So, who is the man behind the scenes directing some of the most successful reality shows on television for VH1, BET, Bravo and even Oprah’s OWN Network?
That would be Oji Singletary, a passionate and talented director-at- heart that jet sets across the world to shoot reality shows. Spending his days managing cast and crews, creating story elements, conducting interviews with cast and directing multi-cam scenes, Singletary is one busy man.
“I love reality television, and I love what I do,” says Singletary. Currently, he directs The Braxton’s Family Values, the Tamar & Vince show and The Real. In addition to directing, Singletary spends his time balancing personalities. “All the sisters bring something unique and special. They are definitely a talented bunch,” says Singletary. “They all have their lives. They all have opportunities and have their own opportunities.” Singletary manages his time and splits it between the shows. When managing guest for The Real show, he says, “We have to strategically pick and choose our moments, so we can get the most bang for our buck.”
He also directed BET’s College Hill, College Hill: Interns and VH1’s Basketball Wives, Welcome to Sweeties Pie’s, Shahs of Sunset, Lisa Raye: The Real McCoy, Bridezillas, and Son of a Gun and others.
At the time of this interview with EUR’s Lee Bailey, Singletary was just finishing Season 4-A for Braxton Family Values, Singletary talks about the ends and out of reality television.
“Momma Braxton calls the shots. Contractually, she doesn’t have editorial control, but she has control of her daughters,” he explains. If Momma Braxton says something, they listen. The executive producers have the power to change something they don’t like and they can make things the way they want.” When asked how long he thinks the Braxton’s Family Values show could go on, he says, “I think they could go on and on. The Kardashians are in 14 years. It is a commitment, and they have a whole lot of opportunities,” says Singletary.
Singletary’s family is no stranger to the entertainment industry. His father, Tony Singletary, was also a successful director. He directed Sandford & Son, Martin, and The Bill Cosby Show. Singletary’s father helped him on his forthcoming documentary, Misguided Altruism, but his father says it is a young man’s world. Singletary says Tracy Edmonds gave him a chance to direct and the rest is history.
Although, he loves reality television, he says after awhile, the drama starts becoming embarrassing.
“Well to be honest, the shows I do, I try to avoid shows with just drama. I was attracted to the Braxton’s Show, love, comedy, feel good shows. I try to balance,” he says. When directing the Basketball Wives, he says, “I was literally separating the Basketball Wives from each other in Italy and it wasn’t a good feeling.”
“I also have my own Oji products, my passion projects. One is a documentary, “Misguided Altruism“, about a man (Dr. Ozel Clifford Brazil) helping kids go to school. I am one of his products. He helps students go to college. Overall, he helped over 20,000 students,” says Singletary. Dr. Brazil went to jail for taking a stand and helping students. “I’m very excited and passionate about the project,” he says.
His project can be seen at various film festivals across the country, including the Pan African Film Festival.
“My father executive produced it and gave us the financial help to help us tell the story,” says Singletary. “My brother, Travis, helped and it was a very small crew of passionate students who were all students of Dr. Brazil’s and thought it was important to get the story out there.”
Singletary has goals beyond reality TV, and you will see a lot more of him in the near future.
Angela P. Moore-Thorpe is an Atlanta-based freelance writer for local and national magazines. She is also a Publicist and CEO at APM Public Relations (www.apmpublicrelations.com) and owner of The Inkwell Agency.