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Courtesy of OWN

Here's What You Missed On The ‘Put A Ring On It’ Series Premiere

If he likes it, why won't he put a ring on it?

Culture & Entertainment

What do you get when you mix three long-term, in-love couples with a batch of eligible suitors looking to snag a compatible mate? A whole hour-long, front-row seat to some spicy commentary and telling reveals. And if that's something that sounds right up your alley, then look no further than the new Will Packer series Put A Ring On It. This show centers around these couples as they embark on the ultimate journey to discover if they're truly meant to be together--by dating other people.

So if you ever wondered whether or not the grass was truly greener on the other side in your relationship, allow this show to be the social experiment you need to answer all your questions. Friday night's series premiere was a DOOZY to say the least, so let's get all the way into it. Starting with…

The 'Put A Ring On It' Couples

Meet Ashley & Hollywood

Ashley and Hollywood, 'Put A Ring On It'

Courtesy of OWN

Let's start with these two lovebirds, Ashley and Hollywood. They're arguably my favorite couple but I may be biased because I'm in love with any and all Southern accents (they're both from New Orleans). They've been together for nine years and according to Hollywood, should have already been married by now. But as it's revealed in the initial sit down with resident relationship coach Dr. Nicole LaBeach, Ashley isn't quite sure if she's ready to head down that road just yet.

"I'm not afraid of marriage at all, I'm afraid of marriage with the wrong person. I'm scared to allow myself to be completely vulnerable with him, I'm scared to allow myself to get to that next level."

Now what you have left to be scared of after a nine-year-long relationship is beyond me, but as the conversation continues--we learn a very interesting fact. Hollywood had previously proposed to Ashley some years back but his cold feet and fear caused him to go back and forth on their engagement. Thus giving Ashley more than enough ammo to be doubtful of his ability to fully commit now. Hmph. Y'know, Maya Angelou always said, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."

Meet Che' & Michael

Che' & Michael, 'Put A Ring On It'

Courtesy of OWN

OK, so this beautiful brown couple threw me for a loop and I'll tell you why. They've known each other for about six years, but have only been dating for two. Che' says they're soulmates and Michael truly believes that she is his best friend. So where's the disconnect, sis? Well, I'm glad you ask. At the heart of it, the two of them don't really agree on what a marriage truly is or is about. She feels that it's a natural evolution for two people in love, while he feels it's "two people who sign a contract to be together by force." And he may have a good reason for feeling that way.

You see, somewhere in between Che' and his relationship, Che' came to the conclusion that she actually still had feelings for her ex and broke things off. And so Michael did what any other single person would after being dumped-- dated other people. But not only did he date another woman, he moved to DC with said woman AND asked for her hand in marriage. And as luck (or karma if you wanna argue) would have it, the engagement only exacerbated issues between the two. So after coming to his senses, he moved back to ATL and back into Che's life emotionally scarred from a failed engagement. Thus making Michael hesitant to bring matrimonial havoc into his happy home.

"I don't think marriage is necessary because we wake up and choose to be with each other right now. We're in such a good place, I don't wanna ruin things."

I guess, chile.

Mi-Mi & Eyuless

Mi-Mi & Eyuless, 'Put A Ring On It'

Courtesy of OWN

This brings us to our final lovey dovey couple and we honestly meet them at a crossroads. These two met on a video shoot and let Eyuless tell it--it was love at first sight. (Even though Mimi admits to making a move on him first on their first date during their confessional.) They seem to mesh very well and balance each other out, according to Mi-Mi. But in the sit down with Dr. Nicole, we learned that everything isn't exactly what it seems to be on the surface. See the thing is, Eyuless WANTS to marry Mi-Mi, but previous relationship discretions, aka cheating, are keeping doubts at the front of Mi-Mi's mind.

It's not that she doesn't love him--she absolutely does. She just doesn't know if she wants to stay in this relationship or move forward. Plus, there are other hindrances that play a major role too like poor communication, insecurity, and lack of accountability. At the heart of it all, Mi-Mi just wants to be sure that it's going to last because she DOES NOT want a divorce, as we learn in her confessional. This marriage has to be the one. And if Eyuless isn't prepared to address and change some things, she's not so sure if this is a path she needs to continue down. This can arguably be true for all the couples in the group.

But Dr. Nicole has just what they need to help make sense of everything, which brings me to…

The Dates

Now listen, I'm not sure if these couples were fully aware that this was part of the deal but when Dr. Nicole lets it be known that the couples would be dating other people as a means to ascertain their true feelings towards one another-- it was met with mixed emotions. And while most of the men expressed their slight disdain and confusion, back at home the real feelings began to show. Michael was a bit nonchalant towards Che', which caused her to feel as if Michael has become a bit too comfortable in their relationship. Meanwhile, Hollywood's initial playfully cautionary reaction turns a bit more serious and testy when Ashley's date arrives at their apartment. This leads Ashley to believe that Hollywood is somewhat intimidated, not by her new date per se, but what it represents: a potentially better future WITHOUT him.

And at Eyuless' crib, he and Mi-Mi get in a heated conversation resulting in him storming off at the thought of Mi-Mi having to experience another man for her to realize he's the only one that can "do for her the way he can." At any rate, Ashley and Che' go on their respective dates with men who bring a new energy into both of their lives. But Mi-Mi, having gotten an unexpected phone call concerning her father's illness, doesn't go and turns to Eyuless for comfort and assurance. This was honestly heartbreaking and touching to see them go through but I guess things can't always be "blue skies and rainbows." (It'll hit you on the ride home later.)

The Aftermath

When all three couples return for another sit down with Dr. Nicole, both Ashley and Che' admit to having a good time and being "refreshed" after coming in contact with two good men who have exceptional qualities that directly contrast that of their own lovers. But it's not until Mimi admits what went down in her household that they all learn a valuable lesson: marriage in and of itself won't change a damn thing.

"Marriage doesn't have any power, you do. You define it, you make the rules, you make the boundaries."

In essence, all a marriage license will do is amplify whatever work, happiness, and issues a couple is already experiencing. And if these couples don't get it together right now, then a ring and walk down the aisle won't solve anything or assuage their feelings. Truer words have never been said and that's word to Dr. Nicole. Next week, it's the men's turn to go on their dates and I'm already knowing this is about to be some mess. (That dap Hollywood and Michael gave each other, uh-uh.) I honestly hope these couples can find their way to a happy resolve, whatever that may be but regardless--I can already tell this season is about to get reaaaaaaaal interesting.

Put A Ring On It airs every Friday night at 10pm ET only on the OWN Network. Keep up with the conversation online by following @owntv.

Featured image courtesy of OWN

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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