Fantasia just completed an intense media tour, which included her own VH1 Behind The Music, and appearances on television—Good Morning America, Lopez Tonight, The Wendy Williams Show plus radio and print outlets. It was originally a press train geared up to promote her long awaited third album release Back To Me (which debuted #1 on R&B chart and #2 on the pop chart) plus the second season of her VH1 reality show, Fantasia For Real. But the public scandal of her affair with a married man and the suicide attempt that followed ended up overshadowing the latest milestones of her career.
VIBE checked in with Ms. Barrino to talk family issues, her new album and if all her personal drama from the summer was a publicity stunt.—Ronke Idowu Reeves
VIBE: You’ve talked about your controversy so much over the last month, let’s put it to bed for a sec and talk about what else is new with you. You’ve started season 2 of your reality show and there are some big changes this season. What can viewers expect?
You’ll see on this season of the show that most of my family has moved out. My mom and her husband got their own place, Teeny got his own place, he’s paying his own bills, it’s getting to be a whole lot better. Everybody is not relying on me for everything. Of course I still have to help out with some things, but that’s okay because the burden has been lifted on the family part.
Witnessing some of the family issues you had in the first season I always wondered why you did the reality show.
My main reason for doing the show was I wanted my family to see themselves. A lot of time you can talk and talk and it goes into one ear and out the other, but we caught it [our problems] all on camera and everybody was really to sit back and see themselves, it was like, ‘Oh okay, I get it.’ I was a little scared, because I didn’t want it to bring confusion between us or for them to to think I was trying to put them out there, but it went the way I needed it to go. We would watch the shows together when they aired.
And did you always want to financially support your whole family?
In the beginning I wanted to support everyone, because we’re such a tight family and we all started singing gospel together. And when I got blessed I wanted to bless them. That’s what happens with a lot of people who make it. When you’re coming from a family that don’t have nothing and struggle to get what they’ve got, you’re like I’m gonna bless my brother, my mother… And what happened was I created that monster. Once you start giving, giving, giving people just kick their feet up and say, ‘I know you got it.’ I had to put a stop to that, because I was standing in the way of their destinies.
And now members of your family are independent financially and have their own careers…
Teeny has an album coming out. He’s kind of crazy [laughs] but his ideas are really good. Now Rico is singing with T.I. and I’m very proud of all of them because back when we were kids these were all of the things we said we were gonna do. I want to do a gospel album with my whole family soon.