Some fans of reality TV and VIBE Magazine found themselves reacting after peeping the Sexy Issue cover–including cover girl (and Guest Editor) Kandi Burruss. The four femme fatales set the interwebs ablaze and did a good job of combating the e-haters that murdered their mentions.
VIBE caught up with the singer-songwriter to see just how much backlash she endured. As well, she dishes on meeting fellow reality celebs, Evelyn Lozada and Chrissy Lampkin, for the first time and explains why she was just a tad bummed that Sheree Whitfield made her exit. —Niki McGloster
VIBE: What did you think about the reactions for the Sexy Issue cover?
KANDI: Oh my gosh, I felt like it was overwhelmingly negative. So many people were just like, They are not role models. I mean, I got a lot of people that said, ‘You’re the only person that should be considered a role model.’ But any time I’m a part of a group or whatever, I don’t want to separate myself like I’m any better than anyone else. We’re all apart of reality TV. None of us knew that it was going have that title on the cover. We all know that reality TV can be a bit much sometimes.
Definitely. Was that your first time meeting the other girls?
Well actually Tamar and I have known each other long time, but it was my first time meeting Chrissy and Evelyn. That was my first time being around them and hanging out with them. When we did the photo shoot together, I really enjoyed myself with the girls. I understand how it is on television. People don’t get to see all sides of you. Of course, the part of television that gets the most viewers is when it’s drama or something crazy, so that’s what you’re going to see a lot of the time. Every now and then, I have my moments of maybe cussing somebody out or whatever; it may not be what I want you to see. Either way, I liked all of the ladies when I did the photo shoot with them, so I hate that it was so much negativity when it came to that.
What would you say you learned about them doing the shoot together? Things you didn’t pick up from their TV personalities?
I thought that Evelyn was really sweet. I thought that Chrissy was really, really cool. Like, really cool. They both were people that I could see myself hanging out with. Some of the things they were talking about, I could definitely relate. Any time women have a lot of things going on business-wise, I can respect your hustle. That’s what it’s all about really; to take this little time we have on TV and turn it into something else that could be beneficial. So, when I hear Evelyn talking about her book deal, that’s something I admire because that’s something I’m trying to do myself. With Chrissy, she was talking about her new show and being an Executive Producer. That’s something that I definitely made sure I was doing on my show outside of Kandi Factory. Those are things I pay attention to, and if you’re paying attention to it, I can respect your business game.
People didn’t notice that in business, the cover girls really are role models. Beyond Bedroom Kandi and Kandi Factory, what else is on the horizon for you?
I don’t want to add any more new things at the moment. I just want to build what I’ve already started. Next month, I’m opening up my second location of my store Tags here in Atlanta. We’re going to have two now. I was happy about that because a lot of businesses aren’t really able to maintain in this economy, but mine is doing well. Also, with Bedroom Kandi, we’re taking it to the next next level–my own home party network. That really just takes numbers to a whole ‘nother level. With Bedroom Kandi, I didn’t realize I was becoming the face of something for Black women. I didn’t realize how many Black women were scared to talk about sex and sexuality in our community; it’s so hush-hush, so taboo.
Going back a bit. How do you feel about your daughter watching reality TV and her possibly looking at the women on TV as role models?
I don’t allow my daughter to watch our show. The only time I let her watch is if she’s going to be on the show; I may let her watch her part. We had to have a big discussion about this, because some of the parents at her old school would let their kids watch the show To me, everyone parents how they want to parent, but I don’t feel like our show is for little children. I don’t feel the need to let her watch that. She’s nine years old, and will be 10 in August. My daughter does act a little grown at times, so it’s not that she won’t understand it, but I explained to her some things are not for children. I just feel like reality TV is for high school and up. My daughter’s channels are Disney and Nickelodeon. I’ve heard people saying we’re responsible for bullying. No, bullying has been going on for years. I feel that people cop out and try to find excuses for the way the world is. I feel if parents were a little more involved, if grandma was coming over more, if people weren’t tripping for your neighbor saying something to your kid, maybe it would be a little different.
Who are your role models?
Definitely is Queen Latifah. I don’t know her personally, but when I was younger she won the Sammie Davis Jr. Award; it was at the Soul Train Music Awards. When she won, she was doing her TV show, she had her management company, she was an artist, she had multiple things going on. I remember saying to Tiny, ‘I’m going to win that award one day.’ By seeing her doing so much at the same time, being successful in all areas entertainment, she was the one who inspired me to want her do all of these things. To see her do it, and do it in such a major way, it gave me a drive to want to go after it too. I’m sure she has no clue she inspired me to do a lot.
Where do you see yourself as far as reality TV shows? Will you continue to do them?
Well, now I’m doing the Kandi Factory and that’s a little bit more in my lane. It’s not about the drama, it’s about helping people and it’s more fun. It’s about the dream. I’d keep doing that forever if I could. As far as Housewives, I enjoyed being a part of the show. Really, it’s a big infomercial. You need to go on there with a plan of how you’re going to build your brand. The people who just are on there clowning and aren’t accomplishing anything, they’re wasting a bunch of energy, because when the show is over, you’re over. You’re only going to do this for so long, either you’re going to get tired of it or they’re going to get tired of you.
Are you sad to see Sheree Whitfield leave RHOA?
I was. I thought she brought a lot, as far as the craziness of the show. I know people don’t want to be associated with it, but it did bring entertainment. Yes, I wasn’t feeling her in the moment we got into it, but it wasn’t enough for me not to want her there. She’s a cool person. The whole Africa thing irritated the hell out of me, but it wasn’t enough for me to fall out with her forever. It was a moment where she just rubbed me the wrong way. We’ve hung out a few times since then.
Can we expect any special appearances on Love and Hip Hop Atlanta?
No, unfortunately, but Rasheeda and I are super tight. I pushed for her to be on the show. My close friends that are in entertainment we always help each other. Me, Rasheeda and Tiny, we all hang out on a regular basis. We always try to help each other come up. We boost each other.