Perrion Roberts is here to tell her story to the world. The activist, author, and former queen pin of Alabama can be seen on the Season 2 premiere of BET’s American Gangster: Trap Queens, narrated by the one and only Lil Kim.
Embodying the definition of a boss b#### who changed her life from being the self-proclaimed “original Queen of the South” to now a social justice and police reform advocate with Alabama’s legal system, Roberts gives the most inspiring story of strength and redemption that is sure to touch all those who hear it.
Now, she plans to tell her journey in full writing her own autobiography, dating back to the days she was deemed The Black Widow, the Drug Lord, and Queen Pin of Alabama with a rap sheet 3 pages long. Fast forward to 2021, she’s now helping ex-felons with getting their pardons and kids who’ve been in trouble get their life back on track.
AllHipHop: How was it growing up in Huntsville, Alabama?
Perrion Roberts: Huntsville wasn’t as large then. We were known for our space center, Nasa and Boeing, our technology. My mother and my grandfather worked for the government, my father had his own construction business. We had a very nice childhood growing up middle class. We didn’t lack for anything and mostly everyone here were working people. The families worked. Of course once I went to college, I decided to drop out. I met Champ and started selling drugs. I went from going to Catholic school, graduating high school, then to college, then to selling drugs.
AllHipHop: When did you pick up the title, Queen of the South?
Perrion Roberts: In the late 80’s, early 90’s. That’s when they started calling me Queen Pin, around that time.
AllHipHop: How fire were you at selling drugs?
Perrion Roberts: [laughs] I was real fire. I literally could take $100 and make $1000. I could put the money together, put the product together. I started having connections. When I got Mexican connections, everything took off really fast.
AllHipHop: What was your mentality then?
Perrion Roberts: I really was thinking of making money. When I was in school, my thought was “hey, I’m going to school to learn a trade or career to make money. Well I’m already making money, so why not develop this career?” It’s tax free, well I had a business so I actually did pay taxes on the money. My mindset was to make money at the time. Later because I was making a lot of money, it started becoming a game with me. Years later when I figured out I’m the only player in the game, it started to become boring. I got tired of playing because I wasn’t playing with nobody but myself. No one was at that status. There were people who sold but they weren’t the level that I was on, so it wasn’t fun anymore.
AllHipHop: What made it not fun anymore?
Perrion Roberts: When I realized the only one dominating the streets is me. I didn’t have a lot of people around me so okay Perrion, you’re really playing this game all by yourself. First, it was competition. I had to make my way through the streets because I was a female. I had to prove at different times how strong or how smart I was. Once I accomplished those hurdles, there was no one to compete against. That’s the reason why I really got tired because I was playing all by myself. Playing the game by yourself isn’t any fun.
AllHipHop: How much were you pulling on average?
Perrion Roberts: On average, I was pulling at least $2 million a month and that’s really low-balling. I had 70 guys throughout Alabama working for me. Everybody had to have a certain amount. Sometimes if I had 100 or 200 kilos, which I bought it cheaper from the Mexicans. Most people would buy at that time about $25K to $30K, but I was getting less than that. For instance, if I had 200 kilos and sold it at $25K, which I didn’t because that’s what the normal person would get it for, that’s $500K right there. That’s selling it at the baseline. You wouldn’t sell it for that because that’s what you bought it for. At the end of the day after paying everyone, that’s what I’d come up with in savings.
AllHipHop: What does it mean being highlighted in BET’s American Trap Queen?
Perrion Roberts: It’s an amazing opportunity and platform for me to be able to help more ex-felons. I want people to be inspired by my story, not just look at what I’ve done but what I’m doing now. I’m so grateful that they made my documentary so inspirational, therefore people can be inspired and I can continue my journey of helping other ex-felons to rise above their situation.
AllHipHop: What does it mean to be narrated by rap royalty Lil Kim?
Perrion Roberts: That was amazing because she’s one of my favorite rappers. I’ve been a fan of her ever since she came out. That was amazing, I was excited when I heard she’s going to narrate it.
AllHipHop: Was it difficult at all having them detail your life like that?
Perrion Roberts: It wasn’t difficult because I had so much to tell. They didn’t even show everything we even talked about or what I’ve done. That was a little bit of stuff I’ve done. It was awesome because I found out something about myself I hadn’t thought about. When we started talking on the timeline from when we started and when I stopped, they said “Perrion do you know that’s 38 years?” That’s a shock to me because I never thought about it. It was amazing. Everything that I’ve done and went through, I came out without a scratch. I never was robbed or beat, cut up or shot at, none of that ever happened to me. By the grace of God and for 38 years, that’s amazing. For me to be here to tell the story, that’s the highlight for me.
AllHipHop: Why do fans need to see this?
Perrion Roberts: Because the story will inspire you. It’s a lot of action, it’s a lot of excitement for what I’ve done. Some of it seems comical, but it all happened. The reason they need to see it is because of how I triumph through my life and how I made it on the other side, how I did a 360 degree turnaround. There’s lots of people that have been in trouble, they think they can’t turn their life around. They can’t work jobs, they can’t live where they want to live and that’s absolutely not so. They need to hear my story so they know if somebody did it, they can too. If she did it, then it’s possible. It’s all possible.
AllHipHop: What was the driving factor that helped you to overcome these obstacles?
Perrion Roberts: My faith in God and my upbringing in church. It wasn’t that I know the Lord, it was that I strayed away. He’s the reason. He brought me through and kept me through my dark hours. I can always go to him and get comfort and strength. Even though when they offered me 99 years, that’s who I turned to. I turned to the Lord.
AllHipHop: 99 years?
Perrion Roberts: They offered me 99 years and ended up giving me 21 years. My faith in God, He laid on my heart that no matter what they give me, I’ll only do 2 years. I went to court and when they asked me if I had anything to say, I said “no matter what you give me, I’m only going to do 2 years. Bless say the Lord.” They looked at me crazy. I went in March ‘04 and when you go to prison here in Alabama, the parole board will send your parole set-up date 2 weeks after you get there. When mine came, it was for March ‘06, that’s 2 years to the time I went to prison. I made parole in 2 years.
AllHipHop: What did you learn from behind bars?
Perrion Roberts: Everything I had done was not worth me being in prison, but I knew that there was a reason for me to go and I didn’t know it till after I got there. The reason was to file the lawsuits that I filed against the Department of Corrections for change, which the governor has just now settled one issue I brought up then. That was in ‘05 when I started the lawsuit for the conditions, the medical, the religion. A number of things I filed lawsuits for and I won all those things.
AllHipHop: Talk about your work in criminal justice reform. What does it mean to come full-circle?
Perrion Roberts: One thing about the criminal justice reform is we don’t need more prisons. That’s an issue that our governor feels as though she’s solving the issue, by building two maximum prisons. That’s not criminal justice reform. We need working programs implemented into the system so that when people get out of prisons, they’ll have some type of work ethic, work skills that they can use this time. The only thing they have for youth are florists and no one wants to be a florist. Or welding, everybody can’t do that. That’s not what’s going on in this day and time. A lot of work needs to be done for criminal justice reform
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your autobiography, “Beyond a Dream?”
Perrion Roberts: Yes, most definitely. You can look for more excitement throughout the course of my life, beginning from childhood and my times in the streets, my time in prison, my thoughts and other things I did. Even when I was selling drugs, I modeled also. I participated in numerous beauty pageants throughout the U.S. You get the chance to really know the person, who I become and how I went from 0 to 300 in a 360 degree turn around.
AllHipHop: How’s it feel being the only minority woman to be the owner of a rental automotive dealership?
Perrion Roberts: Right now it’s an automotive car dealership. I don’t do “buy here, pay here.” I’m like a dealership, but I sell used, pre-owned vehicles. When I found out I was the only minority female in the country, that’s exciting to me. I received certification from our governor because of that, I’m excited about that accomplishment.
AllHipHop: Talk about your work with NAACP and mentoring the youth community.
Perrion Roberts: I definitely do work with them for voting because we need a brighter and better America. We need to empower grassroot voters so that we can rebuild everywhere better. That’s what I do, I help with the voters voting. I spearheaded the lawsuit in Alabama for ex-felons to be able to vote. Ex-felons weren’t able to vote in Alabama they said is because of moral turpitude. Well, that’s every type of case. We filed a lawsuit and won in 2017 so ex-felons in Alabama can now vote, except for murder convictions, pedophiles, and anything dealing with children. I’m very excited and I continue to work to help register people to vote. I’m in the neighborhoods registering people, whatever I can do to help.
AllHipHop: What is it you want fans to get from your story?
Perrion Roberts: I want the fans to be inspired. I want them to look at me and say “because of you, I didn’t give up.” My goal’s to continue to help ex-felons that don’t have a voice or are afraid to speak out, or don’t know how to get themselves on the right track. They want to, but they don’t know how. I want to be able to give scholarships to young girls who’ve been in trouble, turned their life around, went back to school and graduated. When they graduate, I want to be able to give them a car. They need a car to get around to go to a job after they graduate. If they do all of that, turn their life around and go back to school, make good grades, they deserve a car. I’m passionate about that because I’m in the car business.