If you'd asked me for my predictions early on this season of G's to Gents, I would've told you three names: Shaun, Kesan and T-Jones. Soft-spoken Shotta was barely even a blip on my radar screen, and Cee's early scheming (i.e. Operation Evict Kesan) raised too many red flags. Meanwhile, I thought I had Creepa pegged as an intimidating lout who relied on scare tactics and physical intimidation to get ahead -- like Machiavelli (or a gangsta version of the KGB!) Needless to say, not one of the final three even made it into my Top 5.
But as the season progressed, I started seeing a different side of all the guys. When Shotta started opening up about his family, I realized he wasn't quiet so much as sensitive and introspective. Cee stopped trying to smooth-talk his way out of everything and started speaking from the heart. And Creepa made the decision to ditch the street apparel after realizing that by holding onto remnants of his past life, he was holding himself back.
Do I think that all three guys made significant progress between the beginning and end of the season? Yes. But I'm not sure I agree with Fonzworth Bentley's decision to award Creepa first prize.
Look, there's no question the guy underwent the most drastic physical transformation on the show. Between the haircut, the bling, the hater-blockers and the grill, the guy was practically unrecognizable by the end.
But there's a lot more to being a gentlemen besides looking like the poster-boy for GQ magazine. Yes, the speeches were also a factor (and, let's face, Creepa's tapped much more of an emotional nerve than Shotta's) but I think Creepa's extreme makeover disproportionately tipped the scales when it ultimately came down to choosing a winner. I'm not trying to take anything away from Creepa -- the man's progress from beginning to end is nothing short of remarkable -- but I'm not entirely convinced that Shotta got a fair shake.
After all, while Creepa had only vague aspirations of what he wanted to do with the cash (Go back to school! Move to a better neighborhood!) Shotta had a fully formed business plan. For Creepa, taking home the money was like an unexpected windfall -- like inheriting a zillion dollars from some long-lost aunt or suddenly winning the lottery. For Shotta, the $100K cash prize was an immediate means to an end: the requisite seed money he needed to get his dream venture (a barber shop) off the ground and running.
In my opinion, it's ultimately a question of who's the better bet. Creepa and Shotta both had a sincere desire to change their lives, but only Shotta had the desire, focus and singular ambition to make that happen. From a business standpoint, Creepa's too much of a wild card to make a good investment. And since I believe that both guys were determined to change their lives, I think the cash should go to the guy with the best likelihood of using it to his long-term material advantage.
And sorry to say it, Thaddeus, but I believe that man is Shotta.
+ But what do you guys think? Haircuts aside, who deserved to win: Creepa or Shotta?