Businesswoman and author Toya Johnson has embedded herself in the reality show world for a better part of a decade, courtesy of multiple shows on BET, MTV, VH1 and WE-TV.
The former wife of Lil Wayne — along with her daughter and fellow reality show veteran Reginae Carter — is now working again with her best friend Tameka “Tiny” Cottle of Xscape fame and her hubby T.I.
Toya and Tiny had their own BET reality show a decade ago, so rejoining forces is a TV reunion of sorts.
In this case, Toya is effectively joining an expanded version of what was originally “T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle.”
Two years ago, VH1 refashioned the show to include Tiny’s friends: Toya, LeToya Lukett from Destiny’s Child and R&B star Monica. This spreading of the wealth, so to speak, takes the weight off T.I. and Tiny and makes the show a bit more like “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” with multiple story lines to explore any given week.
The show airs on VH1 Monday nights at 9 p.m.
Over the years, Toya said in a recent interview, “our lives have changed. Our families have expanded. We’re much busier these days with work. We try to get the girls together and hang out as much as possible, but everybody has different things going on in their lives.”
Season three, which just aired episode four on Monday, finished taping in November, long before this coronavirus pandemic began.
What Toya likes about the show is that it’s not all that ratchet compared to, say, the VH1 “Love and Hip Hop” series.
“It’s pretty positive,” she said. “It gets to highlight the real things going on in your life. This season, we happened to be filming during at time of my brothers’ murder trial.” Two of her brothers were murdered in 2016 in New Orleans and a jury convicted a man in 2019 to a life sentence.
Toya travels to New Orleans for the trial and attempts to rebuild her relationship with her father, who she feels hasn’t always been there for her.
She is also engaged to a sports manager and clothing bran downer Robert “Red” Rushing. They had a daughter in 2018 and recently purchased a house together.
This could end up being Toya’s third marriage. Her second with music executive Mikey Wright, known as Memphitz was notoriously rocky. (They tried to mend things on WE’s “Marriage Boot Camp” to no avail.)
Two failed marriages have not deterred Toya from pursuing a possible third. “The third’s a charm!” she said. “Don’t give up on love. Embrace your situation. But don’t bring your past problems into your current situation cos you can ruin it.”
A mutual friend introduced Toya to Red in Vegas in 2016, and they became friends. After her brothers died, Red was there to support her and they began dating.
Now together full time with a toddler, they have adjusted to pandemic life. “It’s cooking, it’s movie night, it’s game night, it’s family bonding time,” Toya said. “It makes you appreciate the small things. I’m learning to do my own nails, do my own hair, cook my own recipes.”
Red, she said, isn’t a huge fan of being in front of the camera, but she has forced him to shoot a few scenes.
Toya’s daughter, Reginae, is now independent. On the reality show, she is adjusting to single life after breaking up with rapper YFN Lucci. (Like mother, like daughter, when it comes to dating people in the music world.)
“She’s maturing,” Toya said, in case you recall Reginae’s over-the-top “My Super Sweet 16” episode from 2015. “She has purchased her own home. She’s responsible. She’s focused on her acting career, taking this time to really be by herself, something she never used to do.”
Reginae, who came on the phone briefly, said her recently purchased townhouse is about a 30 minute drive from her mom’s pad.
This season “shows me in a different light,” Reginae affirmed. She didn’t come across as the nicest person on WE-TV’s “Growing up Hip Hop Atlanta.”
“That’ show didn’t help me at all,” she said.
Reginae right now spends a lot of time honing her comedy chops with monologues and sketches on TikTok.
“I’m learning how to cook, spaghetti, lamb chops, steak, tacos, burgers” Reginae said. “I’m getting my house together.”
And she is spending more quality time with her mom.
“We talk all the time,” she said.
“T.I. and Tiny: Friends and Family Hustle,” 9 p.m. Mondays on VH1
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