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How This Radio Host Went From Refugee Camps To Rocking The Mic

BOSS UP

In an industry where few women are positioned in front of the mic, Vildana “Sunni" Puric is on a mission to make a name for herself.


During the late mornings and early afternoons tune your radio to WPGC 95.5 and you can catch Sunni on the airwaves as the voice of Washington, DC., ironic considering at one point the Bosnian native didn't even speak English. As a radio host in the coveted midday slot, she's breaking down doors that aren't often left open for the female minority, proving that sacrifice and hard work pays off when relentlessly pursuing your passion.

It's almost hard to believe that at one point Sunni hated radio. The on-air personality is a perfect balance between upbeat and down-to-earth, the home girl that you can kick it with and talk everything from gossip and glamour to what's going on in the gritty streets of the DMV. When Sunni's in the city you can catch her on the social scene hosting parties or interviewing celebs, but when she's not living the glamorous life she's in the streets giving back to the community that she so closely connects with. For Puric, it's not simply charity work to write off on her taxes, but a reminder of her humble beginnings before Reggie Rouse, VP of Urban Programming for CBS, called her during her stint of unemployment to fill the midday slot.

“When I see a homeless person I'm like yeah, I know exactly what it's like to sleep out in the cold. I know what it's like to go days without food," she says on our call.

And that's an understatement.

***

It's the early 90s, and nine-year-old Sunni is playing outside in the woods with her sister and brother in Donji Purici, Bosnia—a town so small that even Google gave up on trying to map it.

Sunni (left) with her family in Croatia.

Life is simple, but good. Slow. No telephone. No car. There was a television, which was occasionally tuned into one of two channels that showed The Simpsons and Beverly Hills, 90210, but even that remained relatively untouched. She preferred climbing trees and running through the countryside to planting herself down in front of the TV.

But when bombs began to drop one summer morning as a result of religious tensions between the Serbs and the Muslims, the Puric's carefree lifestyle quickly turned into chaos within minutes as the family was forced to snatch up anything they could carry and join the thousands on the run towards the borders of Croatia. While they escaped the mass killings that lay behind them, they had little to look forward to in their makeshift refugee camps.

The Croatian army wouldn't allow them to camp in nearby towns, many of which were littered with land mines ready to take the lives that weren't cut short by gunfire. The journey south quickly turned into the survival of the fittest and the generous—there was no room for selfishness when everyone was just hoping to stay alive. “If you have a piece of bread you share with whoever is next to you. Or if you get some water, you share that. I think that's where we created our own situation. Like we have to survive here so let's just make it happen."

For three years, they were on the run before being offered the opportunity to migrate to America. After an intense interview process to determine if her dad was a terrorist, Sunni and her family arrived in Hamtramck, Michigan in the middle of winter. It was a culture shock, nothing like the palm trees and white picket fences that she saw on 90210.

Surviving war was just one of the many battles that the future radio host would have to face. As a new immigrant who didn't speak English, Sunni was placed in ESL classes in the basement of the school with other refugees. Her new mission? Learn English so that she could move to the top floor with the “regular" kids, and somehow manage to survive the middle school bullies who picked on her for not wearing deodorant or the latest threads.

The summer before eighth grade she and her siblings pigged out on cheap chips and sweets while brushing up on their English from popular American television shows such as Family Matters. By the new school year she walked in with her head held high speaking the language fluently in her thick Bosnian accent. “I was like I just want to be American and blend in. I don't want nobody to know where I'm from. I just want to be a regular American girl so people will leave me alone," she says.

Sophomore year, her family relocated to the suburbs to a predominantly white school where her slang was just as unwelcome as her accent. She spent more time trying to fit in than creating a way out for herself, and by the time she reached her senior year had yet to settle on a career path. She took a radio class, but hated the small studio set up in a dark corner of the room. The good grades that she once brought home began to slip as she carelessly coasted through her courses, and her family began to pressure her about her next step, reminding her that they came to America to give her a better life, not a purposeless one.

After high school she attended community college and her sister snagged her a job as an assistant at a dentist's office, but she hated the sight of blood. What she did like was listening to the radio, which is what she was doing when on-air personality Kris Kelly for Detroit's WJLB announced that she was looking for interns. Sunni arrive at the radio station for the open call interviews, only to find herself in a room full of hopefuls that she felt she couldn't compete with. She didn't have the experience but she did have a story, which she poured out to the radio host. “She was like 'oh my God, this is really incredible. Yes, I'd love to hire you as an intern.' She gave me the job on the spot."

It wasn't paid, but it was a start. Her first day at the station was much different than the small, dark corner that she imagined it to be. Big studios filled with DJs and celebrity guests made her reconsider the career path she has written off just months before. “I was like holy shit, this is completely different than I thought. I can't be on the radio, but I'm definitely going to figure out a way to stick around and did something here."

Finding a way meant doing what others wouldn't with a smile. Her bright and cheery demeanor earned her the nickname “SunShyne" (she would later change her name to “Sunni" when she started working on air), which she maintained despite balancing school, an internship and an overnight clerk job at Walgreens. For eight months she hustled before her boss finally told her that she had gone beyond the standard length of an internship. She boldly told them she wasn't leaving without a job, and snagged the Promotions Assistant role for $9 an hour with an extra $100 doing club promotions one night a week.

But as much as Sunni loved her new position she wanted to go to the next level. Watching the on-air hosts sparked a desire to have her own show, but her thick accent made public speaking a challenge. Instead of giving up she got to work, and at the recommendation of her boss contacted the program director at a smaller radio station in Lansing, Michigan and drove two hours from Detroit for her first interview. She arrived to find that the afternoon host was sick, giving her the opportunity to do her tryout shift on the spot.

“Everything I learned in Detroit watching the personalities there, I did that here. I changed the show. I had a four o' clock countdown. I had a DJ at five o' clock—all this stuff that I added. And he was like okay you're pretty good, but you're still terrible. Literally people would be like you got the idea you just have to work on your voice."

She was offered a Sunday shift for $6 an hour, which covered the gas for her four-hour drive there and back from Detroit. She worked on perfecting her voice by reading books out loud and recording herself in the studio. The years of practice paid off, and it was just enough to eventually land her back in the top 10 market of Detroit as a part-time on-air personality. “If you really want something and you work hard at it, it's going to have to pay off. You will not fail because you're going to work so hard at it you're not going to allow it to fail."

"If you really want something and you work hard at it, it's going to have to pay off."

From 2002 to 2009 Sunni built her name in radio before Clear Channel was bought out, resulting in massive layoffs. Sunni, who was then working the late night “Quiet Storm" shift, found herself jobless at 26. Looking for a change of scenery, she packed her bags and drove to Miami where she ran into friend and former promotions department worker Necole Kane, who extended an offer to work on the then popular celebrity gossip site Necole Bitchie.

Initially sunny Florida was a much-needed break from the bitter cold of the north, but the heat and humidity soon had her packing her bags and following Necole to New York just months later. “When I got to NYC I decided that the whole blogging thing wasn't for me. I told Necole this is my year of my transition. And she was like great, I can see that your heart is not in it, and she's like you're going to get back in radio. I'm like no I'm just going to take a break from everything, and she's like no trust me, one day you'll get back in radio."

While walking through a New Jersey mall with only five dollars to her name, she received a call about an open position at WPGC in Washington, DC. Her former boss in Detroit sent her tapes out in hopes to replace the radio job that she lost months prior, and by January—just eight months after being laid off—she had relocated to the Chocolate City to work as the midday host for the radio station and continue the next chapter of her dream.

***

February 2011, Sunni sat in silent reflection as if she were alone instead of in a room surrounded by 80 people celebrating another year of her life—courtesy of Ciroc, of course.

It had been a year since she took over the midday airwaves, and though she'd built a reputable name for herself, she humbly remembered when just a year prior she brought in her birthday in a hotel room alone and a little scared, but determined to make the most of her opportunity. “I was in my own little world like holy shit, last year I sat on the fucking couch watching the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest eating a pizza not knowing one soul here."

This past January, Sunni celebrated five years at WPGC, and she's finally giving herself credit for all of her accomplishments. “Overcoming that fear of feeling like you're not good enough…in the presence of certain people I get like I'm just some radio girl that doesn't speak well, that's always really extra, that's tatted up, whatever. And then I have to be like no, you're a radio girl who worked her ass off, who's been in the business for 14 years now, who's done amazing charity work, who's helped so many people, and who's overcome so much. I feel like so many times I just get so…I'm just on the air, that's just what I do. And I'm like no…"

“You're phenomenal," I say, a slight attempt at completing her self-motivational thought.

“Yeah, you have to remind yourself of that, otherwise you can fall so deep into that thought of yes my job is shallow and I talk about celebrities all day. But I think the other things outside of [radio] has made me really appreciate and love it so much more."

Photo by Terri Baskin

Sunni isn't driven by accolades from herself or from others, but by the memories of once being the girl who wore the same pair of ripped socks for two weeks straight at a refugee camp miles away from home. In an industry where a woman at the top is questioned on her climb, Sunni finds peace in knowing that everything she's gained has come through a positive attitude and relentless work ethic. The best advice she received on navigating the industry came from a former boss, who reminded her that she deserved to be exactly where she is.

“For women, it's always hard for us because it's like when you get that promotion, how did you get that promotion? Or if you're pretty, oh it's only because she's pretty. Nobody can ever deny your hard work, and your reputation is all you've got. So when you work your ass off and somebody tries to bring you other shit, you know the hard work you put in you're never going to feel like it's anything else.

"Nobody can ever deny your hard work, and your reputation is all you've got."

Her best advice to other young women following their dreams? Stay away from boys.

“I was just a hot mess," she says, chuckling at the naivety of her youth. “I'm happy that I definitely stuck to my career because it taught me so much. Looking back at my early experiences in my twenties, I guess I had to go through all of those heartbreaks just to be the person that I am right now—easy breezy, no drama, very calm about everything."

But in all seriousness, she hopes that her story, which she's penning in a memoir, will encourage anyone with an unconventional childhood, who may be walking a crooked path instead of the straight and narrow, or who's just simply chasing purpose that it's all going to be fine.

“Looking back there were so many crazy moments in my life that if I were in front of [younger Sunni], I would be like girl, you're going to get through it. You're amazing."

*Featured image of Sunni via @officialsaraboyd

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

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In xoNecole's Our First Year series, we take an in-depth look at love and relationships between couples with an emphasis on what their first year of marriage was like.

It was a cold winter night in Chicago, more than a year ago. Your girl was scrolling through the fifty-eleven million options on Netflix to find something interesting to watch. I spotted this new show, The Circle, and have not looked away since. Produced by Studio Lambert and Motion Content Group, it premiered in January 2020 and has become my new favorite type of game show. Hosted by Michelle Buteau, The Circle is about contestants who are isolated in their own apartments and can only communicate with others via an online social media platform.

On season 2 of The Circle, the world fell in love with DeLeesa, the contestant who would eventually be crowned winner of the cash prize. She won the game by playing as a single dad named Trevor, who is actually her husband. As a true fan of the series, I figured it was only right to sit down with DeLeesa and Trevor to get the deets on how marriage has been for them IRL. So, let me take y'all back into time real quick, to the beginning of their love story.

It was 2007, and DeLeesa was starting her first day of school as a college freshman. She was getting adjusted to her new dorm and was introduced to her new resident assistant, *drum roll please* Trevor St. Agathe. They quickly became friends and Trevor helped DeLeesa find different activities around campus. After a year, they decided to take things to the next level.

Now, 14 years and two beautiful children later, the married couple have been focusing on doing whatever it takes to create the best life for their children. Since college, the power of commitment and open communication is what has kept DeLeesa and Trevor by each other's side.

One thing that we can all learn from The Circle and social media in general is that everything is not what it seems. When I connected with the couple, DeLeesa wanted to get the story straight about her and Trevor's love story. "I feel like people look at couples on social media and they think that things are perfect when that's not true. We went through stuff, too. We just figured out how to overcome it and move together as a unit."

In this installment of xoNecole's Our First Year, Deleesa and Trevor share how marriage is about work, navigating through the ups and downs, and prioritizing family. Here's their story:

How We Met

DeLeesa: I got to school early because I was starting [college] a semester late. I met him, we became friends, and I developed a little crush on him. One day, we were hanging out in his room and he just didn't want me to leave (laughs). So we were messing around for about a year. Exactly one year later, I told Trevor that I am not going to keep doing this unless he becomes my man. If he didn't make me his girl, then we were done. (Laughs)

Trevor: I tried to ride it out as long as I could (laughs). At the time, I was thinking, since I'm still in college, I shouldn't be tied down. But I knew that if I didn't make it official, she was going to leave. So, she was right, and we took it to the next level.

First Impressions

Trevor: I thought she was absolutely beautiful. She was pretty and the new girl on campus. So I knew she was going to get lots of attention. But I didn't want to be on that with her, so I continued to just be a stand-up guy. At first, it was the normal student-and-RA relationship. She would ask me what activities she could do on campus and I gave her a few suggestions. For a few days, we continued to hang out and I started to realize the chemistry we had between us.

DeLeesa: When I first met Trevor, I wasn't even thinking about going that [relationship] route with him. I was new to the school and I just wanted to be his friend. But because we shared bathrooms in the dorm, this man would just walk around in his towel sometimes. I couldn't help but notice him more after that. I just thought 'He is fine!' (Laughs) He was so nice and he never pressured me into anything, but, he knew what he was doing.

Favorite Things

DeLeesa: I love that he has unconditional love for me. I feel like that no matter what I do or no matter how mad he gets, he is still always going to be by my side for anything that I need. We have been together for a long time. Even though we had breaks in between, he has always been there for me.

Trevor: It's not just one thing for me, but I can sum it up: DeLeesa is everything that I wish I was. She is very much not afraid of what other people think and she is very determined to go after what she wants. She has that go-getter mentality and it is so attractive to me.

"DeLeesa is everything that I wish I was. She is very much not afraid of what other people think and she is very determined to go after what she wants. She has that go-getter mentality and it is so attractive to me."

Wedding Day

Trevor: On our wedding day, I was crying like a baby when I finally saw her. That is my fondest memory of that day: seeing my wife-to-be from a distance and instant water works. (Laughs)

DeLeesa: I really enjoyed our first dance. Our wedding was pretty big, and I planned the whole thing. I was very hands-on and it was hard for me to just have a moment and be present. But when we had our first dance, that was our time to just be with each other and not worry about anything else. It really hit me that we were married at that point.

The One

DeLeesa: Well, the thing with Trevor and I is that we broke up a lot. We reached nine years of being on and off. By that time, we said to each other that this would be the last time we were going to break up. We were going to try our best to do everything that we could to stay together. And if we didn't work out, we were going to go our separate ways. For me, I really wanted us to work because I did see him as my future husband and my children's father. So it was the conversation we had to not break up that was my "you are the one for me" moment.

Trevor: It was something that I always knew. Young Trevor would say, "If I had to get married, this is who I want to marry." When I knew it was time to take things more seriously with her, it was after we had that conversation. Another confirmation that DeLeesa was the one was when we had to move to Canada from New York. I thought to myself that this woman must really love me to pack up and move to another country for me. This woman trusts me so much and she is my forever.

"The thing with Trevor and I is that we broke up a lot. We reached 9 years of being on and off. By that time, we said to each other that this would be the last time we were going to break up. We were going to try our best to do everything that we could to stay together."

Biggest Fears

Trevor: The questions that popped into my head were, "Can I do it?"; "Can I be a good husband to her?"; or "Was I truly husband material?" You can't take a test for that or study to get those answers. You have to just do it, apply your morals and values, and do the best you can. What has helped me with this is continuing to reaffirm how we feel about one another—affirmations that let me know that she is happy and I am doing a good job. Marriage isn't that much different from what we have already been doing this entire time. We just wear rings.

DeLeesa: My biggest fear [is related to the fact that] I am a very independent person, [so] if I do not like something, I can be out, quick! So with me, I questioned if I could stay put and fight through the bad times within a marriage. I would question if it is worth sticking it out since this is a lifelong commitment. What has helped me get through that is reminding myself that I can still be independent within my own marriage. I can still do things on my own and still share my life with someone I really care about.

Early Challenges

DeLeesa: I feel like I have been really good at keeping my relationship with my friends balanced with my partnership with Trevor. So when we first got married, my personal challenge was me trying to juggle between being a good wife and still making time for my girls. I really didn't want to lose sight of who I was in the process of marriage.

Trevor: My work at the time forced me to travel a lot. So when you are in that honeymoon phase, it's important to have quality time together. It was hard with my job to enjoy life together as a married couple in the beginning. Yes, we have been together for a long time. But this was different. Not being around my wife as much as I wanted to was really hard for me and the both of us. Our communication started slacking and we definitely struggled during that time.

Love Lessons

Trevor: There's two lessons that I have. One lesson is that I am a husband first. I have spent a lot of time not being a husband so it can be easy for me or anyone to continue to behave that way. But my wife always has to come first, no matter what is going on in life. When you're married, you have to reinforce that. My second lesson that has helped in our marriage is making sure I do things in order to make her life easier. It can be the simplest thing, but for me, it is a huge priority.

DeLeesa: My biggest lesson is being able to learn from each other. For example, if he is doing simple things to make life easier for me, I am learning from him how to show up for him to make him happy. It can be easy to just receive everything he is putting forth, but it has to be give and take for us.

"I am a husband first. I have spent a lot of time not being a husband so it can be easy for me or anyone to continue to behave that way. But my wife always has to come first, no matter what is going on in life. When you're married, you have to reinforce that."

Common Goal

Trevor: To do everything in our power to ensure that our girls have the best possible life. Everything that we do at this point is for them. Before children, I may have moved slower working toward certain things, but there is definitely an added fire on how we approach things because of them.

DeLeesa: I agree. The number one goal is to be the best parents we can be. We want to set up generational wealth and we want them to be culturally aware. We want them to grow up and be proud of everything we have done for them.

Best Advice

DeLeesa: My advice would be don't go looking for advice, honestly. A lot of people are going to have an opinion about your life and sometimes that may not be the best for you. People can have different intentions and may give you the wrong advice. So I feel that if you need to vent, then yes, have someone to confide in. But don't take their word as facts. Try to figure out your marriage for yourself. Stick to your intuition and what you want to do, no matter if you are being judged for it.

Trevor: The things that matter are to be patient, listen close, choose to be happy, and love hard. I also think when people come to terms with the fact that marriage is work, then it is more possible for people. There are honestly more things to be happy about with the person that you marry. You have to keep all the things that you love about that person at the forefront to get you through. Once you do that, you will be fine.

Follow Deleesa and Trevor on Instagram @leesaunique and @trev_saint and their family page @itsthesaints.

Featured image via Instagram/Leesaunique

Since 2000, Black buying power has increased a whopping 114 percent. According to Business of Fashion, we brandish $1.3 trillion in annual spending power. It's also no secret that Black women move culture like no other, making us one of the largest assets to the U.S. economy. However, for some odd but obvious reason, society tends to question Black women when they level up and revel in luxury.

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