Quantcast
Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Mashonda & Alicia Keys' Co-Mothering Relationship Is A Reminder That Blended Families Can Be Lit

Alicia Keys

"Baby mama drama" is an outdated, chauvinistic term that's sometimes used to describe the familiar dynamic among a blended family. In 2018, the traditional idea of a family unit looks much different than it did to generations that precede ours, and young parents are totally hip to the impact of effective co-parenting.

Sometimes the one who we've created love and life with is not necessarily the person we're destined to be with forever, and that's okay. Millennial parents understand this inevitable reality and are determined to change the dynamic of blended families and now, even celebrities are joining the wave.

Stars like Jada Pinkett Smith and Mashonda Tifrere are among the women determined to change the narrative of "baby mama drama" in the black household and address the dysfunction that currently exists.

Johnny Nunez/WireImage

At the end of any relationship, tensions are high as the culmination of a whole lot of love ceases to exist on either or both ends. When you throw a young life into the mix of all of that, things can get messy. Swizz Beatz, Alicia Keys, and Mashonda are testaments to the fact that blended families can be complicated, but a healthy relationship among every party is well worth the trouble.

Swizz Beatz and Mashonda began their relationship in 1998 and married in 2004. Shortly after announcing their separation in 2008, tabloid rumors began to speculate that Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys were an item, which was later confirmed in 2009.

After a multitude of media coverage about the situation unfolded, Mashonda publicly confronted Alicia Keys in an open letter, adding salt to an already open wound in the tabloids. Since then, the trio seems to have resolved their issues, though never publicly confronting how their big happy family came to be.

Despite all our personal mess and biases, we tend to forget that when there are children involved, and when we keep that in mind-- all that other sh*t goes out the window. Mashonda, author of the new book, Blend: The Secret to Co-Parenting and Creating a Balanced Family, recently opened up about when she realized that she had to make a change in her family dynamic for the sake of her son's well-being:

"Six years ago, my [then] 5-year-old son asked me why his father and I didn't like each other anymore. I realized that he was reacting to our lack of communication and unity as parents. It was a wake-up call. Co-parenting and blending is a universal topic and many don't know where to begin. This book will serve as the inspiration and blueprint that is needed to raise emotionally and mentally healthy children."

The book is set to release Oct. 2 and will include advice from therapists, relationship experts, and stories from other blended families.

"With a dedicated chapter for fathers written by Swizz and a heartfelt foreword penned by Alicia, the three of us are raising our voices to help generations of families worldwide. I'm certain that the book will become a toolbox for mindful parents all over the world."

Yandy Smith is also among the stars seeking to change the narrative of blended families and wrote a book that tells the story of her own blended reality. She told CEOMom that she was inspired to write the book after a heartbreaking conversation with her son:

"'My Blended Family' is a book that evolved from a very personal experience. We, of course, are in a blended family. My son's older brother could not make it to his birthday party, because of a prior obligation with his mommy. My son was completely disappointed that his brother wasn't coming to his birthday party. He was more distraught that his brother had a different mommy. For that reason, I created this book for parents to have an easier way to explain to their children that some families are different, but they are still normal. I wanted him to know that he is not alone. He is not the only kid who has siblings with different families or parents."

Though AK and Mashonda have had a tumultuous history, the famous trio have been adamant about restoring their relationship for the sake of their family. The group even linked up last Mother's Day at the Beatz family home in a public display of comradery for a special meal with the whole crew.

Alicia Keys wrote on Instagram:

"I never thought love could be so deep, so wide, so open, so full, so elevating! Such a teacher!" Keys wrote on Instagram Monday. "Thank you for teaching me, growing me, deepening me!! I'm Forever yours Egypt, Genesis, Kasseem, Nas and Nicole."

Mashonda and AK prove that with a little faith a whole lot of work, blended families can be lit.

Featured image via Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Today is Malcolm X’s birthday. As an icon of Black liberation movements, his words are often rallying cries and guideposts in struggle. In 2020, after the officers who executed Breonna Taylor were not charged with her murder, my timeline was flooded with people reposting Malcolm’s famous quote: “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”

Keep reading...Show less

As her fame continues to rise, Tiffany Haddish has remained a positive light for her fans with her infectious smile and relatable story. Since Girls Trip, fans have witnessed the comedian become a modern-day Cinderella due to the many opportunities that have come her way and the recognition she began to receive.

Keep reading...Show less

We’ve all been there: Exhausted, lacking motivation, on edge, or simply not feeling like working at all. And we might have even used up all of our sick days, not to rest from a cold or injury, but just to get a bit of relief from those job or business responsibilities. Sometimes, you're not able to shake that nagging feeling of gloom, eventually finding yourself in a toxic pattern of unhealthy habits and behaviors. There's a larger issue that goes way beyond just needing a break.

Keep reading...Show less

CultureCon is one of the top conferences for creative people of color to attend to meet fellow changemakers. The event, which is presented by the Creative Collective NYC, has attracted some of our favorite entertainers as keynote speakers such as Tracee Ellis Ross, Chloe x Halle, Michael B. Jordan, and many more.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews

Exclusive: Jay Ellis Shares ‘Full-Circle’ Moment With His Parents & His Self-Care Ritual

Staying grounded is one of the actor's biggest priorities.

Latest Posts