You probably know trey anthony from Da Kink in My Hair, the amazing play that we all grew to know and love, that also became a hit TV show, making trey the first Black Canadian woman to ever create and produce a primetime series for major Canadian television. She has since written for the Oprah Winfrey Network and many others. And now, she’s published her first book called A Black Girl in Love with Herself.
Watch or read our conversation below!
How are you girl? Really nice to see you. It's been a minute. Where in the world are you?
I'm doing really well. Thank you. I'm actually in Tampa right now. I don't know how long that will last but I'm here.
Isn't Florida a hotbed of COVID-19 right now?
It sure is. But the good thing is that I mostly stay at home. I only go to the really sacred parts of the beach with no one else around and I dip in, dip out, and come home. That's how it goes.
So, I read your book in one night because I couldn't put it down. I cried and laughed... and laughed and cried. What really stood out for me was the part when you talked about breaking down and not wanting to see a therapist and thinking that everything that is happening is normal. But really it's not normal at all. Could you talk about this indestructible strong Black woman thing that we all are doing and continuing to do?
Yeah, we do this all the time. I saw a meme about it. It goes somewhat like this: "Black women think we are failing, but we're actually surviving trauma. We just don't recognize that this is trauma. Yet we see it as a failure but we cannot fail." This book helped be differentiate the trauma from failure.
Speaking of trauma, your book documents the traumatic end of your relationship. You're a public person and you still live your life out loud and we love that about you. So many of us who followed you on Facebook were following along with your relationship because there were amazing daily posts. Like this incredible relationship! Can you talk a little bit about what happened? Because your followers noticed that it coincided with the arrival of a new person in your life, your little baby boy. What happened?
I still want to know what happened, haha!
What I really want to know is what you learned about living a very public life.
I'll take a page out of Beyonce and Jay-Z's world. I'll be more conservative with my posts going forward. I may post a little here and there, but that's it. I'm not repeating the same cycle all over again.
My experiences were both humbling and humiliating and I'm not going to sugarcoat them in any way. It was such a fall from grace. But that fall made me write this book about what it's like when your whole world blows up in your face and you don't see it coming, even when your gut tells you that something's wrong.
You want to believe that you're in love with someone special because you crave a healthy relationship. Because of that dream, we, as women, often sacrifice ourselves to be a part of something that may not be in our best interests.
Looking back, you begin to see how much you gave up committing to something. And so for me, this was an eye-opening experience that rocked me to my core. It's been two years and I haven't fully recovered from that blow.
I am diligently moving through life by prioritizing self-care, self-preservation, self-identity, and just finding out who I am when and putting myself first.
Were you scared to be a single mom?
My mom had me at 17. I'm the oldest of three children. We grew up in a single-parent household. My grandmother had six children and she was a single mom too. I told myself that I would never be a solo parent. I even waited for my partner who wasn't ready at the time.
And now the irony is that I'm a solo parent. This is a whole different ballgame than what I imagined. I'm the only support system this kid has and I feel like I'm too old for this. My friends are dropping off their kids in grades 9 and 10 while I'm picking my child from daycare. This just hits different.
Let's talk about the book and the journey. Because you've achieved so much, people will think that getting this book done was probably a cakewalk for you. But what was it really like?
The first agent I hired for the book told me, after a couple of months (I'll give her credit for her time), that nobody wanted this book and I should just give up. I fired her when she persisted with her negative attitude. She even told me to 'learn the word no'. That's when I decided that I was going to do it all myself and I went to Hay House - a publishing house that has been a source of so many cherished books for me.
This story is really funny because I decided to go without an agent. When I told the lovely acquisition editor about it, she told me, 'it's evident you have never written a book proposal. I love your tenacity but the format is all wrong.' Instead of shutting me down, she sent me examples of book proposals and told me to return once I've understood the format and sample. I spent three months in research, read some books on how to put a proposal together, went on YouTube, and copied her samples. That's the story of how I got it in. This process took a good six months before I got the approval from them. So if my agent is reading this, I still don't know the word 'no'.
You’ve also been brought on as a development producer at Bell Media. How is that going? What have you been doing at Bell Media?
It's been an amazing experience for me. I've always seen myself as a self-employed businesswoman. But the best part about Bell Media is the paycheck every Friday.
On a serious note, I appreciate how Bell Media is becoming so much more diverse with its programming. It's been really great to see that Bell is really walking the talk of trying to get more diverse voices in their more diverse programming. They have welcomed my feedback about getting more people of colour to some of the new shows that they are developing. This industry is all about making relationships. People like to hire who they know. If you don't know the right people, then you're not going to get in.
So, I've tried to be active in getting more people in the door - people who may have not the right relationships but who have tried for years to become mainstream without success. A big thing for me is meetings with creators of colour. I've been very vocal about producing more shows by people of colour. This goal is at the top of my list and I won't be shying away from it.
Anyone in particular that you're super excited about?
There are a few exciting developments but I can't share any secrets right now. I will tell you that there are a few things that I'm excited about - including the creative process, the host, and the casting. I think it's going to be really phenomenal and it would set a great example for doing things in Canada.
Any big plans for the future, are you thinking about your next step or are you trying to stay in the moment for now?
I've always been guilty of thinking about the future. I felt really robbed during the pandemic because it prevented me from any in-person book tours. So, I have planned a full city book tour in Canada and the US next year. I told my publisher that my primary market is in Canada but they told me that the book is doing much better in the US.
Most buyers are women. They often buy three or four copies so they can give them to their girlfriends. I think Canadians are a bit more conservative so we just buy one and maybe send it to our friend - but that's all good. So, that's where we're at.
Well there you have it, expect trey anthony at a city near you soon. Thank you so much for being with us.
Thank you so much for having me and guys, please go out and buy this exciting book!