What do you get when you mix three long-term, in-love couples with a batch of eligible suitors looking to snag a compatible mate? A whole hour-long, front-row seat to some spicy commentary and telling reveals. And if that's something that sounds right up your alley, then look no further than the new Will Packer series Put A Ring On It. This show centers around these couples as they embark on the ultimate journey to discover if they're truly meant to be together--by dating other people.
So if you ever wondered whether or not the grass was truly greener on the other side in your relationship, allow this show to be the social experiment you need to answer all your questions. Friday night's series premiere was a DOOZY to say the least, so let's get all the way into it. Starting with…
The 'Put A Ring On It' Couples
Meet Ashley & Hollywood
Ashley and Hollywood, 'Put A Ring On It'
Courtesy of OWN
Let's start with these two lovebirds, Ashley and Hollywood. They're arguably my favorite couple but I may be biased because I'm in love with any and all Southern accents (they're both from New Orleans). They've been together for nine years and according to Hollywood, should have already been married by now. But as it's revealed in the initial sit down with resident relationship coach Dr. Nicole LaBeach, Ashley isn't quite sure if she's ready to head down that road just yet.
"I'm not afraid of marriage at all, I'm afraid of marriage with the wrong person. I'm scared to allow myself to be completely vulnerable with him, I'm scared to allow myself to get to that next level."
Now what you have left to be scared of after a nine-year-long relationship is beyond me, but as the conversation continues--we learn a very interesting fact. Hollywood had previously proposed to Ashley some years back but his cold feet and fear caused him to go back and forth on their engagement. Thus giving Ashley more than enough ammo to be doubtful of his ability to fully commit now. Hmph. Y'know, Maya Angelou always said, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."
Meet Che' & Michael
Che' & Michael, 'Put A Ring On It'
Courtesy of OWN
OK, so this beautiful brown couple threw me for a loop and I'll tell you why. They've known each other for about six years, but have only been dating for two. Che' says they're soulmates and Michael truly believes that she is his best friend. So where's the disconnect, sis? Well, I'm glad you ask. At the heart of it, the two of them don't really agree on what a marriage truly is or is about. She feels that it's a natural evolution for two people in love, while he feels it's "two people who sign a contract to be together by force." And he may have a good reason for feeling that way.
You see, somewhere in between Che' and his relationship, Che' came to the conclusion that she actually still had feelings for her ex and broke things off. And so Michael did what any other single person would after being dumped-- dated other people. But not only did he date another woman, he moved to DC with said woman AND asked for her hand in marriage. And as luck (or karma if you wanna argue) would have it, the engagement only exacerbated issues between the two. So after coming to his senses, he moved back to ATL and back into Che's life emotionally scarred from a failed engagement. Thus making Michael hesitant to bring matrimonial havoc into his happy home.
"I don't think marriage is necessary because we wake up and choose to be with each other right now. We're in such a good place, I don't wanna ruin things."
I guess, chile.
Mi-Mi & Eyuless
Mi-Mi & Eyuless, 'Put A Ring On It'
Courtesy of OWN
This brings us to our final lovey dovey couple and we honestly meet them at a crossroads. These two met on a video shoot and let Eyuless tell it--it was love at first sight. (Even though Mimi admits to making a move on him first on their first date during their confessional.) They seem to mesh very well and balance each other out, according to Mi-Mi. But in the sit down with Dr. Nicole, we learned that everything isn't exactly what it seems to be on the surface. See the thing is, Eyuless WANTS to marry Mi-Mi, but previous relationship discretions, aka cheating, are keeping doubts at the front of Mi-Mi's mind.
It's not that she doesn't love him--she absolutely does. She just doesn't know if she wants to stay in this relationship or move forward. Plus, there are other hindrances that play a major role too like poor communication, insecurity, and lack of accountability. At the heart of it all, Mi-Mi just wants to be sure that it's going to last because she DOES NOT want a divorce, as we learn in her confessional. This marriage has to be the one. And if Eyuless isn't prepared to address and change some things, she's not so sure if this is a path she needs to continue down. This can arguably be true for all the couples in the group.
But Dr. Nicole has just what they need to help make sense of everything, which brings me to…
Now listen, I'm not sure if these couples were fully aware that this was part of the deal but when Dr. Nicole lets it be known that the couples would be dating other people as a means to ascertain their true feelings towards one another-- it was met with mixed emotions. And while most of the men expressed their slight disdain and confusion, back at home the real feelings began to show. Michael was a bit nonchalant towards Che', which caused her to feel as if Michael has become a bit too comfortable in their relationship. Meanwhile, Hollywood's initial playfully cautionary reaction turns a bit more serious and testy when Ashley's date arrives at their apartment. This leads Ashley to believe that Hollywood is somewhat intimidated, not by her new date per se, but what it represents: a potentially better future WITHOUT him.
And at Eyuless' crib, he and Mi-Mi get in a heated conversation resulting in him storming off at the thought of Mi-Mi having to experience another man for her to realize he's the only one that can "do for her the way he can." At any rate, Ashley and Che' go on their respective dates with men who bring a new energy into both of their lives. But Mi-Mi, having gotten an unexpected phone call concerning her father's illness, doesn't go and turns to Eyuless for comfort and assurance. This was honestly heartbreaking and touching to see them go through but I guess things can't always be "blue skies and rainbows." (It'll hit you on the ride home later.)
When all three couples return for another sit down with Dr. Nicole, both Ashley and Che' admit to having a good time and being "refreshed" after coming in contact with two good men who have exceptional qualities that directly contrast that of their own lovers. But it's not until Mimi admits what went down in her household that they all learn a valuable lesson: marriage in and of itself won't change a damn thing.
"Marriage doesn't have any power, you do. You define it, you make the rules, you make the boundaries."
In essence, all a marriage license will do is amplify whatever work, happiness, and issues a couple is already experiencing. And if these couples don't get it together right now, then a ring and walk down the aisle won't solve anything or assuage their feelings. Truer words have never been said and that's word to Dr. Nicole. Next week, it's the men's turn to go on their dates and I'm already knowing this is about to be some mess. (That dap Hollywood and Michael gave each other, uh-uh.) I honestly hope these couples can find their way to a happy resolve, whatever that may be but regardless--I can already tell this season is about to get reaaaaaaaal interesting.
Put A Ring On It airs every Friday night at 10pm ET only on the OWN Network. Keep up with the conversation online by following @owntv.
Featured image courtesy of OWN
Writer. Empath. Escapist. Young, gifted, and Black. Shanelle Genai is a proud Southern girl in a serious relationship with celebrity interviews, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and long walks down Sephora aisles. Keep up with her on IG @shanellegenai.
Chief Mom Officer: 23 Quotes From Working Moms Finding Their Balance
The truth is, Black moms create magic every single day. Whether we're juggling motherhood with a busy 9-5, a thriving business, or staying at home to run a household, no day is short of amazing when you're managing life as a mommy. This Mother's Day, xoNecole is giving flowers to CMOs (Chief Mom Officers) in business who exemplify the strength it takes to balance work with motherhood.
We've commissioned these ladies, who are pillars in their respective industries, for tidbits of advice to get you through the best and worst days of mothering. Here, they share their "secret sauce" and advice for other moms trying to find their rhythm.
Emmelie De La Cruz, Chief Strategist at One Day CMO
"My mom friends and I all laugh and agree: Motherhood is the ghettoest thing you will ever do. It's beautiful and hard all at the same time, but one day you will wake up and feel like 'I got this' and you will get the hang of it. After 4 months, I finally felt like I found my footing to keep my kid and myself alive, but it took vulnerability to take off the cape and be honest about the areas that I didn't have it all together. The healing (physically and emotionally) truly does happen in community - whatever and whoever that looks like for you."
Alizè V. Garcia, Director Of Social & Community Impact at Nike
"I would tell a new mom or a prospective mother that they must give themselves grace, understand and remember there is no right way to do this thing and have fun! When I had my daughter three and a half years ago, I was petrified! I truly had no clue about what to do and how I was going to do it. But with time, my confidence grew and I realized quickly that I have all the tools I need to be the mother I want to be."
Nikki Osei-Barrett, Publicist + Co-Founder of The Momference
"There's no balance. I'm dropping sh*t everywhere! However, my secret sauce is pursuing interests and hobbies outside of what's required of me and finding time to workout. Stronger body equals = stronger mind."
Lauren Grove, Chief Experience Architect, The Grant Access, LLC
"I try to give myself grace. That’s my mantra for this phase of motherhood…grace. I won’t be able to get everything done. To have a spotless house. To not lose my cool after an exhausting day. Those things can’t happen all of the time. But I can take a deep breath and know tomorrow is another day and my blessings are more plentiful than my pitfalls."
Rachel Nicks, Founder & CEO of Birth Queen
"You have the answers within you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Curate your life to work for you. Ask for help."
Tanisha Colon-Bibb, Founder + CEO Rebelle Agency + Rebelle Management
"I know love doesn't pay bills but when I am overwhelmed with work or client demands I take a moment to play with my baby and be reminded of the love, energy, science, and Godliness that went into his birth. I am brightened by his smile and laugh. I remember I am someone's parent and not just a work horse. That at the end of the day everything will work out for the good of my sanity and the love within my life."
Christina Brown, Founder of LoveBrownSugar & BabyBrownSugar
"Learning your rhythm as a mom takes time and can be uncomfortable when you’re in a season of overwhelm. Constantly check in with yourself and assess what’s working and what’s not. Get the help you need without feeling guilty or ashamed of needing it."
Mecca Tartt, Executive Director of Startup Runway Foundation
"I want to be the best for myself, my husband, children and company. However, the reality is you can have it all but not at the same time. My secret sauce is outsourcing and realizing that it’s okay to have help in order for me to perform at the highest level."
Jen Hayes Lee, Head Of Marketing at The Bump (The Knot Worldwide)
"My secret sauce is being direct and honest with everyone around me about what I need to be successful in all of my various "jobs". Setting boundaries is one thing, but if you're the only one who knows they exist, your partners at home and on the job can't help you maintain them. I also talk to my kids like adults and let them know why mommy needs to go to this conference or get this massage...they need to build an appreciation for my needs too!"
Whitney Gayle-Benta, Chief Music Officer JKBX
"What helps me push through each day is the motivation to continue by thinking about my son. All my efforts, though exhausting, are to create a wonderful life for him."
Ezinne Okoro, Global Chief Inclusion, Equity, & Diversity Officer at Wunderman Thompson,
"The advice I received that I’ll pass on is, you will continue to figure it out and find your rhythm as your child grows into new stages. Trust your nurturing intuition, parent on your terms, and listen to your child."
Jovian Zayne, CEO of The OnPurpose Movement
"I live by the personal mantra: 'You can’t be your best self by yourself.' My life feels more balanced when I offer the help I can give and ask for the help I need. This might mean outsourcing housecleaning for my home, or hiring additional project management support for my business."
Simona Noce Wright, Co-Founder of District Motherhued and The Momference
"Each season of motherhood (depending on age, grade, workload) requires a different rhythm. With that said, be open to learning, to change, and understand that what worked for one season may not work the other...and that's okay."
Janaye Ingram, Director of Community Partner Programs and Engagement at Airbnb
"My daughter's smile and sweet spirit help me to feel gratitude when I'm overwhelmed. I want her to see a woman who doesn't quit when things get hard."
Codie Elaine Oliver, CEO & Founder of Black Love
"I try to listen to my body and simply take a break. With 3 kids and a business with 10+ team members, I often feel overwhelmed. I remind myself that I deserve grace for everything I'm juggling, I take a walk or have a snack or even head home to see my kids, and then I get back to whatever I need to get done."
Jewel Burks Solomon, Managing Partner at Collab Capital
"Get comfortable with the word ‘no’. Be very clear about your non-negotiables and communicate them to those around you."
Bridget Bogee, Marketing Lead At Meta
"Ask for help and always prioritize making time for you."
Julee Wilson, Executive Director at BeautyUnited and Beauty Editor-at-Large at Cosmopolitan
"Understand you can’t do it alone — and that’s ok. Relinquish the need to control everything. Create a village and lean on them."
Salwa Benyaich, Director Of Pricing and Planning at Premion
"Most days I really try to shut my computer off by 6 pm; there are always exceptions of course when it comes to big deals or larger projects but having this as a baseline allows me to be much more present with my kids. I love the fact that I can either help with homework or be the designated driver to at least one afterschool activity. Work can be draining but there is nothing more emotionally draining than when you feel as though you are missing out on moments with your kids."
Brooke Ellis, Head of Global Marketing & Product Launches at Amazon Music
My calendar, prayer, pilates class at Forma, a good playlist, and oatmilk lattes all help get me through any day.
Courtney Beauzile, Global Director of Client and Business Development at Shearman & Sterling
My husband is a partner who steps in when I just can’t. My mom and my MIL come through whenever and however I need. My kids have many uncles and aunts and they will lend an ear, go over homework, teach life lessons, be a presence or a prayer warrior depending on the day.
Robin Snipes, Chief of Staff at Meta
"Enjoy the time you have to yourself because once kids come those times will be few and far between."
Monique Bivens, CEO & Founder at Brazilian Babes LLC.
"For new moms, it is very important that you get back into a habit or routine of something you use to do before you were pregnant. Consider the actives and things that give you the most joy and make the time to do them."
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Featured image by Westend61/Getty Images
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Tracee Ellis Ross On Why She Declined The Idea Of Someone Else Running Her Hair Company
Actress and entrepreneur Tracee Ellis Ross recently revealed the driving force behind her desire to become the owner of her haircare brand, Pattern.
According to its site, Pattern is a haircare company that provides a wide range of products, from shampoos, conditioners, oils, creams, and many more to individuals with curls, coils, and tight hair textures. Although Pattern would launch in 2019, the idea for the company first came to Ross a decade before --in 2008, when her hit show Girlfriends wrapped-- following a brief encounter at a beauty supply store and many wanting to recreate her past looks.
At the time, those individuals couldn't achieve the exact results because limited natural hair products were offered to the public. That instance became a pivotal moment in the star's life because she spent eleven years experimenting with professionals to create products that best suit those within the natural hair community.
In a May conference with Fortune's MPW Next Gen, Ross opened up about the struggles she faced early on as an entrepreneur trying to get Pattern off the ground and why she declined the offer to have the company be run by someone else.
Tracee On Past Struggles And Why She Chose To Run Her Company
During the discussion, the 50-year-old revealed that she is Pattern's "majority owner" because the company's overall mission to cater to those in the natural hair community was built from her "experiential knowledge."
"I'm a majority owner of my company. [Other celebrities with brands] aren't the founders of the company. Often, they join a company that exists," she said. "The mission [at Pattern] is born out of my experience. It's born out of my own experiential knowledge."
Further in the interview, Ross would add that she avoided partnering with an expert for Pattern because she felt she had gained enough knowledge experimenting with products in her bathroom.
"I didn't want to partner with an expert or a 'professional' because I felt—like so many—I had become my own best expert in my bathroom because the beauty industry was not catering to us," she stated.
Despite refusing to have a partner within her company, Ross found creative ways to build it. It includes paying a chemist with her own money to bring her visions of various products to life, and sending those samples to retail stores, ultimately leading to partnerships.
The final piece that helped Ross during her journey was receiving advice from business partners on ways to improve the brand, one of which came from Ulta Beauty CEO and Footlocker CEO Mary Dillon.
The black-ish star claimed that Dillon helped her realize how she could use her celebrity status and journey to promote Pattern, which she did. Because of that, Patten has now become a favorable haircare brand among many.
Tracee On How She Plans To Use Her Company To Create Opportunities For Others
Toward the end of the discussion, Ross disclosed how she plans to use the power of being Pattern's CEO to help others.
The High Note star explained that being an owner of a company has given her access to be around other CEOs interested in what appears to be becoming more profitable, and with that, she wants to expand that access to other people.
"I know that I have access to sit at a table with a CEO in a way that perhaps another founder doesn't. And when I do that, I make sure that those conversations are not only centered around Pattern," she said. "They're centered around creating and expanding the access for all of us."
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Feature image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Webby Awards