The Knockturnal sat down with some of the cast from Growing Up Hip Hop (GUHH) the day after their holiday party on December 5th that was held at the Avenue in NYC, in honor of the upcoming season that returns on January 10 2019.
After a night of partying with DJ Questlove amongst media, influencers and cast members from Hustle in Brooklyn and Jojo Simmons sat with his sisters, Vanessa and Angela, alongside Romeo Miller; to speak about what audiences should expect next season and life off camera.
The Knockturnal: What can audiences expect to see next season?
Romeo Miller: I think every season we grow. We get more comfortable with the camera and the phrase I’ve been using this season is it’s like a rollercoaster, a lot of ups and downs. This season you get a little bit of everything and I’m just excited because Jojo is the life of the party but he had a lot of great words of wisdom and he’s always in the middle of everything.
Jojo Simmons: I don’t know how! It’s like the energy just attracts to me, bad and good for some reason in this season. But you gotta watch it. It’s funny.
Vanessa Simmons: We kinda pick up right where we left off. My sister and I are still trying to find a way to work together. I brought some opportunities to her and you’ll see how she reacts to them throughout the season. I always wanted to work with my sister more since we’ve done Pastry. We have a great business relationship, we’re able to make magic together so I’m always looking to recreate that magic. So you’ll see what we go through trying to get that together and how we resolve everything. I know a lot of people have seen us argue a bit on the show, but just because we’re arguing on camera doesn’t mean there’s any love lost between us. I got to start a new skin care line I’m really excited about and you guys will see that process too.
Knockturnal: (to Jojo) How do you deal with being the middleman?
Jojo Simmons: I’m so cool, calm, and collected. The funny thing is I’m not involved in it, I’m just around the stuff that happening and I just look at it and be like “wow.” You’ll see my facial expressions in a lot of these scenes.
Knockturnal: When the cameras are off, what don’t audiences get to see? What do you like to do in your spare time?
Angela Simmons: We’re the same people!
Romeo Miller: Nah I’m Batman. I’m not the same person (laughs). That’s the cool thing with our cast we are who you see. We don’t fake it for the cameras everyone’s chill, chasing their dreams and pretty level-headed. Right, Ang?
Angela Simmons: What are you talking about?
Vanessa Simmons: Sometimes.
Angela Simmons: Depends on what you do!
Romeo Miller: But the thing with TV is people don’t understand it’s a business. It’s a job where you can’t capture your whole life in one season. Truly, if you go hang out with a family for one week and film everything, that’s gonna be longer than five or ten seasons. So the thing with TV is it’s like the highlight reel where you get those highlights in and sometimes things aren’t explained fully as they should be. That’s why I’m excited about this show though because it’s different from a lot of reality shows out there.
Knockturnal: In what way?
Jojo Simmons: Positivity!
Romeo Miller: That’s what it was for me and Ang from the beginning. That’s what it’s all about making sure that we stay on track. We know there’s going to be ups and downs, everything isn’t always going to be perfect. But this show has a bigger meaning. It’s showing kids growing up in hip-hop, chasing their dreams and you get to see those failures, those falls, but you get to see how we come back up as well.
Jojo Simmons: It’s real. A lot of these reality shows, I’m not saying they’re not real, but they look for the drama or look for the bad parts. With us, if drama happens, drama really happens. We keep it real and we’re a close crew. It’s a real family dynamic, you would think we were all family and that’s the best part about it for me I love the closeness of it.
Angela Simmons: And the difference is that none of the other shows have our background, we’re unique because we grew up in hip-hop for real; we grew up around it so the dynamic of the show is a lot different.
Knockturnal: What is it like being in your families’ shadows and while trying to find yourselves as individuals?
Vanessa Simmons: We are privileged to come from where we come from and it’s not really living in their shadows, but more so letting them lead by example and showing us how far we can really take things. They also support everything we decide to do and it kind of inspires us to go harder to make our dreams come true.
Romeo Miller: V makes it sound so easy and simple. But everyone doesn’t turn out like you (to Vanessa). Have a good head on their shoulders like Jo, like Ang. A lot of kids who have successful parents they go off the deep end. V makes it look easy, but that shows you the strength in these women here with us. But it is hard but at the end of the day you just have to follow your path and that’s what I think everybody here is good at. We know our path, we’re not worried about everything we’re grateful; this is a blessing to grow up in hip-hop. We don’t worry about the cons, the negatives, the shadows, the shoes we fill.
Jojo Simmons: we appreciate the pros.
Knockturnal: What are the pros and cons, if any?
Romeo Miller: There are cons to everything. It’s not “if.” My pops just said yesterday one of the homies that grew up with him in the projects said “Man, how’s life being rich?” and he said, “shits the same, my bills are just millions of dollars now.” We still have to pay bills, just may have a few more zeros on the end still get sick, still could pass away tomorrow. Life is the biggest blessing and gift right there. No matter how much you make, materialistic wise, you’re still going to have problems. You have to have a happy soul.
Jojo Simmons: Money doesn’t solve problems, it just pays bills.
Vanessa Simmons: It doesn’t create happiness.
Knocktural: What rumors will be addressed this season on the show?
Angela Simmons: I don’t know if we necessarily address rumors on the show, we’re just giving you bits and pieces of our lives. I normally don’t even address rumors because they’re rumors.
Vanessa Simmons: And if there are rumors out there we kind of let those things just roll off our back and not pay attention to them, and keep pushing in what we’re doing.
Knocktural: Have obstacles presented themselves since deciding to do the show and putting your personal lives on display? What is it like?
Angela Simmons: We’ve been doing this since we were kids. It’s the same thing just a different day with some cameras.
Vanessa Simmons: Some days being in the public eye can be challenging depending on what you’re going through but it’s all about pushing forward.
Angela Simmons: to me it’s nothing new because we’ve been doing this since I graduated high school-
Jojo Simmons: You been doing this since 17, I’ve been doing this since 14, Romeo has been doing it since two he came out dancing at seven (they laugh)
Angela Simmons: It just makes you stronger if you started younger, you already know what to execpt.
Knocktural: Right, so nothing really phases you-
Angela Simmons: It can phase you, it’s just the way you handle it.
Jojo Simmons: It kind of becomes just life.
Vanessa Simmons: I’ve taken full breaks from the industry before because of feeling that so if you ever feel that way just remove yourself, reevaluate, then hop back on the train.
Romeo Miller: Yeah, you have to make sure you always live for you. That’s the thing, this industry that we’re in you always have to cater to other people. Humans were put on Earth to take care of ourselves. Social media, reality shows, this and that now we catering to and letting other people in our lives where if you don’t understand our dynamic, our business side, you will get lost so just make sure you take care of you, that’s key.
Jojo Simmons: We have to deal with it on camera the best way we can. We try not to touch on it too much, you don’t want to give everybody every single detail, but we signed up for reality TV and we have to figure out the best way to touch on it.
Vanessa Simmons: Sometimes those moments are uncomfortable, things come up while we’re filming and the producers are like “We need to capture this or else the show is going to look like we’re not being authentic” and we don’t want that. We want the viewer to feel like they’re getting a peek into our lives. so whether it’s uncomfortable or not, whether we want to do it or not; we do that because that’s what we signed up to do.
In closing, the cast asked for all the views to watch season four which each of them describes as “a rollercoaster, real, and funny.” Be sure to catch GUHH on Thursdays on WeTV.