Words and Images by: DeWayne Rogers
Hair & Makeup by: Jeremy Dell
Wardrobe Stylist: Kudzi & K.D.
Lil Scrappy heard the chatter. He had probably even peeked in on an online chat room or two. But what he found was two stops below unflattering as an overwhelming majority of the general public (aka the viewers of VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta”), had an unfavorable opinion of the way that Scrappy was conducting his personal business. Most of the talk centered on the peculiar love triangle of women in his life, which ranged from his mother (Momma Dee), to longtime girlfriend Erica Dixon and new “friend” Shay Johnson.
As Scrappy continued to sort out his affairs in front of millions of avid viewers, the chatter continued to increase, until it reached deafening levels.
He’s a bad father …
He listens to his mom too much …
He’s a womanizer_…
He should be ashamed of himself …
On and on it went. But as much as Scrappy—along with other rappers cut from a similar cloth—wants you to believe that nothing ever fazes him, there was one particular statement that he couldn’t ignore. “They kept saying I was a bad father,” he shared while on set for his rolling out cover shoot.
As he reviewed his photos through my camera’s viewfinder, he continued. “That was the one thing that kept getting to me. It was messed up because they heard Erica say one thing, and then they took it and ran with it. I have always been there for Erica and Emani, so it kind of got to me when they would say that.”
As he handed the camera back, Scrappy walked over to his daughter who was on set, and playfully tapped her. As she looked up and smiled, you could tell that the relationship was authentic. This wasn’t the Scrappy who was punching walls and famously yelling, “ain’t nobody getting a check in the A!!” No, there truly was a tenderness in the moment that pointed to a genuine bond between father and daughter. As he stood there for a moment, he turned back to me and offered one last thought.
“I may say some of the same things that other dudes say, but I don’t mean it in the same way,” he offered. “I’m not like these other baby daddy dudes out here. I really take care of mine.”
And then he walked away once again…
Author’s note: Somewhere, I’m sure there’s an English teacher scratching his or head, wondering why this story began with a seemingly random interaction with Scrappy.
But after witnessing that moment firsthand, I instantly knew that was how Scrappy’s narrative should begin. As an outsider, it appears as though Scrappy can take the ridicule when it comes to his relationship with his mom; he can even take the negative comments from those who disapprove of the way that he handles his love life. But the moment you begin to question his commitment to his daughter … well, that’s when Scrappy takes exception. And in many ways, the prickly needling received from couch critics may have served as the primary catalyst for where Scrappy now stands …
As an engaged man …
Yes, the rumors of Scrappy and Erica’s engagement are, in fact, true. That much was confirmed the moment the couple walked into the photo studio with Erica sporting a gleaming rock on her left hand. As her smile matched the wattage of her bling, the most beloved member of the ”Love & Hip Hop” cast appeared to be taking the big news in stride.
“I’m in a very good place in my life right now,” she shared, while watching Scrappy take some solo photos. “I learned so much about myself through this process with the show, and now I’m just looking forward to this next chapter in my life.”
By why get married?
After all of the ups and downs endured by the pair, why make such a drastic about face instead of easing back into a committed relationship?
It just didn’t make sense from the outside looking in … that is, until you spend time with the pair. The playful petting, the overflow of affection for Emani, and the sincere look of admiration delivered one to the other all points to a foundation that has as good a chance as any to make it in the long run.
For Scrappy though, the decision to put a ring on Erica’s finger appears to be a continuation of his effort to live life in a very grown man type of way. “It was time for me to do something really grown,” he shared. “So I popped the question and the beautiful lady said yes … that’s why she has the ring on her finger. But now we’re just waiting for the next big step. I wasn’t trying to play around with it for a hundred years. I wanted to do something really big. “
Marriage does qualify as something big. But don’t expect a big wedding in an Atlanta church.
“That’s cliché,” Scrappy explained.
What’s not cliché is a couple actually attempting to make their commitment known before God and the world. All it takes is a look at their own television show, and there are countless images that point to anything but marriage. More importantly though, Scrappy and Erica have decided to profess their vows in front of their daughter — which is a powerful image for any child to see.
For better or for worse, the two have decided to venture down the road less traveled in Hollywood. Where it leads, no one can say for sure … but we can only hope that the cameras are there to document every single bit of it.
Check out this exclusive behind-the-scenes look at our photoshoot with Lil Scrappy and Erica.