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‘I hate these reunion shows,’ Kandi Burruss tells Chicago crowd

Kandi Burruss speaks Saturday at the Black Women's Expo in Chicago. | Maudlyne Ihejirika/Sun-Times

Reality TV star, Grammy winning artist and entrepreneur Kandi Burruss drew a standing-room-only crowd this weekend at the Black Women’s Expo, as she dished about drama and success at a heavily attended forum.

Some 400 people packed an auditorium to hear the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star chat with WGCI-FM (107.5) morning show host Kendra G in “A Conversation with Kandi Burruss.”

At 40, Burruss is considered a Renaissance woman: a former member of the female R & B group Xscape, which had three consecutive platinum albums and six top 10 hits in the ’90s; a songwriter who has penned hits for artists the likes of Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, and a successful businesswoman with clothing boutiques, online product lines and a restaurant.

“Some people may look at me and think, ‘Oh, she has it all,’ but what they don’t know is how much work has gone into getting to where I am now, and how hard I continue to work to keep growing,” said Burruss.

The mother of three who is married to Todd Tucker, a former line producer for the Atlanta “Housewives” show, was the first woman to win the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ Songwriter of the Year Award — in 2000, for such No. 1 hits as TLC’s “No Scrubs” and Destiny’s Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills.”

Besides “Housewives,” she’s starred in one of its spin-offs, “The Kandi Factory”; had a solo music career producing two albums; notched bit parts on TV sitcoms and currently hosts “Kandy Koated Nights,” an online weekly relationship show on TGITV.com.

She and the original members of Xscape — two sisters, LaTocha and Tamika Scott, and Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, who is married to rapper T.I. — recently announced the group’s reunion, after nearly two decades apart.

“What happened was someone was trying to make an unauthorized film about us, and we all talked, and agreed we can’t let that happen, that we have to protect our legacy,” said Burruss.

“But the reunion didn’t just happen. There had been talk before of one. But [Tamika Scott] and I hadn’t spoken since she said something about me that I didn’t appreciate. I had always said, ‘When you apologize, we can talk.’ And now she has. So here we are,” said Burruss.

The group, whose hits include “Just Kickin’ It,” “Who Can I Run To” and “My Little Secret,” has an album and tour in the works.

Entering her 10th season on Bravo’s so-called “guilty pleasure” franchise — third in the line that began with “Real Housewives of Orange County,” then “Real Housewives of New York” — Burrus talked of her cast members’ upcoming reunion show, premiering April 16 in a first-ever four parts.

Highly anticipated by fans, it promises more than the usual amount of tears and drama, if the trailer is any indication. Online entertainment sites report it results in cast member Phaedra Parks getting the boot after revelations centering on her contentious relationship with Burruss.

“I hate these reunion shows, and always have to get myself psyched up to prepare for them. This one was rough,” Burruss said. Asked if she and Parks would ever be friends again, she said emphatically: “No! And when you watch the reunion, you’ll understand why.”

Premiering in 2008 with original cast members NeNe Leakes, Kim Zolciak, Sheree Whitfield, Lisa Wu and DeShawn Snow, the show in its ninth season focused on Burruss, Parks, Whitfield, Cynthia Bailey, Kendra Moore and Porsha Williams.