Oakland is the hometown of the R&B sensation Keyshia Cole, and this is where her reality show takes place "The Way It Is" begins. It's "definitely not an upscale neighborhood," Keyshia describes, as she starts to explain how her troubled years as a youth made her the woman she is today. Growing up in foster care because of her mother's drug problems, Keyshia's upbringing wasn't exactly pretty. When she was just sixteen, she moved out of her house and was forced to learn how to take care of herself.
Always one to keep it pimpin, Keyshia earned her stripes in the streets of her own neighborhood, where she says the local drug dealers would pay her money to sing for them. Her success seems to come as a surprise to her. But, pimpin ain't easy.
En route to her sister's house, Keyshia and her manager Manny Halley are taking care of business. While making phone calls, Keyshia tells Manny that she wants "to talk to Puffy now." When Diddy gets on the phone, it's all love, as he proclaims to be her biggest fan.
Keyshia is very close to her sister Neffe, who hasn't called her in a while, so naturally, Keyshia is worried and she heads to her house to see what's up. "She better not be drunk at this time in the morning," Manny says sarcastically. When she gets to the house, she scolds her niece for not calling her.
Later, Keyshia decides to throw a barbecue on her block. When she gets there, smiles are plenty as Keyshia's presence brings the crowd alive. "I've never seen that many people for me," she says.
After the barbecue, Keyshia heads over to the local radio station, KMEL. While on air, she is asked about the biggest thing that has happened to her and she answers by jokingly impersonating a Michael Jackson phone call that she received, which she considers to be the highlight of her year. But things get serious when she addresses rumors that apparently a female jock at that station had started. She denies the rumors about her and Young Jeezy being involved, and puts the Tyrese rumor to bed.
Next, Keyshia heads out to the venue where she will perform later that night, where a little girl joins her on stage for her performance of "Love." "The pain in my voice and the way I express myself in my music comes from my mother not being there for me," explains Keyshia. "I'm who I am and you either take it or you leave it."
From Oakland to Las Vegas, Keyshia Cole hits the road again for the second episode of the “The Way It Is.” But her first stop is not the club or the restaurant or anywhere you might expect to find celebrities. The first thing on the agenda for Keyshia is to speak to a group of troubled teens in foster care.
At the group home, Keyshia addresses her own childhood problems in her heartfelt speech. As she starts to explain how she discovered she was adopted at the age of 8, she gets teary-eyed and her emotions really strike a chord with the kids, who are grateful for her visit.
Keyshia shows the kids how she can relate to them, telling them she never thought she could be a star, and calling herself a “survivor.”
While in Vegas, Manny presents Keyshia with an idea from the local radio station to hold a singing competition and have one lucky winner join her on stage to perform. With herself and Manny as American Idol-style judges, girls line up to show off their vocal cords. The contestants all perform their favorite Keyshia Cole song, one at a time. There’s even a little girl, no older than 5, who gets up enough courage to do her own Keyshia Cole impersonation. After picking the final three, Keyshia and Manny settle on a winner, named Amanda, who blows the competition away with her performance of “Love.”
Later that night at the show, Amanda, the winner, joins Keyshia on stage for a duet-style version of “Love.” “I give her much respect for giving people such as myself this opportunity to even come and do this. I’m very very grateful,” says Amanda.
Having gone through so much to make it in the business, Keyshia just wants to be a role model for young singers trying to get on. “You know I didn’t have that role model in my life that I could relate to that could say ‘don’t this or do that,’ you know, ‘that’s not cool.’ I had to figure it out for myself," she says. "For young girls to actually come up to me and say ‘Keyshia you helped me,’ that’s more than enough for me.”she was never a bad kid she just had problems with her knowing about her mother's drug problem.
At the beginning of episode 3, Keyshia Cole is extremely busy. Running from meeting to meeting, she keeps a tight schedule. For starters, Keyshia heads to the office of the President (of her label, that is). In his testimonial, Ron Fair, President of A&M Records, says he remembers how impressed he was with Keyshia Cole when he heard the first version of "Love." Fair was so impressed with Keyshia that he immediately called his boss Jimmy Iovine and eventually signed K.C.
While discussing her plans to get her own label off the ground, Keyshia makes Ron aware of a new female rap artist named Amina that she's interested in signing. Next, Keyshia and Manny meet up with Derek Thompson at BMG Music Publishing. Derek plays some new beats for Keyshia to listen to and Keyshia starts to sing, freestyling her own lyrics.
After her meetings are complete, Keyshia switches from businesswoman back intoa celebrity as she arrives to a photo shoot for the cover of XXL's R&B magazine Hip Hop Soul. When she gets there, she is immediately greeted by R&B sensation Ne-Yo who is sharing the cover with her. Keyshia gets comfortable in front of the camera for celebrity photographer Johnathan Mannion.
She then flies to Atlanta where her first stop is at the studio with The Platinum Brothers. She is shown in the studio listening to tracks as well as showcasing Amina. Amina is shown freestyling over their beats as Travis Cherry goes through tracks.
Lastly, Diddy sits in the studio waiting for Keyshia to arrive and appear on his upcoming album, Press Play. According to Manny, Diddy has wanted to get Keyshia in the studio with him for a while now, and Keyshia's schedule has been tied up. When she's belting out her vocals in the booth, Diddy doesn't seem like he's getting what he wants. "You don't feel like singing today?" Diddy asks her. Keyshia shouts to him, "I'm trying to scream it."
After a few takes, Keyshia sings her heart out, and Diddy finally gets what he wants. "That was incredible," he says before commending her, "great job!" Keyshia responds that she was about to "sweat her perm out."
Platinum status! That's what Keyshia Cole is celebrating during episode 4 of her reality show "The Way It Is." And with the party city of Atlanta as her new residence, it's only right that Keyshia do it big for her platinum party.
At the beginning of the show, she meets with a party planner Monique to discuss how to do her party in style. The event will be held at Atlanta hotspot, Visionz, and it will be done with class, complete with ice sculptures and the like.
Manny, who bought a condo in the same building as Keyshia's, visits her later on that night to discuss the guest list for the party. It's only right that Keyshia have her sister and her best friends there so they agree to fly them in. That's when the drama begins.
While Keyshia is up at radio station V103 handling her business, she sends Manny to pick up her girls from the airport. On their way back from the airport, Manny and the girls stop at a supermarket because Keyshia's sister wants to cook dinner for Keyshia. But the girls get into a major tiff over the kind of dressing that Keyshia likes. Keyshia's sister Neffe is drunk and the argument turns ugly. Eventually, they calm down and load themselves back into the car to meet up with Keyshia.
The next day, Keyshia and her crew head to Neiman Marcus to do some shopping and get ready for the big day. Keyshia even hands over her credit card to foot the bill.
At the party, it's red carpet treatment for Keyshia and her crew. She runs into singer Monica who showed up to congratulate Keyshia, and the two pose for pictures together. Inside, the place is packed with Keyshia friends and fans. The party is a success, with everyone mouthing the words to "Love," with drinks in hand and all.
Things are really getting busy for R&B superstar Keyshia Cole, so her manager Manny suggests that it's time to hire a personal assistant for her. They decide that on her next free day, they will conduct interviews for the job.
On Thursday, Keyshia and Manny have some potential assistants come in for an interview. The first candidate is ruled out, because although she seems like both a reliable person and hard worker, she is an aspiring model. After sitting down with a few different people that just aren't cutting it, Keyshia decides she is going to have to bring in someone that she trusts.
Keyshia decides to bring in her girl Ronique for an interview. After they discuss the job, Keyshia starts to outline the duties that come along with the job. She needs her to go to Louis Vuitton and have her shoes cleaned, have her mount something on the wall, among other things. Ronique looks a little surprised but accepts the job.
Now that Keyshia has someone to handle the assistant-type errands, it's back to business. She is invited to Keith Sweat's house to record a song with him. Although she is honored to be singing with Keith Sweat, someone she looked up to while she was coming up, his engineer is starting to get on her nerves. Keyshia decides to leave because the engineer doesn't know what he's doing.
With her girls still in town for last episode's platinum party, Keyshia decides to hang out with them. While they're out eating at a restaurant, her sister Neffe gets drunk again. Keyshia is highly upset with her sister and they get into it big time.
Things get deep for Keyshia on the season finale of "Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is." After a year of not seeing her mother, Keyshia decides it's time to visit her--in jail.
Manny suggests that Keyshia fly her sister Neffe to Los Angeles to visit with their mom as well. Although Keyshia is skeptical about seeing her sister, who she had a heated argument with on the last episode, Keyshia agrees that both of them need to be there.
Though Neffe misses her flight, Keyshia and Manny are on time at the prison grounds in Malibu, California where her mother is sentenced. She is part of a fire camp that puts out brush fires as an alternative to being locked up in a regular jail. Some of the inmates there don't believe her mother when she says that Keyshia is her daughter, but that perception is about to change.
Her mom Frankie, who has been arrested 33 times before, is overcome with tears as she talks about how hard it was to give up Keyshia when she was only four years old. As she walks up to Keyshia and Manny wearing an orange jumpsuit, she embraces her daughter with a hug and is apologetic for her drug use and current state.
After discussing some personal issues, Keyshia starts to explain to her mom that her Neffe is going down the wrong road and has an alcohol problem. Keyshia gets upset and begins to blame her mother.
Later on, Neffe arrives and emotions start flying when her mother sees her. They talk and offer support to each other and Keyshia's mother promises that she is done with drugs for good. But Keyshia is not really buying it, as Frankie has promised this before, but she is hopeful of the possibility that one day things will change.But Keyshia haves to have the gutts to trust her mom and no everthing will be alright,but as Neffe is there all three of the girls start arguing and not agreeing to things.
Keyshia has experienced a great deal of success with her music career. From the outside looking in, it appears as if her life is perfect. The pain that she sings with and the constant reminder of her upbringing have not gone away. In order to heal the internal scars that she carries, and knowing that she cannot deal with her mother and sister alone, she turns to the outside for help. Keyshia, Frankie, Neffe, Ronique and Manny decide to go to family counseling.
For the first time it seems that the women are ready to really deal with the issues that have engulfed them. Keyshia and Neffe talk about having to grow up without their mother. Frankie turns defensive and tempers flare.In the end the pain behind the anger comes out and all the women learn the power of sharing their true feelings with each other.
Keyshia heads to Miami to work on her album while Frankie and Neffe stay behind to do some work of their own. The therapy session has inspired her to share her story and make her own mark, so she and Neffe visit a women's recovery center to share their experiences. In a tearful and moving talk, Frankie talks about her life as a drug addict and prostitute. Neffe follows and shares what her life has been like as the daughter of a drug addict