Pandora’s Box: Mashonda Talks To Somaya Reece About Being In A Gang, Loving Women, & Her Rap Career

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By: Vibe / February 18, 2011

Every woman has a story to tell. But when that story includes being in a gang, getting shot, and having the crap beat out of you by your boyfriend, it is then that we are forced to look at our own situations and ask ourselves “would I have been able to handle that?” This beautiful Salvadorian woman named Somaya Reece had to face these obstacles. But with her impressive filmography resume on IMDb, and a wide following of supportive fans, I feel certain when I say that my fellow VH1, “Love and Hip Hop” cast mate is not going to easily give up on her dreams.

MASHONDA: Tell me about how you come across on “Love and Hip Hop.”
SOMAYA REECE:
I’m a Latina doing her thing in music, the underdog. I’m someone who shows the real struggle that happens as an artist. I’m not afraid to show that side, and of course, I’m hated on for absolutely no logical reason. I am Somaya Reece. I am self made. Instead of others trying to sabotage me for reasons of jealousy and ego, people should take the time to get to know me, my story and my intentions. I’m opening up my life, unguarded, by sharing my world in order to inspire others. On the show its clear that no one, no beef, no hatred will stop me.

How would you describe the show, did you know the other women?
I haven’t seen the show so I don’t know. However, my journey will relate to the real working class women of the world. Those who believe in their dreams to a point that they would suffer for them, like I have. There is one thing from the trailer that hit home, and that was when Chrissy said “Im mad you couldn’t get your  bottom teeth fixed.” When she said that it didn’t faze me because I didn’t get my teeth fixed to look beautiful or for  any cosmetic reasons. When I was 16, I was walking home, and my boyfriend literally ambushed me and beat me to a pulp. I almost lost my eye, and I lost many of my upper teeth. Until this day I have no feeling on the right side of my face due to the blunt trauma I suffered to my right temple and the bones he crushed in my face. I’m grateful that the government helped pay for the repair of the upper teeth that he knocked out. People should know their facts before speaking. There is a  bigger story to my life that I haven’t even begun to speak on, but I will in a book. That’s why I am heavily into supporting battered women, and children’s charities. 

Where did you grow up, who raised you?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles and grew up in different parts of South Central. My mother, father, and the streets raised me.

How old were you when you started singing/rapping?
I was three at my first performance. I sat my entire family down and made them listen to me sing Happy Birthday. I charged them a nickel. I had a boss lady mentality since way back when.

Who influenced you, who did you listen to growing up?
I grew up in a very typical Latin household. We listened to a lot of Celia Cruz, Elvis Crespo, and Panamanian rapper El General. My older sisters introduced me to English rap and other genres at the time.

You have a huge following on the social networks. How did you get so many fans?
Yes, 300 million googable hits, 31 million Myspace music views. My fans have grown organically because I enjoy sharing my life troubles without reservation. “Team Somaya I love you!” I’m glad I have always kept it 120 with my fans. I never fronted or acted as if I am something I’m not. I shared my story of struggle in order to inspire others to dream big and stay motivated.

I heard that you were in gangs. Did you really get shot?