August Alsina on Moving Past Entanglement Scandal and His Emotional 'The Surreal Life' Experience (Exclusive)

The singer revealed whether he still has any relationship with Jada Pinkett Smith or her family today.

Joining The Surreal Life didn't start out as a sure thing for August Alsina

"I honestly said no about 10 times," the singer admitted to ET's Rachel Smith. But, as viewers will come to see when the new seventh season -- the first to air in 16 years -- premieres on Oct. 24, the reality TV newcomer overcame his fear and nerves and ended up becoming somewhat of a peacekeeper among the star-studded cast. 

"I guess the mind-blowing part would be the constant having to put out fires in the house type thing amongst people," Alsina said. "Somehow I, you know, was tapped upon to kind of help deal with situations in the house amongst people for situations that I actually wasn't a part of to even see exactly what happened."

Alsina is understanding. As he pointed out, he and the rest of the cast -- which includes Tamar Braxton, Dennis Rodman, Frankie Muñiz and Stormy Daniels -- were filming amid the life-changing effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

"The reality is that everybody is dealing with their own trauma and pain in whatever way and we were going into filming this probably like right -- the pandemic wasn’t even over necessarily, but I think right after everybody had been kind of locked away kind of in their own space with their family and then you're going into this new world where you're going around people you don't know and you're also dealing with stuff back home, so it was kind of just a lot of pent-up emotions that everybody was carrying -- myself included," Alsina explained. "It really was just, I think, a new space, new environment, new people, old emotion, pent-up emotion, new experience that brings new emotion, so it was just a lot of emotion flying around at times."

In July 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, Alsina became a household name when he revealed and Jada Pinkett Smith admitted shortly after to them having a relationship -- or as she called it, an "entanglement" -- while she and Will Smith were separated. 

Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET

During his interview with ET, Alsina admitted the recent scandal made him apprehensive about joining the show. "I would say that going into it, that probably was one of the factors for me that I felt like, 'Hmm, do I really want to do this?' because I didn't want to go into a situation where people would grab for low-hanging fruit," he said. However, the show also offered him an opportunity for viewers to get to know him beyond the headlines. 

"There was one side of me not wanting to do it, trying to protect myself," he said, "and then the other side of it was, well, it gave me the opportunity to allow people to see and experience me and my authentic energy as opposed to the narrative that had been kind of clouding over my life for quite a while."

Now, more than two years after that unforgettable Red Table Talk episode, Alsina has "absolutely zero" relationship with the actress and her family nor is he surprised by what she shared on her Facebook show. 

"I can only be responsible for myself. I can only be responsible for my own actions and hold myself accountable for what I do, what I say and what I know to be true for myself," he said. "To be honest with you, I’m not necessarily surprised about anybody’s actions these days. Everybody has the right to say, reveal whatever they decide -- I’m not the police of that."

As for Alsina, he's overcome even more than being at the center of public fodder, including the death of his sister and being diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, which rendered him temporarily paralyzed. 

"It ate the nerves in my legs, so I ended up not being able to walk, talk," he described. "I actually had to get a clearance from my doctor for VH1 to even be able to go and do the show, so it was also that I was like, 'Am I ready to take on a new journey?'"

Added Alsina, "It worked out. It showed me more of my strength as opposed to me focusing on, like, a lot of the places where I thought I was weak before from, you know, falling ill like that."

"I'm in the space in life where the possibilities are endless because, like I said, it's like when you move beyond fear and you see what's on the other side of it after you're scared s**tless or whatever... there's so many gifts on the other side of it," he said. "...People kick you out, like, it's so many gifts on the other side of that and once you go through it and you realize, 'Oh, OK, I'm still alive. I survived it. Now what?'"

The Surreal Life premieres Monday, Oct. 24 at 9 p.m. on VH1.