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2018 Essence Festival - Day 3

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Recently, singers Case, Lelee Lyons of SWV and Q Parker of 112, joined Claudia Jordan for her show “Out Loud With Claudia Jordan” on Fox Soul. During the chat, the three discussed finding oneself and finding peace after leaving the music industry. Lyons spoke specifically about having to let go of the public’s perception and expectation of her so she could move forward, provide for herself and her children and grow as a woman outside of the limelight.

See what she had to say and watch this full portion of the interview below.

Claudia Jordan: LeLee and Q, when your groups parted ways, how tough was that to find your way, carve a path. How was that? Was it devastating?

LeLee Lyons: Oh yeah, for me it was very devastating. I mean, this happened in 1998 we disbanded and got back together in 2005. It was sort of like a marriage. And I’ve never been married but when my group first broke up, it kind of gave me an idea of what a divorce felt like. Because that’s all you know. I got into this business at 17. I signed my contract at 18 and I went straight on the road at 19. So SWV was all that I knew, it was the only thing that I knew was music. Even though I had little jobs before I came into the industry but when you’re being pushed out there and you’re so recognizable, people don’t want to accept failure. They want you to be who you think you should be. Even when you don’t feel like that.

Because I didn’t give a damn about SWV for a long time. Fans would come and talk to me and I’d be like, ‘Get the f*ck out my face.’ Everybody looked like the devil to me. Because the only thing that I knew, I lost it.

Things don’t go into perspective until you’re by yourself. A lot of my moments where I’ve grown and matured was when everybody was away from me. I worked a job for almost five years and believe it or not, I love the SWV brand but was the moment where I had the most peace. When I was making $10, $15, $11/hour I had so much peace. It’s crazy. And that’s why when people complain about their jobs. I’m like, ‘N*gga, you better sit you’re a** down somewhere and work that job until something else better comes. You got to be thankful for the little things. It taught me how to be in control of my life. It taught me how to manage my money. I knew what was coming in, I knew what was going out. And the only person that was touching my money was me and human resources.

I was humiliated. They would call my office, call my extension just to hear my voice. I was in a cubicle and they would walk by and be like, ‘That’s her. That’s her.’ I had to block all of that stuff out. I was like, ‘F*ck y’all. I got to feed these kids.’ It wasn’t even about me at that moment. I have to deal with all that stuff, the humiliation just to feed my kids. And I was willing to do that. I tell a lot of these artists, don’t be ashamed because you got to get a job. Don’t be ashamed. You got to block these people. And once you are delivered from people, it ain’t nothing you [can’t] do.’

Q Parker shared that it takes a level of maturity to get to the point where you’re willing to be delivered from people.

Lelee acknowledged that it was a journey. After the group disbanded, Lelee shared that there was a time when she felt suicidal based on not being what people expected of her.

Lelee: Oh yeah, I was going to commit. I was done because I allowed the pressure of people and their perception of me, I was no longer who they thought I was or who they thought I should be. And I was like, ‘F*ck that. If I can’t be who they need me to be and they’re my main support system, I just want to—why am I here?’ They only see that person. They don’t see Leanne. They don’t see the fact that I’m hurting, I’m crying out and nobody f*ckin hears me. So I wanted to just kill myself. I wanted to just end it all.

But honey, but God. I’m trying to tell you. I remember the day, I remember the hour. And once I decided not to commit to that crazy thought, my whole life changed. That saying, ‘Life and death is in the power of the tongue.’ That is so true because once I got angry with myself, ‘How could you commit to something so selfish?’ I had kids. My kids were little and I’m just ready to kill myself because of what somebody else thought about me? Nah.”

 

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