Like many of you, my first question was “What in the world is a press junket?” I’d agreed to something I’d seen on YouTube many of times but never knew the name of. After some research major excitement kicked in. Then came the disappointment. I was missing out on free food and swanky hotels for a Zoom experience. Looking back, it was a blessing in disguise. There’s something to be said about grounding yourself in the presence of your home – hiding behind a black screen because your camera is crappy, and you desperately need a retwist.
Unlike myself, Tyler Perry doesn’t shy away from twists – at all. If that’s your speed, Ruthless is the show for you. It’s a spinoff of his hit show The Oval, Ruth, a lost cult member, is the scripted FLOTUS twin. Initially viewers assumed Ruth was killed but–PLOT TWIST! She’s alive, kidnapping her daughter, and trying to free them both from a sex-crazed cult.
The process of the junket was fast. I spent two seconds in the journalist room before I was quickly ushered into “ROOM 2” with Lenny Thomas (Dikhan), Yvonne Senat Jones (Tally) and Colin McCalla (River) from Tyler Perry’s Ruthless. Yvonne greeted me with a smile smothered in sweet southern hospitality and my nerves flew far, far away. Lenny has one of those good Motown faces that you can’t help but to love. Confident yet humble. A real sweetheart. River is the perfect name for Colin’s character. He was chill and laid back. A “go with the flow” kind of guy with a boyish smile. They all exuded high energy and good vibrations. Silently rooting for each other with smiles and head nods. After a long day of questions, it was obvious the trio was just happy to be there.
To be honest, I hadn’t watched much of the show. I went into this blind with the desire to learn and bring out the positives of what some consider a “dark” show. It’s honest and “full of twists and turns,” according to Yvonne. “Three episodes is just not gonna be enough…I guarantee you people are gonna be in our inbox like, ‘When are they next episodes coming?’” as she laughs and air types. The men informed me of the realness of the show by comparing the fictional Rakudushi cult members to recently dismantled cults and the very present sex-trafficking epidemic. It was an eye-opening experience.
Before I was virtually sent to the next room the fun trio delivered their favorite lines from the coming season. Without giving anything away, of course. Colin took the lead, “Each of you men will have your chance to show your gratitude to the highest. You will.” I’m not sure if I even want to know what that means. Yvonne simply told us to listen out for Ruth and Tally while scratching her head, “There’s some words said.”
Ruth Truesdale is played by Melissa L. Williams and she was dressed to the nines. Her cute off the shoulder number with ruffled sleeves was a hit. It’s light blue hue complimented Matt Cedeño’s (The Highest) dark jacket well. It was a far cry from the modest maroon robes worn on the show, but it was apparent that these two are about their business. Much like their famous characters. When describing their characters, Melissa let us know that Ruth is “’bout it, ‘bout it,” and we’re about to see just how “‘bout it” she is. Much like his male counterparts Matt was all about keeping it real. Yes, “it is a darker show” and some things aren’t particular positive but there are lessons to be learned. He explained that the purpose of the show is to start conversations and to dig deeper into the psychology of cults and our everyday lives. Towards the end of the conversation, the posh superstars delivered their favorite lines. But after watching Melissa give Matt the black girl side-eye with a smile. I decided I’ll keep those to myself and we’ll just have to watch…
Ruthless returns to BET + for its midseason premiere on Thursday, December 3rd.