In an exclusive chat with VH1, D. opened up about her decision to sign up for reality TV, what she really thinks of Waka Flocka, and her love life.
You mention on the show that you’re a Grammy winner several times so why do reality TV now?
D. Smith: Honestly, I think we’re in a new day and age from when I was a child and you [would] stand in front of L.A. Reid and you do two songs, and you prepare to put out a single and you have a huge campaign towards you album. Those days are pretty much done. I just want to go with what’s happening because I still want to reach people and I still want to reach a demographic that I may not be able to reach with my music and just the platform [of Love & Hip Hop] itself, I think is really good.
Are you concerned about what viewers will say about you being the first transgender woman on Love & Hip Hop?
I honestly am not. Everyone that knows me just tells me to be myself. I just want to show people who I am, so I just want to be myself and I understand in real life everyone’s not going to like you. I’m prepared for people not to like me.
With Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner, and Janet Mock all being well-known trans activists in the media, do you feel a responsibility to the trans community to help educate the masses?
I do. I used to feel very different, but it’s so sensitive and so important right now because we’re not just [coming] out of the blue. This is just the beginning to say, “Hey, we’re here and we’re tired hiding and tired of living [in] solitary. We want to be a part of the action.” I think this is just the beginning so any and everything that I could possibly do to affect the movement, that’s what I have to do.
Do you think that transphobia and homophobia is still just as prevalent in hip hop community as always? Will it every change?
It was never there. That’s the thing. [Laughing] People just put it there because of their issues. It’s just ironic because the people that have that problem [homophobia] are usually the guys that go for me.
Do you think that’s rooted in self-hatred? That these guys that “go for you” are homophobic because they can’t deal with their own sexual identities?
Yeah, most people that I know, most guys have no problem with anything. We don’t even talk about it. We laugh, we’re cool, we smoke, and we hang out. It’s the ones that just want to prove something to their girlfriends or baby mom’s or their mothers, and they have to feel like it’s a disease or something.
Did what Waka Flocka said about Caitlyn Jenner in his interview make you feel some type of way?
Well, of course, I did but honestly Waka is not a big enough artist for me to be upset about. [Laughs] Honestly. If it was someone like a Will Smith or André 3000 that’s something that would bother me because people take their words a little more seriously. To me Waka is just kind of, I don’t think he really meant it to be honest with you. I don’t know why he did it. He did it because of why other people do it, because their buddies are looking, or because they have to look more masculine or more dominant than trans or gay people and they’re really not so I’m not buying it. The thing is, there’s a child somewhere, trans or straight [and] that could have been the tipping point. Just hearing Waka talk so irresponsibly. That’s the only reason why I was bothered by it. Not because he said it, like who listens to anyone named Waka?
Did you ever have the opportunity to sort through the drama with Waka firsthand or was it all through Tammy?
No, it was through Tammy.
By signing up for reality TV, are you worried about people asking personal questions about your transition?
No. Well, obliviously I have boundaries and there are things that aren’t anyone’s concerns but in general, for educational purposes, it’s my responsibility, whether I like it or not. There was a time, I said that would never be me, I’m just going to live my life, I’m a rock star. I’m not paying attention, there’s enough advocacy about that but when you reach a certain point and you start to see people affected by it, you have to say something. Me being the only one on the show, who else is going to say it? I have to say something.
What changed to make you feel comfortable being an out advocate?
I’ve had a really good transition. It’s been really peaceful. I did go to a club a few months ago and there was this celebrity, I’m going to call him a D-list celebrity, but I had no idea he was going to be there. Of course, I was with the club promoters and all the happening people and we went there and he waved everybody to come to his table. And someone from his table kind of let him know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and this artist was very much like, “Nah, you can’t come in this section.” I’m looking at them like, “Hey, I know you manager. Your manager kind of reached out to me for music.” I didn’t say this but I’m just looking like, wow, I’m being discriminated against.
Unfortunately, I kind of understand why because a lot of trans girls don’t have any boundaries. They put themselves and put people in situations were it’s almost misleading or deceiving. It’s like you take a picture with Nelly, the next thing you know it’s on the blogs that you guys are dating. Clearly, I’m not that type of person, I don’t need that sort accolade to be who I am but it happens. It could be something’s he’s dealing with too. It wasn’t the time for me to address that. Of course, I was embarrassed and a little disappointed but I walked away, and my friends walked away with me. It was just like, wow, that’s never happened to me before, ever. So, I’m thinking, oh my god, imagine all the girls that really go it really bad.
How willing are you to be open about your transition and if you do or do not have any surgeries?
Well, who’s to say I haven’t had any surgeries? There is limit to more intimate areas or surgeries that I don’t really feel the need to disclose. I’m going to be transparent about everything that I’m comfortable with and I’ll know when to stop because I wont feel comfortable. But if it’s the right person who knows, you know?
Will you share any of your love life this season? Will we see who you’re dating?
I mean, maybe. I am very protective of people that I care about or that I’m attracted to because I just want to give things like that a fair shot so I’m not rushing trying to bring someone to the show but it’s probably going to happen. I think so.
How does your family feel about you living your life out on reality TV? Are they supportive?
My family is proud of me. They’ve always been proud of me since I was a child. This is no exception. It’s a little different and it’s a lot for them to take in because number one, me transitioning is a topic of discussion in my family. It’s taken a year but they’re coming around, particularly my dad. My brothers and my sisters? They don’t care. They’re happy and they’re cool and they want to know what’s next. My dad genuinely is interested. He’s excited for me and I told him about the show and he told me to send him any links any pictures or anything, any news. He totally wants to see it.
To see D. Smith’s altercation with Tammy Rivera, watch the video highlight below.
Keep up with D. Smith on new episodes of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, Mondays at 8/7c!