, not the weekly reality edited and broadcast to the world.
She’s endured the pain of having to live with a divorce weekly on television, while others try to shame her based on details that have come out about her dissolved second-marriage. Drawing from the literary canon, she’s using this album to tell her side of the story, not as a middle finger, but opening to the gossipers and stone-throwers that consistently pick apart her life. But this album wasn’t necessarily made for them; the music is aimed at those who’ve been rocking with Lil’ Mo since her braids were blue and she was supplying hooks to some of the hottest songs on the radio. Lil Mo’s music still speaks from the soul of the streets; she’s easily identifiable as a voice for those in the trenches, those who ride and die for their man, their friends and their core values. A quick scan of the album and the references to be a “rider,” promethazine and affairs of the heart show that she still reps for any Martin Luther King Blvd.
To still have that connection fifteen years into a career is an amazing feat and a story in itself; which is the reason Taming Lil’ Mo was necessary at this point of her life. The book is not a “tell-all” in the sense of spilling all of the tea, but her opening up about the character she had to create to separate Cynthia Loving from who the public received, back in the streets of Baltimore. She details the lessons she learned on those hard blocks and in the boardrooms of the music industry, not to mention when they intertwined and the ebbs and flows of her career. In fact, the catalyst for opening up at this point is to share her stories of struggle, survival and triumph in hopes of inspiring others to find their voice.
To summarily dismiss Lil’ Mo as ratchet or the latest “R&B Diva” is too simplistic; she’s calculated exactly what she needs to do to grow her brand and put her family in a position to excel for years to come. Cynthia Loving has grown as a businesswoman; gone are the days when handshakes and head nods got deals done and millions landed outside of grasp. These days, all of the contracts are signed well in advance and the business of Lil’ Mo is being handled properly.
By the time you reach “Chest Pain” on The Scarlet Letter, you hear the resilience that’s carried her through two divorces and the perceived disappointments of her career. You hear a mother who’s fighting for her kids, a woman who loves strong and has not given up on love (she’s recently married boxer Karl “Dynamite” Dargan), and an artist whose voice has been overlooked for far too long. A new love, new album, new book and new vision, but it’s the same ol’ Lil’ Mo through the lens of a more mature Cynthia Loving.
Lil’ Mo’ latest album The Scarlet Letter is available everywhere music is sold and her book, Taming Lil’ Mo, can be purchased here. To stay current with Lil’ Mo, stay tuned to www.TheLilMoShow.com, follow her on Twitter @thelilmoshow or connect via Facebook.
Between rhetoric and reality is where you’ll find Al-Lateef Farmer; Black man, husband, social documentarian, and slinger of Soul by the pound. His brand of social commentary, rooted in independent thought can be found Twitter @wrldacrdng2teef.