Mona Scott Young is either one of the most praised producers of all time—or the most hated—either way her television babies, VH-1’s Love & Hip-Hop franchise, seems to be more popular than ever. Now covering New York City, Atlanta, Hollywood, and soon Miami, these series do not seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon. Still, just because the shows are hits does not mean all of their cast members deserve the limelight. (Coughs “Karlie Redd”) Indeed, this franchise has seen some of the best– and worst– people we have ever seen when it comes to the rap and hip-hop genre. However, only one of them really knows the tea of what is going on in Hollywood—Jason Lee; celebrity news and gossip blogger, the CEO of Hollywood Unlocked, and the talk of Tinsel Town on Love & Hip-Hop’s Hollywood! Being in the “know”of things in Hollywood can often make you persona non grata. Thankfully, that has never bothered Jason as he prides himself on being about his business and keeping his ear to the streets!
As we already know, his initial introduction to us on the show was rather shady and volatile. This season, however, he is determined to show the world he is a real person and even more importantly that he means business. Unsurprisingly, he does admit his being on the show has somewhat changed his everyday life. “Well I still feel like I’m being my authentic self, but now when I go places people recognize me so I have to watch what I wear [he laughs]. So I can’t get away with pajama pants and a Superman top anymore!” Fan response to his appearances has been mostly positive but he admits he does have some hecklers. “I was at the Essence Festival and some guy was yelling at me from across the street for me to go back to Hollywood [he laughs].”
Jason’s addition to the cast of Love & Hip-Hop Hollywood (LHHH) came as a surprise to most, especially since the premise of the show traditionally centers on artists and at the very most their love interests as well. Jason, however, pointed out to Mona why he was needed on the show. “Well I’ve been a socialite for a while, I know everybody, I know everything that’s not happening so when I saw the first season of course I looked at it with a side eye. I called Mona one day and was like ‘Yo I really wanna take a run at building this media company I’ve had a vision for some time called Hollywood Unlocked; and coming into the show I already know most of the cast and I’m gonna be me’…You know some of my co-stars are actors on the low and living these fake lifestyles for TV, I’m just being real, and I feel the audience deserves to have it real and raw in the show because they look for it…” Jason elaborated on the “actors” he works with on LHHH stating, “I mean I would just say that if there are any artists on our show, or any of the other ‘Love & Hip-Hop’ franchise shows that talked about doing an EP, do a video, or are in the studio but never release any music It’s pretty simple are you an actor or an artist? I mean shit next season I might drop an album. I have the connections, I may not necessarily have the talent, but then again some of them don’t either.” Jason’s allegations may have some validity. Besides Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta’s K. Michelle, none of the cast members on any of the shows have a steady and present (sorry Ray J) music career. This is something both K. Michelle and another Atlanta cast member, Mama Dee, have questioned. Where is the hip-hop in “Love & Hip-Hop?”
Although he strives for authenticity he admits he has been affected by editing on the show but does not feel he is a victim of it. “I just try to come to the table and be very authentic and honest and react the way I know the audience would react.” He goes on to cite the audience as a factor in his change in behavior this season. “Last season I wasn’t really focused on the audience as much as I was this season because I now understand how television works and how our fans watch…I’m never going to point fingers at producers and say they edited me to be this way. I did everything you see, but it is edited and filmed very well and it wouldn’t be one of the number one television shows if they didn’t do their jobs well…I wouldn’t blame or call myself a victim. I will say that they’ve been very creative with my story line…”
As aforementioned Hollywood Unlocked is Jason’s brainchild, and a heavy hitter in the world of celebrity news and gossip. His stories are always fresh, his interviews are always amazing, and his exclusives are nothing short of juicy! In fact, he recently did an exclusive interview with his newest cast mate, Safaree Samuels. “We talked about the relationships between him and Nicki Minaj and Nikkii Baby and who he enjoyed having sex with more…I guess the newest thing with Hollywood Unlocked is expanding the brand through the radio with Hollywood Unlocked Uncensored with my co-hosts, Melissa Ford and Giovanni Watson…It’s been pretty good, things are picking up…that’s what I’m most proud of…” You can catch Jason’s full interview with Safaree below.
Being a reality television star, CEO, and the face of a brand has its pressures, but Jason manages to rise to the occasion. Gracefully handling them all with the help of others. “I have a really good and supportive team. Floyd Mayweather is my mentor, he’s someone who has really inspired me…and my team really believes in Hollywood Unlocked and they believe in me …I’ve literally channeled all of my energy into it…I’m confident by next year it’s going to be a force in the industry to respect.” Still some of the stories released by Hollywood Unlocked can be rather scandalous, making some wary and leery of confiding in Jason for fear their personal business might be broadcasted to the world. Jason, however, has no regrets about his work and follows his own code of ethics. “I don’t have a professional conscience in the sense that I regret anything. We’ve established very clear boundaries. We don’t out people, we don’t attack people’s children, and those are pretty much the only two things that are off limits. You know one challenge I use to have before the launch of Hollywood Unlocked is I was really in my head…I literally don’t think that way anymore my stories…We write about people our readers are inspired by like Floyd [Mayweather], Queen Latifah, or Gucci Mane…but if they do something like set their house on fire intentionally to kill someone we’re gonna write about it…I think the difference between the news and writing about it is we call them and give them the opportunity to be a part of the conversation.”
This latter motive rings true as he used it on the show to allow Princess Love to speak her peace on fellow cast mate, Moniece Slaughter. Many fans, and Princess herself, felt it was messy, but Jason stands by his decision. “Moniece didn’t do that interview with us. She did that interview with Vlad TV…I saw that interview and part of our job is to talk about what people are talking about. We asked Princess questions and Princess replied the way that she wanted. And let me just address this ‘messy’ thing. I saw the comment where Princess said I was the messiest person in Hollywood…we’re all adults, we signed up to do Love & Hip-Hop. Our producers may suggest a way of phrasing things if it sounds better for the show. I don’t fall into that. I say what I believe. If they suggest it and I believe it, I say it. If they say it and I don’t believe it I don’t say it. I think a lot of my co-stars are irresponsible and they become puppets and like I said actors. Why would you say I’m the messiest person in Hollywood when you know your ex-boyfriend is a very close friend of mine and if I wanted to be messy I’m sure I could do that…If you thought I was the messiest person in Hollywood why you invite me to your wedding and make sure you do an interview where you say I’m like family….In this case I called Princess and said you know we’re gonna have a problem with that, she’s like well I’mma clean it up. Well clean it up then but right now we have a problem…I have a respect for Princess, and more importanrtly I have a respect for Ray J so I’m not gonna go out and attack her, but we have our reunion next month and we’re gonna talk about it…”
You can say what you want about Jason Lee, but he never fails to deliver in laughs, entertainment, and most of all realness. This is a man who can pride himself on making something great out of a lot of hard work, an even greater bit of knowledge, and the wisdom and finesse to know how to utilize both. Be sure you catch Jason Lee tonight on the latest episode of Love & Hip-Hop Hollywood tonight at 8 PM EST. You can always get the latest celebrity talk, gossip, and tea by checking out Hollywood Unlocked!
Written By: Michael “Hey Mikey” Fanning