Tameka 'Tiny' Harris on Reuniting With Xscape, Executive Producing 'Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta' (Exclusive)
By Latifah Muhammad
Tameka “Tiny” Harris has big plans for 2018!
The 42-year-old singer and entrepreneur, who recently finished a reunion tour with Xscape group members Kandi Burruss, and sisters LaTocha and Tamika Scott, has been pulling double duty as an executive producer of the WE tv reality series, Growing Up Hip-Hop Atlanta, which premieres its second season on Thursday at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Tiny, along with some other celebrity parents like Toya Wright (ex-wife of Lil Wayne and mother of Reginae Carter) and music manager Debra Antney, whose son is rapper Waka Flocka Flame, made appearances on the show, last season.
“I’m excited about that,” Tiny told ET of season two, before hitting the stage for The Great Xscape Tour at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California on Saturday. “The whole cast has been working really hard, beefing up the stories, you know, just doing what they do, and it’s going to be great season. “
In season one of GUHH, viewers watched the friction between Tiny’s daughter, Zonnique, and cast member Brandon Barnes, but this time around, the two are working on moving past the tension.
“They’re mending that whole situation, and trying to find ways to be around each other and be comfortable,” Tiny explained. “I think everybody has learned a lesson from their first season [and are] trying to grow and get past [their issues with each other].You’ll see a lot of that. ”
As for her own group, Xscape initially thought about touring with New Edition, but after prodding from Burruss, they decided to headline their own tour. Still, Tiny admits to being surprised by the fan reception. “I [thought] people would want to see us and hear us again, but I didn’t know it would be to this magnitude,” she shared.
In September, Xscape announced that they would be hitting the road for a 29-date national jaunt with newcomers June’s Diary and Zonnique, along with Tamar Braxton and Monica as opening acts. The launch of the sold-out tour coincided with the premiere of the R&B quartet’s Bravo docuseries, Xscape: Just Kickin’ It.’
The four-episode series followed Xscape as they prepared for the tour and worked through some of the unresolved issues that led to their original split. Despite a few clearly tense moments (that mostly found Tiny playing mediator), reconnecting with her group members was the best part of the experience.
“I think one of the things I enjoyed the most is just getting back to knowing my group members and being able to spend time with them,” she gushed. “That’s probably one of the best things about it…just being able to get back with the girls and, I guess, you know, learning that things can get bigger because I feel like the things we’re doing now are bigger than anything we’ve ever done before.”
Xscape has since released new singles "Wifed Up" and "Dream Killa" (without Burruss, who begins her run on Broadway’s Chicago on Jan. 15) and are working on a new release.
“We’re going to drop an EP soon, probably in February,” she revealed. “I’m excited about that. One of our songs ["Wifed Up"] will also be in a new Adam Sandler movie, so I’m excited about that."
Beyond music, Tiny has been on a “health kick,” which inspired another business venture. Next month, Tiny will open Got the Juice, a juice bar located near her home in Stockbridge, Georgia. She’s also part owner of the Global Mixed Gender Basketball Professional League.
“Women can be on the men’s level in this game,” she pointed out, describing the league as a champion of gender "equality."
Of course, sports aren’t the only place where women are often forced to prove that they are just as capable as men. During the final season of their VH1 reality show, T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle, Tiny expressed a need to get back to work, but her husband, T.I., didn’t exactly approve of the idea.
Things have changed between the couple since then. Besides getting their marriage back on track after Tiny filed for divorce in 2016, T.I. has been very supportive of his wife on tour (he even came out for a surprise performance when the tour hit their hometown of Atlanta earlier in the month).
Needless to say, returning to her music roots has Tiny feeling liberated.
“I was going through a moment in my life that I needed something else to do, to switch things up. And this [tour was] the perfect way for me to end my year,” she said of reclaiming her independence and having a successful 2017. “Through all the internal stuff that was going on in my household, this was just the icing on the cake.”