Boss Talk: A Candid One-on-One with LHHATL’s Keely The Boss

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LHHATL’s Keely The Boss Gets Candid About Being a Black Woman in Entertainment, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta Beef, and Life as a Single Mother

They don’t call her “Keely The Boss” for no reason.

Meet Detroit’s very own, Miss Keely “The Boss” Hill, an entertainment maven who’s been a triple threat to the music industry for over a decade or more now. As of late, you’ve probably seen her dominating your TV screen on Monday nights, as she currently holds a leading spot on VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. Originally cast for season six, Hill made her grand introduction on the acclaimed reality series this season, instantly captivating the eyes and ears of many with her raw, straightforward persona and willingness to unapologetically live and walk in her truth in front of millions of devoted viewers weekly.

But before she grew into the self-made business mogul that she is today and made her leap into television, Hill was just a young girl from The Motor City, with big dreams of traveling the promising road to success and a route that she wasted no time taking to get there. Surprisingly, in 2004, that route led her right through the doors of Island Def Jam Music Group, where she formed lifelong relationships with powerhouse industry executives and more.

Eventually, Hill became one of the most-respected in the game, skyrocketing up the corporate ladder as she later found herself an instrumental figure in the Urban Radio Promotion Department at Island Def Jam. There, she gained the opportunities to work with heavy-hitter artists such as Rihanna, Rick Ross, Kanye West, Rocko, Jeremih, and even R&B legend Mariah Carey, among a list of others.

Since then, the mother-of-one has been spearheading a number of top-notch client projects and putting music hopefuls on the map by crafting noteworthy promotional campaigns, administering the careers of a number of talents, and prepping brands for mainstream notoriety full-time.

An entrepreneurial mastermind, manager, PR expert, a budding reality star, and boss in her own right, Hill is certainly a force to be reckoned with, and there isn’t a deal that Hill can’t close, be it in the boardroom or on a business call.

We recently sat down with Keely The Boss  to talk all things career, her side of the story regarding the recent drama on Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, and so much more. Check it out!

Parlé Mag: So, before we get into Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, could you tell us a little bit about how you got your start in the music business?
Keely The Boss: Sure! I went to Hampton University. I majored in Business Management with a minor in Broadcast Journalism.

Parlé Mag: Nice!
Keely The Boss: While I was in college, in 2004, I started interning with Def Jam, but I interned at the office that was in Troy, Michigan. I interned with a man named Drew Rives; he’s who actually brought me into Def Jam, and he gave me my first job as an intern. He started me off doing the little small stuff and what have you, and before I knew it, I started growing, and I was on the road with Kanye [West] for his radio run that he did in 2004 as well. When I went back to school, I had applied to be a college rep, got that position… when I was back at Hampton. Then, that next summer, in ’05, I got my first internship in the New York office, and I worked under Jay-Z’s administration there. I was an intern for six days, and they ended up hiring me!

Parlé Mag: Woooow!
Keely The Boss: One of the assistants to the Senior Vice President of Promotion had gone in early in front of me, so they ended up bringing me in, to temp for her. So, I ended up going in an intern and walking out with a paid position that whole summer. Went back to Hampton that school year, and I was the promotion rep for Universal Music, which was my first official paid position. I was responsible for Virginia. After that, I got a call in 2008 from my old boss; he called me and told me he had a job ready for me. Next thing I know, I’m in [Def Jam’s] New York office working urban radio promotion. So, I ended up going up to New York and the rest was history. I was there for a number of years, climbed the corporate ladder, did a lot of successful projects, made a lot of money, made a lot of relationships. I ended up starting my own management and PR company when I was there at the label. Then, I actually started managing two cast members from the first and second season of Love & Hip Hop: New York.

From there, I left the label and was totally just a full-time entrepreneur, working with my company, working with music artists, and consulting with clients. I moved out here to Atlanta, took on a couple independent projects here, then I went to Radio One, where I was a Promotions Director. I worked for Rocko’s label, A1, where I was the General Manager, then I ended up trying to go back to New York last year and work at Entertainment One. It just wasn’t the right situation; I was ready to come back to Atlanta. Now, here I am today! So, I’ve had a few twists and turns in my career.

Keely the Boss LHHA
Parlé Mag: As not only a woman but also a Black woman in this industry, holding positions of power, would you say that it’s more challenging to be taken seriously?
Keely The Boss: I think it all has to do with the person. I’m very outspoken. My demeanor is more so intimidating. I’m not the normal, typical quiet lady… I’m not! I play the boys’ game. So, when I get into a boardroom, or I go into an office, I’m handling business just like a big boy. I’ve been that way since I was an intern, for years! I remember my first year at Def Jam, I was like super quiet, didn’t talk to anybody, but I was so focused. I had tunnel vision, and I knew I had something to prove. So, everyone thought I was mean, they were like, “Oh, she’s so mean! She’ll come in and say nothing!” But no, I had my game face on because I was trying to make sure that I had everything done the right way. I wanted all my ‘I’s dotted, all my ‘T’s crossed.  But, then, once I got that first year under my belt, I started opening up. There, I had gained the respect of a lot of executives because I handled my business. I didn’t just get in the door of Def Jam and be like, ‘Oooh, I made it! I’m here now!’ No, I had something to prove, and I was a woman in the business, and I wanted to be taken seriously.

So, when I went to Shakir Stewart—R.I.P to him, he was the head of A&R at the time, and I told him, ‘Listen, I got a kid from Detroit, and he’s super dope. I really want you to take a look at him. I really think he would be a good addition’. He sat there, he heard me out! Like, he was able to listen to me. And when I went to Sha Money, and I’m like, ‘I really, really, really want to get Big Sean going. Like, what can we do? What can we do to put our heads together?’ I got with Big Sean’s team, I got with Sha, and we tried to come up with a strategy of what we could do to bring [Big Sean] where he is now, just from putting partnerships together. When I had Chrisette Michele, she had a project, and Luster’s Hair Products had a campaign that they wanted to run with their renutrients brand. I’m like, ‘Chrisette would be perfect for that! Let’s try to put something together.’ I got with the strategic marketing department and put that plan and that deal together so that she had that for one of her videos and you’d see the product placement. They respected me, and they respected what I said, but I had to earn it. I had to earn it with my hard work. It wasn’t like, “Oh, she’s such a pretty girl with a pretty face.” Nah, it was like, “She handles her business.”

Even with Rocko. He’s a boss, and we’re related, but the way he moves his business and broker deals, I learned a lot of stuff from him. I learned a lot of stuff at Def Jam, and I learned a lot from some of these really, really great, strong, powerful men and just watching how they do business and how they move. With Rocko, for him to even let me handle certain things for his label took some kind of respect, even from him. Regardless of us being related or not, he didn’t care. It was like, “Are you going to be able to close this deal or not? Can I take you in a label to go and get this artist signed or not?” It took time, but now it’s like, “Okay. I know she knows what she’s doing. She’s a product of me. She’s like a ‘Rocko Jr.’ She knows how to go up in there and get the check.” [laughs]

Parlé Mag: Right! [laughs]
Keely The Boss: You know? It took a long time to get there, and I think now I’m at a point in my career where I’m so blessed because I can walk up in any label and broker a deal. I can walk up in Atlantic, I can walk up in Def Jam, I can walk up in Warner, I can go in Entertainment One, I can go in Empire Music, I can go up in 300, I can go wherever!

Parlé Mag: True respect!
Keely The Boss: I can go to Epic, I can go to Roc Nation. I’ve had these great relationships with all of these people that I’ve done business with, in music, for so long that I don’t work at a label. I can work for myself, and an independent artist can come to me and say, “Listen, I have a budget. I really want to try to get a deal. I really want to try to do distribution through this company,” and I can get it done because I can call my people at so-and-so and set up a meeting, or I can call my people here and get it done. But it took a while to get that respect as a woman. I had to earn it, and I had to work hard to get it.

Parlé Mag: Being that the entertainment playground is so cutthroat and competitive, what has been sort of like your recipe for maintaining longevity in this business?
Keely The Boss: Prayer and consistency! I’m the same person I was when I walked through the door of Def Jam. One of my old interns at Def Jam–her name is Danielle Kelley, who also grew, ended up getting a job there, and is doing very well for herself out in New York—she reached out to me recently. She said, “To watch you on Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, people don’t even know that you are the same person and you’ve been the same way since I met you in 2008.” I haven’t! What you see is what you get. I am who I am. The way that I operate, how I handle business, how I handle people, I’m no-nonsense. I don’t get into the catty, little girl stuff. I think that’s what has helped me; I’m consistent with who I am. I’m a firm believer in prayer. Before I start my day, I’m getting up praying and thanking God for blessing me with another day of life. I feel like that’s the key. You know? You can lose yourself and your soul in this industry so easily if you don’t keep God first, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without being prayed up. I’m talking about seriously prayed up and knowing how to trust God and make my moves, do what I have to do, without having to feel like, ‘Ugh! I don’t know if this is going to work out.’

I could’ve easily stayed in New York last year, but I was like, ‘You know what? This isn’t the right situation for me here. There are great companies, but I’ma trust God on this one and come back to Atlanta and see what happens with me working these projects with Empire [Music]. It may not be exactly the right timing for me to be up in New York right now. I gotta trust God.’ If you don’t know how to trust God, and you don’t know how to let God order your steps and guide your steps, you’ll never make it in this industry. If you don’t know how to do that and make strategic decisions, and be consistent with your work ethic, be consistent with you as a person, you’ll never make it. That’s why I’ve made it so far.

Parlé Mag: Speaking of Love & Hip Hop, you recently joined season seven of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. How did that come about?
Keely The Boss: It’s funny because, as I said, I was there with the show during season one, and I was managing talent on that season, too. I had a client on season two, and I had some more clients on some other seasons as well. I’ve been on that business side; I’ve been the manager behind the scenes, the one who was putting the deals together and the situation to help elevate my clients’ career. So, it was kind of weird when I got a call one day when I was at one of the strip clubs out here in Atlanta. [laughs] Rocko called me and told me that someone from Love & Hip Hop wanted to talk to me. My first reaction was like, ‘About what?’ [laughs] He was like, “Just take the meeting! It’s a good look for you. Just see what they’re talking about.” So, I ended up going and taking the meeting. This is actually for season six; I was originally signed to season six. I went through the casting process, and they loved me, but I did not include my personal life that first season. I was more so strictly-business. I was running Rocko’s label, I had his projects going on, we had two artists who we were developing at the time, and my personal life wasn’t something that I was willing to really tap into.

Casting came back around for this season, season seven, and I wasn’t released out of my contract, so they just kind of caught up with me to see what was going on. They couldn’t accommodate my storyline last season; it was a lot going on for season six. So, they asked me what was going on for season seven and what I had going on. At the time, I was dating the guy I’m dating on the show, and I was back in Atlanta. I was like, ‘You know what? I’m just going to go ahead and include that as a thing and put everything in the pot. If it works, it works.’ And it worked! It’s been a rollercoaster ride, both good and bad, but I don’t really look at anything as “bad.” I think it was all a learning experience. It’s been a great experience being on this side of the camera because I’ve always been behind it. It’s been good. I’m blessed, and I love this opportunity. It’s all about what you do with the platform. VH1 is such an awesome network to be on, and they really believe in you. My production company and everyone who’s there, they all took a chance on me and gave me a shot. Mona, Stephanie, Rashad, Paris, Donna—everybody, they all gave me a shot. They saw in me what people have been telling me for years, which was that I should be on television. I had a number of shows come to me when I first moved to Atlanta. They even came to me for The Real Housewives of Atlanta in 2014.

So, people have always said that I have the personality to be on reality TV, and I’d be like, ‘Yeah, but I’m over here working on this artist’s project.’ [laughs] You know what I mean? It was never something that I was really like looking for, but when God has something for you, it’s for you!

Parlé Mag: Yes! That is so true, Keely.
Keely The Boss: And it’s for you only! This was an opportunity that was absolutely for me, you know? I’m happy to share my story with the world! I’ve been through so much, and you see a lot of me and my growth this season, you hear my story, you hear my past experiences and what I’ve been through. I look a certain way, and people look at my Instagram and judge, but I’ve been through a lot. I feel like people hearing my experiences and my journey, that’s going to help somebody. That was my number one reason for doing the show, showing what I went through in the past and what I was currently going through. Take the filter off, strip the smoke and mirrors and everything that makes me look like I’m just living this beautiful, great life on Instagram, and let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what I’m really going through. I’m a single mother, I’m an entrepreneur, and I’m a woman in the music and entertainment industry, and I’m a Black woman. It’s a lot that I go through, but I felt like this was the right time. I went through losing my father tragically to suicide in 2014, and I found out I was pregnant with my son a month later.

Parlé Mag: Goodness. I’m sorry to hear that. It’s heartbreaking.
Keely The Boss: These are the things that I thought would help people, being able to hear my story and be like, “Wow, she’s overcome a lot to get to where she is today,” and I have. I want people to be able to know that they can do the same thing too.

Parlé Mag: Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta is literally one of the most controversial reality shows on TV right now. That said, did you ever fear that joining the show would possibly tarnish your brand or your image?
Keely The Boss: I don’t believe so because I’ve known everyone for years. All of the execs [of the show] and everyone else, I’ve known them for almost ten years. I feel like this is the type of opportunity where if you allow it to give you a bad image, it’s because you did it yourself.

Parlé Mag: I can agree with that.
Keely The Boss: I don’t feel like, at all, that they would ever do anything or angle it to where they make people look a certain way. It’s really all about how you handle yourself. They could put you in crazy situations, but if you really don’t know how to handle it, then you’re going to make yourself look crazy. A lot of my issues on the show, it shows that if I feel strongly about a situation, I’m not going to back off of the situation. If I feel disrespected or if I feel a certain way, I’m not going to sugarcoat how I feel at all. I’m just not. That’s just how I am period. I’m not going to let anyone disrespect me or anything. I wouldn’t let them do it in real life, and I’m definitely not going to let them do it on the camera. But, no, I think Love & Hip Hop is a great show. If you’re genuinely someone who is in music, or you’re somehow connected to it, and you have the love and the Hip Hop, I think this show is for you! I feel like some people get on the show and they lose sight of what this show was originally designed for. It was designed for women somehow connected to music, whether it be your husband or your significant other is a music artist, whether it be you are a music artist yourself, or you’re aspiring to be that. Everything in between, all of the ups and downs, that’s just thrown in there, but the initial show was developed for people who were in music to some extent.

With that being said, I felt like I had both. Both… the love and the Hip Hop. So, it made sense for me to be on this show, for sure.

Keely The Boss
Parlé Mag: Seeing all of the public feedback, what do you think is the biggest misconception about you on the show?
Keely The Boss: I’ve been hated on my whole life since I was in high school. It’s been girls who just didn’t like me, my attitude, or whatever. I’m so unbothered, and I don’t care. I think it’s funny because I’m a real sarcastic person. When I see some of the comments and feedback like, “Keely’s so horrible!” or “Keely’s this and that!” I think it’s funny because they don’t know me! I’m such a nice person, and I’ll do anything for anyone. If I care about you and I know that I’m a position to help you, I’ll do it. There was a girl who reached out to me—I went to high school with her, and she told me how proud of me she was. I was the popular girl in high school; I ran with a crew, and we were all poppin’! All of us were. We were “those girls.”

She brought back a memory of her crying in the hallway one day, and I stopped and gave her a hug. I didn’t think anything of it, but because I gave her a hug, she reached out to me and said, “You don’t understand how that random act of kindness really helped me and stuck with me to this day.” It shocked me because I don’t even remember the actual occasion that she’s speaking of, but the fact that I did something like that, years ago, I had no idea that it impacted her and lasted with her for so long. I was like, ‘Wow!’ That’s just how I am. I’ve always been that way, even if it’s somebody who’s looking for a job in the industry. I put all of my interns on, anybody who works for me it is because I believe in them! So, if I’m in a position to help somebody, I’m going to do it. I’m not a selfish person, and I hate people who are in the industry and have this high horse that they sit on. They feel like maybe they can’t help somebody because it’ll dim their light, and I’ve never been that one! I always feel like if we can get money, it’s a project, and I know I may not all the time and can bring somebody else in to help me, I’m going to do it!

I break bread with people. I’ve always been like that! I’m very big on that. I’ve never been that selfish person, and I’m just a real person. I’m one hundred percent real, and some people are too fake to be able to understand and accept my realness. So, it becomes that I’m the villain. I’m a villain because I stood firm on how I felt about a situation pertaining to Shooter, and I’m a villain because I didn’t take the woman’s side, I didn’t stand for the woman, and because I stood for a man. Whether he made some mistakes in his past or not, I stood with a man in a situation that I felt strongly about, so I’m a villain now. They don’t know the backstory though, what was really going on behind closed doors.

But I don’t care because, at the end of the day, I know how I felt about a situation, and I’m not going to backpedal because people don’t agree with me.

Parlé Mag: As you shouldn’t.
Keely The Boss: I’ve been that way forever. It’s the same thing with what you saw in the recent episodes pertaining to my son and how I am about dealing and dabbling with the situation regarding his father. There are people who agree, disagree, don’t understand, or understand, but listen, at the end of the day, I am going to do what’s best for me and my child. I’m going to do what’s best for me and be me. Y’all not going to like everything, but you’re entitled to your opinion, just like I’m entitled to mine. I’m always been real, and I might just be too real for some people who live a lie. I’ve never lived a lie! I’m one of those people who can comfortably get on a reality show and own all of my stuff.

I’ve made mistakes; I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes as a business owner, where I had too many clients because I was being greedy. I was this new poppin’ manager, I had all of the poppin’ clients, and everybody wanted to work with me. I made mistakes and had too many clients at one time, where I wasn’t able to give attention to each one. Certain things fell through the cracks with deals, stuff got messed up, and it made me look bad, but I had other people working for me who didn’t really know how to handle it. Had I worked on quality over quantity and not been greedy, I wouldn’t have made those mistakes way back when I started my career… working as an entrepreneur and having my own company.

I’ve made mistakes! As a woman, in a relationship. I’ve made mistakes, period, but I’m able to own it. I’ve made mistakes financially, you know when you put your all into a man and you’re putting out money, you got stuff going here and there, and you look up like, ‘Wait a minute! How did this happen?’ [laughs]

Parlé Mag: [laughs] Like, ‘What’s going on?’
Keely The Boss: Right! You got to be able to know and own up! That’s why I can get on a reality show because I’m not going to lie about anything. My story and the situation that I went through might save a mistake that a girl is getting ready to make when she’s about to get her boyfriend a car in her name, and she’s getting ready to get him a place in her name. I might save that entrepreneur who’s working all of these clients but they really needs to be focused on getting two good ones, whatever the case is. So, that’s pretty much where I stand on that one. I don’t have a reason to lie about my past, my story, and my journey. I’ve gotten where I am today by the grace of God. I have so much more to accomplish, so much more to do, and I have a long way to go, but I’m trying. You know? I’m not perfect, but I’m trying, and I feel like people should be able to receive that. Hopefully, they will. They’ll be like, “I like her!” [laughs]

Parlé Mag: That’s the best way to be, honestly! I think a lot of people get on reality TV and lose sight of the fact that it is a “reality” show, and it’s supposed to be reality!
Keely The Boss: Exactly!

Parlé Mag: On previous episodes of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, we’ve seen the ongoing drama between you and Sierra, as well as your recent clash with Just Brittany. A lot of the viewers grew confused when you kind of denied ever having a friendship with Sierra before the beef. So, could you set the record straight for us on that?
Keely The Boss: Yes. I think that people use the term “friendship” so loosely. I’m thirty-three years old, so I’ve had friends from childhood, high school, and college. Those people who are still my friends, or people who I’ve met in the industry who are my close friends, they’ve been around me! You can meet a new person and that doesn’t automatically make them your friend. I think that people use that term, “friend,” lightly because they’re searching for something or they have a void in their life or within themselves, so they cling on to people for acceptance. I’ve never been that type of person. I met Sierra actually right when we got signed for season six of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. We both got signed the same year. There was a mutual person who knew both of us who connected us. So, we weren’t friends. We were connected, we met in person one time, which was at a pizza restaurant on Peter Street called Spin. We had a twenty-minute conversation, and we both had salads. I went my way, she went her way. I was actually on my way to the airport. We had a couple of text message conversations, maybe two phone calls, and some social media interaction.

She’s never been to my house. She’s never met my son, she’s never met my mother. I haven’t been to her house, and at the time, I hadn’t met her child. We were acquaintances. You meet somebody, and you’re like, ‘Hey! You want to do lunch?’ You do lunch, you keep it moving. That person is not your friend. But with Shooter, he was introduced to me the spring before. So, we got signed to the show July of 2016, and I met Shooter at the end of April, maybe going into May. He and Rocko grew up together; they’re childhood friends. So, we’re in a club, Shooter happens to be there, and I did not know he was married or anything about Sierra. We were in a club atmosphere. I was initially introduced to Shooter by Rocko, not by Sierra. When she was bringing to my attention about him being on the show, she wasn’t referencing him as Shooter she was calling him “Rod.” I didn’t know who that was, and at the time, I wasn’t following Sierra on Instagram. I really wasn’t on Instagram like that back then either.

So, I think that she felt like I was her friend. She made it seem like I was her friend and like I didn’t know Shooter. I knew Shooter because he had been around the homies. [laughs] You know what I’m saying? In her eyes, I’m her friend. I’m not your friend! I don’t know you. I don’t know what high school you went to, I don’t know what shoe size you wear, I don’t know what your allergies are, I don’t know what your favorite food is. [laughs] I don’t know if you had a C-section or delivered your child the regular way and pushed ’em out. I have no idea! These are things I know when I’m saying I’m somebody’s friend. When I say I’m Dej’s friend, I can tell you that Dej wears a size six and a half shoe, what size her pants are. I know what high school she went to. I know Dej’s mother, her father, her sister, her dogs. [laughs]

Parlé Mag: [laughs]
Keely The Boss: These are things that I know because that’s my friend! I know her. I know that she’s extremely picky with food, and she will go to a restaurant and totally change something on the menu because she doesn’t like tomatoes on anything! That’s my friend. There’s a difference! These girls are so insecure. They come on these reality shows and look for friendships. You’re supposed to get on a reality show and get your money up. I’m not Sierra’s friend. I don’t owe her anything. Whether or not she wanted to be my friend, that’s another thing. She might have wanted to be my friend, but I’m very, very guarded when it comes to people being in my world, in my circle, or in my personal life. I don’t let a lot of people in, so there are very few people who I consider my friend. Sierra was never someone I considered a friend; she was an acquaintance of mine, never a friend. It eats me up every time because I’m catching all of this heat because this girl was going out saying that I was her friend! I can’t even tell you what kind of car the girl drives, and I’ve never even been in a vehicle with her before.

She doesn’t know anything about me, and I don’t know anything about her. She keeps saying that we prayed together. No! We had a phone conversation. Everyone was going through their stuff with the show, we were waiting to hear back, and she was talking about her pastor. Her pastor did some type of prayer call, and she referred me to her pastor. I’ve never been on bended knees praying with this girl! It’s almost like she’s delusional! I think that’s where it’s getting a little crossed. If you noticed, in the scene where she was sitting there and discussing the situation, she can’t say that we’ve hung out together because we’ve never hung out together. We’ve never been in a club, and she doesn’t know that I only drink Patron. [laughs] She doesn’t know anything about me! Same thing with Just Brittany. I just met Brittany; I don’t even know her. I know her manager knows a girl who I know. The girl put us in contact because Brittany was moving out here.

Parlé Mag: The show definitely gives a totally different portrayal! I really thought you guys were friends and had known each other for a minute.
Keely The Boss: We were never friends! I met this girl in November of last year. She moved out here, and her manager reached out to me. It took me a while to actually talk to her because I was talking to her manager a lot. She was telling me Brittany was moving out here. She had a hard time getting a place to live. I told her I had a guy who could help her get into a place. I said, ‘His name is Gary, he does a lot of real estate out here, and he can help her get into the place she wants.’ I don’t know her like that! Surprisingly enough, the first time that I saw her in person, my friend, Dej, and I both went to Pappadeaux and met her together… for the first time! Every scene that was shot with me and Brittany, literally, that was a couple of weeks after that. Everything happened between November and December. I don’t know her like that, and she’s not my friend.

Looking at it from a business standpoint, I was thinking that since I work in the entertainment industry, I could’ve possibly helped her with her situation with Stevie, but I don’t know her. The thing about it is, I don’t know if she’s mad about Erica Mena or what. I’ve known Erica since her first season of Love & Hip Hop: New York, which is when I met her.

Parlé Mag: That’s been a while!
Keely The Boss: Yeah! So, I don’t know if Brittany was more so shocked because my reaction when we were discussing Erica was ‘oh okay’ or not. I didn’t say I knew her, I didn’t say anything! But I know Erica, and I’ve known her for years. I’ve watched her grow. We don’t speak every day. I hadn’t seen Erica in years, but I’m proud of her. I’m happy to see her on this show! I have nothing but love for her. I feel like Brittany was more shocked, surprised, and mad that I came up and hugged Erica in that scene, but I’m not a fake person. Just because you got beef with somebody, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to go and take on your beef. I’m not going to go and bandwagon with you and be one of those “because my friend got beef with you, I don’t mess with you either” females. Those types don’t a backbone.

For Brittany, I think she thought that I was going to come in there and start coming at Erica, coming at Estelita. I’m not going at her. For what? They didn’t do anything to me. I’m going to handle the situation in a professional manner because at the time, in my mind, I’m not there as your friend. I’m there as a business situation, so I’m not sitting here and going rah-rah with these girls. Brittany’s attitude is not the best. I mean, everybody saw that episode and how she acted when they came in the door. She automatically got an attitude, just like she automatically got an attitude when Stevie and Estelita walked in. It was written all over her face. So, I mean, it’s kind of like the same thing. Just like when she came to the meeting with me, Mimi, and Erica, she had an attitude then. Not my problem. I don’t know, sorry. No, you shouldn’t consider me a friend because I don’t know you.

The only reason she even came to my house was that she didn’t have anywhere else to go! So, she came back to my house because we had to shoot two scenes in one day. She would’ve never come to my house because I don’t know that girl. But again, here I am being nice. She’s not my friend, and she’s not someone I considered a friend, ever. I just helped her manager make sure that she had a place to live, and that was it. I saw the girl in person one time before we shot a scene together.

Parlé Mag: So, do you think that there’s a chance for you two to kind of clear the air or maybe consider being cordial with each other?
Keely The Boss: No. I feel like it is what it is. I’m one of those people where if you show me who you are the first time, I’m going to believe you.

Parlé Mag: I feel you.
Keely The Boss: So, you ain’t got to tell me twice. I see how you are. You keep your distance, and I’ll keep mine. I’m over here, you’re over there. That’s how I feel about Sierra, and that’s how I feel about Brittany. I don’t have anything for y’all. You go your way, I go mine, period. Ain’t no we sit down trying to be cool, ain’t no we’re finally figuring it out. No! I don’t owe you anything. Leave me alone! That’s how I feel about it. [laughs] That’s period. You’ve shown me how you all are.

I can say whatever I want to say out of my mouth. If you can’t handle what I’m saying, then just back down. You can’t hear it, you can’t handle it, but you can’t get so upset when you react in a way that you know you wouldn’t react if you saw me in Walmart or Kroger, or Lenox Mall. You know you wouldn’t react this way if you saw me and those cameras were off and the security wasn’t around. So, you got to keep that same energy. That’s how I feel about it because everything I do on that show, anything that I say or do, an interview that I get, I can stand on everything that I say—ten toes down. I’m not budging onthem. I can own up to everything that I do. I have no problem!

But these girls get on shows and they do stuff, then they want to backpedal, and they want to panic. They want to get scared because they didn’t really mean to do what they did, and they think about it later on. No, stand on what you did because you made a choice. Sierra made a choice to react the way that she did. She made a choice! Brittany made a choice, and when I’m having a conversation with you, you’re going to brush me off like what I’m saying doesn’t matter and get up in my face and turn your back on me? Now, I’m going to react because you’re being disrespectful, and I didn’t want to talk to you in the first place.

Parlé Mag: Where do you think your problem with Sierra really stemmed from?
Keely The Boss: I think Sierra really wanted to be my friend. Let me tell you, Sierra didn’t even know I was on the show for this season. That shows that we don’t even talk to each other. She didn’t know! For the longest, she kept talking about storylines, and it’s like honey, you need to be thanking me because I gave life to your storyline! You don’t have anything going on; you’re a snoozefest. Nobody cares about what you and your little boyfriend got. Nobody cares about that! You need to thank me because I’m the one who helped you with some of these episodes that you’re in, just from me even talking about you.

I got a whole storyline going on here. I got my situation with my love life, my baby daddy on here, I got business stuff on here with my artists, I got a whole storyline! I don’t know if she thought that was my whole storyline—me defending Shooter, but no, I just felt strongly about the situation. I spoke up about it. I mean, I would’ve told you that anyway. But, yeah, she didn’t even know I was on the show. She had no idea because I hadn’t spoken to her. She really wanted, I believe, to be my friend. That’s how I feel. It’s a lot of girls who probably just want to be my friend like, “Oh, she got a lot going on. Why doesn’t she accept me?” It’s almost like they want to be a part of the “cool kids” or something. “Why don’t they let me be in their circle?” It’s because you’re not cool, and I don’t want to be around you.

Parlé Mag: And that’s your prerogative!
Keely The Boss: Yeah! It’s like, I don’t want anything to do with you! I know you, but we ain’t friends. I wouldn’t hang out with you, I wouldn’t go partying with you, I wouldn’t say, ‘Hey, let’s go to Miami’ and hop on a yacht with you. You’re not that girl. I hang around a lot of poppin’ chicks—all of my friends, people who I hang around. I hang around a certain type of crew. You’re not my friend! [laughs] So, I think she just wanted to be my friend, honestly, and I just don’t look at her like that. She’s an acquaintance, we have mutual people that we know, and that’s it. It’s people who I see in the club or in a restaurant, people who have been waiting for their tables, and every time I see them when I go out, we talk, they follow me on Instagram, and I’ll text them when I’m coming or whatever. That’s not my friend, but I mess with them though! They’re cool, but I’m not their friend! You know? Like, y’all ain’t coming to my house, y’all ain’t coming over to my mom’s house on Sundays for dinner.


Parlé Mag: [laughs]
Keely The Boss: I just think that Sierra is just one of those “I want to be accepted” type of people. I’m not one of those people. I’m one of those “take it or leave it. I don’t care if you like me or don’t” types. You can kind of just tell based off of how she carries herself. I don’t talk about what I drive, what I’ve driven in the past. I don’t talk about designers, what’s in my bank account. I don’t brag. I owned my first piece of commercial real estate before I turned thirty. I had multiple commercial and residential properties before I turned thirty in Michigan. I don’t go around with that written across a T-shirt. People who do that feel like they have something to prove. It’s like they’re filling a void, they’re lacking somewhere. I’m not that girl. You’re not going to see me walking around with my résumé on my back, saying, ‘I worked at Def Jam’ or ‘I was the head of A&R for one of these labels.’ No, but some people feel the need to do that because they have some issues that they’re dealing with, and I feel like she’s that type of person.

But, hey, that’s on her. I ain’t got nothing to do with that. That’s her business. It’s not going to affect me. I don’t have time for it.

Parlé Mag: Follow the episodes, there was quite a bit of social media feud with fellow cast member Tokyo Vanity. What’s your response to that?
Keely The Boss: I don’t know her! Ain’t that crazy? Where is Mariah [Carey]?

Parlé Mag: You don’t know anyone! [laughs]
Keely The Boss: I worked so many of Mariah’s projects. I need Mariah right now! I don’t know [Tokyo]. I really don’t. I know Tabius. Tabius was actually my artist, and I managed him with my son’s father. Bleu had a label at the time, and I was overseeing it. Tabius was working with the label, and he was my project. So, I mean, I don’t know her. I met her on FaceTime. Lovely Mimi was doing Tokyo’s nails, and she was on FaceTime with me when she walked in the salon. She had put me on FaceTime with her, and it was, “Hey, girl. How you doing?” From there, I think we exchanged numbers. I’m all for females in music; I love female artists, so anything I can do to help a female artist, I’m always down for it. I told her to reach out to me if she needed help with anything with her projects since I knew she was out here in Atlanta or whatever. That was it.

Now, I didn’t know anything about her personal life. I didn’t know anything dealing with Tabius. This was before I knew anything about her and Tabius, but I know Tabius. I’m talking about Tabius has lived with me and my son’s father, I’m talking about we have paid his rent before when he was our artist, and I know his parents. It’s not like we don’t know Tabius. We know him! When I walked up in that scene when he was standing there with Karlie and Tokyo, I’m joking because I know him, and I know how he is with women. That’s why I said the thing about the double date. I didn’t think they were really dating, but that comment just sent her over the edge. I don’t know her, but she’s young. She’s very young. I think she’s probably ten years younger than me. So, she’s not somebody who I would hang out with or nothing. I don’t know her.

It’s just that these girls got to start realizing that when they take some time out on Monday nights to do little social media posts, and they say my name, they watch the show, doing scenes to say my name, it’s at a point now where they’re saying my name more than they say their own. They’re doing scenes about me before they’re doing scenes about themselves. I think it kind of sets the tone for how the season goes. You’re saying my name in scenes more than you’re saying your own, and on social media, you’re talking about me. I don’t talk about y’all on my feed. It’s like one of those things where I’m not pressed to talk about you guys, and I’m not pressed to go on social media. I will clap back though if I feel like it’s necessary. If I feel like I need to say something, I’m going to do it, but I’m not going to initiate it. I think they initiate it for attention or whatever the case is. It’s just a personal problem. I don’t have anything to do with that, but I don’t know her. I’ve only seen her in person, I think, all of three times.

Parlé Mag: If asked to come back for another season of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, would you consider?
Keely The Boss: Absolutely!

Parlé Mag: Awesome! Because I love watching you on the show.
Keely The Boss: Thank you! Well, let’s get it, Mona! I’m ready! I’m definitely ready. So, yes, absolutely will return for another season.

Keely The Boss
Parlé Mag: Aside from reality TV, as you’ve mentioned, you’re also a mother and a businesswoman. What advice would you give single moms who are also trying to balance being an entrepreneur?
Keely The Boss: Oh, Lord! Prayer and patience! Again, you hear that I say prayer all the time because I’m a prayer warrior, but I have to say patience too. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s not an easy job. Literally, I’m doing it by myself, physically, so it’s just me and my son. And financially. I have no financial support from anyone, so it’s just me taking care of my son—paying his tuition, taking him to school, taking him to swim lessons, summer camp, his little friend’s birthday party and all that. As single moms, you have to pray. You got to pray and just be patient with your process because it’s not easy, and these kids deserve the best. I’m so dedicated to making sure that my child has everything that he needs and he’s given the life that he deserves. I’m willing to do that, no matter what. If I have to sacrifice for myself, I’ll put him first, no matter what.

I think that it gets better with time. Single moms, it’s not easy, but you really just have to stay prayed up because God only gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers. I didn’t expect to be a single mother. I didn’t sign up to be a baby mama; that wasn’t my plan. You guys kind of get to see that play out on the show. That was never my plan when I was pregnant with this little boy. I was with his dad for almost five years. So, it was just the most shocking experience of my life, but I’m thankful for it because it made me stronger, as a woman. It made me so much stronger, and I know what I’m able to do. There’s nothing too great that God is going to give me that I couldn’t handle. So, I just go with it and know God got me, but that’s just me really knowing how to trust God and have faith. That’s what’s gotten me through these past three years.

Parlé Mag: What else do you currently have in the works right now?
Keely The Boss: I have some things that are brewing on the music side… with some artists who I’m working with. I also have a media company, an entertainment and celebrity news blog called The Petty Punch. So, I have some things brewing with that, which will be a podcast. I’m looking to transition into on-air radio. I really want to start talking to these stations and doing these meetings and see what we could possibly put together with me being on-air. I have a lot of things that I’m working on that I’m excited about! I have two females artists who I’m working with, just in the middle of securing that situation right now with them, then I’m looking for some more talent as well. I’m just really pursuing that on-air radio, being a radio personality, media personality, all of that. I love it. I’ve loved radio forever! So, that’s definitely something that I have going on right now.


Catch up with Keely The Boss on social media!

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