By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
For Herrera, that meant sleeping with low-level rappers and publicizing their phone numbers in confessional video blogs for WorldStarHipHop. In spring 2010, she blasted the entire Young Money Crew, Nelly, and Bow Wow. Most notable, she filmed a video at Atlanta's InterContinental Hotel claiming Soulja Boy had a cocaine problem. "You gotta check this out, yo," she said as she zoomed in on three lines of white powder. (Later she would admit they were crushed-up Advil pills.)
By November of that year, an immigration judge changed one of Herrera's upcoming court dates — she contends without notifying her or her lawyer. Authorities picked her up at the Nashville airport and sent her to confinement in Louisiana. A judge concluded her "behavior as an online persona [was] a significant negative equity... Her conduct was in no way indicative of someone who wants to help others, make positive changes, or be a role model." She was held for almost three years — her status always indefinite.
When activist Viridiana Martinez heard about Herrera, she believed the former prostitute's story was important. She started an online petition calling for Herrera's release and alleging the "Kat Stacks" persona was just her way of dealing with posttraumatic stress. Her WorldStar videos were shown in court.
"I explained to the judge that Kat Stacks is freedom of speech," Herrera says, "that it was just entertainment and they shouldn't violate my constitutional rights."
Ultimately, 5,000 petition signatures, a promise of reform, and a therapist's testimony persuaded the judge to release Herrera on January 2, 2013. The newly free former prostitute vowed she would work toward her GED, quit drinking, and change her Twitter handle from IHateKatStacks to AdmireAndrea. She also said she would write an autobiography that would expose the underage sex-trafficking industry. A judge granted her a "T visa," which is given to victims of human trafficking,
The autobiography, though, is why Stacks agreed to meet with New Times this past October at Star Boy Studios, a recording studio in Miami Gardens. It's a huge, colorless rectangle directly across the street from Tootsie's Cabaret.
Asked about her new role as an activist, she demurred. Instead, she wanted to talk about her hip-hop cred. "Most of the rappers, when they arrive, they talk about a life they didn't live," she said between shots of Henny. "Maybe the game needs someone like me."
She seemed to have reneged on her promise to stop partying, as she sipped liquor from one cup and soda from another — a trick she said she learned in ghetto strip clubs. Pressed for details about a planned nonprofit, Andrea Saving Girls, she was vague.
Herrera declined to give a second interview. In the meantime, she changed her Twitter handle from AdmireAndrea to KatStacksLive to QueenWorldStar to TheGameGod1.
But activists such as Martinez say her online persona is irrelevant — her detention was unlawful, and she spent years being abused.
"She was pimped out. What do you expect her to be? Mary fucking Poppins?" Martinez says. "No, she's going to be someone who's dealing with stuff and trying to cope with it the best she can."