All Articles Tagged "jill scott"

Pass The Popcorn: Our Vote For Lifetime’s Next Biopics

January 27th, 2016 - By Nneka Samuel
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Splash News

Splash News

Toni Braxton’s Unbreak My Heart Lifetime biopic drew 3.6 million viewers, becoming the network’s most-watched film in a year.  Did you enjoy it? Because we sure did. Narrated and executive produced by Toni Braxton (who sang her own music in the movie), Unbreak My Heart followed the success of Lifetime’s much talked about Aaliyah and Whitney Houston biopics.  Whose life story would you love to see on screen next? From Missy Elliott’s comeback to Brandy’s interesting career and love live and Jennifer Hudson’s incredible story, here are some candidates we think Lifetime should consider.

Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams made headlines as the first Black winner of Miss America, a title that she would later relinquish after a Penthouse scandal threatened her burgeoning career.  But Williams bounced back and conquered virtually every sector of entertainment: the musical charts, Broadway, film, and television.  If that doesn’t scream biopic, I don’t know what does.

Gotta Love Her! Jill Scott Encourages Fan Who Was Having A Terrible Day At Work

December 4th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Jill Scott Encourages Fan

Source: Facebook

If you watched the Soul Train Awards last weekend, you likely heard Regina Hall say what quite a few of us feel about Jill Scott, “she’s our girl.”

Not only does Jill Scott write and sing our most intimate thoughts and life experiences, she provided a listening ear and an encouraging word to Dani Ruelas Jones-Nash, a woman who was having a terrible day; so much so, when Jill saw her, she was in tears. She wrote about her blues and why she decided to push past them in a Facebook post.

“So, here I am, having the worst day of my life…I put on my smile for the world everyday. I makes me happy to make others happy. But today was bad. And I decided f**k it, face it anyways Dani. Don’t call out and crawl under your rock of depression until you recover like you always do. Go to work with your sad face on and be vulnerable. Don’t hide today and nurse your wounds, don’t wear the happy mask. Make this day better. Your steps are ordered by the Lord.”

True to her word, Jones-Nash was walking into her job at Walgreens when she noticed a familiar face. She described the experience below.

As I’m walking up the stairs, I see a familiar face…she says “hello” and smiles (I was staring at her like I saw a ghost, and I did not have on my winged eyeliner or any lipstick so I was pretty scary )… I was still crying and started telling her about my horrible day… and pouring it out like a faucet (I kept telling her I promise I won’t make a scene) and she was more patient than my therapist, and ain’t nobody as patient as Denise Jones. She listened. I told her that my cousin loves her and I just did her nails because she is going to see her tonight and I don’t wanna take a picture with her cause of the obvious but I want to call my cousin (she didn’t answer )and take a pic for her. She said “no, you are gonna take it with me, as a matter of fact give me your phone, we gonna take a video”: Miss #JillScott

Check out the video.

It’s hard to find real, authentic representations of friendship, love and support between Black women in the media. Even at work, when our team attempts to order stock images of Black women talking and laughing together, they are hard to come by. But most of us know that this is not how it goes down in the real world. There are plenty of women who come alongside each other in times of celebration and sadness. What’s even more beautiful about this video is that, even though Dani knew Jill’s public persona and her music, the women were still strangers to one another. Yet, Dani felt comfortable confiding in Jill and thankfully she responded by empathizing with her pain and suggesting that she keep pushing. How lovely!

I’m sure by the end of this video Dani was crying some happy, grateful tears as well.

Jill Scott, A Former Teacher’s Aide, Speaks On Spring Valley High Incident: “He Swung That Child Around Like He Hated Her”

October 29th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Jill Scott has garnered a great deal of fame from her music and acting credits, but before stepping into the spotlight, she stepped into the classroom on a regular basis as a teacher’s aide. Her experience working with young people wasn’t an easy one, but Scott told the Huffington Post that she would never have allowed a situation like the one we all saw go down in Spring Valley High School in South Carolina.

While studying secondary education at Temple University in the hopes of teaching high school English, Scott was a TA. She eventually fell out of love with the idea of being a teacher and left Temple. But she encountered quite a few feisty students with tart tongues during her time working with young people. And yet, she, like many people, was still very disgusted by the actions of Officer Ben Fields towards the 16-year-old girl he flung around that Spring Valley High classroom.

“I was [once] a teacher and I remember their mouths — I know the students have a whole day to sit down and think of something negative to say, but you’re supposed to be the adult,” Scott said. “You’re supposed to be able to take a breath and walk away, and still do your job. This is violence. He swung that child around like he hated her. And that’s too much.”

Scott also made note of the reactions of the other students and the teacher in the 16-year-old’s class–or lack thereof. To the singer, their lukewarm response to the violent episode was a sign that this sort of dysfunctional behavior is a common thing in that institution.

“The way that the students and the teacher were so lackadaisical about the whole thing. Nobody screamed, nobody stood up,” Scott said. “It looks like something that’s been going on in that school for a long time.”

As I recently stated, I do think a lot of the officers placed in communities and schools filled with a majority of people of color don’t often appear to be very fond of that people. This sort of thing should be evaluated. Scott had an even better idea in mind. She said in her chat with the Huffington Post that she thinks those hoping to become police officers need to be tested beforehand so that instead of automatically using their hands and their weapons against people, they will do a better job of using their “minds and hearts” first.

“I think there has to be a test. Just like you have to learn how to hold and to use your weapon — I think police officers need to learn how to use their minds and hearts,” Scott said. “These are people, and I think their fear may overwhelm them and whatever residual feelings they have from childhood or whatever.

I think there needs to be physiological examinations before you can become a police officer, examinations about your past and lie detector tests. It’s easy for any of us to end up in somebody’s prison, and I’d like it to be a lot harder for police officers to become police officers.”

Amen to that, sister. I too believe that many officers forget that when they take that uniform off, they’re just ordinary people like the rest of us. And when they put it on, they take with them the prejudice and issues they’ve carried for quite some time. And yet, you give folks a gun, and they believe they’re invincible–and the lack of real consequences for violent and disrespectful behavior, like what happened in that classroom, often validates that feeling of invincibility.

But if people are really serious about minimizing the police brutality going on in this country, law enforcement should take heed of Scott’s recommendation. Skip the body cams and start by hiring emotionally stable people to patrol our streets, as opposed to any ol’ Tom, Dick and Harry looking for a check and a power trip.


Pop Mom Daily: Why Jill Scott And Her Writer’s Contest Are So Important

October 20th, 2015 - By Erickka Sy Savane
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with this ring


When I read that Jill Scott’s Blues Babe Foundation is teaming up with Hallmark’s Mahogany brand to do a nationwide search for two college-bound students interested in a career in writing, my heart skipped a beat. The lucky winners will both receive a $10,000 scholarship and an all-expense paid trip to Hallmark’s headquarters in Kansas City for a three-day writing workshop. And while I know why I’m jumping for joy at the thought of Jill Scott discovering two talented writers, some are probably thinking, ‘writers are a dime a dozen.’ For anyone foolish enough to be that jaded, here’s why it’s so important.

Writers shape our world. They give us context. It was through writers like Langston Hughes and James Baldwin that the Harlem Renaissance existed. Yes, Duke Ellington would have still been band leader at the Cotton Club, and surely someone would have noted that he was great innovator of jazz, but who would have tied him to Louis Armstrong or Billie Holiday, or anyone of the other great artists like Aaron Douglas of that time? Can there be an explosion of art if no one writes about it? It’s like that saying, ‘If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound?” The Bible says that God spoke the world into existence, but we only accept that to be true because it is written. No one was there to verify it. Does anything exist that is not written?

Like the endless supply of voices so beautiful they sound like they were dropped from heaven season after season on TV talent shows, I believe that there are writers out there that would blow our minds. So many that Jill Scott and Hallmark Mahogany would have to host another search next year and give out five scholarships instead of two.

I imagine that a lot of our talent is sitting in small towns like the one made famous by Zora Neale Hurston in “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Places where people don’t always go to college and even the thought of being a writer sounds unrealistic. Even bigger cities where the written word has been replaced by video and selfies. Write what’s going on? Nah, that’s old-school. But the stories they would tell if given an opportunity. If someone would remind them of its importance.

I’m so glad Jill Scott is doing this search and giving out these scholarships!

I remember when I first heard her sing…

Let’s take a long walk around the park after dark

Find a spot for us to spark

Conversation, verbal elation, stimulation

Share our situations, temptations, education, relaxations

Elevations, maybe we can talk about Surah 31:18

She wrote the hell out of that song, and I must have taken that walk with her 1,000 times. That happened because she said so. Because she wrote it down. Jill Scott the writer. Poet. Singer. All parts of the same voice, telling those stories so we can know that as a generation we exist. Without writers we don’t exist. Without writers nothing exists. If that’s not important I don’t know what is.

Applications for the contest are being accepted until October 30th. For more information and official rules visit


Erickka Sy Savané is a freelance writer and creator of THE BREW, a social commentary blog. Before that she was a model/actress/MTV VJ. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


Powerful And Fabulous Women We Wish We Could Add To Our Friend Circle

September 9th, 2015 - By Cynthia L. Dorsey
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We all have a group of friends we love to hang out and share our lives with. Whether it’s the friend you go to for advice or the friend who will turn up with you anywhere at any time, Black women build long-lasting friendships and cherish the memories we create with our BFFs. And from time to time, you come to admire women who, if you were very lucky, could be a great addition to your circle of friends. Here are some notable and admirable Black women I would definitely want to call a friend.

Marilyn Mosby

“The Unfu*kwitable Friend”


Marilyn Mosby Baltimore State's Attorney

AP Images

Some of our friends can’t be touched. No matter the obstacle, they are prepared. That’s totally Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. Most of us got to know her during her televised announcement of her decision to indict the six officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. She tactfully read the charges and compassionately addressed the youth of Baltimore with a word of hope and promise that she was working hard on their behalf to seek justice. After the press conference, she was criticized, and naysayers wanted her taken off the case, but the detractors couldn’t have their way. Don’t mess with her!

Jill Scott Opens Up About Life As A Single Mom

August 27th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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In case you didn’t know, Jill Scott is in fact back. After taking a break from the music scene for some time, Jill is bringing us up to speed with her new album Woman — that also happens to be her second number one album on the Billboard 200 chart.

Alright, diva!

The 43-year-old Grammy winner and actress has opened up about life as a single mom, and how she’s moving on from divorce and a broken engagement. No matter how much pain she’s faced, one thing is quite clear: Her 6-year-old son Jet remains her constant light at the end of the tunnel.

“Jet is the reason for putting me back together, absolutely. He’s teaching me about everything, from nature to honesty to being vulnerable. He’s – wow!”

Questioning whether or not she could be a good single mother, Scott tells the San Diego Union-Tribune she receives confirmation every time Jet hits her with the knowledge she tried to drop on him.

“He shines a light on me, all the time, and then I get those good hugs and kisses from him, and it’s everything.”

It’s quite evident that young Jet continues to strengthen his mother, likely in ways hell never know.

“Jet is the reason for putting me back together, absolutely. He is teaching me with his beautiful, innocent, wholehearted, childlike love.”

Check out the music video for “You Don’t Know”

Jill Scott And Lauren London Cast In John Singleton’s FX Pilot, “Snowfall”

August 20th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Jill Scott


Jilly from Philly may be heading to a television screen near you!

Grammy Award-winning songstress Jill Scott has been cast in the pilot for John Singleton’s “Snowfall,” a one-hour drama that takes place in Los Angeles during the early stages of the 1980s crack epidemic.

Variety reports that the potential series follows the stories of “Franklin Saint, a young street entrepreneur on a quest for power; Gustavo Zapata, a Mexican wrestler-turned-gangster in search of his American dream; and Logan Miller, a prominent family’s ‘black sheep’ desperate to escape his father’s shadow.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Scott accepted the role of Sharon “Cissy” Saint, Franklin’s no-nonsense mother who is experiencing frustration in both her personal and professional lives due to sacrifices she made in the past to give her son a better life. Scott’s Baggage Claim costar Lauren London has also been cast in the pilot as Franklin’s party-girl aunt.

The drama, which based on a script written by Singleton and Eric Amadio has been ordered by cable television channel FX.

“’Snowfall’ takes us on a wild ride through one of L.A.’s most fascinating cultural and social periods, and no one can tell this story better than John Singleton,” said FX President of Original Programming Eric Schrier back in May. “The pilot script by John and Eric brilliantly depicts the era through the story of three captivating characters, and we can’t wait to see John’s execution of it.”

“I have always been fascinated with that volatile moment in time before crack changed everything. It’s a tense, insane and sexy era that touched every aspect of our culture,” said Singleton.

Production for the pilot began this summer.

Does this sound like a series you would be interested in seeing?

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

“I’m Losing My Dad” Jill Scott Explains Exactly Why She Defended Bill Cosby

July 30th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Jill scott

Source: Power 105.1

Many of us released groans and moans when Jill Scott stepped forward to tweet her support for Bill Cosby during the middle of firestorm where women were coming forward, all over the place, accusing Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them, over several decades.

Jill Scott, in many of our eyes is a woman’s woman. She’s sung and written so eloquently about our experiences that it seemed like when an issue, very particular to women, came up she would empathize with their issues. But that’s not what happened.

And after the deposition surfaced, where Cosby explained that he obtained Quaaludes to have sex (read: rape) women, Scott said that she could no longer defend him.

Still, yesterday during her interview with “The Breakfast Club,” Jill explained why she was initially so adamant about supporting him.

Charlemagne: You said being an artist and a Black man that is beloved is one of the most dangerous positions that you can be in, can you elaborate on that?

Jill: I remember the day when, I was in New Jersey, and I saw every kid with an Allen Iverson jersey. Every kid, everywhere. And I thought to myself, he’s in trouble. When you are looked past your skin and at your talent, when you looked past your skin and at what your bring to something that people love, that means you’re beloved, beyond the color of your skin, your race and all that. 

And it was maybe a month later, he was on the cover of The Daily News, in Philadelphia, with his braids out and he was two shades darker on the cover. It was like they had vilified him that quick. Bringing a lot of light and attention to the prospect of a human being simply being a human being, coming from a Black man, is dangerous in my opinion. 

Look at what happened to Michael Jackson, look at what happened to Kevin Clash, I’m talking about Elmo, how he was so beloved by everyone. I’m not trying to dismiss the fact that people have done some terrible, foul things, with the understanding that men all have proclivities. Rich ones, smart ones, dumb ones, backwoods ones, all men have proclivities. That just means something that’s natural to you that’s probably really bad. 

But what I see is that our heroes–and please understand–I’m from North Philly, Bill Cosby is from North Philly. That man was like a father to me. He showed me everything about life that I did not see in North Philadelphia, not just because I watched the television shows, but I did watch them. I watched “The Cosby Show,” “Fat Albert,” “A Different World” made me want to go to college. ‘College, ain’t nobody around my way going to no college.’ I appreciate and respect that legacy, still that’s a man. And I’ve always been about that with fame and famous people. 

But I felt the need to remember the Michael Jacksons, the Kevin Clashes and how people were really trying to destroy that legacy. 

What’s the dude’s name? Phil Spector. He killed a woman, tried and convicted but he’s still in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If I’m not mistaken, Elvis liked ’em young. I’m not saying that this is right. I’m saying that all men have proclivities and I really feel that whatever is done to some, do to all. Don’t decimate the legacy of the good. 

You’re trying to tell me that regardless of how much good I do in the world, if I do something bad, just something terrible, everything else gets pushed away. 

The history and list of men with dirty, terrible things–and guess what, the more money you get, the more easily and more apt you are to the worst things because they’ve always been in you. If nobody’s helped you or guided you or stopped you. 

Then Angela Yee asked what does she think should happen to Bill Cosby.

Charlemagne interrupts to say that the best thing for him to do would be to pass away.

So, Jill never got a chance to answer that question.

But she did continue

Jill: All I’m saying is that, looking at the big picture was the reason that I could not make any real decisions other than love. If it’s your father, if it’s your dad and 50-60, let’s say 100 people say something terrible about your father, the one that’s raised you, the one that’s been there, the one that took care of your skinned knees, and I’m not saying this because I saw the man on television. Bill Cosby has been good to me. He had his daughter drive to New York, to get something for my throat and I tore it up. I drank it everyday. It’s hard…

Charlemagne: You came out and said you had to stop defending him though.

It doesn’t look good. My mind is present. My heart did not want to believe anything negative about someone that I love and admire and respect so much but my mind is still present and I was like ‘Damnnit, there’s no way around this. It looks bad, it smells bad, it tastes bad.’ 

All I know is that I’m a human being and my love ain’t watery. And just cuz it got hot, it didn’t just jump and eviscerate and evaporate. People may not understand. You don’t understand I’m a person. 

And this man…If I could explain all the people who died in North Philly, especially when I was growing up. If I could explain the differences between myself and, I felt like, so many other people. I felt very alone. And I saw someone, just making strides, knocking down doors… It was inspiring to me. 

And I would hope that if the shoe was ever on the other foot, that something was being said about me that was terrible, horrible, vile and disgusting, I would hope that somebody who’s ever claimed to appreciate, love and respect me would be like ‘Wait, wait. I’m not jumping to anything. I’m going to hold tight.’ 

Other women on her thoughts on Bill Cosby

What I got from elder sister about the Bill Cosby situation, she said, ‘I don’t agree with you but you have the right to feel the way you do.’ Now, what the rest of the world didn’t know is at the same time, my father has dementia. So I’m losing my dad and I’m losing my dad…at the same time. 

I’m not looking for anybody to feel sorry for me, I’m just saying that I am a person and there’s stuff that happens in the course of life that other people don’t understand. 

As someone who had heard of Cosby’s sexual assault allegations in the past, there was no doubt in my mind that when these women started stepping forward again this year, there was a great deal of truth behind many, if not all of their stories. Still, it wasn’t a fact I took pride in. I wasn’t happy to be right about this one. I was disappointed in not only Bill Cosby but in the people who were so ready and willing to demonize the women who stepped forward to tell their story.

It was amazing to me that people who had never met or interacted Bill Cosby , and not Heathcliff Huxtable, were so willing to believe his complete lack of response over more than 40 women coming forward to say that he had violated them. It seemed that the only thing that made Bill more credible and reliable than these women were his celebrity status, the good work he had done for the community; when in actuality, one has little to do with the other.

And though I’ve been staunch and adamant about this guilt, I listened to Jill’s rationale and I understood it. This was someone who knew him personally. When she asked what Angela Yee would have done if it were her father being accused. And I agree with Jill, you can only love someone for what they’ve been to you. And for her, his impact and influence was huge. She didn’t stop loving him just because he had a history of being horrible and predatory, at the same time he was inspiring, giving back and uplifting. If many of us look over our own lives, we have someone like that in our lives as well.

But Yee’s question about punishment remains. And in their discussion, it’s unfortunate that more time was spent speaking about Bill Cosby’s legacy than there was time dedicated to the physical, emotional and psychological damage he perpetuated on these women, for decades. That’s a part of his legacy too. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Obviously he is a conflicted and hypocritical man. But a part of life is being held responsible for our actions. And if you love someone truly, you’ll want them to be held responsible as well. Since he might never serve time in jail, is it so unreasonable to remove a statue in his honor and cease to air the reruns from his decades-old television show? That’s the absolute least that could be done.

With that being said, Jill makes an impeccable point about what you do for one, do for all. There are far too many White men who haven’t had to pay as severely, or at all, for their shortcomings in the way that Black men often do.

You should definitely check out the entirety of Jill Scott’s interview. Y’all know she speaks the truth.

Would You Have Closure Sex?

July 30th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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First date sex

Source: Corbis

Jill Scott’s number one selling album Woman really tells some complex stories. Earlier, we told you about the single “Closure” about deciding to sleep with a man one, last time before you end the relationship. When Jill  appeared on “The Breakfast Club,” Angela Yee couldn’t wait to ask her about this concept and whether or not she believed this could work in real life.

See what Jilly from Philly had to say about the concept.

I think it can work. Hey, listen, any port in the storm is where I’m at with it. It’s worked. 

For me, I’ve had that experience and that last one was not the best one. My feet were already on my way out. I knew this was it. It’s a rap. This is the last time, Making a conscious decision and then saying I’m going to give my body this one more time. I didn’t second guess or regret or anything. 

Charlemagne: What’s the point of that though? Why can’t a phone conversation be the end of it?

Sometimes phone calls work with some people. Sometimes they don’t. Like I said, any port in a storm. When you’re trying to get away from something that’s not necessarily beneficial to you–you’ve had that conversation before. ‘Look, we’re not going to do this anymore. It was great but…I want more for my life.’ Then here he comes again, smelling like that and then all of a sudden, you change your mind and then you’re right back where you started. You know when someone has that “thang” it’s really challenging to walk away from it. 

This is not about a love relationship. This is about two people that are friends, homie, lover, friends if you will. And we have a great time. But in order to get more, in order to have a well-balanced relationship, a participant in your life. Not just somebody who makes it good, real quick and then disappears. I’m talking about a partnership, in order to have that, you’ve got to make way, you’ve got to make room. That’s the reason for the Closure. 


Initially, when I heard that song, I thought Jill was talking about a man she’d once loved. But listening to the sound of that broke down brotha’s voice, I should have known better. This man was just a cut buddy. Which changes things. True, there is still a chance that you could get in that room and experience some things that will make you reconsider; but if you never loved the person, then it might not be so hard to walk away.

Still, it’s easier said that done.

I know a few women who like to pretend they can have sex casually. But truth be told, they cared more than they wanted to…and in most cases, couldn’t even save face and hide it.

Proceed with caution.

What do you think about this concept? Are you the type of woman who could have closure sex? Have some of you done it before? Did things work out as planned? Do tell.

Exclusive: Jill Scott Talks Heartbreak & Why Love Is Still Worth It

July 24th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Courtesy of The Chambers Group

Courtesy of The Chambers Group

Hip Hop music is cool, but I’m an R&B music lover to the core. And as we’ve all noticed, the genre is not what it used to be. Thankfully, we still have gems like Jill Scott, who released her first album in four years today. After listening to the project in its entirety, I can say that the wait was worth it. Jilly from Philly rarely disappoints. We were able to catch up with the Grammy Award-winning songstress prior to the release of Woman, and she was an open book as she discussed love, heartbreak and raising a camera-shy 6-year-old in the age of social media.

MN: Woman‘s release date was scheduled closely to the 15-year anniversary of your first album, Who Is Jill Scott?. It feels like the first album poses a question while the latest offers an answer. Was that your intention or is it just a coincidence?

No, actually, I was going for that. And I’ve been making an attempt to answer the question every album. That’s been a part of my little journey.

MN: Your single “Fools Gold” resonated with so many women because it was so honest and relatable. Do you ever feel like you need to hold back because you’re too real in the studio?

Yup. But I think that’s what being an artist is all about. To me anyway. The artists that I enjoy are rough and honest. Salvatore Dali is one of my favorites. He’s an artist. He put his blood and his sperm and his urine and his skin into his artwork. I think that’s just a part of my musical testimony that I live a life, and sometimes I get things right and sometimes I don’t and I sing about it.

The plan is to offer other people the understanding that we don’t really always get it right. Sometimes, we fail at love and things that we hoped would work out. I want women to know, particularly in this hard-hearted world, that it is still worth it. Men too. It’s still worth it. Love is still worth it! You might get your feelings hurt. You just might. But that is the risk that you take. If you are someone who seeks thrills and you jump off of a building, there’s a big possibility that the parachute will not open. There’s also the possibility that you’re going to see something that nobody else could see in this moment but you. I find that to be invigorating and life affirming.

Money does not make everything alright. Being hot or sexy to many other people is not going to make everything alright. You gotta go through the fire. So I’ve been going through the fire. I’ve been experiencing living, and I’ve been doing it for quite some time now. I see the difference from when I was a younger girl to where I am now. I wouldn’t change anything. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I like this headspace. I wish I could have my 22-year-old body back. That would be awesome, but I can enjoy this, and grow and learn and inspire others not to give up. Just keep going. Keep going, regardless of how hard society may appear to be.

MN: Well, that’s encouraging.

That’s the plan. I’d rather talk real shit. 

MN: Part of being a woman is being a mom, and I know that at a recent show in Harlem you stopped a photographer from snapping a photo of your son. How do you manage to shield him from the spotlight in the age of social media and camera phones?

I wouldn’t mind if he didn’t mind. He said he was uncomfortable, and that’s the kind of kid that I have. He’s going to communicate how he feels. He said, “I’m uncomfortable.” I watched his mouth, and that was enough for me. So I asked her to stop. 

How do I protect him? He’s around some of it. Of course, I use my discernment as his mother, and I ask him what he’s okay with. We talk about it beforehand. We might get somewhere, and I’ll say, “You coming on stage with Mommy?” He’ll say, “Yeah!” But then the time comes, and he sees all those people and feels all of that energy and he doesn’t want to. And that’s alright. That’s okay with me. He doesn’t ever have to come on the stage if he doesn’t want to. He’s the best boy I ever knew. 

MN: Speaking of the digital age and social media, it’s sort of like the gift and the curse. I imagine that it’s frustrating when people you don’t know are spewing negativity your way just because they woke up and are having a bad day. But you always seem to handle them well. How do you pick and choose which comments you decide to respond to and which ones you let slide?

I don’t know. It’s not really a conscious decision when it comes to answering these things. Sometimes people are so angry that I just block them. I don’t want to hear or read anymore that you have to say because you’re so off base, and you’re so angry and it has nothing to do with me, actually. I realize that. Then, sometimes, I address things because I think that I could possibly help someone to understand. But at the same time, it’s really not my job to make you understand me. But I’m allowing you to see me. This goes right back to the Salvatore Dali and the artists that I love; I’m allowing you to see me. I’m not selling my soul for anyone or anything.

I need—as a woman, as a mother, as an arist—for people to get this. Love is currently very watery, and when it gets hot, it just evaporates. I don’t subscribe to that notion. If you love, then you do. Hard and sincerely. If that means that you take an L for it, then you just may possibly have to do that. But guess what? You learn. And if you’re blessed to live another day, you can share that experience as well. 

MN: Speaking of love, a while back you shared that one of the ways that you knew your marriage was headed for divorce was that your ex-husband stopped eating your food. Why do you believe something like that is a telltale sign that a relationship is probably in trouble?

Well, you know me. I believe that there’s always a part of family and love in the kitchen. Whether you’re making lemonade or something a little fancier, love is in it. Imagine your mother has slaved over a meal. She’s made a great effort to make you a delicious meal, and you don’t eat it. She might take the L once, or twice. But after a while she’s going to feel some kind of way and after a while, she’s going to stop cooking altogether because you don’t appreciate it. It was one of those things where I just didn’t feel appreciated, and it was a big sign to even bigger signs. 

MN: What would you like listeners to walk away with after hearing Woman in its entirety?

I would say that you’ve been privy to a journal entry—many. You know, we write in our journals sometimes, everyday. Then sometimes, you skip a month, or skip three, and then you go back to your journal and you see where your head was. You see what you were thinking and how you were feeling and you say, “Aw, dag. I was really bugging,” or “This is where my life started to change. This page. I’ve grown here. I see myself here.” I have journals from when I was 12. I don’t know what they’re going to get out of this album, but I do know that I’ve made a concious effort to put a lot of incredible musicians together for it. It stands many genres of music and the core is storytelling. I think I’m a storyteller more than people give me credit for being a singer, and I appreciate that. But I think I’m a storyteller, really. My voice and energy merges into whatever it needs to tell the story. That’s the most important part for me. So if you relate to something, or you can see the pictures, great. And I hope that it fills your nights and your days and it will be in the background when you write your journal. 

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