Raising A F***ing Star's Kia Brooks On The Rise Of Daughter Flau'Jae Johnson - Exclusive Interview

Kia Brooks is the mother to 17-year-old up-and-coming rapper and basketball star Flau'Jae Johnson. As the daughter of the late rapper Camoflauge, Flau'Jae is looking to carry on his legacy in the music industry. When Brooks realized how serious Flau'Jae was about music, she took on the role of manager for her child. As a mother of four and an entrepreneur herself, Brooks has plenty going on, but that hasn't stopped her from making Flau'Jae's and her other children's dreams a top priority.


You can follow the Brooks family on E!'s new series "Raising a F***ing Star." The docuseries gives a behind-the-scenes look at the next generation of hopeful stars and the parents working overtime to help them achieve. Brooks sat down for an exclusive interview with The List to discuss the new show and her daughter's music career. During the interview, the momager revealed why she was worried about Flau'Jae becoming a rapper, her goals for their future, and how she plans to be the next Kris Jenner.

Why Kia Brooks was worried about her daughter rapping at first

How did your daughter first start rapping, and was that something that you always encouraged her in?

I ain't going to say I always encouraged her, but she started rapping once she realized who her dad [Camoflauge] was and what he did. I didn't always encourage it because I was afraid of the rap industry and that it was a reason for his demise. I didn't want to push that, and it was scary for me because I was young. But my brother was like, "Maybe God wrote this story out. Give her a chance. If that's something she wants to do, at least let her try it." So I was like, "Okay, you're right." 


I ended up letting her open for her dad's ... Every year, we would do a party for him ... We all have a party every year and play his music and have some type of birthday for him to celebrate his life and what he did. And one day, she said she wanted to perform [at the party], and I let her. After that, we put it on YouTube, and people were calling: "Does she do birthday parties? Do she do this?" I'm like, "Oh, I guess she does. Yes, she does."

What's been your biggest challenge in helping her navigate the music industry and get started with all that?

The biggest challenge for her was trying to figure out who she was and who her audience was. At first, I was like, "Who wants to listen to a little eight-year-old, nine-year-old girl's voice?" At that time, they're going through a lot of different stages. It sounds really kiddy. Then I said, "You know what, if she really wants to do this, I need to at least get her face out there." That's when I started looking for different TV shows that are about kiddy rap or some type of entertainment to give us some exposure. We got on "The Rap Game" with Jermaine Dupri, and that was on Lifetime. Then we did "America's Got Talent," and she ended up getting a golden buzzer and everything. That's when I knew this was for real.


How The Rap Game motivated Flau'Jae

What do you feel has been the proudest moment or biggest moment where you were like, "This is really something she's going to do now"?

That was the moment. Because during the "Rap Game" season, she was really, really young. She was 12 years old, and she was still learning. Don't get me wrong — that trial she went through was great for her because they taught her how to walk in a room and own it and still stay humble. They taught her how to write rhymes, how to count bars, things she probably didn't really know. Jermaine Dupri was hard on her. He was hard on her because her dad was in the industry, and he didn't want people to feel like they were giving her favoritism. It really paid off for her because after that show, she went and locked herself in the room and didn't come out until she knew what it was to be a rapper and put those lyrics together and make it make sense for your audience and for your fans to feel it.


Do you feel like she's been self-motivated the whole time, where she's like, "I'm just going to go figure this out"?

Yes. She's always been that way. She is a very strong-willed person. She gives me a lot of shout-outs, saying that "I watch my mom grind. I watch my mom figure it out, and that's why I go so hard." That touches me because kids really do look at you to see how hard you are going, and if you want something, you got to fight for it. It's a million people out here doing the same thing you're doing, so what's going to make you different?

Balancing her role as a parent and manager

Along with helping her, you also have other kids, and you have your whole career. How do you balance that and make time for everything?

When I signed up to be a momager, I signed up. Anything I sign up for, we don't quit. We don't know how to quit. Anything my kids ever signed up for, and then they [got] in and they didn't like it, I told them, "You can't quit until the season's over. We don't start nothing we don't finish. People are counting on you, and if this is not what you want to do, you don't have to go back after the season's over. But once you sign up, you're going to finish it out." You can't go get a job and say you're quitting without another job. I explain that to them. Life isn't like that. You can't quit. We're not quitters. Knowing that, I think, helps them a lot, that we're not quitters and we're not going to quit anything.


How do you balance your relationship as a momager [versus as] her parent?

I had to learn to separate that. That was a task for me. No lie. I was always like, "Flau'Jae, you need to do this. You haven't done it yet," as her mom instead of going in[to] manager mode. What I started doing was texting her in a manager mode: "Hey, I need you to jump on this. They're hitting me up about this. Please go and fill out these questions for this interview you're on tomorrow. Please, you have a show here. They need to go ahead and have a drop." A drop is when you say, "I'll be at that location, da, da, da, da, da," being excited. And sometimes, she would do it at the last minute. And I was like, "People are paying you. You have to do that right away" when I would go at her in mommy mode versus manager mode. Now, I'll start texting that to her and say, "Thanks, Kia Brooks, momager" or "manager," versus trying the mom attack. I separated those, and I learned that that works better for us.


Do you feel like it's very separate modes you go into?

Yeah. I will be a mom, and I talk to her like a mom, but then when it's manager and business time, it's business. We can't mix the two.

Kia Brooks wants to become the next Kris Jenner

What do you feel is your and her goal for her career at this point?

Her goal is to be the biggest rap basketball sensation ever. She's a unicorn. Nobody has ever done this. Nobody has ever been on these two stages like this and really dominating both of them. This is big. I told her that always as a little girl because she wanted to be a basketball player. I was like, "You need to go Google what basketball players are making. [Women are] not making what the guys are making." And we're still fighting for all of that. I told her, "Okay, you can play basketball, but you jumped into rap, and these fans are already after you, so you're going to have to do both, which is going to be a plus for you because they're going to have to pay you more because of your name, image, and likeness." That ended up working out for us now with the new NIL rule for college. People can actually book her, and she can get paid as a college student without any issues.


As far as me, I'm trying to be the next Kris Jenner. I have a lot of talented kids in this house. My son is writing music. He's an artist. He's into RnB. I have Nixon; he's on a football squad. He's doing really well. Aiden, he's the baby boss. He's really doing his thing. I also have some extra kids from my husband. Bonus babies are mine. I didn't give birth, but they're still mine that I'm pushing. I have a ballerina, my husband's daughter, which is my daughter too. And then I have MJ. We're trying to figure out what MJ wants to do right now. He's very comedic, but we're going to figure that out. I'm going to pull it out of him.

You have every industry covered in the house.

I got connections now; it's been going good.


How are you feeling with the show coming out tonight? Are you excited to see it, or are you nervous?

I'm very excited. It's been a while because we've been waiting. You film ahead, and then you got to wait, wait, wait. I'm really excited because I don't know. I haven't seen how they put it together. Even though we taped it, it was [in] pieces. They might use it or not, so I'm very excited to see. I know my family [and I] were real. We talked about it before we even did it, and we were like, "We want to be real. We want to give them the real. We don't want to be fake." People can tell. Just be ourselves. If we have issues, put it all on the table.

"Raising a F***ing Star" can be streamed on DirecTV steam, FuboTV, Sling, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTubeTV.

This interview has been edited for clarity.