Erica Dixon is one of the mainstays on “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.” The feisty ATL native has had her painful relationship history with rapper Scrappy play out in front of the cameras — with things recently coming to a bit of a head on the show. The former couple has a young daughter, Emani, and Erica and Scrappy are in the midst of a legal battle concerning Scrappy owing child support. Dixon claims the rapper owes $45,000 in back payments, and while his attorney is hoping to settle things out of court, it may not be feasible considering the disputes between the former couple. But Dixon says she wanted the public to see her fight for child support because she knows women are out there dealing with this issue every day. And she knows that women taking men to court for child support tend to be vilified as money-hungry and exploitative of a difficult situation.
“From the beginning of ‘Love & Hip Hop,’ I always felt like I was relatable,” she explains. “So many women go through these issues and stuff and don’t speak out about it and they do let them slide. I felt like I was in that position. I was so worried about how this would look if I put this out there. But then I realized this was not about me and this was not about him, this was about our daughter.”
She also wants the public to fully understand that Scrappy brought this on himself.
“For the record, I didn’t put Scrappy on child support. He put himself on child support. All I asked him to do is uphold his responsibilities,” she says. “Me coming on the show shows that no matter who [a man is], they are to take care of their child. Yes, he spends time with her, but financially, there is no support. And it’s sad, because he has the money. A babysitter can spend time all day long.”
Her dispute with Scrappy has drawn the wrath of “Momma Dee,” the hip-hop star’s famously fiery mother. Dixon describes their relationship as “sometimey,” and Dee confronted her about her child support allegations on the show.
“He said he takes care of Emani and he’s given you money,” Momma Dee said in the episode. “I know my son do love his daughter and you know it, too. You can’t get nothing if he’s in prison.
“At the end of the day, I know my son’s a good father. And men do lie — but women do, too. So we’ll see you in court.”
Dixon says that she was angry at the way Momma Dee framed the situation, but she’s moved past it.
“She’s bipolar. So some days she takes her medication. And on the days that she doesn’t, she’s going to be Momma Dee,” Dixon says. “I can honestly say that I haven’t had any [negative] feelings toward her. She’s actually apologized to me for coming at me the way that she did on the show. She kept telling me he was going to do what he needed to do. “
It just is what it is. I’m over it now. I just want everybody to be careful because we’re still family. So everybody can at least act like they have some sense around my daughter.”
Following the episode, Scrappy’s current girlfriend, Bambi, posted subtle Instagram messages that fans interpreted as digs at Dixon. The two have a history of taking shots at each via social media. But Dixon dismisses the latest slights as immaturity.
“Children will be children,” Dixon says of her beef with Bambi. “At the end of the day, I don’t know her and she doesn’t know me.”
Dixon says she’s learned from her time in the spotlight that she has to be less reactionary in tense situations. Whereas before she saw everyone as an antagonist, she’s come to understand that some of the most uncomfortable conversations aren’t the result of hate, but are examples of tough love.
“I kind of look at the good in all situations — and people — now,” she shares. “Instead of thinking that everybody is coming for my throat because that was what it looked like for me. Sometimes you have to be able to see yourself and recognize things you need to change about you. I’m always thinking ‘You’re coming at me sideways,’ when you may be telling me something that can help me. It may be truth and sometimes truth hurts. Ultimately, you may be giving me something that can help. I try to see the good in people in what they say and in what they bring to me.”
She’s also gotten a tremendous amount of love from “Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta” fans. Dixon says that most of the people who come up to her are asking for advice or thanking her for something she said or did on the show. The instances of disrespect are few and far between. Aside from some of the typical Twitter hate, there was an incident in Virginia where she became involved in a physical altercation with a man who threw money at her in a club. But that’s the exception, not the rule.
And she’s now a reality show veteran. That status has given her a unique perspective and she offers advice to “newbies.”
“Lots of people reach out to me that have had reality shows,” she shares. “They’ve done my stylist, my brother — they’ve come to them and wanted to set up interviews and stuff. The biggest thing I learned when I went into doing this show and I had my meeting with Mona [Scott-Young], I said I’m going to do this and I’m going to be myself and people are going to either love me or they’re going to hate me. It’s hard to be somebody you’re not, but it’s easy to be yourself. When you’re being somebody else, it’s hard to uphold that image. And then people see you as someone who is fake or trifling or dirty. And it’s like, ‘Who are you?’ The people want to know who you are because you never know who will be able to relate to you.”
She’s had friendships and relationships play out on the small screen under the intense glare of the reality show spotlight, but she says that reality TV is only an exaggeration of real life. Everything she’s dealt with as a result of being a reality star is representative of what most people have to deal with constantly. So she doesn’t moan about struggling to maintain relationships with people because there are cameras around.
“That’s everyday life. You don’t like your boss at your job but you’re going to keep that cordial relationship. Even with cast members — you may not like them, but at the end of the day, it’s still a job,” she says.
And a healthy relationship has been a major part of that shift. The reality star has been linked to Buffalo Bills safety Duke Williams, and she’s extremely happy with her love life currently.
“I have a wonderful man right now and I didn’t see it at first,” Dixon admits. “… We were just friends and then it was like, ‘We [are] so cool, we can kick it, we vibe together.’ He’s got goals and ambitions. I feel like people get so complacent when they get to a certain point, but you should set higher goals. I love to challenge myself. So that’s very attractive to me.”
Continuing to push is a part of who Erica Dixon is. And that openness she’s learned has served her well. Her willingness to allow people to enter her life and see where things go has helped her shake some of her defensiveness. And she’s excited about that.
“At first, if I didn’t know you and you weren’t in my circle, then it is what it is,” she recalls. “But I really have an open heart [now] and I welcome everybody now because you