From couch surfing to swag surfing, DJ Olivia Dope is everything in her name: "(D)riven (O)n (P)ositive (E)nergy"
Which of course for most is always easier said than done. Although many of us would love to live a life solely fueled off of daily mantras and positive affirmations, in the real world, staying focused is hard. And staying inspired sometimes feels impossible.
But for DJ Olivia Dope, being anything less than successful is unacceptable. For the Brooklyn-native who turned her "5 to 9" afterwork grind into her full-on dream job, success is measured in increments of happiness--and music makes her very, very happy!
“I knew I loved music; I really wanted to make this music thing happen and just be happy with doing what I'm doing. But it had to be music driven in someway shape or form.”
Prior to becoming one of the most in-demand female urban DJ's on the East Coast and the curator of the #LivDope movement, Olivia–real name Tamika–was a professional hip-hop dance instructor. Having had the chance to two step with the best of them (including Chris Brown and Shaggy), Olivia soon found herself fed up with the background politics of typecasting in the industry, and instead looked for new sources of inspiration.
Hitting up her “DJ friends from Brooklyn,” Olivia gave the DJ booth a shot and hasn't' looked back since.
“I was so used to being on the dance floor, but once I got behind the DJ booth and started seeing what they're doing I was like, you know what? Let me try it out and see what's going on here and try it out too. Just a hobby, nothing serious. But once I started doing that, people started asking "Oh hey. I see you DJ now. So could you DJ my little backyard party? My Bar-b-cue?' And four years later, we're here!”
And four years later, a musical star in the making was born. Olivia created a name for herself after drawing inspiration from Scandal's very own Kerry Washington, who plays "Olivia Pope" on the show. After a little wordplay on the name, it stuck. She'd spin her way from backyard parties to becoming a regular staple at major award and music scenes.
But don't get it twisted, she is as happy as she is humble, and as real as she is talented.
[Tweet "I'm not an overnight success, this took years for me to build where I am. And I'm still on the rise."]
Olivia tells me. She is sure to add:
“I haven't made it yet. So every accolade that I've gotten so far, I'm very humble about it. I'm very grateful for it. I make sure I remind myself, like hey, I'm blessed to have this so far. People recognize the real and they respect it.”
They sure do. And apparently, people reward the "real" too. Olivia notes that starting small was ironically the biggest thing she could've done for her career.
“Starting off small is so important. Because you never want to get ahead of yourself. You have to understand that everyone has their time. That's one of the main reasons why anytime someone asks me 'Well, how do you feel about competition?' No, there is no competition. Everybody has their own lane. Everybody has their own journey.”
True indeed. But before she was on the ones and twos, Olivia Dope had a regular 9 to 5.
It was just as recently as two years ago that the beautiful, mocha-hued disc jockey made the decision to quit her office job, and recently that very same decision finally started paying off.
“I was [still] working as a normal person should and I was absolutely miserable. So I had to make a decision. Do I actually want to follow my dreams full force? Or do I want to work on somebody else's dream because someone has me on their payroll? And I'm coming [to my day job] every single day and doing their work that they need me to do and not really taking what I want out of life seriously. So I had to make that decision and I quit. And two years later, I'm DJ'ing full time. Paying bills with it and everything.”
So much so that Olivia proudly points out that working as a DJ a convenient three to four times a week has finally afforded her a pretty comfy space in New York City (a seemingly unattainable dream for most considering the hefty price of rent), as well as more time spent with her daughter, Ava. This was especially a big feat for the single mother of one, considering that she was just in-between homes back in 2013. During this time, Olivia made her biggest career sacrifice to date–her daughter. Olivia allowed the seven year old to live with her father while she ultimately worked on their future.
“[Ava's father] actually took her the two years when I was struggling. I was in no position to be couch surfing with a child. So he was a great support with that. And she was living with him when I was trying to make my dream happen.[My daughter] is my little best friend. One of my toughest critics. My everything. She is right along with me for the ride.
Working for somebody else and you really don't want to be there, that is rock bottom. Mentally. You're not happy. And if I'm at rock bottom right now, there is no place to go but up. So let me do what I want to do and if I die, at least I died trying. At least I died trying to make where I wanted to go happen.”
But of course the road to success doesn't come without some bumps in the road. She points out that although she is inspired by the stories of many Black women in the industry before her, “Like Necole [Kane], Taraji P. Henson and Oprah,” Olivia says that she is still underwhelmed by what she feels is a lack of support from her fellow sisters and spinners. Admitting there has been progress, Olivia reveals there is still a long way to go:
“The thing that I have a problem with is other Black women in the industry not [always] automatically supporting one another. We come into the same space as each other but we're not automatically embracing [one another].Like ok hey. I'm a Black woman. You're a Black woman. We're both trying to get the same goal here. Let's connect. And if you win, I'm going to be just as happy as if it were me winning. We're not doing that enough.
And I feel like that's one of the major qualms I have with being a Black female DJ's. We're not doing that to other Black female DJ's in our community enough.”
When I ask the ever so bubbly and bomb disc jockey and mompreneur what her ultimate goal is in life and her work, she makes it very clear that both are all about the pursuit of happiness.
“I don't even know anymore. People say 'Yeah, I want to get millions (of dollars)!' And if I do, great because I would love a mansion too (laughs). But I'm just all about finding happiness, that's the goal in life. Money doesn't make you happy. Having certain things aren't going to make you [necessarily] happy. And once you find that, skies the limit.I already obtained my personal goal which was to work, doing what I love full-time and paying the bills with it. So everything else is just an added bonus!”
[Tweet " I feel like I'm living my personal dream right now. I feel like I'm living THE dream right now!"]
A modest goddess who keeps it humble between mumbles. I'm a journalism graduate with a HERstory in digital media, print and radio. Roll the credits: Power 96, VH1, xoNecole, EBONY, SOHH. Deemed "Top 20 Women in Media" by Power 105. Bronx made me, Broward raised me.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The Libra woman and Aries man are the divine feminine and divine masculine, coming together as one. The love compatibility between these two is one for the books. These two are opposite signs, however, their differences tend to complement each other well. This is a dynamic relationship where they know how to have a lot of fun together, but also aren’t afraid to deal with the more serious stuff that comes with a relationship.
The Libra woman is looking for her equal in love, someone who is willing to put in the same effort she is, and the Aries man sees Libra as someone he is willing to do that with.
The Love Compatibility Of A Libra Woman And An Aries Man
What attracts a Libra woman and an Aries man to each other?
There is a magnet of attraction pulling these two together, and things tend to move pretty fast in this relationship. The Libra woman is always open to love and her charming nature rarely has any challenges here. The Aries man fights for his independence and doesn’t sacrifice that unless he is completely enamored with someone.
Once the Aries man catches the eye of the Libra woman, he is typically the one to make the first move and this instantly wins the approval of Libra.
These two feel like they have known each other forever when they meet, and this spark between them doesn’t die down easily.
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What is the relationship like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The relationship between the Libra woman and the Aries man is one of balance and excitement. The Aries man tends to take on the more dominant role in this relationship and the Libra woman tends to be the more receptive one. Aries is ruled by masculine Mars, and Libra is ruled by feminine Venus. They understand they are coming from two completely different worlds, yet they also instinctively feel this underlying connection to each other and like they could be something each other needs in their lives.
The Libra woman can rely on the Aries man, and the Aries man never has to ask for the love that Libra already knows he needs.
This is a couple that is often reading each other’s minds and wanting to do a lot of the same things. However, not everything is rainbow in this relationship as well, and there are some major differences they have to overcome to make things work. One argument can lead to an explosion between these two, and addressing things when they come up rather than sweeping them under the rug, will be needed to make this relationship long-term.
What is the sex like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The sex between a Libra woman and an Aries man is adventurous. These are two cardinal signs with plenty of energy and stamina to keep things exciting in the bedroom. There tends to be a good give and take in this relationship, and their yin and yang energy benefits them when it comes to their sex life.
There is electricity felt between the two of them in this area of their life, and their power of attraction to each other is strong. These are two people who will want to do a lot of things together, including exploring sexually together.
The Aries man will have to be careful with being overly aggressive, however, as the soft Libra woman may not like this energy- it will completely depend on the two individuals at hand. The Libra woman wants to ease into things, the Aries man wants to get going right away. Learning about each other's bodies, and energy, and reading each other’s cues will help with this.
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What makes a relationship between a Libra woman and an Aries man work?
These two genuinely like each other, and that basis is a key factor for success in any relationship. The Aries man is straight to the point, direct, and inspired. The Libra woman admires these characteristics in others, as she is often herself finding her balance in this type of energy as well. Neither sign is overly emotional in a way that turns them off, and they both require a lot of the same things in a committed relationship. They want honesty, fun, good communication, passion, and to be moving towards a common goal together.
The Libra woman and Aries man don’t have a problem being real with each other and this is something they really value within the relationship. They are both very charming, and there is plenty of flirtation and attraction to keep this relationship going. Aries being the protector they are, Libra finds a sense of safety and ease in this energy, and like they have found their match. Overall, this is a well-balanced relationship and one where they don’t have a problem when it comes to compatibility or chemistry in the relationship.
What may cause a Libra woman and an Aries man to break up?
Libra is the lover, Aries is the fighter, and this energy may be tiring for the both of them after time. The Libra woman can be passive to a fault, and the Aries man who is not evolved, may take advantage of that. She will need to be careful with putting Aries’ needs above her own, creating resentment later down the road. The Aries man loves a challenge, and the Libra woman would be up for that game for a little bit, but if she is not being met in the middle, she will begin to look for other places. These two can have a difficult time keeping the peace in the relationship, and there could be a lot of arguments and disagreements here if they both aren’t willing to put their egos or self-pleasing attitudes to the side.
The Libra woman and Aries man are both more sensitive than they appear or come off as. They are also not necessarily the type to dive deep into their emotions and express them to others, even in their relationships. However, this energy can keep the relationship to a surface level than what is needed to progress and grow the relationship, and a sense of openness is required for this couple to work. Libra needs romance, she wants to be wowed. Aries needs to remember this and to always consider her love language.
Overall, this is a successful pairing. They will have their fair share of challenges in the relationship, but nothing they can’t overcome if they are willing to. The trouble will come in when it comes to the longevity of the relationship, keeping Aries excited and Libra in love. However, all in all, there is more power, attraction, and love to keep this relationship together rather than apart. No relationship is perfect, but this one is a little more blessed than most.
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