The power to choose joy’ on the shelf, you know, for a little while

OPINION: The former B2K frontman and watermelon enthusiast’s supposedly Zen lifestyle seems very fragile these days.

Editor’s note: The following article is an editorial, and the opinions expressed are those of the author. Read more opinions on the Grio.

There was a time, say in 2019, when Omari Grandberry, better known to all of us as Omarion, was seemingly living a life of success and peace. Apparently. I say this because I vividly remember videos of Omarion speaking as if he had reached a higher level of Zen regarding the impact of his personal affairs on his professional affairs. As late as the end of 2021. We’ve all praised the former B2K frontman for taking a higher road and looking and acting, well, carefree. In reference to what? I’m glad you asked.

Once Upon a Time in LA, Omarion was dating Apryl Jones (we were introduced to her via Love and hip-hop: Hollywood) and they ended up having two children together. For some reason, Omarion and Apryl broke up, perhaps unfriendly, and Apryl eventually started dating — very publicly and loudly with occasional references to Omarion — Lil Fizz. Lil Fizz was a teammate of Omarion in B2K, and that relationship (eventually) impacted their ability to raise money.

Depending on who you talk to, the members of B2K have never been friends or friends who have argued over various things, including but not limited to Omarion’s ego and budding career; this was alleged by both J-Boog (in a now-deleted IG post, but, of course, he was captured; it should be noted that Boog has both defended and taken O to task in the past) and Lil Fizz (see video above) that once Omarion managed to achieve some solo success, he acted like he didn’t need anyone else and kind of moved on…until until he needs it again. But alas, everyone seems to have evolved; Omarion continued to tour without B2K on the second leg of the Millenium Tour in 2020 (and continues today) and the rest of the members are doing…their thing.

Now, a lot of that was back in 2019. It’s now 2022, and a few months ago we all learned that Omarion would be publishing a book, due out in September, titled Carefree: the power to choose joy. And it didn’t seem far-fetched at all; in fact, it made sense with what we all thought was Omarion’s easy-going demeanor and laid-back approach to life and the people in his life. Here is an excerpt from the description of his Barnes and Noble book:

Organized into three pillars – Spiritual, Mental and Physical – Unbothered shows how Omarion has centered his life on holistic wellness, detailing the practices he uses including breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, dance, ancient mantras and an overall embrace of positivity. Omarion reveals never-before-shared stories alongside the practices that keep him centered, even through public setbacks that have grabbed headlines. Omarion is not interested in settling scores: these poignant stories are about grace and forgiveness, and the exercise of emotional intelligence. (Emphasis mine.)

What a difference a day makes. I know I assumed this book made sense: how the hell does Omarion manage to be so cold in the face of so much chaos around him, especially with the members of his B2K group? Well it might seem like this is all a prank and while I’m not in charge of telling anyone what to do I might be inclined to suggest that maybe HarperCollins could want to put this Carefree book on the shelf for a while. Because baaaaaby…

…Omarion is annoyed.

On the one hand, if you watched his Verzuz match with Mario, you absolutely didn’t move away from that feeling that Omarion was even happy or secure with where he is in life. I realize Verzuz is competitive, and strangely, all of those R&B dudes on stage seemed like the most aggressively insecure people around – including Mario – but I expected Omarion’s energy to be both upbeat and entertaining. . It was not. He seemed annoyed. Granted, Mario took out fake B2K dudes to troll him and the other B2K members were in the crowd, but based on who he is, that shouldn’t have shaken him at all; he was supposed to just laugh and smile and keep pushing. Instead, he ends up eating watermelon on stage with his brother O’Ryan in a very confusing and “but, why?” fashion.

It just wasn’t cheap…reckless, that’s all I’m saying.

But the real “oh, you’re bored bro” moment happened recently. On Thursday, July 7, Omarion released the awesome trailer for a five-part documentary series he’s producing about his life and the things that clearly pissed him off and his brother’s betrayals and more. Phew chili, Omarion is not only bothered, he puts everything on the main street.

Title, Omega: The Gift and the CurseHere is an excerpt from his website description:

This docu-series will provide an exclusive look at what really happened behind the scenes of the highly anticipated Millennium Tour, shared from Omarion’s unique perspective. We will witness BROTHERHOOD and TREASON. Many questions will be answered, from his turbulent relationship with the mother of his children to his thoughts on his relationship with his bandmate. We will also witness the orchestrated secret sabotage from band member to band member as well as the toxic family influences that contributed to B2K’s downfall.

Maybe it’s all smoke and mirrors and this trailer is more dramatic than the actual series, but five parts? That’s a lot to unload on you. And also, almost NONE of this sounds like a person who isn’t interested in settling scores; it’s about someone who wants to tell their side of the story and do it “right” so people really know what’s going on. I can’t imagine anyone other than Omarion doing well on the other side.

And again, the fact that he had this documentary made…well, that bothers him a bit. How he found the time to write a book about choosing joy when this docuseries seems like violence is beyond me, but you know, I’m just a spectator waiting for July 21st because I’m sure HarperCollins is, since, well, a docuseries that goes after all its former bandmates and baby mama can’t really be good for business, right?

The book publisher may want to develop a contingency plan to Carefree: the power to choose joy That’s all I’m saying because if Omarion is ‘pose to be chill…that’s not really the case anymore.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is a columnist at the Grio. He writes very dark things and drinks very dark liquors, and is rather classy for a lightweight guy. His greatest accomplishment to date coincides with his darkest accomplishment to date in that he got a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after reading one of her articles (the most important), but he didn’t. Didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said “Unknown” (Blackest).

Be sure to check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on Grio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll host some of the most black conversations known to mankind. You might not leave the conversation with an Afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio app; Download here.

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