In season 2 of the hit BET series, “Tiny & Toya,” Toya Carter decided to give up on creating her ideal family. After repeated disappointments, she made the choice to focus on just doing her.
However, something changed, and Toya is back with her own reality series, “Toya: A Family Affair,” which focuses on the family that she’s still trying to mend.
“I had a change of heart after conversations with my mother about getting help," Toya said, referring to her mother’s struggle with drugs. "She got me back into everything I’m doing for the family. It made me want to come back and help her and just be there.”
By "there," she means emotionally and physically. Toya and her daughter Reginae temporarily relocated from Atlanta to New Orleans for the show that premieres tonight at 10 p.m. (EST) on BET.
It’s not as fun and light as “Tiny & Toya,” Toya warned. “It’s a lot deeper than the other show. Once the camera started rolling, a lot of emotions came out. We had to get past some of the things we’ve been through in our past. I haven’t seen a reality show like it yet.”
Putting the spotlight on her family wasn’t her idea. Toya said her family members persuaded her to do the show.
“At first I didn’t want to do a family show. It’s not like I’m just like, ‘Hey, I’m gonna expose you,’” said Toya, who was surprised that her relatives wanted to be on TV. Once she realized they wanted to do the show, she moved forward with it.
“It wasn’t all about me. We all agreed on it,” she said.
In addition to Toya, Reginae and Rudy, Toya’s younger brother, Toya’s mother and brothers Josh, Casey and Walter, who was introduced in season 2 of “Tiny & Toya,” as well as her sister Anisha, are all part of the show.
Even though she and her five siblings are together for the series, Toya said that’s not at all how it was growing up.
“My mom had six kids. We were all split up and raised with other people. Everybody was raised in a different household. Now, we’ve all kind of grown. We felt good to be together,” Toya said.
Although Toya’s family was nothing like “The Cosby Show,” she isn’t listening to critics who suggest her show offers a negative depiction of Black families.
“People are going to talk whether it’s good, bad or ugly. God is using me. We’re put in this situation for a reason. We’re very positive people, and we’re going to continue to be that way. I try not to focus on negative comments,” she said.
That doesn’t mean Toya’s not anxious about the world seeing her mother struggle with sobriety or her formerly incarcerated brother deal with his issues.
“I’m very, very nervous. I’m excited at the same time. We have our drama, but most importantly, it’s a positive message. It’s real. We keeping it all the way real,” she said.
-Tracy L. Scott