The first run of BET’s College Hill premiered in 2004.
The show’s different seasons took place at multiple schools ranging from Virginia State University to the University of the Virgin Islands and gave viewers a glimpse into the lives of young Black students achieving their dreams while navigating HBCU life. On one hand, the show garnered a cult following, but there were also critics who felt it wasn’t a good representation of actual HBCU life. Either way, the people were talking but eventually, all good (and controversial) things must come to an end, and the last season aired in 2009, after a five-year run.
Fast-forward 13 years, and it’s safe to say that good things come to those who wait. Such is the case with College Hill. Announced via BET.com, College Hill: Celebrity Edition will make its triumphant return this summer to BET+. With excitement in the air, here are six things that we know about the reality TV show thus far.
The Cast Is Going to Be Fun
NeNe Leakes, Ray J, Lamar Odom, Big Freedia, Stacey Dash, Dream Doll, India Love, and Slim Thug will join Tiger Nation in the pursuit of higher learning. This group of people have either never attended college or never finished college but they want to expand their horizons.
Nene attended Morris Brown but dropped out after getting pregnant, Big Freedia dropped out of nursing school because their career began taking off, and Slim Thug was accepted to TSU but never went because his career began to take off. School is not India Love’s forte, and she struggles to understand a lot of her lessons, but she comes from an educated family, and one of her sisters graduated from TSU, so she wants to make them proud.
Ray J is probably there for a check and Lamar Odom seems to be interested in the experience.
They will live together in one house and join Texas Southern University (Megan Thee Stallion’s alma mater) as students to work toward completing a specialty certification program in order to be eligible for the graduation ceremony. You already know that most of these people are no strangers to reality TV so this is going to be a lot, especially because they are going to have to work together as a group in some cases but also participate in real-world college things that they may not be used to.
Stacey Dash Doesn’t Like Black People
This is no shocker given the controversial comments Stacey Dash has made over the years about Black people and the LGBTQ community, particularly trans people. She’s the last one to arrive at the house so when she comes in everyone else is already building camaraderie and despite their apprehension, they reach out and try to make her feel comfortable but she doesn’t want to do anything with them.
She keeps making excuses when they extend courtesies that she really doesn’t deserve and generally makes the vibe really awkward as it’s obvious that she’s just there for a check and not the experience. It also doesn’t help that she's one of two cast members who gets to have her own suite. She tried everyone’s patience the entire time and it gets even worse when she gets to school. While at school she joins the dance team but there’s a moment when the dance captain gets frustrated with her for not knowing the routine she was supposed to practice and lets her know firmly.
There was no disrespectful tone in the way the dance captain spoke but Miss Dash took it that way, of course, claiming she only knows ballet and not hip-hop. Mmkay, Stacey from the Bronx. Anyway, more drama arises when her roommates decide they should do a room swap during their time in the house so that they can get to know each other. Stacey obviously doesn’t like that idea.
To be fair, Slim Thug, the only other person with a suit didn’t like it either but he still decided to be a team player. Things really take a turn the next day when an ambulance comes to pick up Stacey. No one knows why as the paramedics won’t say anything and you’ll just have to watch the show to see how that goes.
Side Note: Ray J appears to lean right in his politics too, which you will see later, but that didn’t affect his ability to at least try to get to know his cast mates (even though he might work your nerves too but in a different way).
The Drama Is Everlasting
Stacey Dash isn’t the only one who brings drama. Ray J and Dream Doll bring some mess too. Ray J seems to think he’s the smartest person in the room and that he can make TSU better with his knowledge.
He also doesn’t think rules apply. Meanwhile, Dream Doll stirs the pot in other ways that surface when they are working on group projects, or when she doesn’t like a grade that she gets, which you will see play out.
Big Freedia Gets Real About His/Her/Their Pronouns
Anyone who is familiar with Big Freedia knows that Big Freedia is muva, sista, brotha — whatever you need them to be. That is not everyone’s reality but Big Freedia has a moment where he sits down with Slim Thug and has a candid conversation about this.
Thugga was trying to be respectful and just needed a breakdown of Big Freedia’s identity because he was trying to gain a better understanding. Big Freedia, who is gender fluid, obliged and explained that he’s still learning about pronouns as well. It was a nice exchange between the two.
The Unexpected Big Freedia and Nene Alliance
Big Freedia and Nene Leakes together make for a really nice partnership. It’s not something you would have thought of before watching this show but listen, it’s good. Really good.
The show doesn’t focus as much on their friendship as it should but perhaps there’s some sort of spinoff project that could be in the works.
Ghosts of College Hill’s Past
With all the hype surrounding the show, it is impressive to also learn that some familiar faces from College Hill’s past will be in the building.
Ray Cunningham, who attended the Virginia State season, and Dorian Renaud, who appeared in Season 3 in Atlanta, will both make some meaningful and significant appearances.
Grab your popcorn, pull your HBCU alums into the group chat, and get ready for a host of academic craziness when College Hill: Celebrity Edition runs new episodes on BET Plus every Thursday.
Starr Rocque is a Brooklyn, New York-based writer, and author, whose book, Bloggers Can't Be Trusted, is available for you to enjoy here!