The Real Housewife and her Kenyan beau

Shamea Morton an actress and singer, who joined the cast of Real Housewives of Atlanta as a good friend to co-star Porsha Williams and her Kenyan boyfriend Gerald, pose for a photo during the interview on January 7, 2016. PHOTO | CHARLES KAMAU

What you need to know:

  • Shamea Morton is the newest cast member in this season’s ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ and is already causing ripples after butting heads with cast mate Kenya Moore. I was born and raised in Atlanta.
  • Porsha and I grew up together; I’ve known her since we were 13 in middle school and our parents are really good friends. When she joined the cast, I would make small appearances here and there but nothing serious. So when I started dating, people on the show were like ‘Porsha, your friend is dating an African, bring her around more...’

First time visiting Kenya?

Yes, but it’s definitely not the last. I honestly don’t even want to go back. I almost changed my flight, but if I did I wouldn’t have a job, so... 

Did you have any preconceived notions or misconceptions about Kenya?

I was only nervous about meeting my boyfriend’s family because it is so important to be accepted and liked. The nervous part of me hoped that I’m good enough and not too “American” for him. 

Your fiancee, Gerald Mwangi, is Kenyan; how was it meeting his family?

It was good; they welcomed me with open arms. There were no preconceived notions because he kind of prepped me; we’ve been talking about this since we started dating. I had all these pictures in my mind but it was better than I had imagined. Kenya is just beautiful all around — the people, the food. Oh my God, I’ve gained three kilos. 

How did you two meet?

We met at this lounge in Atlanta on a Friday night. I was meeting some friends and I sat next to him. He was laid-back and very quiet and there was this girl next to him whom I thought was his girlfriend. The only thing he said was, ‘help yourself to some drinks.’ Then Porsha (cast member of RHOA) called and told me she was across the street. I finished my drink and left; we didn’t exchange numbers. 


So on Sunday I get a call from the same girl telling me that the guy I sat next to on Friday was having a cook-out. I couldn’t remember him so she told me ‘the quiet one’. She dragged me to his house and this time he was very chatty, but charming. We talked for hours and we’ve been inseparable ever since. 

What made you want to join the ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ cast?

I was born and raised in Atlanta. Porsha and I grew up together; I’ve known her since we were 13 in middle school and our parents are really good friends. When she joined the cast, I would make small appearances here and there but nothing serious. So when I started dating, people on the show were like ‘Porsha, your friend is dating an African, bring her around more...’ And then they said they wanted me to be a housewife, but I was hesitant because I’m not engaged or married. 

Are you a permanent cast member now?

Yes, but since I am not married, they refer to me as ‘friend to the show.’ I’m surprised that people know me in Kenya. 

Reality shows are often perceived as ratchet and mindless TV...

That was one of the things I was hesitant about in the beginning, but the thing with being a friend to the show is that they don’t get as much into your personal life as they could. 


Exactly, but I will embrace that it is a good platform for me; it gives me the ability to reach out and touch people that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to if I wasn’t on the show. I’m very big on giving back. I could be a role model for somebody who looks up to me and thinks I’m pretty cool. It can have its negative perspectives but all the women on the show are beautiful, successful, and intelligent. 

How is it handling all those strong personalities?

Oh my goodness, it’s a lot. It’s definitely not made up; it’s real. There are times we click and others we don’t. But for the most part, it’s fun. You’ve got to be quick on your feet because someone is going to throw shade (be disrespectful) at you and you have to respond. It’s a great experience, though. 

Have you got used to the cameras following you around?

I have because I’ve done film work and television, which I’m proud of. I did Tyler Perry’s play The Haves and the Have-nots and I have a small role in Ride Along 2 that stars Kevin Hart and Ice Cube. 

Porsha is usually portrayed as dumb on the show; how do you feel about that, considering you are close friends?

She’s my friend and I will have her back regardless. People are always going to say what they want. You only get to see a small part of our lives, so to some she’s not the brightest but to me she’s the best. Sometimes when she has those off moments, she’s hilarious, and that’s why I love her. 

Your hair always seems perfect, how many times do you go to the salon?

It’s so frizzy right now; I’m channeling my inner Kenyan with my braids in the front. I’m a baller on a budget and I like to save my coins so if I can, I do it at home. But when it gets a little rough, like you see these grays coming back, I have to get that treated as soon as I get home. But I go every other week. 

You drank Kenya Moore’s hair product at her launch; did it really taste like water?

It was water. I took a hard hit when that episode aired because a lot of her fans thought I was just belittling her, that I went to the event to disrespect her but that was the reality. She didn’t have the real product, it was water in those tubes. I’m yet to taste, try or see a real product, but it’s not disrespectful if it’s true. 

Do you talk?

No, we are not friends and we do not hang out. 

Are you on the show for fun or for the money?

It’s about living my life and having fun. I’ve been successful in other parts of my life; I’ve worked for the NBA as an in-game host and social media correspondent as well as a side-lines reporter for the Atlanta Hawks. I did six years dancing for the NFL and five years dancing for the NBA. I’ve done film work and I have my own radio show. I wear as many hats as I can and, if the cheque comes, I’m not going to turn it down. But when the fun stops, that’s when I’ll stop doing it. 

Apart from Porsha and Kandi, who would you rather get stuck on an island with?

Phaedra. She’s a smart girl. 

How long can you go without checking social media?

It’s like clockwork, but sometimes, for example on this trip, I really wanted to experience Kenya so my phone stayed on airplane mode. I haven’t even been keeping up with the show as I have been to the Maasai Mara and Mombasa. 

Did you go to your boyfriend’s home village?

I did. I actually brought a lot of fun things for the people in the village — lots of clothes and shoes and house paraphernalia. The kids were so grateful it touched my heart; it brought me to tears. They also made me a “Kikuyu”, they wrapped lesos around me and did a chant. Everybody was so appreciative and loving, it really humbled me. It’s life changing and it puts it all in perspective. If I could bring the whole cast members, I would, that is a goal of mine. 

You saw ‘manyattas’ at the Maasai Mara, too...

I thought I was playing a role. I couldn’t believe it, the people were so nice and warm and I was thinking, ‘this is what it should be like: to hell with a light bill, what water bill? They were living their lives and they were happy. 

You know women build the huts; what can you do with your hands?

Well, you have to ask him that (laughs). I’m good at a lot of things but I won’t be building houses out of cow dung. 

Are you done filming season eight?

Yes, it’s just the reunion coming up. 

How come you didn’t involve yourself with Porsha and Cynthia’s physical altercation?

I’m not Mike Tyson, (laughs). I’m a lover not a hater. 

If push comes to shove, what would make you fight?

You have to really be disrespectful; you have to put your hands on me and I don’t entertain drinks being thrown in my face or spitting on me. 

Would you move to Kenya if he asked you to?

I already want to move here; let’s just do six months in Nairobi and the other six in Atlanta. Yes, why not, I already love it here and I will be back in October.