Teyana Taylor On Overcoming Heartbreak And Haters: “All You Can Do Is Keep Shining”
There were a lot of people who counted Teyana Taylor out before mainstream media began toting her as an “overnight sensation.” Having known the singer and dancer since her days on MTV’s Sweet 16, many felt like her big break was never going to come, considering she’d been signed to G.O.O.D music since 2012 with only mild buzz. And, admittedly, we even questioned whether becoming a mother was going to slow the 25 year old down just as her talent was beginning to be noticed with the release of VII in 2014. But Teyana Taylor shut all of us up when her appearance in Kanye West’s Fade video became all anyone could talk about after the Video Music Awards this year, proving that neither heartbreak nor haters — or even having a baby — could stop her from having at all. Because she can, as she told Paper magazine in their October 2016 cover story of her.
“I honestly don’t feel like ‘Fade’ would have had the same effect had I just been 21, hot body, single,” Teyana told the mag, explaining “It was more than just dancing in a sports bra and a thong.” And while that aspect of the video is what most viewers focused on (with envy at Teyana’s chiseled body), the work of art, which featured her husband Iman Shumpert and their 9-month-old daughter Junie, also made a statement about being a woman without limits.
“You can be superwoman,” Teyana proclaimed. “You can have it all, that balance in your relationship, your family and your career. It’s the opposite of the cliché that says kids will slow you or your career down.
“Being signed to his label for four years, and Kanye being like a big brother to me, he’s seen everything that I’ve been through. He was like, ‘It’s so dope because y’all so young and y’all fresh, but then y’all got the baby and the championship. I think that gave him the idea of wanting to see us all in the video together.”
There were likely some who didn’t want to see the happy family together though — the naysayers who doubted Teyana would ever amount to anything musically. “People would get up on me, like, ‘You’ve been doing it for seven years now, you might as well give up.'” Thankfully, despite a “very public and humiliating and embarrassing heartbreak and breakup” with basketball player Brandon Jennings and a public feud with Rihanna which cost her a sneaker deal, Teyana kept on going.
“All you can do is keep shining,” she said. “You can’t say something and think my legs are going to stop, my voice is going to stop, my hunger is going to stop. I’ll be hurt for five minutes, but I’m going to keep going hard.”