Spice has spoken out about the moment Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta co-star Erica Mena called her a racial slur, which led to Mena being fired from the reality TV show.
In an MTV Round table discussion, Spice and a handful of her “Love & Hip Hop” castmates on Tuesday reflected on an episode from this season in which Mena repeatedly called the Jamaican musician a “monkey” and taunted her with monkey noises. The roundtable segment aired after the show’s Season 11 finale.
“I don’t care what no one else wants to say: A racist has been exposed,” Spice said.
“Four hundred years ago, our slave masters called us monkeys to…dehumanize us. It was a tactic to justify racism. … This is a deep-rooted insult that has nothing to do with me. The history, the burden, the blood, the blows, the tears and the fights… everything is connected to this word.”
Spice also responded to criticism she received for telling Mena during the episode that her son doesn’t like her – to which Mena became angry, flipped a table and called her a “blue monkey.” The dancehall artiste said that some even urged MTV to fire her over the comment about Mena’s son.
Spice also pointed out that she’s far from the only cast member to criticize another person’s parenting on the show.
“The color of my skin makes me seem like the aggressor or whatever,” Spice said.
“They are now portraying me as the ‘angry black woman.'” I can take full responsibility for my upbringing. Her answer could have been a million other words in her vocabulary. Why a racial slur?”
In a statement that has since been deleted from her Instagram page, Mena said earlier this month that she “deeply regrets” the “insensitive comment” and acknowledged that her “choice of words was wrong.”
“As a woman of color and mother of two Black children,” she added, “I want to make it clear that my use of this word was in no way racially motivated.”
During Tuesday’s roundtable discussion, moderated by international colorism expert Sarah L. Webb, Spice responded directly to Mena.
“I take responsibility for raising Erica, but it doesn’t sound to me like she wants to take responsibility for being racist or using a racial slur,” the Grammy nominee said.
“I can’t trick you into being a racist. You can’t trick someone into being a racist.”
Spice said she didn’t want a personal apology because she doubted it was genuine.
“You can’t just apologize because your wallet took a hit,” Spice said. “You really have to be serious.”
On Tuesday, Mena gave MTV an opinion under an interview Instagram post from racial justice organization Color of Change, previewing the discussion. The actor and former model accused the network of organizing the roundtable in a “desperate” attempt to “save face.”
“The network chose to still film with me non-stop, which is why I served as the base story for the entire second half of this current season,” Mena said in the comments section.
“If I’m used to setting an example, why wasn’t I part of this round table discussion? … [The] true and the only reason the network even made a statement was because [of] the backlash. Not because they actually believed what I said was a racial slur.”
Mena added that she thought Spice’s behavior was “equally wrong” and called on MTV to air a discussion between the two “since this network now feels it is necessary.”
On September 2, MTV announced that Mena had been fired from the show due to her actions.
“The ‘Love & Hip Hop’ franchise has never shied away from tough conversations in our community,” the announcement said.
“Working with our partners, viewers will experience the impact of Erica Mena’s comments in the final three episodes of the season.”