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“Reality TV is the new record deal…It’s the new hustle.”

A new hustle she finds herself in after doing some heavy soul searching. Some time ago, Monifah was “released” by her record company, without a phone call or thank you for the years.

“I became a little gun shy and not sure if I wanted to record again, as a career. I had a lot of personal things to deal with–childhood stuff kicking up that I didn’t realize affected me. I was raising my daughter, trying to figure my life out, trying to find Monifah and having to face life’s emotions that surfaced from the abandonment…I was moving very fast trying to stay afloat mentally, financially and spiritually…It’s been a long, long road.”

Several years ago, Monifah found that her recreational drug use would turn into an addiction after reflecting on tragedies which coincided with her success. She lost her father to a heroin overdose at the age of 15, the day her first national commercial was released, and her brother, right before her first single dropped.

“I started using drugs, (cocaine) recreationally, to escape. In my brain I knew that wasn’t the life I wanted to lead, not what God had for me and that it would not be forever. I prayed that until I’m ready to change my existence that God would keep me safe and covered in my mess.”

She feels like she has another angel on her shoulder after the passing of Heavy D, who was very instrumental in her recording career.

“A couple of months before he passed, I wanted to reconnect and share my story but I kinda figured he knew I was OK…I was sad, but his work here was done. I carry him in my music and honor his memory and friendship as an artist.”

Monifah has been clean for 2 years. She realized that she didn’t want to leave her daughter, the same way her father left her.

In TV One’s R&B Divas she joins Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert (Formerly of Brownstone), KeKe Wyatt and Syleena Johnson. The ladies were brought together after realizing they all saw Whitney Houston’s last performance during Grammy Weekend, and were implored to share their stories on this bumpy road to success.

“I was angry when I found out about Whitney’s passing…I believe we are our brothers and sister’s keeper. We have to look out for one another especially once we become commodities and not treated as human beings.”

On R&B Divas she shares the screen with her 21, college bound daughter:

“You’ll see who we are, what we’re working on – based on what we chose to share.”

And as far as her sexuality is concerned, she’s got one thing to say:

“I’ve never, ever been in a closet, so coming out of one is impossible…I did not come out of the closet, and you can quote me on that.”

“It was not a big secret.”

Words By: Dominga Martin

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