Celebs From Fantasia To Tiny Tell Cynthia Horner How They Balance Relationships & Career For New Book, “Real Divas”
Veteran entertainment journalist Cynthia Horner, editor-in-chief and publisher of Hip Hop Weekly, has the inside scoop on countless celebrities. So when publisher and relationship coach Darryl James approached her to co-author a book on celebrity relationships, it was a perfect fit.
The recently released Real Divas: Living & Loving Out Loud features the likes of Fantasia, Keyshia Cole, Jennifer Hudson, Preachers of L.A.’s Myesha Chaney, and Love & Hip Hop Hollywood’s Masika Kalysha. In the book, Black female celebrities discuss how they handle relationships while living a public life and maintaining demanding careers.
Real Divas: Living & Loving Out Loud, which is available in both eBook and paperback formats on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, was published by James’ Tenacious Books, a boutique-publishing house for self-publishing authors.
Horner, who as a celebrity journalist has interviewed a wide array of African-American entertainers, from Prince to Aaliyah and Beyoncé, has co-authored of several books, including the New York Times best seller The Magic Of Michael Jackson. Horner is also CEO of her own entertainment company, Cynthia Horner’s Independent Production Services (Cinnamon CHIPS), a media relations company that includes public relations, photography, and publishing projects.
MadameNoire: How did Real Divas come about?
Cynthia Horner: I was approached by Darryl James who owns an indie book company and when he asked me if I would be interested in collaborating on a book about celebrity relationships I liked the idea. I am very much a romantic at heart and the person people come to for love advice. So I thought it would be a good match. Also, later on this year I plan to release my memoir and I thought working on this book would be a good set up for the memoir’s release.
Working on Real Divas got me into the book writing flow. I put myself on a schedule and devoted three hours a day to writing my part of the book. Now I am in full book mode and I have actually started writing my memoir, which will discuss my many adventures with celebrities.
MN: Who are some of the most interesting celebrities?
CH: One of the key women who appears in the book is Fantasia and she is going through what a lot of women have to face, co-parenting. We know she has had different problems in relationships but she has found a way, partly through her music, to be able to empower herself. Her evolution of maturing as a mother for a second time has allowed her to deal with the challenges of co-parenting.
I also found TV and film actress Elise Neal’s take on relationships every interesting. It is quite different from many other women, especially celebrity women. She told me she is very much a Southern girl. Not being from the South, I have always been interested in the concept of the Southern Girl. Elise says that when she is in a relationship, no matter how busy she may be with work she cooks for her man, she pampers the man in her life. She also has a two-week rule. If she is on location outside of their home base, she or he must fly to the other within a two-week period. She does not believe that spending long periods apart is healthy for a relationship and that relationships can’t withstand those long distance separations.
MN: How do these celebrities balance work and relationships?
CH: Every professional woman has this problem. And for celebrities it might be even more difficult because they are in the public eye. Most of [these women] said you have to make time for your relationship, and not let work come first. I see this to be the trend with many celebrity women who don’t want to look back and say, “Why didn’t I get married?” They seem to be now putting relationship ahead of career.
I get invited to many events. And sometimes they are not “plus one” so I can’t take my husband, or he is just not interested in going. So I will forego going to an interesting event to spend time with my husband, because at the end of they day you can’t cuddle up with an event no matter how fabulous.
Many celebrity women are figuring out a way to have it all. A great example would be Tiny, who is in the book. Despite what you may read on the Internet, she and her husband TI are still very much together. She says that because she is a mother to young children as well as a wife and businesswomen, she sticks to a schedule. She wakes up early in the morning to work. Then she takes a nap before she has to deal with the needs of her children. Because both she and TI are busy with various projects, they actually schedule together time. And for their quality time together, without the kids, they each have to plan the outing. They may go to an island destination for a romantic weekend. Also when there is a special life event such as a birthday or anniversary and they are apart due to work, one of them must fly to the other to celebrate, no exceptions.
MN: Like Tiny and TI, who appear on The Family Hustle together, you also talked to celebrities who worked with their mates often but the relationships had a different outcome?
CH: Yes, we talked to some women who had to start over, like Chanté Moore who was married to singer Lenny Latimore, and they worked together a lot. But that relationship didn’t work out because she says she lost herself in the relationship. I think this can happen often for women because they get so caught up in pleasing their spouse that they forget their own needs and goals. It is important to love yourself and put yourself first, because when you are confident and happy you will give more to the relationship.
MN: When can we expect your memoir?
CH: People have been trying to get me to write a memoir for years and I am looking to have it out later this year. I am considering self-publishing because I really want total control over the content. Some publishing houses have approached me to do tell-alls on the celebrities [like] Janet Jackson or Prince. Some of them consider me like family and I am not going to drag their images through the mud to sell books. I think I owe it to the celebrities who I want to include to put them in the best positive light.
Some of the stories bring tears to my eyes; I think my laptop will be filled with tear stains when I finish. But I really believe this will be the biggest project of my career.