Toya Johnson-Rushing and daughter Reginae Carter are both reality show vets who have cultivated major social media followings.
Combined, they have been on more than a half-dozen reality shows. Toya goes back to “Tiny and Toya” on BET in 2009 while her daughter Reginae’s over-the-top episode of “Super Sweet 16″ on MTV in 2015 is considered a classic in reality show circles. Reginae and Toya also appeared in WE-TV’s “Growing Up Hip Hop” for a couple of seasons in 2017 and 2018.
Now they are combining forces on a new WE-TV show “Toya & Reginae,” which debuted last Thursday. The first episode is now available on the WE-TV app and website.
“My mom is my best friend,” Reginae said in a Zoom call with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Even when we’re not working or seeing each other, she’s always a phone call away. It feels natural.”
In the first episode, Toya appears happy with her new husband and sports manager Robert “Red” Rushing, who she married last fall. Reginae has a new boyfriend Armon Warren and they talk about moving to Los Angeles together, but tensions are forthcoming.
The show expands to include other family members. Toya’s younger brother Casey Johnson is out of prison for armed robbery and wants to pursue a music career but carries a chip on his shoulder and a bit of a temper. Toya’s younger sister Beedy has been a bit distant of late because she’s been so focused on her sorta girlfriend Mel, who neither Toya nor Reginae like.
Mel and Beedy have an “open” relationship that includes boyfriends, but this unwieldly arrangement is not working out well. Both Reginae and Toya feel like Beedy has fallen in love with Mel, but Mel isn’t into Beedy as much and that’s hurting Beedy.
In an upcoming second episode airing Thursday, Beedy brings Mel to her grandmother’s birthday party anyway and, not surprisingly, things go haywire.
“We aren’t trying to be judgmental,” Toya said. “Everybody has their own situation and things going on. We just want to make sure Beedy is okay and protected and is with someone who loves her. ... We only want the best for Beedy and want to make sure she’s with someone who wants to be with her.”
Toya’s relationship with Red, she said, is solid. “I found my person,” she said. “Third time’s a charm.” (Her previous two marriages with Lil Wayne [2004-06] and Memphitz [2011-16] ended in divorce.)
Reginae was coy about whether she’s still with Armon today since the show was taped months ago, but some rocky moments that played out on social media in the spring are shown in more detail on the show.
“Reginae’s generation uses social media differently than mine,” Toya said. “That is their village. Anything going on that is extremely personal, that’s the first place they go instead of the people around them.”
Both women are executive producers on the show, which provides them a certain level of control over their images. But they both know they can’t just show happy moments or viewers will tune out.
“Our ultimate goal is put on a good television show that’s real,” Toya said. “My family is not afraid to be vulnerable and share things that are for real. We aren’t the only people dealing with these family issues. We’re not ashamed of them. We can’t be afraid to go there. When cameras capture these moments, you have to let it fly even if it’s something you want to backtrack on. People are going to judge you no matter what.”
If the drama isn’t for you, there’s plenty of humor, too.
In the second episode, while Reginae is struggling with issues regarding Armon, she goes shopping with her mom at a jewelry shop, and Reginae whips out a container from her purse that appears to be an Emergen-C vitamin supplement box. But there aren’t vitamins in there. Instead, there’s a wad of “emergency” cash.
“I had no clue about it,” Toya said. “I learned about it that day.”
“That money was really emotional support,” Reginae said.
IF YOU WATCH
“Toya & Reginae,” Thursdays at 9 p.m. on WE-TV, the WE-TV website and app
Rodney Ho writes about entertainment for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution including TV, radio, film, comedy and all things in between. A native New Yorker, he has covered education at The Virginian-Pilot, small business for The Wall Street Journal and a host of beats at the AJC over 20-plus years. He loves tennis, pop culture & seeing live events.