Deb Antney has been the surrogate mother for more than a few of the artists on Love & Hip Hop Atlanta but since her son and daughter-in-law, Waka Flocka and Tammy Rivera, rejoined the cast, she’s now being enveloped in their drama.
VH1 had an exclusive chat with Deb about serving as a mouthpiece for her son on the show, mediating Momma Dee and Shirleen’s fight, and going toe to toe with D. Smith, who she believes is just an “a–hole” seeking television fame.
What inspired you to start an anti bullying organization? We know your son KayO was a victim of suicide.
Deb Antney: Yes, it all it all started from KayO. It wasn’t the actual reason of him committing suicide, but it played some roles in it but it wasn’t it. It was [a cause] that was really close to my heart and something that really bothered him because we was also victims of all the internet bullying from the gossiping. It was something that he couldn’t stand. It was like a big thing of why he didn’t want us to be bothered with any of this stuff [reality TV] because it opened up the doors for people to be able to come in and point their fingers and say whatever it is that they wanted to say about us. So in starting [the organization,] our goal was to stop reckless internet postings.
How do you see internet bullying in you and your loved ones’ lives?
It’s disgusting, like people get to pass judgments on you [and] don’t even know you, and one person just say something about you and everybody agrees with it. I think that, in how you post about celebrities period, you have to look at it that when people point their fingers at you then that’s just who you are. People get to create you and make you whoever it is that they want you to be. And that’s the thing that’s so disgusting to me with this whole social media thing.
I think that some people would argue that when people go on reality TV, they allow people into their personal lives to make a judgment on them.
I think that if you make a typical a–hole out of yourself, then, yes you do open up that door for that. But if you have added pushes to it, that’s something else that we need to talk about. How much [of what people are seeing] is you and how much is it of fictitious things? Like how much is being added to whatever you’re doing? This is not just about reality TV. This didn’t all just start from reality TV, it could be from a freaking movie. People play a character [in a movie] and the public take it like that that’s who you are. People wanna prejudge you because of the way you live your life but that ain’t nobody’s business. That’s not anybody’s business to actually say something because this is the way you choose to live or how you choose to live.
Were you hesitant to have your meeting with D. Smith asking her to be on your panel on camera, knowing about her past with Tammy?
No, I’m not hesitant to take that stuff on camera. One thing about me is that I don’t know how things are gonna play out because it’s reality. Stuff is not set up for me like that, like whatever I walk into I walk into. What you see is what you get. Point blank. Period. Sometimes I hold back things because it’s television and I have people out there that I respect. And I respect myself as a woman and a mother and a grandmother. There’s just some things I don’t want the camera to catch.
As far as D. Smith goes, like I really got to see D. Smith is an a–hole. Period. That’s nothing to do with anybody else. D. Smith got [her] own issues [and] it has nothing to do with anybody else’s issues. I just happen to be in D. Smith’s world for that few minutes. I chose to hop my a— up out of there too. D. Smith’s stuff is bigger than me and I’m not gonna have nobody for two seconds or three seconds on a TV screen prejudge my children and how we’re raised and our beliefs and what we think about and any of the rest of the things. I don’t care how people live their life. I love everybody. I don’t care who you are, what you are, what you choose to be in your life but just don’t be mad at me if I’m not with some things. Don’t be upset with me. Unfortunately D. Smith just kinda barked up the wrong tree because we don’t have phobias. I don’t really care how people choose to live their life, but when you try to make me, and force it to fit with me, then it becomes a problem. Now it’s a problem. I’m gonna respect you like you respect me. It’s simple as that.
Did you know D. Smith and Betty Idol were gonna come to the panel?
What did you think when you saw them walk in?
Here come that bulls–t.
Did you feel like you were getting set up a little bit and that drama was coming to you?
No. I don’t feel I’m set up if they coming in, they come in. Don’t forget I invited them, I invited D. Smith to come. Did I think they was gonna take the offer? I didn’t think they would take the offer because Tammy would be there and Bambi would be there you know what I’m saying? I didn’t think they was gonna come in, especially how [D.] was sitting there talking, that’s fine. Okay, you here. Now what?
What did you think about what she had to say?
I thought it was like, let me just tell you listening to what she had to say kinda pissed me off because here it is, you wanna prejudge Tammy? Okay. Because she’s with my son, so whatever belief he have, she gotta have that belief? Then, who you was born to? Who is your dad? D. Smith couldn’t even see that. D. Smith couldn’t see through any of that kind of stuff. D. Smith is a lopsided a— person, that’s making this whole thing be very ugly and it will start making people look at these things differently. I’m around plenty of trans people that don’t have the behavior that D. Smith has, at all. They don’t think they way D. Smith thinks. So am I gonna sit there and look at all transgender people the same way that I’m looking at D. Smith? Hell, no. D. Smith is [her] own individual, an a—hole.
It seemed like Tammy was the one who brought up Waka not having to agree with D.’s lifestyle at this panel. That was confusing to because this was specifically an anti-bullying panel, not a free speech panel.
You not gonna put Waka in this because Waka wasn’t there. If Tammy brought that up, which let me just tell you this, incidentally, I really gotta watch this thing back to see this it all over again. I’m human and I don’t bully people. I’m not no punk.
Is it tricky kind of being the mouthpiece for your son on the show? Do you ever talk off camera about how you’re gonna handle these situations?
I don’t carry a lot of the stuff with me. Like I really, really don’t. When I deal with something it’s over with for me.
So when Betty Idol brought up Waka’s interview about Caitlyn Jenner you didn’t have any sort of conversation with your son?
I did. It came out [and] he was like it’s a bad choice of words, like the way some words came out but it wasn’t meant that way. When people are talking, sometimes you get tied up in things and sometimes things are said that might not have been meant in that way. Let me let me just go there with you, okay? Because it’s not just him. It’s not just me. There’s a lot of people that feel that way, alright? I think that Caitlyn Jenner was totally different from any [other trans person] that go through this. I know too many transgender people that don’t have money like that. That don’t have that look, that’s not a Kardashian. It’s not built for them like that. Like they go around they’re bullied, they’re beat, they’re they’re not accepted but because Caitlyn was a Kardashian, you actually let everything come before our eyes on television. Every commercial and everything that went on, this is what you see. I’m not against Caitlyn but it’s the way that they done it. What about the [trans] people that aren’t accepted? It’s just how they did it. It’s a big thing for me, and and this is another thing that is not racial, I need to say this, but Laverne [Cox]. Laverne was a trans person that that went into the female population of a jail [on the TV show Orange is the New Black.] When we think about the trans peoeple that are in in a male prison that are raped, beaten, and all the things that happen to them but nobody made a big deal out of that. It’s just even for the little things, if you’re gonna push it, push it.
Just to clarify, you mean the character Laverne Cox played on Orange is the New Black was in a female prison?
Yes, on Orange is the New Black but just just her playing that, like I looked at it bigger than that. I looked at it as a transgender woman was in a female prison. That’s big and because I’m an activist. That should’ve been something big because there’s a lot of people that can tell their stories about what happened to them in a male prison and just because they are [trans, that] doesn’t mean that they want to be taken advantage of. Nobody has the right to touch anybody or do anything to anyone. Why couldn’t we make a big fuss out of something like that? Every time you turn on a television: the commercials, the news, you had to look at Caitlyn? That’s not fair.
Let me just tell you another thing that I don’t like either, that pisses me off. Why don’t they do this with with trans men that are [transitioning]? But that’s not “cool.” They don’t show these things or you don’t have [trans men] blasted all over the place doing everything.
So, the issue with Caitlyn is that she’s famous, wealthy, white, can afford a glam team and you feel like we need stories from trans people that…
From real trans people! That’s real. And not D. Smith because D. Smith just needs television time and D. Smith ain’t real. I deal with too many trans people, gay men, it doesn’t matter and do you know how many times I’m sitting here crying that someone wants to take their freaking lives for the stuff that they go through? This is not a joke, this is not a game. This is not even a platform, I don’t even think Love & Hip Hop was the platform for this because now it went somewhere totally different. People are really suffering with these kind of things, and I’m not gonna let D. Smith be the spokesperson for so many trans people that I know. A lot of trans people that I know don’t like what D. Smith is doing and it makes it hard because they don’t have all of that money. They don’t have the Caitlyn Jenner money. I commend that Caitlyn did open up a little doors to make some things easier for some people, but [it’s] still hard for those that can’t get through, that can’t make those things happen, that can’t make themselves as beautiful as they wanna be and how they feel inside is not looking that way outside, and who they really are. So, excuse me but D. Smith was not the person that should’ve been the spokesperson for transgender people, period.
What is it about her personality that makes her not the right person to be a trans spokesperson?
Because she’s on television, she needs to be somebody. And everybody need their day, that one day of fame. Betty Idol too. Who the hell is a Betty Idol? She is idled up. Who is her to be speaking for people?
You said earlier there aren’t enough trans men being portrayed but what about Mimi’s lover this season?
Oh, no. No, you telling me about Mimi?
Yes, Chris identifies as a man.
Get the hell out of here. I’m not trying to be funny. Chris is off the show now. What’s Chris doing now? Mimi done cut Chris off and went back there with that damn Stevie s–t. That ain’t nothing. I’m not taking that. D. Smith raggedy a– is on there everywhere you turn around D. Smith is on there. Chris ain’t getting nothing like that. It showed Mimi split them up and go back to Stevie. That’s not the same and I’m sorry it’s not the same.
I just didn’t know if you thought Chris’ story was a better one to tell.
Well they didn’t tell Chris’ story to be perfectly honest with you. You really didn’t tell Chris’ story. Chris came in there with Mimi and went Mimi’s way and and that was the only way that it went.
How did you feel this season being asked to mediate the Momma Dee situation with Rasheeda’s mother?
I will tell you something. I promise you everything that was her. She’s a handful, but you gotta love her. And see once I stomped out, Momma Dee was frustrated. Like there’s a lot of s–t going on with her. Momma Dee’s backed up, same way a man can get backed up.
Did you have any sort of relationship with Rasheeda’s mom before you filmed with her?
No, but I do with Momma Dee, I do talk with Momma Dee.
Why do you think you’re always that person that’s the mediator?
I’ve been like that all my freaking life. People think I’m Mother damn Teresa. I always think I can save the world. Like I love people, like honestly keeping it real with you, there’s no BS. I don’t really think you understand how many people’s lives I’m really in. I really really do love people. I am that person in real life.
Speaking of, what did you think of your “son” Chaz Gotti’s involvement involvement on the show since he sort of dated Bambi for a little bit? Were you worried he was gonna be a pawn in that situation?
Yeah, I felt he was a pawn. I didn’t think that Chaz, like I don’t know. I love Bam, like hands down I watched Bambi grow up and I’ve watched her grow up on this show. She’s really grown on this show but I know deep down inside Bam and Scrappy love each other. It’s just they’re tangled up in a web of Love & Hip Hop. [With Chaz] it was a little fling.
Karen King is on the show now, have you been following her story or met her in real life?
I have. I’ve gotten to meet her.
What do you think of her arguing with Tiarra when Scrapp’s about to go to prison?
I don’t like that, like me and her talked about that. Those are the things that I don’t like. I got to learn her away from the show and I love her, away from the show.
As one of the OG moms on the show, have you given her any sort of advice?
My sons have been with women where there’s some issues there but I’m never gonna disrespect them cause at the end of the day my grandkids are my world. I’m never ever going to do that and sometimes I just gotta eat whatever and deal with this because they mean that much to me.
Don’t miss Deb on an all new Love & Hip Hop Atlanta on Mondays at 8/7c. For more information about being transgender, click here.