Excerpt from Essence.com -- See scenes from "Harlem Heights" » Read our exclusive interviews with the cast of "Harlem Heights" » Enter a chance to win a weekend in NYC, attend a special viewing of "Harlem Heights" season finale and more! »
Think of every negative thing you've ever heard about Harlem men. Now, forget it. The new uptown man values education
and cares about the community, according to Landon Dais, the resident
politician of BET's new reality series "Harlem Heights." The son of
noted community leader Larry Dais, Landon is following in the footsteps
of his father and Obama by ushering in a new era of grassroots
politics. The difference? He's not giving up his active social life to
do it. ESSENCE.com talks with the charming Morehouse grad about the
show's critics, what he really thinks about his cast mates, and why
there's nothing wrong with a little drama.
ESSENCE.COM: It's refreshing that you and your cast mates were friends before the show started. Which cast member are you closest to? What is your relationship really like with each?
LANDON DAIS: I'm closest to Bridget, who I've known since college. We have a brother/sister relationship. I'm not going to lie, we fight sometimes, but it's because we care about each other. Christian and I are competitive, probably because we played against each other in basketball and football in high school. I love Briana because she'll put you in your place in a heartbeat. Pierre and I have similar community aspirations. I'm trying to help Jason get the nonprofit off the ground. And Brooke's my neighbor and Ashley and I are cool.
ESSENCE.COM: How do you respond to criticism about the show being scripted, or too focused on drama?
DAIS: People complain about drama, but the most successful reality shows always have some sort of conflict or controversy. And what relationship doesn't have drama?
ESSENCE.COM: Do you get involved in any of the said drama?
DAIS: (Laughs.) Compared to everyone else, I'm tame. Drama-free. I've had some disagreements, like heated debates about HBCU's vs. regular colleges.
ESSENCE.COM: I'm sure bloggers will have a lot to say about that episode! Do their comments ever get under your skin?
DAIS: I don't pay attention to critics. I don't read blogs. No matter what you say or do, people are going to pick you apart. If you look for dirt, you'll find it. I think the positive message will overshadow. CONTINUE READING..