The Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta cast sat down for a serious discussion on the impact and harm of former co-star Erica Mena using a racial slur.
In a post shared on Instagram Sept. 26, castmates unpacked the aftermath of Erica calling Spice a “monkey” and making animal noises at the Grammy-nominated dancehall artist — a dark-skinned Black woman, a mother and formerly Erica’s friend.
The cast collectively thought Spice saying Erica was a bad mother to her eldest child didn’t warrant a racially charged response, which is never acceptable. Show vet Kirk Frost said, “Just because someone goes low doesn’t mean you can go to hell.”
Kirk’s wife, Rasheeda, noted that the slur turned Erica and Spice’s argument from a “one on one” into “one against the culture.”
“It’s not just me Erica came for. It’s an entire race,” Spice emphasized. “[The racial slur] is deeply rooted in [the] Black history of how they used to dehumanize us. How they used to sell us and consider us animals.”
Yandy Smith said she tried to educate Erica about the harmful history behind calling Black people monkeys, but the Tubi actress was unreceptive to taking accountably for her vitriolic language.
During a post-Season-11-finale special called Love & Hip Hop: Racism, Colorism, and the Uncomfortable Truth, stars from the Atlanta franchise further discussed Erica’s usage of a racial slur.
The special was a roundtable discussion led by Dr. Sarah L. Webb, founder of the Colorism Healing initiative.
Spice, Yandy, Yung Joc, Scrappy, Sierra Gates and Amy Luciani all shared perspectives on Erica’s reported hate speech and the circumstances surrounding it.
Erica and her camp have felt that her firing from Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta is hypocritical. She also shared with Yandy that she didn’t feel any remorse for her actions.
In the comments section of an Instagram post teasing the roundtable discussion, shared Sept. 26, Erica claimed producers still had her filming scenes up to seven months after her incident with Spice. The New York native accused MTV of using her as a storyline for “the whole second half” of Season 11.
“They chose to edit it how they wanted and aired it. It’s only now that they are desperate, trying to save face and using me to do so. If I’m being used to set an example, why was I not a part of this ’roundtable’ discussion?” the mother of two questioned. “[The] only reason a statement was even made by the network was because [of] the backlash. Not because they truly believed what I said was a racial slur.”
Erica added that her castmates have said things that were “just as bad” as her slur and accused Yandy of calling her “an ass monkey” in a 2015 Hot97 interview.
“I gave this franchise 13 plus years, and now they need to save face. So they’re gonna wear my name out on this to make up for their fuck up. And the truth in all of this — this franchise has always depicted us as zoo animals anyway,” Erica stated.
Her representative, Steve Honig, additionally told Radar Online that it was “very disappointing” Erica wasn’t included in the roundtable discussion.
The rep accused MTV of silencing Erica’s voice and said the roundtable discussion was a missed opportunity at a “valuable moment of learning for all.”
Spice followed up on Erica’s lengthy Instagram comment with one of her own. The Queen of Dancehall claimed Erica had a 10-year history “of calling Black people monkeys.”
“Google is free. Spice is not responsible for what’s always at the tip of Erica’s tongue whenever she wants to insult a Black person. Saying your son don’t like you, and my son loves me. [That] never called for all the things she was saying. Y’all arguing over a several months old episode,” Spice exhaustedly noted.
The usage of racially charged language is an ongoing topic in the reality TV realm. Read more below.