Banks tells TooFab why she turned down co-star Terra Jole's offer to partner on the brand, and then launched her own line of wine instead.
The reality star and actress talked to TooFab about why the name of the wine is problematic, for multiple reasons beyond the obvious. Not only did Banks reject Jole's offer to partner on wine targeting the black female demographic, she launched her own line of wine, L'Tonya Renee.
"Just the whole thing of Black Girl Moscato being that it was just degrading to me and just disrespectful," Banks told TooFab. "It's like she's told me to put mine to the side and jump on the bandwagon on hers and if the part that she wanted me, she was like, 'Oh, I want to partner up with you.' And I'm like, 'OK, you want to partner up with me, you would've came to me and asked me what did I think about the name Black Girl Moscato, before you ran and got a trademark.'"
Banks also takes issue with a statistic that may have informed Jole's business strategy.
"And the fact that she says, 'Oh, 70 percent of black women drink moscato.' No. I don't know where you got your research from, but trying to categorize and put us in a box, because moscato is a dessert wine," Banks said. "It's a sweet wine. Hell, it’s a cheap wine. You’re trying to say, '70 percent of black women drink moscato,' so now you're going to make it a Black Girl Moscato? No, that didn’t fly with me."
The rift in the reality stars' friendship began after Jole unveiled the wine to her friends in Episode 4 of Season 7, and all of the women present were speechless, but Banks was the most caught off guard.
"I was shocked," Banks recalled." I remember her telling me prior, 'Yeah, I'm scared to tell you the name.' Okay. Well, if she was scared to tell me the name then you should have known."
She wasn't flattered by Jole's invitation to be the face of the brand, either.
"She's like, 'I thought you would have went for it.' What?" Banks said. "When she said 'Black Girl Moscato' and, 'I want you to be the face of it,' I was like, 'No.' And so then people were like, 'Well, would you use that name? Would you want it?' No. The name of my wine is 'L'Tonya Renee.' It's not 'Black Girl' or 'Little Girl' or, pinpointing it to a certain type of a person."
Banks is taking the opposite approach of Jole while branding her wine line, L'Tonya Renee, a red blend that the creator says is "for everybody."
"If it was an Asian wine -- Asian Girl Moscato -- would you go and buy that line?" she asked TooFab. "Maybe the Asian girls would. The average person is not gonna like 'Skinny Girl' or something. It's generalized. It’s not putting a person in specific ethnic group."
When asked about the status of their friendship, Banks explained they're still cordial -- as she is the godmother of Jole's son -- but the issue definitely "put a little damper on the relationship." And Jole has yet to recognize any of Banks' criticism as valid.
"She feels everybody is double teaming her," Banks said. "We're just trying to make her understand my point of view. Now that she's already invested in and has done this, has gotten this far in it, she's the type of person that she's not going to back down on anything."
"Little Women: LA" airs on Wednesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime.