Some of you know Justine Skye for the groundbreaking artist she is today and for guest appearances on Nick Cannon's Wild N' Out and BET's Tales with Romeo Miller, but I remember the OG Justine Skye. That's right - 14-year-old Tumblr famous, chocolate queen with dark purple tresses and an incomparable swag. From the gate, the "Build" singer has successfully stood out in the music industry for all the right reasons including undeniable talent, effervescent beauty and unconquerable strength.
She's always been a force to be reckoned with, no doubt about that. However, the ULTRAVIOLET artist has demonstrated impeccable growth as an artist and a woman since her Skye High debut mixtape release back in 2012. Now, Justine Skye is ready to "build" her career moving forward as an independent artist who is taking complete control of the creative execution of her vision.
Courtesy of Justine Skye
When the call first connected, Justine sounded chill and relaxed, as one would expect with her cool, calm and collected demeanor. As we exchanged introductions, the conversation that was initially scheduled to be an interview propelled into an intimate, candid discussion between two 24-year-old Black women about the importance of self-love, praising yourself and the bad habit of apologizing when unnecessary. Honestly, the entire time I felt like I was catching up with a homegirl that I hadn't heard from since high school. She truly is a genuine one-of-a-kind spirit.
I had the chance to catch up with my fellow New York native about her latest project Bare With Me, The Album, her growth as an artist from start to finish and remaining creative amidst the current state of the culture within the Black community.
xoNecole: How’s your mental health? I like to ask everybody how their spirit is doing before I proceed with any interview, especially during these times.
Justine Skye: Thank you, I appreciate that. I guess I'm doing a lot better than I once was when it all started, but I'm trying to take a step back from looking at all the things on social media right now and kind of clear my head.
That’s real, especially as a creative and as someone who’s always expected to post and let people know how they’re doing, it can be a bit pressuring, so I appreciate your transparency.
Of course, thank you for even asking.
Jumping right into it, I’m from Brooklyn as well - Brooklyn born and bred just like you, right in Sumner Projects off the J train. You and I know that there’s so much culture in that one borough alone. How has Brooklyn made you the artist and the fashionista that you are today?
Aye! I guess being from Brooklyn, there's so many different types of cultures there surrounding it. Whether it's Caribbean culture or African culture, or even Italian culture too, New York period is such a melting pot and I feel like it just played a lot into my personality. I would say that New York is very - well, not me - most people are like, "New York is kind of grimey." Well, I don't think "grimey" is the word, but I feel like it's just "real". I'm very thankful every day that that's where I'm from because I guess being an artist and traveling the world, you can sort out the real from the fake. I wouldn't want to be from anywhere else.
What about your Caribbean roots? You’re Jamaican, right?
How has that influenced your upbringing and your music?
It's something that I just grew up around, [it's] kind of embedded into me. I love dancehall and I love reggae, so any chance that I get when I hear the beat, it inspires me. I just try to tap into it.
Going back to young Justine, when did you know that music was for you and what spoke to you specifically about music that made you realize this was your life’s calling?
I always knew that I wanted to be a singer from the moment I probably opened my mouth, and my grandfather always inspired me to do so. I was very shy when I was younger, so when someone would ask me to sing, I would just ball up and want to run away (laughs). But one day, I guess I kind of got peer pressured into singing on a platform in front of a bunch of people on a panel. After that moment, my mom's friend was like, "This is it and if you don't do this now, no one's ever gonna take you seriously." For some reason, at the small age of fourteen, that kicked in for me and I was like, "I can't be scared to sing. This is something that God gave me and something I enjoy doing, so why am I hiding this?" I kind of just had to get over that fear and go for it.
Out of all of the things that you’ve done from 14 years old to now, what would you say has been one of - or some of - your biggest accomplishments in your career to date?
(Pauses) Damn, I should probably sit there and write a list down. I'm probably gonna do that today (laughs). I guess, off the top of my head, during these times of quarantine and everything that's happening in the world, I've been talking a lot more to my friends and sometimes we forget all that we've done. I've kind of just been reminding my friends, "I know right now is a rough time, but acknowledge all of the things that you've done in the world and be proud of yourself."
I kind of was thinking about, "Hmm, what am I proud of that I've done in my career?" And it's kind of like backtracking on the things that I have put in because I still feel like I'm in the beginning of my career. I mean, I'm only 24 and I have so much more left to go, but [something] I can say that I'm most proud of [is] being able to sing a Janet Jackson song to Janet Jackson. That was probably a huge - not probably, it was a huge moment for me. Being able to be independent, too. It's definitely not easy, but it's extremely revelating. I am thankful for the label experiences, but now I know this is something that I can do with a strong team around me. For some reason, I can't think of one off the top of my head.
I definitely feel that as women, especially as Black women, I feel like we don’t praise ourselves enough. I was just saying to one of my mentees yesterday that we do two things wrong: we apologize too much and we don’t give ourselves enough praise. You and I being the same age, we’re both 24, there are moments where we really have to look back on what we’ve done with our platform and how many lives we’ve touched because even though we may feel like something we’ve done may not be that big of a deal because we’re just so used to being that badass, know that what we did could’ve possibly changed - or saved - somebody’s life. Just by saying “hello” is impactful in itself. Thank yourself for doing the seemingly microcosmic things because you don’t know how that may have affected somebody. Always praise yourself because no one’s gonna reward you like you reward you.
Thank you - wow, I needed that today.
I just like to be honest with people because I’m a firm believer in mental health and I feel that you are in charge of how you talk to yourself. You’re the first voice that you hear in the morning and you’re the last voice you hear at night. You can be your own best friend or your own worst enemy; I would like to be my best friend because I’ve talked to myself horribly sometimes and I know how nasty I can get.
Same. I one million percent believe in that. Sometimes when I was younger and I would go to shows, I didn't really truly understand the impact that I had on other people. I think that's the most beautiful thing about being an artist is that we feel alone, but then when you make music and other people listen to it, you're touching so many people around the world that you literally don't even know. Whenever I would go on tours and do shows, beautiful brown girls would come up to me and say, "Thank you for just being you, living up there, being brave, getting on stage and speaking your truth," and I didn't really realize the impact it had until I went into the world and people told me.
"I think that's the most beautiful thing about being an artist is that we feel alone, but then when you make music and other people listen to it, you're touching so many people around the world that you literally don't even know."
Your gift is something that a lot of people can’t say that they have. You have the power of influence through your talents and your artistry. Your music has even touched me as someone who has been in toxic relationships and someone who has been that Black girl from the projects of Brooklyn and didn’t feel like she was gonna make it out. Your influence is powerful and always remember that. I will never let anyone, especially someone as young and talented as you, ever doubt their ability to touch people. That’s just not gonna happen in my book.
Thank you, I really appreciate that. I love this phone call (laughs)!
No problem, and it really makes me sad because one day I was listening to one of your interviews on HYPEBEAST Radio about a time where you nearly wanted to quit music. What was going through your mind and what kept you going?
I guess it was just a moment of self-doubt. You kind of get confused because I've been doing this since I was signed professionally at 17 and I'm 24 now, so I guess I was in a place where I was like, "What am I doing? Why hasn't this gone anywhere yet?" Those are the moments where I had to sit back and realize [that] I have accomplished so many things and it doesn't just end here - there's so much left to go.
If SZA said, "Alright, well what's going on?" and just quit, she wouldn't be the huge star she is today. There's so many artists today that have the same story. [Where would they be] if they just let their self-doubt get in the way of who they are today? With the pressure that we now receive from social media and all that stuff, it's just so in-your-face and you see it. It's easier said than done to be like, "Oh, don't look at it," and it kind of just eats at you. In that moment, I felt like I was having a little bit of a breakdown as to what I was doing with my life and what I was doing wrong, but then, I had to sit there and think about all of the things I've done right and keep moving forward.
"In that moment, I felt like I was having a little bit of a breakdown as to what I was doing with my life and what I was doing wrong, but then, I had to sit there and think about all of the things I've done right and keep moving forward."
Obviously, you’ve grown a lot as an artist, but I can only imagine because I’ve never been in the public eye, and you are someone that everybody recognizes. As such a beautiful, talented, down-to-earth, vibrant Black woman, I’m sure even you have your days where you, as you mentioned, doubt yourself. When was the moment when you started to love yourself for who you are and how do you practice self-love?
I'm not gonna lie, it probably was about two years ago - maybe about a year and a half. I'm still practicing self-love and learning how to love me, every part of me and I think that the first step is acknowledging your flaws and ending with the great parts of you, you know? Just wanting to be a better person every single day when you wake up.
It's not that complicated, but it is complicated because of all of the other elements in the world. It's just tuning out that part out and surrounding yourself with people who believe in you [and] encourage you. I feel like that was a big issue for me too that I didn't really have that strong of a team, and now I have such great people around me that support me and encourage me to believe in myself.
"I'm still practicing self-love and learning how to love me, every part of me and I think that the first step is acknowledging your flaws and ending with the great parts of you, you know? Just wanting to be a better person every single day when you wake up.It's not that complicated, but it is complicated because of all of the other elements in the world."
What advice do you have for any creative who’s currently struggling to manage their mental health and practice self-love?
It's not easy at all (laughs). I don't know if I even have the best advice, but nothing great in life and nothing that you value in life is going to be easy. I feel like I just said that to someone the other day, but once you go through those hardships and those obstacles and you do what you've wanted, you feel so much better.
Speaking of obstacles, there’s a lot happening in our community in a time during COVID-19, the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and a countless list of names that have been transformed from hashtags to movements. How have you utilized your platform in the music industry to uplift the Black agenda, Black people, brown girls, and raise awareness about current events in the Black community?
As this is going on, I'm also educating myself on the situations that have been happening that I may not have been aware of myself. It's just completely and utterly disgusting and devastating. What I've been doing is protesting, I've been with the people, I've been donating, [and] even talking to my wealthy friends to see what we can do, how we can donate, how we can make a change. I had a meeting with about 40 people the other day where we just discussed, "Alright cool, we can march, we can do this and do that, but how are we gonna make real change to something so close [to] even the people we hang around?"
We just sat down, told our stories and why we were there, and came up with a list of what we can do and the first step was creating a union where the first question was, "Have we experienced racism or white privilege, or [have] been witness to it?," so we had an open discussion about that especially with a lot of people being in the industry.
[Second], we made a promise to each other that we'd be there to support speaking out against that in the industry because that's where it starts. If you're in a meeting with a brand and they're like, "We don't want to use [that] Black person because they're too Black," it's just [about] speaking up because a lot of people admitted they were scared to do so because they'd lose their jobs. If we are here and know we have this foundation that will support us whenever we see something going on, that's just one step closer to ending this racism within our industry.
On top of that, we’re also in a quarantine and COVID-19 has impacted so much for Black people and people of color because of unemployment, lack of healthcare opportunities that already weren’t there, and being turned away from hospitals and facilities for testing. How has COVID-19 stifled your creativity or your creative process, or has being in social isolation actually helped you?
Honestly, it has helped and it has hurt because I'm the type of person that needs adventures and we've been kind of locked away, so not much has been happening in order to write about [it], but I have been tapping into emotions and other feelings that I've felt before in the past, but it might not necessarily be new stories. Some of them are new stories, but it's been strange for me creatively, good because I've been working on my writing and I feel like I've been getting better and better each time.
A dream of mine has, also, been to work with Timbaland and that's been happening, too, to the point where we're just consistently on the phone talking about new beats, new sounds, and I'm just learning so much. I haven't even met him in person yet; we just literally go on FaceTime and work remotely. It's so crazy that this came out of that.
It’s funny because I was just about to ask you about the collaboration you two have been doing, Space and Time Sessions. Timbaland is such a powerhouse in music and production, to say the least. How did that come about and what has your relationship with him been like?
He saw a video of "Recover" that I did with my friend and he's known about me - it's been in talks, but he saw the video on my Instagram and he DM'd me and was like, "Hey, I wanna do one." I was like, "What? What do you mean?" (laughs) and he just started sending me beats and I started writing to them.
Then, we created something with my management team who is also very good friends with [Timbaland] as well - Space and Time Sessions. There's gonna be another one this Friday, but we kind of put a halt to it as many artists during this time out of respect for what's going on in the world. It just doesn't feel right.
Switching gears a bit, I want to talk to you about 'Bare With Me'. Super excited about that - how is that a reflection of your growth as an artist since your Tumblr days, the release of 'Skye High', and dropping YouTube covers?
I wrote a lot more on this project, and it's been more personal than any of my other music. It was my first project that I released independently, so that was a huge milestone for me and - well, I don't want to say risk because I feel like it was the best thing that I've ever done so far. It's definitely my favorite project that I've ever put out and I feel like every time I get into the studio, I'm consistently evolving. That's what music is really about for me: beating the last thing that you did.
"I feel like every time I get into the studio, I'm consistently evolving. That's what music is really about for me: beating the last thing that you did."
Amen to that. What was the primary inspiration behind 'Bare With Me' and the title?
Basically, it was a double entendre - kind of like bear with me while I work on the album because it was the Bare With Me EP. Then, as I was recording and working on my next project, I came across some songs that were still tied to the emotions that I had while I was working on the Bare With Me EP. I just wanted to repackage it with those new songs and finish that cycle of emotions that I don't feel anymore.
Without giving away too much, what’re some of your favorite songs and what can we expect?
My favorite song is definitely "Million Days" which is one of the new songs that you'll hear on the project, because it's super personal. I don't know if everyone else will love it as much as I will, but for me, it's just very cinematic. Every time I hear it, it's like a movie playing out of that exact moment and point in time in my life where I felt that vulnerable.
What advice do you have for anyone that’s looking to break into the music industry, or is already in the music industry and looking to grow, but they’re also in their own way?
I would say that there's a lot of people who are gonna try to tell you what they think you should do and there's a point that I hit in my life when I was just trying to listen to everyone else instead of myself. I kind of lost who I was in that process and in the past year and a half, two years, I've gotten out of that and been whole again with me and on this journey of figuring out exactly who Justine Skye is and what her sound is. Really listen to yourself (laughs) and I know it sounds super cliche, but if you feel strongly about not doing something or strongly about doing something, then definitely follow your instincts because 90% of the time, you're right.
For more of Justine, follow her on Instagram. Bare With Me, The Album is out now, stream it on Spotify and Apple Music.
Featured image courtesy of Justine Skye
This post is in partnership with Amgen.
The seemingly simple task of taking a breath is something most of us don’t think twice about. But for people who live with severe asthma, breathing does not always come easily. Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs, affects millions of people worldwide – 5-10% of which live with severe asthma. Severe asthma is a chronic and lifelong condition that is unpredictable and can be difficult to manage. Though often invisible to the rest of the world, severe asthma is a not-so-silent companion for those who live with it, often interrupting schedules and impacting day-to-day life.
Among the many individuals who battle severe asthma, Black women face a unique set of challenges. It's not uncommon for us to go years without a proper diagnosis, and finding the right treatment often requires some trial and error. Thankfully, all hope is not lost for those who may be fighting to get their severe asthma under control. We spoke with Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq. and Jania Watson, two inspiring Black women who have been living with severe asthma and have found strength, resilience, and a sense of purpose in their journeys.
Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq.
Juanita Ingram has a resume that would make anyone’s jaw drop. On top of being recently crowned Mrs. Universe, she’s also an accomplished attorney, filmmaker, and philanthropist. From the outside, it seems there’s nothing this talented woman won’t try, and likely succeed at. In her everyday life, however, Juanita exercises a lot more caution. From a young age, Juanita has struggled with severe asthma. Her symptoms were always exacerbated by common illnesses like a cold or flu. “I've heard these stories of my breathing struggles, but I remember distinctly when I was younger not being able to breathe every time I got a virus,” says Ingram. “I remember missing a lot of school and crying a lot because asthma is painful. I [was taken] to see my doctor often if I got sick with anything so I was hypervigilant as a child, and I still am.”
Today, Juanita says her symptoms are best managed when she’s working closely with her care team, avoiding getting sick and staying ahead of any symptoms. Ingram said she’s been blessed with skilled doctors who are just as vigilant of her symptoms as she is. While competing in the Mrs. Universe competition, Juanita took extra care to stay clear of other competitors to ensure she didn’t catch a cold or virus that would trigger her severe asthma. “I would stand off to the side and sometimes that could be taken as ‘oh, she thinks she's better than everybody else.’ But if I get sick during a pageant, I'm done. I had to compete with that in mind because my sickness doesn't look like everybody else's sickness.”
Even when her symptoms are under control, living with severe asthma still presents challenges. Juanita relies on her strong support system to overcome the hurdles caused by a lack of understanding from the public, “I think that there's a lot of lack of awareness about how serious severe asthma is. I would [also] tell women to advocate and to trust their intuition and not to allow someone to dismiss what you're experiencing.”
Jania, a content creator from Atlanta, Georgia, has been living with severe asthma for many years. Thanks to early testing by asthma specialists, Jania was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child after experiencing frequent flare-ups and challenges in her day-to-day life. “I specifically remember, I was starting school, and we were moving into a new house. One of the triggers for me and my younger sister at the time were certain types of carpets. We had just moved into this new house and within weeks of us being there, my parents literally had to pay for all new carpet in the house.”
As Jania grew older, she was suffering from fewer flare-ups and thought her asthma was well under control. However, a trip back to her doctor during high school revealed that her severe asthma was affecting her more than she realized. “That was the first time in a long time I had to do a breathing test,” she describes. “The doctor had me take a deep breath in and blow into a machine to test my breathing. They told me to blow as hard as I could. And I was doing it. I was giving everything I got. [My dad and the doctor] were looking at me like ‘girl, stop playing.’ And at that point [it confirmed] I still have severe asthma because I've given it all I got. It doesn't really go away, but I just learned how to help manage it better.”
Jania recognizes that people who aren’t living with asthma, may not understand the disease and mistake it for something less serious. Or there could be others who think their symptoms are minor, and not worth bringing up. So, for Jania, communicating with others about her diagnosis is key. “Having severe asthma [flare-ups] in some cases looks very similar to being out of shape,” she said. “But this is a chronic illness that I was born with. This is just something that I live with that I've been dealing with. And I think it's important for people to know because that determines the next steps. [They might ask] ‘Do you need a bottle of water, or do you need an inhaler? Do you need to take a break, or do we need to take you to the hospital?’ So, I think letting the people around you know what's going on, just in case anything were to happen plays a lot into it as well.”
Like Juanita, Jania’s journey has been marked by ups and downs, but she remains an unwavering advocate for asthma awareness and support within the Black community. She hopes that her story can be an inspiration to other women with asthma who may not yet have their symptoms under control. “There's still life to be lived outside of having severe asthma. It is always going to be there, but it's not meant to stop you from living your life. That’s why learning how to manage it and also having that support system around you, is so important.”
By sharing their journeys, Juanita and Jania hope to encourage others to embrace their conditions, obtain a proper management plan from a doctor or asthma specialist like a pulmonologist or allergist, and contribute to the improvement of asthma awareness and support, not only within the Black community, but for all individuals living with severe asthma.
Read more stories from others like Juanita and Jania on Amgen.com, or visit Uncontrolled Asthma In Black Women | BREAK THE CYCLE to find support and resources.
How We Metis a series where xoNecole talks about love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
Oftentimes, people say love and business don't mix, but this couple is one another's yin and yang in a journey to live their best life and achieve financial freedom through entrepreneurship. James and Deanna Robinson connected on ambition, confidence, and go-getter initiative from the very start. Both serial entrepreneurs have seen success in their respective fields and have even partnered up for joint ventures where each brings their unique strengths to the table.
"I can bring the deal to the table," James said.
"And I’m the closer," Deanna added.
"I’m not the type to send out the emails and things like that. She’s on top of that part. When we’re out, she’s quiet. I’ll be there networking. I feel like that’s where I’m strong," James continued.
"We almost missed the interview today," Deanna added with a laugh. "I gotta be in the field," James said.
Deanna launched FabBody Fitness more than a decade ago, empowering a lucrative market via her Maryland-based women's-only gym. The founder of the FabBody Retreat now works as a health and wellness advocate with corporate and private clients. James got skin in the game as a chef and went on to launch three of his own KitchenCray restaurants. He also recently launched Technology Partners LLC, which offers construction, demolition, IT, and other related services. Beyond their individual ventures, they're also real estate investors and own a black car service.
The couple, who met in 2013 and wed in 2017, shared how they manage running multiple businesses while still keeping the fire alive in their marriage, the challenges they've faced as balancing love, businesses, and parenting, and why they're the ideal partners in ventures and in life.
Serial entrepreneurs James and Deanna Robinson share why they're the ideal partners in ventures and in life.
How We Met
Deanna: I used to do these client appreciation pool parties. We actually met at one of my pool parties. His company was doing a sponsorship of some of the food items. This is when I had my gym, so it was for all my personal training clients.
James: The thing that attracted me was that she had her own business, she was doing something so I could learn from her. And I thought she looked good.
Deanna: I had known about him before we met. At that time he didn’t have any restaurants. He was doing catering and pop-up events. What attracted me to him was that he was a businessman and that he was very ambitious and that I could learn from him as well.
Deanna: It was to this French restaurant called La Diplomat in D.C. The most memorable thing about that date to me was we ordered a dish called foie gras and I wasn’t a foodie then. Quite different to now. I had no idea with foie gras was, but I was still open to trying stuff. I tried it and hated it. Now, I actually really like it. That always sticks out to me, when we sit down at a restaurant now to order it, we think about that first date when I had that with him and I despised it. After that, it was one of the things I admired about him as well is that he opened up my palette for food.
James: I didn’t know she didn’t like it. I didn’t know if she was a foodie or not. I’ve been a chef for 21 years, always into food so I just took her somewhere I know nobody was taking her. That stuck out to me—that she wasn’t a foodie.
Deanna: [Laughs] I was into oxtail and curry goat.
"The thing that attracted me was that she had her own business, she was doing something so I could learn from her," James explained.
Deanna: What sticks out to me is we started really dating in September–the pool party was that August—and that’s always a rough time around the holidays because you just never know, like, ‘Are we gifting each other?’ or ‘What level of gift should we do?’ I had decided I was not going to get him a gift. I always felt like in relationships I was always the one doing too much.
The first time I decided not to do too much, was the time he decided to give me a gift. I felt horrible because he got me a really cute gift. It was, like, some perfume, or something. I didn’t get him anything. That’s when I knew. I had actually scaled myself back from being the kind person I was when all along I should’ve just continued to do what I do and the right person would accept it and it would be reciprocated.
James: I probably got it just by listening to her. She’s a real family-[oriented] person and holidays are important to them.
Deanna: His love language is acts of service and mine is quality time.
Favorite Way To Spend Quality Time
Deanna: We like to plan trips so that we have something to look forward to, so even when one or both of us are really busy, we know that in the next few weeks, we’re going to this place and it’s just going to be us. And it’s even better when we plan a long haul trip to a totally different time zone so that means when we’re up and doing stuff, everybody else might be sleep, so we won’t be on our phones or people won’t be calling as much for business. So really travel has been one of the ways we can kind of do the work-life balance.
Travel’s definitely one [way to keep the spark alive], and I think, going out to eat— trying new foods.
James: And we’ve got the baby. When we go places, we’re trying to call her on FaceTime. I remember when we went to Italy and our friend had a baby and we were so annoyed, like, ‘She keeps talking about the baby,’ and now we do that. [Laughs]. You’ve got that little 2-year-old baby that you love, so that’s one of the hardest parts, too, with entrepreneurship and us working. We’re not depending on a steady [9-to-5] check. We have to create something to go out and get, and we’re spending time away from the wife and your kid, and they want their own individual time as well. Building a family is not easy.
"We’re not depending on a steady check. We have to create something to go out and get, and we’re spending time away from the wife and your kid, and they want their own individual time as well. Building a family is not easy."
"We like to plan trips so that we have something to look forward to," Deanna shared about the couple's love for travel.
Overcoming Challenges As Married Entrepreneurs
Deanna: It's about making sure we prioritize that quality time. As a business owner, especially when your business is still in the growth stages, it’s important that we’re both grinding—especially for him. He’s got businesses in different states and events in other countries. He’s got to travel a lot. So it’s really important for us—and really tough for us—to make sure we’re carving out that time for family and making sure that we are spending quality time.
Even just being present is not always necessarily quality time—trying to stay off our phones when we have business on our phones and we need to answer that text message and send this invoice. So that’s been a challenge. It’s something we have gotten better at.
James: I like to make money and live a certain lifestyle now, and I have to be the one speaking the truth, like ‘Hey, you want this quality time, but we’ve got bills to pay.’ So, we have to figure [out] what’s going to work. If we’re going to live like this, one of us is going to have to be out in the field working and putting stuff together—building stuff up. I’m not saying we’re going to be doing that forever, but at least we gotta build a foundation, and make sure things are in place and systems are in place that work. That doesn’t happen overnight.
I feel like the older you get, more things start to change. In the beginning you can have one vision and later you can have another vision. Or 10 years later you might [say], I’m done. So, you just gotta learn and grow, because nobody’s going to stay the same every year. You have to communicate and be vocal and let the person know, ‘These are my goals, too.’
The more you stay together, the more you have to communicate and [talk about] the direction.
Deanna: He has a great sense of humor and I really like his swag. It’s a confidence. Even just his fashion sense—it’s very different and he doesn’t care what other people think about it. Of course, his ambition goes into that swag-iness as well.
James: I wish I had that way [of how] she’s close with her family. She's [very caring]. She grew up with her parents and around love. I didn’t. I’m learning from her to really be a super family-loving person. I’m not the same person I was when I met her.
I [grew up] in foster care. My grandmother took me in. I grew up in shelters. She didn’t have to go through all that stuff. I can be like ‘Forget this. I’m done. On to the next,’ but she has that trait where she can be patient and understanding. One of the things I learned is giving people the benefit of the doubt. I used to cut people off. … As I grew, I learned to give more benefit of the doubt to people. That trait of hers rubbed off on me and made me a better person.
For more information on Deanna and James Robinson and their businesses, follow their respective pages on Instagram @deannarobinsonfit and @kitchencray.
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