Editor’s note: We spoke with Angel after the piece was originally published and they confirmed their preferred pronouns, and we have edited the piece to reflect that.
Angel Haze says they’re not great at giving advice, but after you see them on MTV tonight, you’ll beg to differ. The out musician joins Nev Schulman on an all new episode of Catfish: The TV Show, helping a guy named Harold track down his internet love interest, Armani. Then right after, Angel and Nev host Truce, a series about helping people repair relationships with loved ones and friends. In the premiere, Angel is integral in reconnecting a young woman with her mother who refuses to believe in her daughter’s bisexuality.
We talked with Angel about their experiences on both shows and how they have given them new perspectives on similar situations in their own life.
*Caution: Mild spoilers ahead!*
AfterEllen.com: I loved watching you on Truce. Can you tell me a little bit about how you got involved with the show?
Angel Haze: Actually Nev approached me. He’s a producer on the show so I assume it comes from him and [director] David Metzler. But he told me that him and his brother, Ariel, were talking about this show and he said he wanted someone really cool to do it with him and then Ariel mentioned me so he found me and we did Catfish and things like that. It was super super cool to actually start on Catfish and realize I like Nev as a person—I think he’s super dope—and then go into Truce, knowing that, it was really easy to make that transition. Nothing out of the ordinary, I don’t think.
AE: Are you the kind of person your friends come to for advice?
AH: No! Who would listen to me? I mean, I try but for me, more than advice, it’s more about trying to be a help to people, regardless of anything. I don’t like to be that person who’s constantly preaching, even though that’s what people think I do. I’m like, no. I’m just honestly a Ron Swanson when it counts, you know? But I think it’s easy when it comes to giving people actual help and when they ask for it, it’s great. It’s such an alleviating sort of feeling to be yo, like this is what happened and for me to say this is what you need to go do, right now. And so it’s cool when you put it that way, it’s really cool. But I don’t like giving advice because I suck at it.
AE: So going into the conversation with Briyanza and her mom, was your goal to change her mind or did you want to try and facilitate any kind of relationship?
AH: You know what, the craziest shit about that show was—Nev and I even agreed to separate and allow Nev to go first because I was that scared of her mom. It hit too close to home for me. I was like, I’m going to end up freaking out and saying something and there were a few moments in there that I don’t think made it in but I was like, “God, I can’t deal.” One of those. I feel like once you learn to see that everybody has a perspective, you know—perspectives are alike assholes and, at the end of the day, you just need to keep your shit clean. You don’t need to project what you feel on people. You don’t need to do any of that shit. And for me it was important to go into that and understand that everybody has a point of view, and she’s not wrong for having that point of view, even though I don’t agree with it. It wasn’t something I wanted to try and alter. I just wanted her to understand that her point of view is going to make her lose someone she cares deeply about and if she can’t alter it, then she needs to do a better job of hiding it. That was it. I think it gave me a lot of peace, too, to seriously understand it. My mom, she won’t say shit to me. And our situation is similar in the way we have parents who are very religious, but her mom loved her to death. You see that in the way that she reacts to the notion of even losing her daughter.
AE: I was shocked.
AH: I was super shocked. I was more shocked than you were. [laughs] I don’t know if you can see it in my face, but God, whoa, what happened, you know? And I thought that was dope. I thought she was dope for that. At the beginning, I was like, “Ew, you’re gross. You make me sick.” By the end she’s like, “Can I be your mom?” I’m like, “No, I already have a crazy mom.” But it was that cool. And people make progress that fast, but you just have to learn at which angle to come at it from. It was really cool.
AE: So did you come away from that experience thinking you could do something with your own mom, similarly?
AH: [laughs] You know, I did. I did, actually. I tried and I failed miserably. But the important part for me was that I made the effort. Even though it wasn’t reciprocated, I felt proud of myself and I feel free because of it. I was like, “Yo, I totally understand that you have your point of view and I have mine, and I want to try to start over” and blah blah blah. It didn’t go the way I wanted it to. But I made an effort. What Truce taught me was if I’m going to try and bring other people together, I need to have some semblance of that in my own life, and try not to hold as many grudges. I tried, you know?