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DJ Envy & Gia Casey On The Realities Of Love Not Being So 'Gram Perfect

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Search the popular hashtag #RelationshipGoals on social media and there will be an influx of picture-perfect couples engaged in a photo opt on a red carpet or on vacation. We see these images, hit the like button, and hope to one day be that couple.


While we crave the lifestyle publicized in front of us via social media, most notably Instagram, we often ignore that couple's story and what it took for them to be where they are today. One of the couples that fall into the #RelationshipGoals category is The Breakfast Club's Raashaun "DJ Envy" Casey and his wife Gia Casey. You can't look on their Instagram pages without falling in love with photos of their big adorable family in matching outfits with clear blue waters as their backdrop, or dressed up in elegant gowns and tuxedos as they wish everyone a Happy New Year.

But the Caseys are more than just a filtered photo. The couple met as teenagers in Queens, NY and have been together for 23 years, married for 16. It's not hard to imagine all of the things DJ Envy and Gia had to overcome as a couple throughout their years together. With their shared podcast The Casey Crew, the couple have managed to bring dimension to the label Relationship Goals and bring realness and transparency to their unfiltered side.

Launched only a year ago, The Casey Crew podcast has touched on a variety of topics, such as love, money, kids, and infidelity, hoping to be a true testament for listeners who are facing hardships in their relationships and don't know how to come out of it on the other side. In fact, their first live show was titled "The Cheating Episode" and they talked about DJ Envy's infidelity, not holding back a single detail.

As they continue to candidly share their unconditional love for one another and their family with the world through their podcast and social media, I think it's safe to say that we are undoubtedly witnessing the genesis of a power couple.

On why it was important for them to be explicit about their marriage on their podcast:

DJ Envy: "The funny thing is, we're not acting and so, sometimes when you're listening to the podcast, you will hear us discuss things such as my insecurities or how we dealt with this and that and it's really opening up to people like, 'Wow we do this, it's normal.' Because when you look on social media, everybody's lives are so picture perfect, but it's not perfect."

Gia: "In order to do a podcast and to be successful, you have to put yourself in a position where other people can relate to you, so it was never an interest to me, when we discussed doing the podcast, to be fraudulent [and] to put out a face that didn't represent us."

On habits that they believe ensure a happy, successful marriage:

The Real

DJ Envy: "We're both into each other's things. I'm a car guy. Ever since I was a little child, I collected cars and Gia's into that. She can tell a difference between a Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, or an Aston Martin - not necessarily because she's into it, but because her husband's into it and same for me. I probably know more about shoes and Birkin bags, Kelly bags, Constance bags, Chanel Boy bags, Louis Vuitton and jewelry than most women out there, but I am because my wife is into it. Not only that, but most people don't know that maybe 98% of the stuff my wife has, I bought and that's just because I like shopping for her. I like going to the mall and saying, 'I think my wife will like this.' And 95% of the time, I'm right. I don't like watching The Bachelor, well maybe I do a little bit, but I'll sit and watch it with her."

Gia: "Suffering the whole time, but it's the effort." (Laughs)

DJ Envy: "And it's the same thing with football, you know. She's in there watching it with me and yeah, she asks a lot of questions, 'What position is that?'"

Gia: "Oh, so I annoy you now?"

DJ Envy: "I didn't say you annoy me, you just ask a lot of questions. But she does that because she knows I'm into it."

On how they keep things spicy:

DJ Envy: "We just try to recreate different things that are outside of the box. We do role play. I've been Barack Obama, I've been a cowboy."

Gia: "He's been Maxwell, most memorably."

DJ Envy: "That was in college by the way, when I was Maxwell. But we try to do things where we spice things up. Our goal is to satisfy each other and have fun in our relationship. We don't take anything too serious. We have date night every week where we leave the kids at home and do different things, whether it's a movie, dinner, or we stay in a hotel in the city, or we go gambling."

Gia: "We go to the spa."

DJ Envy: "It's something that we do once a week so we can have that time so that we can say this is our time or we might just stay at home and watch El Chapo or Narcos."

Gia: "Our biggest goal is to have fun with each other. You can't really ask how do you keep things spicy without asking how do you stay connected because you stay connected and you actually like the person you're married to and enjoy each other's company, then the sexy kinda follows suit."

On how they cater to each other's wants and desires:

Gia: "We both take really good care of ourselves for one another. To me, Raashaun always looks sexy. I feel like when he gets dressed, he's getting dressed for me. I don't get dressed for women, I don't get dressed for other men. I get dressed for my husband. If I'm choosing a shade of lipstick, I'm thinking about what he might like, what appeals to him. When I'm deciding to do my hair, I'm thinking, 'Well, he likes it parted down the middle and straight, that's what I'm going to do.' Like we are very into pleasing each other in all facets, including the bedroom, and we try different things."

"He makes me feel like he's looking at gold."

"If you can imagine being with someone for 23 years, all the sex we've had. (Laughs). Obviously. But how many things can you do begs that question right? Like the other day, Raashaun came home with four books on Tantra and he was like 'look this is something I think we need to get into' and I'm like 'bet. Let's start a little you and me book club.' That interests me and it impresses me that he's still into it and enthusiastic about it and that turns me on because you know as a woman, the more a man is into you, the more you are into them and the better you perform. The more a man makes you feel secure, the better you perform. You don't feel as inhibited because he's looking at [you] like he's looking at gold. He might be looking at copper for real (laughs), but I don't know that because he makes me feel like he's looking at gold."

On maintaining a relationship with their kids despite their busy schedules:

DJ Envy: "First off, we are open and honest with our kids about everything."

Gia: "We might be too honest."

DJ Envy: "From finances [to] whatever. In our house, our kids know what's going on. If I'm paying a bill, I tell my kids what the bill is and how much it is so that they get a sense of what money is and the value of money and how hard we work to bring that money in."

Gia: "Right, because if you have kids like ours, if you don't take those teaching moments and show them the difference between $200 and $2000, all they know is, if they ask for something and they're well behaved, they get it. So, it's important that they understand what $200 can buy you, what $2000 can buy you. They can have a point of reference so that when they are growing into young adults, they have a good perspective on money and value. But like I was saying earlier ,when my kids first come home, they drop their book bags at the front door, they walk up the stairs, and come straight into my room where I usually am. They take off their shoes and hop in the bed and they spend about a half hour each catching me up on their day. We're very close."

On what's next for the Caseys:

The Real

DJ Envy: "We love the podcast and we're gonna continue to do the podcast and really just push the brand. We really enjoy helping people and talking to people about our relationship in hopes that it can help them in their relationship. We'll do more podcasts, live events and take it on the road where we'll see people in different markets. You never know you may see us on TV one day, cross our fingers."

Follow The Casey Crew on Soundcloud or iTunes. And keep up with the Caseys on social @djenvy and @gia_casey.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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