I had never been much of a Mashonda fan. It’s not that I didn’t feel she was talented, I just had never heard enough of her music to consider myself a fan. Oh, but Alicia Keys – loved her! There wasn’t a single one of her albums that I hadn’t purchased. Her heartfelt and relatable tunes had gotten me through more than a few tough times. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a die hard fan, but I dug her music and had a lot of respect for her craft. She was, and still is, undeniably talented and that is something that no one could ever take away from her.
I was a bit of a Johnny-come-lately when it came to news of Alicia and Swizz’s alleged affair that was going on while he was still married to his now ex-wife, Mashonda. I didn’t hear about the story when it was hot off the press. I actually didn’t learn of it until Mashonda put out her open letter and that is when I began to back track, reading headline after headline on different blogs and news sites, which provided me with the backstory as to what was going on. When I finally got a grasp on the story and somewhat of an understanding of the love triangle (I say somewhat because from the outside looking in, no one could ever fully know everything that went on) I was absolutely turned off from Alicia and in some odd way, even felt betrayed on some level. I couldn’t understand how someone who sang about and signified strength and womanhood could ever bring herself to violate another woman in the manner that she violated Mashonda. I’ll be the first person to say that Swizz Beatz should bear most of the blame for his affair with Alicia as he is the one who made vowed to love, honor and be faithful to this woman. However, I believe it also takes two to tango and a woman who knowingly participates in a situation such as that should bear some responsibility as well. But, I’ll move on since that isn’t the purpose of this essay.
As I stated earlier, I was completely turned off to Alicia. I viewed her in an entirely different light and just couldn’t bring myself to believe in any of that “Superwoman” or “Woman’s Worth” stuff she was selling anymore. It wasn’t something I did intentionally, but as I heard Mashonda share her story and could hear the pain in her voice, I felt I could relate to her and just couldn’t bring myself to listen to Alicia anymore and she’s released some pretty amazing music since then.
One night after seeing Alicia perform on television at some awards show, a friend who was and still is a big Alicia fan and I somehow began discussing the Mashonda-Alicia-Swizz love triangle. As I shared my opinion on the situation and she shared hers, what was meant to be a simple and entertaining discussion about celebrity news turned into a heated argument; an argument that made me realize I was taking this situation entirely too personally.
And that is when it hit me, my attachment to that situation had nothing to do with Mashonda, Swizz Beatz or Alicia Keys and everything to do with my own involvement in a love triangle and betrayal similar to this one. Thankfully, marriage and children were not involved, but I knew what it felt like to be in a relationship where you believed everything was on the up-and-up only, to turn around and learn that there is another woman. Not just anyother woman, but one who was clearly aware of you and your relationship.
I had a major chip on my shoulder and Alicia and Mashonda were mere representations of unhealed wounds from unresolved issues in my own life. My beef wasn’t just with Alicia, but every woman who has ever assumed the side-chick role. Thankfully, I’ve done much soul searching and healing since coming to the realization and I’m very thankful that I did.
Getting past a romantic betrayal such as the one Mashonda experienced can be extremely rough, but the good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel if you allow there to be one. Making a conscious decision to not be consumed or defeated is the first step. The mental battle of choosing not to dwell on thoughts of what happened to you or falling into the victim role was the toughest, but absolutely necessary. The mental freedom and peace of mind attained as a result is well worth the battle.
Jazmine Denise is a writer living in New York. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise