TV One On Demand’s Unsung (VOD Hidden Gem)July 13, 2012
Media savant T Tara Turk goes deep inside cable TV to reveal Video On Demand's Hidden Gems so even the busiest of our readers can get the most out of On Demand TV. Tell Tara what VOD shows you think deserves her attention.
TV One On Demand’s Unsung (VOD Hidden Gem)
In desperate need of a reality tv palate cleanser after watching “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” debut, I almost did a Soul Train line dance when I found TV One On Demand’s "Unsung" series. Some of my fondest memories as a child were of my parents being excited about the newest Evelyn Champagne King, Luther Vandross or Freddie Jackson record. This was before R&B was completely mainstream and widespread. You were either a MEGAstar like Diana Ross, Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson or you were Mikki Howard or The Sylvers. No in between, kids. And no internet really.
The premise of the show is to take those who were lesser known in mainstream arenas (but popular on every city’s KISS FM station) and find out exactly what happened to their careers since they didn’t skyrocket into mega bucks and licensing agreements. Speaking with the artists themselves, family, friends and other industry members, the hour long show starts from beginning to end. I love it because it’s the closest thing we have to the ol VH1’s “Behind The Music” - not the scripted catfight, side chick, name calling shenanigans we’re forced to endure now.
The episodes I watched were David Ruffin (of the Temptations), Full Force (don’t pretend like you don’t remember these shrunken jherri-curled body builders and their striptease dancers) and Freddie Jackson. The Ruffin episode was particularly heartbreaking (if you’ve seen Robert Townsend’s THE FIVE HEARTBEATS then you know most of the story) as Ruffin was a talented member of The Temptations, battling insane demons, addictions and low self - esteem (note to future megastars: Do not surround yourself with an entourage to lift your confidence - never works).
Full Force was a pleasure as the group members are still together today and, remarkably, are family members that haven’t killed each other or sold one another out in the tabloids. Theirs is more of the happy story of resilience and talent. Freddie Jackson (one of my mother’s personal favorites) would be a lesson in business management - don’t just sign whatever they say. Freddie’s first album went gold along with the several that followed but when he fell, he fell hard.