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Shan Boody & Jared Brady On How They Went From Casual To Committed

How We Met

How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.

Editor's Note: As of December 2018, Shannon and Jared are married! Congrats to the happy couple!

In true millennial modern love fashion, for Shannon Boodram and her partner of two and a half years, Jared Brady, first came sex and then came love.


The couple were looking for something, but nothing in particular when they met each other, and then encountered each other again a year later thanks to witty exchanges via Instagram DMs.

An innocent night of Ted Talk and chill proved to be the start of a beautiful relationship for the LA-based creative multihyphenates, paving the way for an effortlessness and a seamlessness that neither of them had ever felt with any connection before them. A friends with benefits relationship quickly evolved to be so much more. The rapper/producer and the sexologist/intimacy expert are widely known for putting familiar faces to the non-traditional relationship style "open relationship," particularly on Shannon's YouTube channel through a popular Q&A series on the topic.

Shannon, 32, and Jared, 26, give the ins and outs of how they met, how they make it work, and ultimately, how old doesn't compete with new and new doesn't compete with old when it comes to any relationship – especially not in an open one.

How We Met

Jared Brady: I used to bartend at a place called Bobby London in Koreatown. A mutual friend of ours, Affion Crockett, had brought her and another friend over, and that was the first time we met.

Shannon Boodram: I remember him coming up to us and I was like, “I really want this dude to dance with me." I really like him, I wanted to dance with him. I wanted him to talk to me, but he didn't. When we left there, Affion followed me on Instagram and I looked at his profile and was like, “Here is this dude that I thought was so cute." I followed him. It took an actual year later before we saw each other again in person. It was kind of like this very slow, long, Instagram courting process.

He was the first that started the DMs, but I played it off and then like a year, probably like a few months after, I met up with him on his birthday and we agreed to meet up in person. We didn't end up having sex that night but maybe like two weeks later. Again, like he said, it was a really, really positive f*ck buddy relationship until it slowly translated into something else.

Making It Official

Shannon: Probably a month into us knowing each other in that way when I gave him the keys to my apartment to water my plants while I was gone. Healthy intimacy building is making a leap of faith with somebody in terms of intimacy and comfort and boundaries. If they successfully work at that task, then you do something else with them.

Without of us really having that goal (relationship) in mind, we were building a slow intimacy trust together to see if it could become something that is long-term and sufficient. I think we just naturally did that with each other.

It was just a really slow, comfortable process of us crossing boundaries, seeing that it was safe and then staying there for a while until it felt time to cross another boundary together.

Jared: There were no real conversations [about making it official], not for a while, I think because it just happened naturally. I mean, I think both of us are kind are good communicators.

Every time we took a step forward toward the relationship, I feel like it was very mutual and organic instead of like, “So, what are we?" It was never that type of conversation. It was just over time, Shannon would or I would need more of a boyfriend or girlfriend. Like if she was sick or she needed help on the car or she needed help with everyday life stuff, I usually was that person that she would call. Then, it just kind of started to transition into: “Okay, I'm not just a fuck buddy anymore. I'm taking the role of something else."

Open Communication

Jared: Naturally, being in an open relationship can be tough, it'll be tough if you go on a date. I have every thought that every normal person would have and vice versa, I'm sure. If I go on a date or if I'm with some other girl, I'm pretty sure all the same thoughts go through that. But I think the challenge is mitigating that and understanding that love is bigger than yourself.

I guess our communicating who the person that you're going on a date with is to you, understanding that you can't be all things for one person. I guess it's understanding your role and what I am to her - that is a help for me.

Shannon: Yes, I think it's general that just knowing who you are to that person and knowing about that. I know how valuable I am to Jared and know our relationship. I know how positive we are for each other on every level. If he goes out to experience something or share something with someone different, then that's okay. If he comes home and says, “This person would be a better fit for me," it would be the worst day of my life but also the best thing that I could see the person that I love maybe come to another plateau of finding himself.

I think it's just reminding yourself that like what am I so afraid of? What is the alternative? The alternative to me feeling jealous right now, is me feeling like I'm holding someone back. I think that, that would be far worse.

Sharing Spaces

Shannon: I mean, my least favorite thing [about living with each other] is sometimes the people you bring around. My job is so extroverted and I'm an ambivert. We've lived in this building now for like two years almost, I do not know one person's name here. I don't want to make friends (laughs).

When I'm at home, I really like not having to put on a face. Jared, when you do have friends over, you usually are being productive and I'm so happy that you are productive and doing things that you love. I'm happy that you're getting time to grow and expand. I'm happy that you allow me to close the door and not come out and speak with people and that's okay.

Jared: The toughest thing. What is the toughest thing living with you? I think the toughest thing is a give and take like it's going to sound funny. The way that usually works here is that she'll cook and I'll clean. When she cooks, she doesn't have to clean. So, she doesn't cook with the knowingness of having to clean. But that's not even tough, like she was saying. It's just one of those things. I haven't had to cook in two years.

Shannon: I haven't done laundry in two years (laughs).

Jared: I think my favorite thing about living with Shannon would be the space and the allowance that she gives me to make mistakes. I grew up with a dad that was very military-like and very critical of every move that I make.

I think my favorite thing with living with her is just the space that she gave me to learn.

Shannon: I have to say the sex [is my favorite part about living with you]. I think it's the unexpected sex in different times of days and just, I don't know, it's affection really. My love language is physical touch so having access to somebody sometimes, if we're both working from home, I can ask him, “Can we go lay down for a second?" and just like cuddle or take a ten-minute break to do that. Like, you let me.

I guess I can be the best parts of myself and have somebody who would bring out the best in me and accepts the worst in me. That's a really cool experience on a daily basis.

Love Lessons

Shannon: [Through loving Jared] I learned that I'm good enough. There's a lot of things that I told myself before this relationship. I told myself I couldn't live with people because my last relationship was such a nightmare. I told myself that I'm a selfish person in a relationship and it's difficult for me to really see my partner. I told myself that I don't really understand men that well. A lot of things I think as a result of failed relationships that I just kind of came to know with who I was and then being with somebody where the fit is good, I'm like, "No, it's not me. I am good at living with people. I am a loving person. I am a nice person. I do understand that I do understand I love people."

Jared: Ironically for me, it's kind of the same thing. I think, in the past relationships before meeting Shannon, I was always the person to think that there was something wrong with me or something off with me because I would always end up losing interest or losing desire. Or, even in my professional life, I would stumble or mess up or give up easily or things that I'm not good enough in certain aspects of me. But with Shannon, like she said, she was enough. I feel like, “Okay, cool. I have all these tools. I have all the gift. I have all the abilities to do whatever I want in this life." I know it sounds very simple and very light, of course. But it really taught me a lot, being with somebody accepting me fully for me.

Favorite Part

Jared: I think with Shannon, there's a lot of things that I love about her, but I think my favorite thing is her intelligence. Her intelligence is something that I inspire to be. I learned so much from her and I learned so much with her. But for me, it's just that something that I really knew off bat, when I first met her, was intelligent she was.

Glamour Magazine

Shannon: I would say to Jared and I am not the person who would say this. He is genuinely a very good and kind person. His heart is really pure. I think over time, I'm learning to be a nicer person. I can tend to be like, if I'm hurt or prodded to a corner, I might lash out verbally at somebody. Jared literally never called me a name in this relationship. He never called me a b*tch, he never called me stupid. I think that that type of kindness is something that I can't even understand, let alone mimic. It's always inspiring to watch.

*Originally published on December 20, 2017. Article has been edited for length and clarity.

Editor's Note:

As of December 2018, two years after this How We Met feature first went live, Shannon Boodram and her partner Jared Brady have officially tied the knot and our now married! The happy couple got engaged last year and married shortly after in an intimate ceremony surrounded by family, friends, and of course, plenty of love. Congrats to this amazing and loving couple!

For more Shannon and Jared, be sure to follow the couple on Instagram @shanboody and @enjoyjaredbrady.

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
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Staples.

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