Maiya The Don Talks Growing A Social Media Following And New Music
During Black History Month, BET.com is highlighting Black TikTok creators who have taken gone from being viral sensations to paving their way in entertainment.
Maiya The Don’s personality is just warm and full of overwhelming confidence. Regardless of what she puts out to her 672,000 TikTok followers, it’s usually humorous and filled with self-love. Between giving out the best beauty tips or showing off her fashion sense, she’s spent the past year growing as a recording artist.
Her breakout single “Telfy,” released three months ago, has reached nearly a million views on YouTube alone. The ode to Teflar bags was most notable for sampling Sisquo’s 90s classic “Thong Song” while offering braggadocious rhymes like “I'm too hot so these bitches ain't cool with me / I'm too tough, ain't shit a bitch could do to me.” It’s brash, fun, and unapologetically Maiya The Don. Then there’s her recent feature on Flo Milli’s “Conceited” remix alongside Lola Brooke.
Maiya The Don’s grind has gotten her some serious recognition. Most recently, TikTok honored the New York native by making her one of their Black Visionary Voices, which recognizes Black creatives, business owners, and culture changemakers.
Taking time to speak with BET.com, Maiya The Don gives insight into her high level of confidence, getting respect from fellow rap peers, and things she enjoys watching on TikTok.
BET.com: You are part of TikTok's 2023 Visionary Voices List. How much has TikTok been instrumental to your career and what's it like linking with them?
Maiya The Don: I'm just really grateful and honored. Before I was even rapping, I was just this personality on TikTok. So being able to utilize it in promoting my music and myself has just been really helpful and almost like a full-circle moment. This is where I started and it’s helped me so much.
BET.com: You were just recently featured on Flo Milli's “Conceited” remix. How does it feel to get respected like this by your peers?
Maiya The Don: It's amazing cause two months ago, I was listening to Flo Milli's album like, oh my God, these songs are so good. I wish I wrote it. But two months later to be in conversations with her and other female rappers, it's just kind of surreal. I'm really happy.
BET.com: On the remix, you got the line "I pop shit just to show you who the biggest
I made a career out of shittin' on bitches" which stood out to me the most. Where do you get that level of confidence from?
Maiya The Don: I don't know. I had this attitude from when I was a kid. I was bullied. I kind of felt like if I presented myself to be the biggest and the prettiest and the smartest, then people would have no choice but to believe me. I've always just kind of carried myself the way that I do in terms of feeling like I'm the biggest in the room and that everybody if I walk into the room, everybody's in love with me automatically. It just makes me feel good to think that way and it makes it a lot easier to just be confident and believe it.
BET.com: Your “Telfy” single went viral on TikTok. Considering the Telfar bag’s popularity, how much has fashion been key to your brand?
Maiya The Don: Oh see, I'm a big fashion girly. I love getting dressed. It's just being cute and feeling like everything. I've always been wanting to be super dolled up because I'm just like this hyper-feminine entity. I love everything glitter and pink and curly. So fashion has always just been at the forefront of that because I loved everything girly.
I'm getting more involved or deeper into my career, I know that I want to be a fashion icon. I really do wear things and put things together that are as big as I am and feel as good as I feel in my head. Everything is a statement; whether it's my music, the videos that I make, the hairstyle that I do, or the outfit I wear. Everything has to be a statement and just be really cohesive. I think that fashion is the biggest and most obvious way to do that outside of saying it explicitly.
BET.com: Who have you been in the lab with recently and when should we expect an album from you?
Maiya The Don: I’ve been working with Shawny Bin Laden, Fivio Foreign, Dusty Locane, Lay Bankz. It’s a good amount of people. I’m in album mode and working every day. I’m literally in the study every day at all hours of the night to put together something really bulletproof and really strong. This is going to be for the fans.
BET.com: How were you able to successfully transition from an influencer to a recording artist?
Maiya The Don: I started pushing my music very late into my TikTok. I already had well over half a million followers on two separate accounts. So I think I started to advance outside of beauty before I started pushing my music. So it went from not just doing my makeup and hair, but I'm going to go vlog and I'm going to talk to you guys about this or that. I'm going to tell you a story about this some people so you all can see a little bit more of my personality. That's when I saw that okay, it is bigger than just my hair and my makeup. I recognized that I built a strong solid foundation and people that just support me. So putting my music up, wasn't a really hard transition in any way. I just took the regular content that I was doing and was like hey, here's my song too.
BET.com: What would you say is the key to your rise as both an influencer and recording artist?
Maiya The Don: The key to the rise I guess was just being myself. I never put on any type of personality or act. I just really was myself and I think that's what made people f-ck with me the way that they do. And that's why I'm not so niche based. People don't like me or follow me because they know I do my hair or my makeup specifically, they're here for me. So I could drink a bottle of water and they'd be like, yes, drink that water. I think just being myself was the key.
BET.com: When you get on TikTok just for fun, what are you normally into as a content consumer?
Maiya The Don: I like the weird videos of like old people singing or dancing in their rooms. I find humor in very simple things and I love dry humor as well. You would think that it’d be all girls doing their makeup and hair but I’m so far outside of that part of TikTok. I like seeing African kids dance or build stuff. I like watching carpet cleanings, how people clean the hooves of horses, and cooking videos.