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Multi-Hyphenate Serayah Talks Compromise & Why She'll "Never Be The Same"

"I've definitely matured and learned so much about myself and what I want to be and who I want to be in this world."

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FOX's Empire coming to a close may be the end of the road for the Lyon family and longtime fan favorite Tiana but as far as Serayah is concerned--things are just getting started. Admitting to being bit by the performing bug at about five years old, the insanely beautiful multi-hyphenate had big dreams from that point on of making a name for herself in the industry--and it's pretty safe to say that she's now living those same dreams out day by day. The Cali native has since been linked to some of the biggest names in the music industry such as Taylor Swift and Chris Brown.

And after giving fans a taste of her own musical prowess with her debut EP Addicted in 2018, Serayah is serving up something new with her forthcoming project Ray in June. Let's just say, the "Never Be The Same" singer is now set and ready to take center stage. xoNecole recently got the chance to catch up with the 24-year-old entertainer to talk all things Empire, her quarantine self-care routine, and why she says learning to compromise is a major key in relationships.

xoNecole: How have you evolved personally and professionally since being a part of ‘Empire’?

Serayah: Professional-wise, I've learned so much about the business. Personally, I just grew up. I started at 19 and six years later: I'm in my twenties and I'm a different girl than I was when I was a teenager. I've definitely matured and learned so much about myself and what I want to be and who I want to be in this world.

"I've definitely matured and learned so much about myself and what I want to be and who I want to be in this world."

What life lessons have you learned from your co-stars that helped you along the way?

A major life lesson is probably just to go for it and don't hold yourself back. Taraji [P. Henson] always says just go for it and don't hold anything back. And I think that's her mantra as you can see, she's a powerhouse. So I've always taken that advice from her and just shake off anything else that I've been going through during my day and turn it into my art.

Has there ever been a moment in time, maybe in life or in love, in your past that has changed you or that you really learned a lot from? Where maybe you felt like you’ll never be the same after this?

Yeah, I think with past relationships: I learned what I like and what I don't like and not to hold grudges. I learned so many lessons in 2019, growing past immaturity and egotistical thinking. And I think that's a daily thing that we all should try to do and it's something that I'm aware of now. It's hard because you're dealing with yourself so you have to be completely 100% with yourself, right?

"I learned so many lessons in 2019, growing past immaturity and egotistical thinking. And I think that's a daily thing that we all should try to do and it's something that I'm aware of now. It's hard because you're dealing with yourself so you have to be completely 100% with yourself, right?"

What has been the most surprising thing to you when it comes to love?

Mmm, let me think about this one (laughs). Probably compromise is a big thing, I think. And understanding. I think before we judge and before we get so mad at certain things, we should try to understand where another person is coming from. I learned that you're dealing with another person's past and history and life, so I think in relationships you have to be a little bit more gentle with certain things. Everybody doesn't have the same triggers but some things don't go down smoothly with some people. So, I think learning those things and trying your best not to do them and compromising in certain areas is where it's at.

What has been the most challenging thing to you when it comes to love?

For so long, you're so used to running your life the way you want it to run, that you never really think of someone else's opinion or thoughts on something. Especially when you're an opinionated person. So I think for me, it was learning to see where someone else was coming from and putting myself in their shoes to understand things and not be defensive.

"I learned that you're dealing with another person's past and history and life, so I think in relationships you have to be a little bit more gentle with certain things. Everybody doesn't have the same triggers but some things don't go down smoothly with some people. So, I think learning those things and trying your best not to do them and compromising in certain areas is where it's at."

What's been your quarantine self-care routine? How are you dealing?

I've been trying to deal. I've been doing some deep conditioning with my hair. I've also been bored so some days I put on a wig and do my makeup. But really it's just: wake up, get coffee, check my emails, see if there's anything I need to do for the day, then the rest of the time I'm just thinking of ideas for content. Why not? We have all this time.

What's next for you?

I wish I knew for sure (laughs). But I am definitely releasing new music in June, I'm releasing my EP. I'm still auditioning and I have some things in the works for film ideas, but for the most part I'm just seeing what I can get into after all this quarantining is over.

"Miss You" and "Never Be The Same" are available to stream everywhere now. And for more of Serayah, catch her on Instagram: @serayah.

Featured image by Shaun Andru/Instagram

Tisha Campbell Opens Up About Finding Herself Again After Divorce

Tisha Campbell has a new show on Netflix called Uncoupled which stars Neil Patrick Harris as his character learns to rebuild his life after a breakup with his long-term partner. While Tisha’s character may not be going through a breakup, the veteran actress has had a similar experience in real life. The Martin star divorced the L.A.’s Finest star Duane Martin after 22 years of marriage and 27 years together in total. Soon after the divorce was finalized, Tisha claimed that Duane left her with $7 to her name but now she is in the restoration phase of her life.

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Black Women, We Deserve More

When the NYT posted an article this week about the recent marriage of a Black woman VP of a multi-billion-dollar company and a Black man who took her on a first date at the parking lot of a Popeyes, the reaction on social media was swift and polarizing. The two met on Hinge and had their parking lot rendezvous after he’d canceled their first two dates. When the groom posted a photo from their wedding on social media, he bragged about how he never had “pressure” to take her on “any fancy dates or expensive restaurants.”

It’s worth reading on your own to get the full breadth of all the foolery that transpired. But the Twitter discourse it inspired on what could lead a successful Black woman to accept lower than bare minimum in pursuit of a relationship and marriage, made me think of the years of messaging that Black women receive about how our standards are too high and what we have to “bring to the table” in order to be "worthy" of what society has deemed is the ultimate showing of our worth: a marriage to a man.

That's right, the first pandemic I lived through was not Covid, but the pandemic of the Black male relationship expert. I was young – thirteen to be exact – when Steve Harvey published his best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Though he was still just a stand-up comedian, oversized suit hoarder, and man on his third marriage at the time, his relationship advice was taken as the gospel truth.

The 2000s were a particularly bleak time to be a single Black woman. Much of the messaging –created by men – that surrounded Black women at the time blamed their desire for a successful career and for a partner that matched their drive and ambition for the lack of romance in their life. Statistics about Black women’s marriageability were always wielded against Black women as evidence of our lack of desirability.

It’s no wonder then that a man that donned a box cut well into the 2000s was able to convince women across the nation to not have sex for the first three months of a relationship. Or that a slew of other Black men had their go at telling Black women that they’re not good enough and why their book, seminar, or show will be the thing that makes them worthy of a Good Man™.

This is how we end up marrying men who cancel twice before taking us on a “date” in the Popeyes parking lot, or husbands writing social media posts about how their Black wife is not “the most beautiful” or “the most intelligent” or the latest season of trauma dumping known as Black Love on OWN.

Now that I’ve reached my late twenties, many things about how Black women approach dating and relationships have changed and many things have remained the same. For many Black women, the idea of chronic singleness is not the threat that it used to be. Wanting romance doesn’t exist in a way that threatens to undermine the other relationships we have with our friends, family, and ourselves as it once did, or at least once was presented to us. There is a version of life many of us are embracing where a man not wanting us, is not the end of what could still be fruitful and vibrant life.

There are still Black women out there however who have yet to unlearn the toxic ideals that have been projected onto us about our worthiness in relation to our intimate lives. I see it all the time online. The absolute humiliation and disrespect some Black women are willing to stomach in the name of being partnered. The hoops that some Black women are willing to jump through just to receive whatever lies beneath the bare minimum.

It's worth remembering that there are different forces at play that gather to make Black women feast off the scraps we are given. A world saturated by colorism, fatphobia, anti-Blackness, ableism, and classism will always punish Black women who demand more for themselves. Dismantling these systems also means divesting from any and everything that makes us question our worth.

Because truth be told, Black women are more than worthy of having a love that is built on mutual respect and admiration. A love that is honey sweet and radiates a light that rivals the sun. A love that is a steadying calming force that doesn’t bring confusion or anxiety. Black women deserve a love that is worthy of the prize that we are.

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Featured image: Getty Images

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