Better known as Lil Wayne’s childhood sweetheart and mother of his first child Reginae, Antonia ’Toya’ Carter has struggled to carve out an identity of her own. Having made her debut on BET’s hit series TINY & TOYA, Ms. Carter is now back with a new series Toya: A Family Affair. Viewers will follow her fearless journey as she continues to carve out a personal and professional path for herself outside of Lil Wayne’s shadow whilst dealing with the burden of keeping her troubled family together.
TINY & TOYA garnered over 3 million viewers and was the number one BET original series “premiere” in 2009. What is it like going it alone without Tiny? Is there a reason she didn’t want to do a 2nd series?
I miss Tiny. Tiny is like my big sister! Tiny ended up getting married and when you are married I guess you want your life to be a little more private. In her case it would’ve been more her and her husband’s (rapper T.I.) show as opposed to just Tiny. I understand that, so I just decided to keep it going. At first the show was me and Tiny and now its all me and I’m loving that because it’s bringing me and my family together. It’s a great show I’m excited with the way things are going.
Toya continues to balance her life whilst supporting her mother through drug addiction and watching over her four brothers: Walter, Rudy, Casey, and Josh, at very pivotal turning points in their lives. The eldest sibling, Walter, recently released from a 10-year prison term is determined to turn his life around and Casey is learning the importance of fatherhood at a very young age. Tell us more about what we can expect from the show?
The new series is based around me and my family. For a long time my family and I were separated as you guys know from the last show. This is the first time we are all coming together as a family, trying to get through our differences and become close again. We kind of had a hard upbringing. We were all everywhere…. separated because my mum was dealing with her drug addiction and my dad was married and had his own life so this is the first time that everybody is coming together.
With a similar set up to the BET reality show “Just Like You” starring Keyshia Cole and her family, you have also had to deal with addiction in the family. How is your mum doing now? And how has your relationship with your mum affected the relationship you have with your own daughter?
Yeah she’s doing a whole lot better. She’s been going to her meetings and I’m beginning to understand addiction much more through attending these meetings with her. But it’s a process. It’s not going to happen over night. I’m willing to stand by her side until the end. It’s hard because every now and then she has her relapses but other than that she is doing better than before. Looking at the relationship with me and my mother made me want to have a better relationship with my daughter. I wanted to give her all the things I didn’t have and more. I just wanted to fill the gap with what I didn’t have as a kid such as love and care and so on.
Toya’s much anticipated new memoir, “Priceless Inspirations”, was released in April and includes a foreword by Toya’s ex-husband, multi-Grammy Award-winner Lil Wayne. When asked if Wayne watches the Tiny and Toya show, Toya mumbles “I’m not sure” but maintains that “He’s cool with it. He’s supportive.” Being so close to a globally infamous man such as Wayne must carry its burdens. Is it hard trying to separate yourself from that in pursuit of your own identity?
It’s very hard because Wayne is such a big celebrity and he has such a huge fan base and a lot of the time people who interview me are sometimes fans of Wayne and they tend to want to get into his personal life by asking me questions about him. I don’t have a problem with answering questions as he is a big part of my life as long as they are questions about us as parents I don’t mind.
Surrounded by her loved ones, Toya welcomes a new relationship with the potential of marriage to music mogul, MempHitz giving her the chance to finally put her past relationship with Wayne to rest and move forward in her own right. Is it hard juggling your love life with your new found celebrity career?
No. My fiancé is very supportive and is always there when I need him so no it’s not difficult at all
You are currently engaged to hit producer MempHitz. Will we be hearing the tiny patter of small feet soon? Would you like to expand your family?
I would love to. Not right now. But I definitely want more kids later.
For more information on TOYA: A FAMILY AFFAIR, please visit www.bet.com
Interview by Toya Berry