When we imagine arranged marriages in the traditional sense, our minds may trail off into stereotypes that reflect reluctant brides, invasive parents, with two coerced individuals, doomed to suffer in a loveless union. Not so romantic, right? But arranged marriages are not to be confused with forced marriages. See, the former centers the autonomy of choice: with two consenting adults, choosing to pursue one another for a lifetime - even after the allure of their parent's wise counsel fades. This was the case for content creators, Cam and Vicky Logan; who after 7 years of marriage illustrates what can happen when the potential for love is offered and accepted.
Courtesy of Vicky Logan
Cam and Vicky's parents were friends before the two of them ever met. Follow me: Vicky's father was celebrating his 40th birthday and invited Cam's father; it was there that Vicky met Cam's dad. Soon after the party, both sets of parents suggested that the two should meet, so Cam and Vicky started by adding each other on Facebook. Initially, there weren't any sparks that ignited their correspondence. In fact, Vicky shares that she never intended on dating someone who shared the same "Preacher's Kid" background that she grew up in, being that both her mother and grandmother were wives of preachers.
"I wanted a different experience and I knew how much work it would take," she shares. But what she didn't know was how God would use her expert-level background as preparation for the marriage awaiting her, "The joke was on me because since I knew how much it would take, it was just preparing me for doing the work with Cam."
Although reluctant at first, answering the call allowed her to step deeper into her purpose in becoming a helpmeet, which for Cam, was an answered prayer, "Growing up as a preacher's kid, various girlfriends didn't understand my necessity to be at church all the time, it's part of my life. As I got older and matured, I knew I needed someone that was going to understand this life in ministry and when I found out that she was a PK too, things started going off in my head like, 'Oh, this could work.'"
Courtesy of Vicky Logan
Their friendship grew even as the miles separating them widened, with Vicky finishing school in Texas, and Cam starting his post-grad life in Chicago. The distance between them allowed the space to be filled with what would fortify their relationship in the long run: deep and intentional communication. Still, the two had to get creative for things to work since, even in the early 2010s, technology still hasn't quite reached its peak, "We were recording videos on the back cameras of our iPhone 3s, we were on ooVoo and Skype. We communicated as much as we could to feel connected even though we were 1000 miles away," Cam says. Or as Vicky puts it, "We were definitely doing the most."
But you have to applaud the effort. Especially when you're young and dating at a distance, since, let's be honest, the innate reflex is to jump straight to the physical. Cultivating verbal and non-physical intimacy was fundamental for the two in their early days, "Since we weren't sexually attracted to each other at first, we were able to develop a natural, non-sexual friendship," Cam shares. "We genuinely talked about our interests and desires. It wasn't just, 'Aye girl, what you got on?'"
This approach laid a solid framework for their relationship because they were (and still are) truly friends, "At the end of the day, she's my homey, that's my best friend. Then you add the physical, sexual attraction and it just elevates how deeply we care about each other," Cam tells xoNecole.
"At the end of the day, she's my homey, that's my best friend. Then you add the physical, sexual attraction and it just elevates how deeply we care about each other."
One of the keys to making love work is building a relationship from a solid friendship. You never really know how important that can be until you're facing a difficult time with your partner, like a global pandemic, and realize there are some things that romance and sex just can't fix. As Vicky shares, you have to truly be in like with each other, "People like to ask me, how do we not get bored with one another? Well, we're friends! Do you get bored with your friends?" she shares laughingly.
The authenticity of their companionship not only beams over the phone but also through the camera. For over 10 years, YouTube has served as a digital archive for Vicky to document everything from ever-changing hairstyles, her colorful style hauls, and witty girl talk videos. So when the two got engaged in 2013, it was only natural for them to join forces to create their own vlog channel, Life With the Logans. As both platforms grew, there was one annual video that their community looked forward to the most: their Marriage Q&As.
Only in 2020, things were different. With COVID forcing everyone inside, Cam and Vicky decided to open their YouTube livestreams for their subscribers to ask them all things love and relationships advice. The response was so great, it springboarded their newest collaboration, the Everything is We podcast.
"We had a really good foundation because we spent a lot of time just being friends. Now, when we go through things as a married couple, we have our friendship to fall back on, it's not like our only connection was sexual or romantic. We had a true friendship where we enjoyed hanging out together, doing things together, marking each other laugh, no matter what we're doing, we're enjoying each other's company."
Courtesy of Vicky Logan/Instagram
On their faith-based, relationship-centered podcast, the two speak candidly about a range of topics from sex before marriage, toxic relationships, love languages, and even gender roles and submission. After 7 years of marriage, the two felt confident enough in their experiences to dish advice on their union from a place of transparency to host honest and open dialogue. "We know each other well enough to give people something of substance. This a 'we' thing, not just a 'me' thing," Vicky shares, explaining the origin of the show.
Creating as a "we" continues to add color and vibrancy to the Logans' relationship, with visual documentation being a vital part of how they keep record of their experiences together and connect with their audience. Vicky grew up with home videos and videotapes being essential in logging her childhood memories, so continuing that tradition was a natural progression for her and Cam's story. "I love documenting our relationship because I can always go back and see our memories happening on video. It keeps me grounded because I can see our progression as a couple," Vicky explains.
Courtesy of Vicky Logan
Documenting your life online for yourself and for the world to see comes with its own set of boundaries. For the Logans, that means staying true to their authentic selves and being present in the moments they share together. Cam expresses that who you are online should always match who you are in private. "I saw people that would vlog and become these public figures, and when they turn the cameras off, they're nothing like that. For me, in everything that I do, I want to be consistent."
Staying rooted as a content creator requires a deep level of self-awareness and routine check-ins with yourself. In fact, Vicky recalls a time early in her vlogging career where she found herself swept away in the process of creating a perfect memory, instead of participating in the moment. "When I was heavily into YouTube, I was vlogging so much, I felt like I have to go back and watch those videos to remember what happened because I wasn't present in the moment." She continues, "I was looking at my life through the lens instead of looking at it as my life. I never want to get back to that point. I try to prioritize being in the moment rather than creating content."
"When I was heavily into YouTube, I was vlogging so much, I felt like I have to go back and watch those videos to remember what happened because I wasn't present in the moment. I was looking at my life through the lens instead of looking at it as my life. I never want to get back to that point. I try to prioritize being in the moment rather than creating content."
When you've been with someone through your 20s and into your early 30s like the Logans have, evolution becomes the third wheel. Over the years, the two have seen each other grow and evolve as individuals with callings that stand alone and complement each other's purpose. Arriving at the place in a relationship where everything is truly about the we and not the me takes sacrifice, time, and the process of "dying to yourself" daily. That means pride and self-centeredness have no place. For the Logans, this required taking the time to learn how to truly love each other the way each person needs to be loved, not the way they assumed they needed to be loved. As Vicky puts it, "I think sometimes people come into relationships a little bit prideful and don't want to change."
But if the common goal is longevity, you have to forgo the "that's just the way I am" mentality. "We know that we're different people, but at the same time, we want to operate as a team," Vicky shares. "You have a partner for a reason: to help you."
Courtesy of Vicky Logan/Instagram
If you follow the #CamToria hashtag on Instagram, you'll find that the Logans are far more than your typical "relationship goals", they're the embodiment of steadfastness. A marriage that hasn't rushed through the years or the moments that they've shared together, but has instead made the daily decision to partake in the witnessing of one another's blooming growth. "My life has changed just by being friends with Cam," Vicky reflects, "He truly loves people and I try to be like that more and more every day."
For Cam, experiencing Vicky's growth has been the greatest honor to witness as a husband, "[Vicky's] ability to literally go after her dreams... I don't know if people realize how difficult that is in a society that trains you to do what people tell you to do." He adds, "She's a boss, but remains humble and loving at the end of the day. She's constantly growing and I'm just happy to be married to her."
The freedom in having an unconventional love story is in the license it gives to a couple to tell a story that's never been told before. Although arranged marriages aren't something that's typically highlighted in the Black community, the Logans exemplify what can happen when you follow the wise counsel of your parents, while fostering the "it takes a village" adage. "I think our community could benefit from the fact that our parents are connected with solid people with solid foundations, values, and morals," Cam says. When you're building towards a future legacy, sometimes the best way to know where you're headed to by trusting the wisdom and guidance of those who have been where you're headed. Even if that turns out to be your own parents.
"I know that when we have children, that's definitely something I plan on doing," Cam says.
Featured image courtesy of Cam and Vicky
Aley Arion is a writer and digital storyteller from the South, currently living in sunny Los Angeles. Her site, yagirlaley.com, serves as a digital diary to document personal essays, cultural commentary, and her insights into the Black Millennial experience. Follow her at @yagirlaley on all platforms!
This was first evident more than a decade ago when she quit her job as the corporate executive of a Fortune 500 company during a Periscope livestream. “I’m not sure if there’s an alignment of [our] future trajectory. I’m going to work for myself. I'm promoting myself to work for myself,” she said at the time before flashing a smile at the viewing audience. As she resigned on camera, a constant stream of encouraging messages floated upwards on the screen.
By 2021, she’d fashioned her work as a corporate consultant and her personal life with her husband and three adopted daughters into a reality show, She’s The Boss, for USA Network. This year, she released the New York Times bestselling memoir Nothing Is Missing, written as she was in the process of getting a divorce and dealing with her eldest daughter’s struggles with substance use.
Convinced that there’s no way the 39-year-old has achieved all of this without intentional strategic planning, I asked her about it when we spoke less than a week before Christmas. I’d seen videos on social media of her working on 2024 planning for other brands, and I wanted to know what that looked like following her own year of success.
She listed a number of goals, including ensuring that the projects she takes on in the new year align with her identity “as a Black woman, as an African woman, as a mother, as someone who has lived a [rebuilding] season and is now trying to live boldly and entirely as themselves.” But, I was shocked by how much of her business planning also prioritized rest.
Despite the bestselling book, a self-titled podcast, and working with numerous corporations, Walters said she’s been taking Fridays off. This year, she doesn’t want to work on Mondays, either.
“A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement,” she said, noting that she’ll check in with herself around March to see how successful this plan has been. The goal, Walters said, is to only be working on Tuesdays and Thursdays by sometime in 2025. “It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to have happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change.”
"A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement... It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change."
Walters said the decision to progressively work less was partially in response to her previously held notions about her career, especially as an entrepreneur. “When I first started, I thought burnout was a part of it,” she said. “What I didn’t realize is that even if you’re able to bounce out of burnout or get back to it, there’s a cumulative impact on your body. If you think of your body as a tree and every time you go through burnout, you are taking a hack out of your trunk, yes, that trunk will heal over, and the tree will continue to grow, but it doesn't mean that you don’t have a weakened stem.”
But, the desire for increased rest was also in response to the major shifts that occurred three years ago when she was experiencing major changes in her family and realized her metaphorical tree was “bending all the way over.”
“One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity,” she added. “That is some language that I think is just now starting to really get unpacked.” In recent years, there’s been an increased awareness of achieving balance in life, with Tricia Hersey’s “The Nap Ministry” gaining attention based on the idea that rest, especially for Black women, is a form of resistance. Even online phrases such as “soft life” and “quiet quitting” have hinted at a cultural shift in prioritizing leisure over professional ambition.
"One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity."
If companies are lining up to consult with Walters about their brands and products, then women have been looking to her for guidance on starting over since she invited them to livestream her resignation 12 years ago. As viewers continue to demand more from content creators in the form of intimate, personal details, Walters has navigated her personal brand with a sense of transparency without oversharing the vulnerable details about her life, especially when it comes to her family.
The entrepreneur said she’d been approached to write a book for several years and was initially convinced she was finally ready to write one about business. “I started to do that, and then I went through my divorce. When that happened, I said, why would I write a book telling people to get the life that I have when I’m not sure about the life that I have,” she said.
Instead, she decided to write Nothing Is Missing and provide a closer look at her life, starting with being born to immigrant Ghanaian parents (“You need to know my childhood to know why I’m passionate about entrepreneurship.”) through the adoption of her three daughters and eventual divorce. Despite her desire to share, however, she said she felt protective of the privacy of her family, including her ex-husband.
When discussing this with me, Walters said she was reminded of a lesson she learned from actress Kerry Washington, who released her own memoir, Thicker Than Water, just a week before Walters’ book release. Washington’s memoir grapples with family secrets, too, specifically the fact that she was conceived using a sperm donor and didn’t learn about it until she was already a successful TV star. While Washington reflects on how the decision and subsequent deception impacted her, she’s also careful to hold space for her parents’ experiences, too. “A lot of things she said was that she had to recognize where she was the supporting character and where she was the main character,” Walter said.
This is something Walter worked to do in Nothing Is Missing when discussing her daughter’s struggles with addiction. “I was very intentional about making sure that I did not reveal more than what was required,” she said. “If I say something about someone’s addiction, I don’t need to go into the list of the substances they used, how they used them, what I found. [I don’t need to] walk into a room and paint a picture of what it looked like for people to understand.”
Walters said some of the most vulnerable moments in the book barely made a ripple once it was released. She was extremely nervous to write about getting an abortion, she said. But no one has asked her about this in the months since the book was released. Instead, people have been more interested in quirkier revelations, such as the fact that she once appeared on Wheel of Fortune.
“I have bared my soul about this thing I went through in my youth that has changed me for people, and people are like, ‘So how heavy was the wheel when you spun it?’” she said, chuckling. “It just goes to show that people never worry about the thing that you worry about.”
With the success of Nothing Is Missing, Walters said she still isn’t planning to release a business book at the moment. But, as she navigates parenting a teenager and two adult children while also navigating a relationship with her new fiancé, Walters said she believes she has at least one or two more books to write about her personal journey. “There is sort of an arc of where my life has gone that I know I’ve got something more to say about this that I think is important, relevant and necessary,” she said.
In just three years, Walters’ life has undergone a major transformation. There’s no telling what the next three years will have in store for her, but it seems likely she’ll retain an inspired audience wherever life takes her.
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Featured image courtesy
In the ever-evolving world of music, Black women are owning the scene and rewriting the rules. From soulful beats to empowering lyrics, these artists are not just making hits; they're also dropping gems on their self-care practices and career game-changing moments. In this exclusive feature, we delve into the worlds of four remarkable talents—Victoria Monét, Coco Jones, Flo Milli, and Maiya the Don—who have not only risen to prominence but are also setting new standards in their respective genres.
The music industry has witnessed a renaissance with the emergence of these gifted artists, each contributing a unique sound and perspective. Victoria Monét, celebrated for her soulful R&B creations, has captivated audiences with her enchanting vocals and lyrical prowess. Meanwhile, Coco Jones has seamlessly transitioned from Disney star to a formidable force in the music scene, demonstrating her versatility and commanding presence. Flo Milli brings a fresh sound to rap with a distinct sound and flow, while Maiya the Don stands out with her catchy lyrics and unapologetic confidence.
These talented women have not only achieved success in their respective genres but have also become advocates for self-care and champions of important career lessons. As we explore their journeys, we uncover the secrets behind their self-care routines and the invaluable lessons they've learned along the way.
My admiration for Victoria Monét's artistry began in 2019 when her single "Ass Like That" captured my heart. Fast forward to 2021, "Coastin" marked a pivotal moment, earning her a spot on the 2022 BET Awards pre-show. Attending the FLO concert in April 2023, in Atlanta, I witnessed Victoria Monét's heartwarming support for emerging talents as she presented flowers to the UK-based girl group.
June 2023 saw the release of "On My Mama," solidifying Victoria Monét's industry presence, and is still climbing the charts peaking at #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In a recent interview, she shared the personal journey behind the song, written during her struggle with postpartum depression in 2021. Notably, her daughter Hazel Monét, at just two years old, is the youngest Grammy nominee in history for her vocals on "Hollywood" from Victoria's album Jaguar II.
With seven Grammy nominations at this year’s awards, Victoria stands as the second-highest nominee, trailing only behind SZA. As the anticipation builds for the 2024 Grammy Awards, it's evident that Victoria’s exceptional contributions to music will take center stage, adding another layer to my journey as a fan.
When asked about the biggest lesson in her career, Victoria shared insights into her longevity in the business.
“I feel like the recurring theme is just being consistent. Keeping at it because, in this industry, nothing is overnight. It's the consistency and motivation to keep going. Striving to be the best and see yourself where you want to be,” she exclusively told xoNecole.
From her infectious smile gracing Disney Channel screens to her recent captivating portrayal of Hilary Banks in the reimagined Bel-Air series on Peacock, Coco Jones has undergone a remarkable journey since her early days in the spotlight. Witnessing her evolution, especially for those who grew up watching her on the small screen, has been exhilarating. Now armed with a Grammy nomination and a soul-stirring EP titled What I Didn't Tell You, released on November 4, 2022, Coco Jones has transcended being just a familiar face to become a formidable force in the entertainment industry.
The narrative of Coco's transition from Disney Channel darling to a versatile artist making waves in Hollywood embodies her resilience and talent. Fans and critics eagerly await the next chapter in her career as she seamlessly navigates between roles and mediums. Let's not overlook the impact of her hit single "ICU," a game-changer that secured her a well-deserved spot on the Billboard charts, peaking at an impressive #62. This not only marked a significant milestone in Coco's career but also highlighted her undeniable talent and versatility as an artist.
When we asked her about the biggest lesson in her career, Coco had this to say about her multi-talented career journey.
“The biggest lesson that I've learned is that sometimes things aren't gonna make sense, but you still have to go through the confusion to get to the end result,” she said. “And then hopefully things add up, and even if they don't, you learn something about yourself, so just keep going through it.”
The first bar that made me fall in love with rising star Flo Milli was “Dicks up when I step in the party.” Her distinct flow on beats speaks volumes about her artistry, bringing a unique dimension to each composition, whether it's navigating bass-heavy tracks or exploring more melodic tones.
A pivotal moment in Flo Milli's career was the collaboration with Baby Tate on the anthem "I Am," resonating with women everywhere. Its empowering message and infectious nature led to viral popularity on TikTok, turning it into a cultural phenomenon. During her first tour, You Still Here, Ho? Flo Milli's live performance transcended traditional hip-hop boundaries, offering a journey through beats and bars.
The added perk of a meet-and-greet package provided a personal connection, allowing fans to meet the artist behind the music. The culmination of my admiration for Flo Milli reached new heights during our interview at the 2023 BET Hip Hop Awards, solidifying her enduring impact on the modern female hip-hop scene.
We asked her about how she prioritizes her self-care in the midst of her “Thanks For Coming Here, Ho” tour and preparing for her highly anticipated upcoming album, Fine Ho, Stay.
“I make sure I get massages every two weeks. I always make sure I keep facial appointments. Of course, you gotta keep up with yourself, but also prioritizing time to have fun,” she explained. “I was working crazy straight for years, and I was like, ‘Damn, before you know it, I’m not gonna be young anymore.’ It’s very important to prioritize being happy in life and making sure you're doing what makes you happy.”
Maiya the Don
In the heart of Brooklyn, where vibrant energy meets artistic innovation, Maiya the Don has emerged as a musical force. Her rising star status gained momentum with the TikTok sensation "Tefly," captivating global audiences and showcasing the unique blend of style and sound that reflects her proud Brooklyn identity.
"Tefly" not only introduced us to Maiya the Don's undeniable talent but marked the beginning of a remarkable musical journey, leaving an indelible mark with her distinct voice and genre-defying approach. Building on the success of this viral hit, subsequent singles like "Dusties" and "Keep it Cute" showcased Maiya's versatility, solidifying her breakout star status and reflecting the rich cultural tapestry of Brooklyn.
We asked her about how she prioritizes her self-care in the midst of going on tour with Flo Milli and dropping her first EP, Hot Commodity.
“One thing about me, I'm going to get my lashes done, hair done, nails done. I love to be pretty. That's very important to me,” she said. “I always tell my team they don’t get paid if I'm not there. So you have to let me take care of myself and then we'll tend to the other things because if not, then you don't get a check.”
As we navigate the diverse and dynamic landscape of Black women in music, the stories of Victoria Monét, Coco Jones, Flo Milli, and Maiya the Don serve as powerful testaments to their resilience, creativity, and undeniable impact. From enchanting melodies to fearless rap verses, each artist brings a unique flavor to the industry, contributing to the ever-evolving narrative of Black excellence in music.
In celebrating their journeys, we not only recognize their individual accomplishments but also honor the collective strength of Black women shaping the future of music. Through triumphs, challenges, and moments of unapologetic self-expression, these artists inspire a new generation, reminding us that the power of their voices extends far beyond the notes and beats—they echo the vibrant stories of empowerment, authenticity, and the unwavering determination to break barriers and redefine the standard. As we bid farewell to this musical journey, let their voices reverberate, creating a harmonious resonance that amplifies the essence of Black women in the rhythm of the industry.
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Feature image by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for The Recording Academy