‘Being Mary Jane’ Debuts Tonight

GABRIELLE UNION IS BEING MARY JANE

Bomb career? Check. Beautiful face and body? Check and check. Financially stable in every way? Boom! You think she doesn’t when she does? Chile’ Please! Loving relationship? Silence. Crickets. A definite feeling of emptiness. Sadly, this is the life of various women in 2013. BET seeks to expand on this conundrum that many women currently face with their new drama Being Mary Jane starring Gabrielle Union.

Who is Mary Jane? She is a woman much like many of today’s successful women. From the perspective of onlookers, these particular women have it going on! They are a force to be reckoned within any corporate meeting. They are to be envied when it comes to style, grace and fashion. They live in the gym, so their bodies are that to be compared to a Goddess. However, this same chick has absolutely no luck in love. Why?

You know why. We all know why. It is the same curse that has been plaguing women who reach the pinnacle of success for eons. In fact it is a curse and a gift. Sure you can have the career of your dreams and be the boss chick at your job surrounded with people who adore and fear you for your overwhelming fierceness. The way you command a board room meeting. How you handle any corporate overtake. But once you leave your office you will undoubtedly go to a beautiful empty home.

Being Mary Jane, is a series that seeks to question this. It follows Mary Jane Paul. A successful Broadcast Journalist throughout her trials and tribulations with her fledgling love life, being the more successful of her siblings and having feelings of not wanting to always be the one called on for financial assistance, a Mother whose health is ailing; and her own self doubt and internal war with whether or not a woman can have both success and real love. Oh and let’s not forget the men. No! We can never forget them. They alone can add spice into any woman’s life, successful or not.

The real question then becomes whether or not Mary Jane Paul really can truly have it all? Sex, success, money, while balancing love, romance and a meaningful relationship? Can any woman in today’s society? Tune in to find out.

Being Mary Jane premieres tonight on BET at 10:30pm.

Interview: Sheree Fletcher

You may have heard Sheree Fletcher’s name mentioned as being the ex-wife and Mother of actor Will Smith’s eldest son Trey. Now remarried and the owner of a successful business, Sheree is a co-star of VH1’s reality series Hollywood Exes. Brownsista sat down to chat with Sheree and she states that the show will absolutely show the many sides of her. You see, Sheree is much more than the ex-wife of a super star. She is a Mother, Preacher’s Wife, Entrepeneur and most of all, she is a sista.


Brown Sista: I watched the first few episodes of “Hollywood Exes” and so far I am pleased with what I have seen. My first question is in regards to how Black women, as of recent, have not been portrayed in a positive light. Were you concerned at all about the show possibly being yet another negative portrayal of Black women on yet another reality show? Did you consider this when you decided to become involved with the show?

Sheree: Definitely. It was a concern. When I met with the creators of the show, their vision for the show was to do something that empowered women. I loved the vision. They were coming from a different place. It wasn’t the typical reality show. They wanted to add a different color to the rainbow.

Brown Sista: When they say a different color to the rainbow, as far as your position, is that coming from your transition into becoming a more spiritual woman?

Sheree: I think just in general. I don’t really know the faith of the other women. I’m a Christian. They weren’t trying to make a Christian reality show, they were just trying to do something that was respectful. The platform is that we were all married to very high profile men. We have a common experience so it really did create an immediate bond. We walked in each other’s shoes before. They hand picked everyone . It is a great dynamic and we have a sisterhood.

Brown Sista: While we are on the topic of spirituality, how does that affect you as far as your friendships with people in general? Has that made you more particular in choosing friends?

Sheree: I have friends from all walks off life. I’m talking about friends. I’m not using that term loosely. Because I’m a little older and wiser, I do things with a purpose. I’m more intentional about the things that I do and the people that I do them with. That is the place I’m in. I come from a place of who I am and where I am. I pick and chose from that place.

Brown Sista: You are currently happily remarried. Did you have any reservations about doing a show that highlights your marriage to Will Smith, which occurred years ago?

Sheree: I really feel like this is something that I’m supposed to do. At this point in time in my life this is exactly where I am supposed to be. I see what you are saying about going back and making that connection again. That opens the door but it is the accomplishments of what I am doing currently that is being highlighted. We make a reference to the past but the show is very much so about the present and the women. The reference to these men is the appetizer and the main course is the women.

Brown Sista: You have to be very brave to put yourself in the public eye for scrutiny. You have managed to stay relatively private and out of gossip. We don’t hear anything about you on the blogs. You stay away from the mess. Doing a show like this almost invites that kind of nonsense. Were you fearful at all about putting yourself out there even more?

Sheree: You know what? Yes and no. I am one of those people who is more comfortable in the corner. I am more comfortable in the background. It is safer that way….

Brown Sista: What is your sign?

Sheree: Oh I am a Scorpio. Part of maturing is having clarity and knowing what you are supposed to do. I sought wise counsel. It is not the easiest path but it is the necessary path. Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to do what needs to be done.

Brown Sista: Have you come across any obstacles so far?

Sheree: People say a lot of wonderful things. People say not so nice things. Nicole said do not read the blogs. You have to protect your heart. That is a part of the business. But for me, this is new. I haven’t encountered a lot of obstacles yet because it is so new. One of the concerns I have is that I love to come and go as I please without people not knowing who I am. But now, you have to go in with your eyes wide open and know that that could change.

Brown Sista: It probably will.

Sheree: It probably will. The reality show is a blessing but I am not striving to be a reality show personality for the rest of my life. This is a launching pad for other avenues and opportunities. It is not the end but just a means to an end.

Brown Sista: Did your husband have any reservations about you doing the show?

Sheree: If I did not have his blessings, I would not be doing it. It is something that we talked about. We prayed on it. We got other prayer warriors on it and we have peace about it.

Brown Sista: Are there any sides of you that might shock us?

Sheree: It depends on what you expect. I do not know the expectations. I am married to a pastor so people might think that I am stuck up. One of the misconceptions about Christians is that we don’t have fun. That is ridiculous. I have levels of emotions. I’m not a punk.

Brown Sista: (laughs).

Sheree: You come at me and I might come at you. But you do it in a way where it is not crazy. I am a work in progress. Sometimes my alter ego Ree-Ree comes out. Ree-Ree makes a cameo appearance in the show. She is not the star though.

Brown Sista: You are a Scorpio and so am I and we don’t play that.

Sheree: You know! That tail will come out.

Brown Sista: We are so sweet. We love so hard but if you push that same button.

Sheree: Very well put and very telling. On that note, you will see the Scorpio in me.

Brown Sista: Let’s talk about your cream Whoop Ash.

Sheree: I always wanted to be a business woman. I went to school for fashion. When my son was about 3 years old I started a clothing line with a friend. What was obvious to me was that starting a business requires so much time and energy. I had a baby. I couldn’t give him 100 percent and give the business the same. So, I had to put the business on the back burner and focus on my baby and being a Mom. The blessing was that I did not have to go out to work to provide. His Dad was doing that. He deserved to have one parent that was always home. The skin care was a total fluke because I read a book-The Secret Life of Bees. This was before the movie came out. The book got me interested in honey. I started to research honey. I love to cook and entertain. I started doing recipes with honey. When I researched it the recipes would be topical and not to eat. I ordered ingredients. I got in my kitchen and got my big ole’ gumbo pot out and made a body butter. My first mind was not to go into business; it was to be a creative person. I gave the product away and people loved it. God kept increasing my vision. He said it is bigger than that. I got a chemist and I took what I made in my kitchen and said make this and that is how Whoop Ash was born.

Brown Sista: What are some of the benefits to Whoop Ash?

Sheree: Aww man! It is 99.9% natural. It was important to me to make something that was good for you. It is preservative free. I wanted them to preserve the quality of my product and I explained that to the chemist. It is hypo-allergenic. It is 31% organic shea butter and mango butter. There is grape seed oil. It is filled with good stuff. It is very condensed and concentrated. It is not something that you have to keep putting on all day long. It is not cheaply made and filled with water. We have amazing testimonials of people who have eczema and they say it work wonders for their skin. You can put it on babies. It is mild. Post Chemo patients as well who experience extreme dry skin from treatments. It provides so much moisture.

Brown Sista: Where can people buy this product?

Sheree: http://www.whoopash.com/. One of the goals that I have is to get distribution for this product to make it convenient and assessable. To be able to go into Target or local beauty supply and pick this product up.

To learn more about Sheree, follow her on Twitter.

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Author: La’Juanda “LJ” Knight
Owner-YeahSheSaidIt
“If You Don’t Say It, I Will”
facebook.com/LJKnightyeahshesaidit
Twitter.com/LJKnight

Make Him Want to Marry You

Tionna Smalls from VH1’s What Chilli Wants fame has something to say to the ladies. She recently provided single women with what she feels is much needed advice on what women should and should not do before marriage and why.

Smalls explains:
“ Save the Suck! That’s one of the main chapters in my book. You don’t need to be giving all your sex to your man. Like, we all did it; I was the head master at one point, but we can just keep on sucking and jiving with a man that’s not your man. And stop giving him so much access. Women we have to change in 2012 because black women are losing and not finding love.”

Okay Tionna, I get what you are saying girl. But I have a few counterpoints on sex, marriage and relationships. Here are my thoughts about marriage: I respect the sanctity of marriage. I think that marriage can be a meaningful experience in life. However, I do not think that a woman should do a 180 degree change just because she has a ring on her finger. Why? Because ladies, he should already fully understand what he is getting himself into before he puts that ring on your finger! He should already have a damn good idea of the type of woman you are, your expectations, what you will tolerate and what you won’t, your personality glitches, etc. Not fully being yourself with your man during the dating experience is part of what leads so many marriages down the road to divorce. People see the personality flaws in a person and they assume that once they get married, this person will suddenly change and become someone different. Even if that person experiences some growth, I am here to tell you that the core to that person will stay the same.

My mother once told me that women should not start anything at the newlywed stage that they will be unwilling to keep up by the ten year mark. For instance, if you are not a woman that enjoys to cook, then do not start it unless you are willing to continue the habit.

I say the same advice for women who are in a relationship but are not married. Do not start a habit of behavior that you will not want to continue once you are married to the man. This is part of the reason why later the husband mentions how things used to be before you were married and how much happier he was with you then.

I know what you guys are thinking. There must be a list of things that women should not do before marriage when they are just dating the guy. Well, according to Smalls there is a specific itemized list of things a woman should not do. Personally I do not think that things should be that cut and dry.

For instance, she mentions oral sex. While I do not think that you should put your mouth on every Tom, Dick and Harry. Literally. I cannot in good faith tell you ladies that performing oral sex on your man before marriage is not a good look. I only say this because I see the idea as being unrealistic generally speaking. Once a couple has been together for a lengthy amount of time. Say 2 years, chances are you will be having sex. Not only will you be having sex but if you are a lucky girl then you will be having good, nasty, freaky sex if you are in love and comfortable with one another. Are you going to expect him not to perform oral sex on you? Especially if that is something you enjoy and consider it to be a part of the act of lovemaking between the two of you.

Here is my advice and is fairly simple. If you don’t want to perform oral sex on your man until you are married for whatever reason ,whether it be you think its nasty, you don’t want to give too much too soon, you think it makes you look whorish, you don’t like how his private smells or trust his hygiene, then DON’T! In fact, if you don’t want to perform oral sex on him when you are married, then DON’T! Not every woman is comfortable with the act. If this is something that you are absolutely unwilling to compromise on, then stick to your guns. Now as a counterpoint, I want to remind women that not every single thing that makes you uncomfortable should be uncompromisable. Remember you are in a relationship. It is supposed to be a give-give exchange ladies.

My point is for women to not give, do, act, on anything that she is uncomfortable with doing within reason. Whether she is married or not. There are no defined rules to this ladies! You want to know a rule? Here is one. Simply put, if it is outside of your comfort realm then don’t do it if it is within reason. You don’t want to wash a man’s drawers that is not your husband then don’t. Make that clear to him if doing that will make you feel uncomfortable. Or as if you are giving too much too soon. If you hear that quiet voice inside telling you that this is not a good idea then listen to it. That is what protects you from harm and dangerous situations.

For instance, If you feel that you are giving 100 percent to your man and he is only giving 70 percent, then I would first suggest that you approach him with how you are feeling. Be honest about your concerns. If he refuses to listen, compromise or to care for whatever reason then you should pull back some of your energy into him. I will never encourage any woman to give and give in HOPES of one day getting the love she deserves back., No man, husband or not is worth you being a sucker for. Now, she also mentions not giving the man too much access to you. I do agree with Smalls on this one. I do not think that your man should have constant access to you where you are willing to stop everything at a moment’s notice for his beck and call like his puppy or dog on a leash. However, I have one addition to this concept. I do not think that this approach should change once you become married.

Let me explain. Now, obviously, there is a line of respect that should come between your husband and you. Neither one of you should go M.I.A. on one another. This world is far too crazy and dangerous for those type of games. However, in no way do I think that a woman should lose herself in a man where he becomes her world. Even if she is married to him. She should always maintain her own identity, likes, dislikes, outside life, friends, social life, career objectives etc. You get my point. There is nothing wrong with loving your husband or man with every ounce of your being. But you should still save a piece for yourself. You must maintain your own identity at all times. No man should become your identity or every ounce of your existence. No man deserves to own your soul. No man needs that much power over you. Husband or not.

Giving any man that much power is how men become bored or even unappreciative of their wives. They feel as though she will always be there whenever he decides to come around. Like a good old sturdy work horse. He should know that you indeed have a life outside of his existence and your relationship with him.
What am I saying? Well to put it plainly, I respect Smalls’ thoughts but I do not think that there are definite don’t do’s to follow while in a serious relationship versus in a marriage. I also do not believe that your relationship should change drastically just because you two are now married. Should it strengthen? Of course. Should you be willing to give more emotionally, physically and spiritually to your husband versus your man? Naturally. However, I do not think that this should work in some drastic extreme nature.

In fact, what you don’t want to do is to expect for the marriage to be the altering factor that makes the relationship “better” or “work”. You should already have that ground work established. The time during the relationship is where the ground work for the foundation of the marriage should be laid. That way the man will fully know what he is getting himself into before he makes the trip to the jeweler (hopefully). In fact not only will he fully know what he is getting into before hand, he will be excited about your new journey together in life from being boyfriend and girlfriend to husband and wife.

La’Juanda “LJ” Knight
Owner-YeahSheSaidIt
“If You Don’t Say It, I Will”
facebook.com/LJKnightyeahshesaidit
Twitter.com/LJKnight

Where are Your Priorities?

Mary J. Blige can sang. Not sing. Sang. The “i” only gets replaced with an “a” when someone has the ability to put their heart and soul into a song. To leave you feeling the emotion that the writer of the song may have felt when the song was penned. Not every performer has this ability and this skill is what has catapulted Ms. Blige as the reigning Queen of Soul. We come to expect this from her. So it is no wonder that when Ms. Blige performed in the Burger King commercial she brought the heat. Even if she was singing about a chicken wrap.

Black blogs around the net have shunned her for participating in what they define as a devaluing act. I mean, no one wants to hear the Queen of Soul sing about some damn chicken. Crying over a man is one thing but chicken? How passé.

The ad was only recently released and word on the net is that Burger King has since scrapped it, despite the rumored multimillion dollar fee that Blige supposedly earned. I can’t lie to you. I have yet to see the ad and have no interest in watching it. Not because I am disgusted by Blige’s passion for chicken and a check rather I am disgusted by the reaction of Black folks who are criticizing her decision. Where are your priorities people?

We live in a society where young Black men are gunned down without provocation. We also live in a society where the only male figure they have to look up to are the likes of people like Lil Wayne. We live in a society where young Black men are so lost, angry and cold hearted that they will take someone’s life over a cell phone thereby leading them to be feared and thus causing them to be gunned down without provocation. See the cycle that has been created?

We live in a society where young Black girls don’t have the role models of the past. People like Diana Ross, Diane Carroll, and Dorothy Dandridge have been replaced with Nicki Minaj and they not only wants to be a Barbie but will insert enough Blonde weave in their head in order to reach their goal. Hell, even 20 somethings would rather look like Nicki Minaj or a Barbie. We live in a society where teen pregnancy among young Black women is at a high. We live in a society where our young are lost and are crying for someone to guide them and are left with choosing from the latest Rappers to emulate.

This is just the tip of the iceberg people. I could go on but I don’t want to make this article into a sermon. The reality is that people of color are in trouble and it is not because Mary J. is singing about chicken. We were in trouble long before then. We are behind the curve compared to some of the other races. It may hurt to hear that but it is true. There are far more important issues happening in our world, to our people, to our children that we should be addressing that are far more urgent.

Mary J. Blige is a 40 something year old woman, who made her way out of poverty, off of drugs and an abusive relationship on to be a platinum selling recording artist. This not an easy feat by far. While some may be embarrassed or even disappointed by her decision and feel as though she sold her soul for some chicken and a check, keep in mind that Blige is not hurting. She is not in need of any coaching, guidance or help. She has paid her debt to her fans. She owes us nothing more than to be a great artist.

So to the fools that are focusing on Blige I think that it is time for you to get your priorities straight. Look around you at the people who really need your attention, guidance and help. Blige damn sure is not one of them. But the group of young men in white t-shirts who hang out on your block, on the corner all day selling drugs do. The 14 year old girl who is trying her hardest to dress like and imitate Nicki Minaj’s lyrics is who needs your attention. These are your kids. These are your nieces and nephews. These are your little cousins and neighbors. This is the generation that will be running things when we our time has passed. This is who your passion about how they are living their lives should be directed towards. They are the ones who truly matter and should be of greater concern than Mary J. Blige and a damn chicken wrap. Where are your priorities?


La’Juanda “LJ” Knight
Owner-YeahSheSaidIt
“If You Don’t Say It, I Will”
facebook.com/LJKnightyeahshesaidit
Twitter.com/LJKnight

The Value of a Black Life

Since the news of his tragic death, the media has been trying to dive into the life of teenager Trayvon Martin. Who was he? What type of person was he? What kind of life did he live? Now, some might view these questions merely as digging deeper into the world of a young man whose life was taken far too soon. However, I am too much of a realist, and a society analyzer to even allow myself to be fooled into believing that the media has completely altruistic intentions behind their crusade into their interest into the life of the slain teen. As cynical as it may sound, I believe that much of the reason behind the recent news coverage on Martin’s life and past run ins with authority figures is to reinforce negative propaganda against Blacks, to throw dirt on the teen and to reinforce the age old adage that “that Black guy had it coming”.

An example of some of his past transgressions which have been dug up are that Martin was suspended from school last month for having a baggie in his book bag that contained marijuana residue. There apparently was no actual marijuana found. Then there is the report that Martin was suspended two other times from school. The first time was for missing school or being tardy. In October, Martin was suspended with friends for writing “W.T.F.” on a hallway locker, according to a school report obtained by the Herald. A security guard looking through his backpack for the graffiti marker and instead found women’s rings and earrings and a screwdriver, described by the staffer as a “burglary tool.”

While these may sound like small offenses of the average rebellious teenager to some, to the less forgiving, these are clear signs that this boy was a hoodlum who was headed down the wrong road in life and although no one necessarily wanted him to be killed, perhaps in some capacity he deserved to die. He deserved to die not only because he committed these acts but because he just so happened to be a Black male, which ratcheted the severity of the crimes to fatal repercussions. I ask you why is Black life so easily disposable at the slightest offense and how much longer must we be judged so harshly?

We have a right to know more about who we are mourning some might say. Why shouldn’t we know about the real person? Why should his life be glossed over with a wand of perfection free of any transgressions? I absolutely agree with this. The public does have a right to know more about the young man that they are mourning. My only issue with this is the root of this curiosity and for it to not be done at the expense of belittling the value of his life.

The media is not digging up these incidents as a window into this young man’s life out of sheer interest. They are doing so to smear his name. There is an agenda behind their curiosity and it does not benefit the late teen or his family. The agenda is to perpetuate the idea that because he was not a perfect teenager he was a stain on society’s otherwise clean slate and we are better off without him. As if to say “See, look at all of the very bad things he did. Look at the path he was on. His death is justified as he was a troublemaker.”

I say these things not to promote that this child was an image of teenage perfection or that he was not a work in progress. I write this to remind everyone who reads articles about this young boy’s life that paint him as a thug that there is an angle behind every venomous word that is said about him. Every inch of dirt that is dug up about his life is a component of an even more dynamic task. I ask that you are not naive enough to believe that the reports are coming from a genuine interest in this child’s life and I implore you to look at the bigger picture here. Trayvon Martin’s behavior was no worse than that of a White teenage boy living in the suburbs. However, the White teen runs less of a risk of being killed because of the color of his skin. Therefore his childhood antics will not make world news coverage.

How soon we forget that there are forces in this world who do not see the value in a Black person’s life. Who would much rather save or protect the life of a dog than that of a person of color. Who see Black people as literal menaces to society needing to be rinsed away. Those who see the death of Trayvon Martin as one to celebrate with no questions asked. Yes people, we are in a deplorable state in our society as the only way it seems that a Black person who is a victim of any crime can receive genuine sympathy, much less positive coverage from the mainstream media is if they have a squeaky clean record in life. If a Black victim had too many tickets for jay-walking then he somehow deserved to lose his life. Remorse for people of color is only given to those who are free of any major or minor offenses. Yet still remains unbelievably impossible to truly attain. Forgiveness is given sparingly.


La’Juanda “LJ” Knight
Owner-YeahSheSaidIt
“If You Don’t Say It, I Will”
facebook.com/LJKnightyeahshesaidit
Twitter.com/LJKnight