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Grammy-Nominated Singer-Songwriter Tayla Parx Is Her Own Best Cheerleader

"Any real workaholic's main priority should be long-term efficiency and that starts with taking care of you."

Finding Balance

In xoNecole's Finding Balance, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.

"I'm tired of coverin' up all my pride," were the first melodic words I heard sung from Little Inez's mouth in the hit musical movie Hairspray. Not the original; the Zac Efron and Queen Latifah version.

It's obvious to say that Little Inez ain't so little anymore, and she has blossomed into Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Tayla Parx. The "Homisexual" hitmaker has been pushing boundaries beyond gender and genre - and the metrics and streaming numbers don't lie. Every #TaylaMade production has been a guaranteed chart-topping, award-winning smash hit that you're sure to recognize.

Courtesy of Tayla Parx

Everything she touches turns to pure artistry from her vocal collaboration on Chris Brown's "Anyway" to her lyrically genius for Panic! At The Disco's "High Hopes" and Ariana Grande's "7 Rings". The multiple Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and actress made her debut as a solo artist with her album We Need To Talk back in April 2019 and has continued to soar as a solo act since. After serving as a special guest on the North American leg of Lizzo's Cuz I Love You tour and being deemed by Entertainment Weekly as "one of pop music's go-to songwriters", we're tired by simply condensing her receipts.

xoNecole had the chance to speak with the "Dance Alone" singer about how she finds balance between studio time, friendships, dating and Korean skincare products in this installment of Finding Balance.

xoNecole: At what point in your life did you understand the importance of pressing pause?

Tayla Parx: I think understanding the balance is something that I've always had in the back of my mind as I grow as a business. I'm a creative in so many ways, it's very easy to get distracted and kind of half-ass things. So my number one priority is asking myself if I am able to do this to the highest of my capabilities. The more success I've had, the more I've needed to hold my time precious along with the experiences that come with making time for you.

Tayla Parx

Credit: Joey James

"My number one priority is asking myself if I am able to do this to the highest of my capabilities. The more success I've had, the more I've needed to hold my time precious along with the experiences that come with making time for you."

What is a typical day in your life? If no day is quite the same, give me a rundown of a typical work week and what that might consist of. 

A typical week in my house would be, of course, working on music, learning how to garden - I've just started composting - watching some documentaries, cooking, playing guitar and hanging with my three dogs. It's a busy household, to say the least.

What are your mornings like? 

I usually wake up pretty early so I'm taking care of my dogs, going through my schedule for the day and responding to emails. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I do a little cooking as well.

How do you wind down at night? 

I turn on my lights to whatever mood I'm in, steam up my shower, give myself a facial maybe, and pretty much turn off the music in the house that's usually playing all day. It's quiet time for me when it's time to relax. If I'm feeling extra, I'll throw like three bath bombs in my tub and hop in. It's one of my favorite parts of my bathroom.

When you have a busy week, what’s the most hectic part of it?

On the busiest weeks, the most hectic part is the energy I have to give to so many different people. Handling so many personalities is work and I wear many hats, so subsequently I communicate with a lot of different people. It can become draining honestly if I don't have the right balance.

Do you practice any types of self-care? What does that look like for you? 

I love Korean skincare products! Like, I actually might have a problem with buying everything on Peach & Lily and putting it into my mini makeup fridge. I love a good at-home spa day, so that's something I'm definitely into when it comes to Tayla time. Video games are another way for me to escape into my own world; it's like motion mediation. Lastly, I love to cook! It's a really fun way for me to get creative and learn more about other cultures!

What advice do you have for busy women who feel like they don’t have time for self-care? 

There's always time if you value it. We all have so many moments to use the excuse of not having enough time versus being real about what our priorities are. We've all heard it! if you're not taking care of you, how can you take care of the ones you love? Any real workaholic's main priority should be long-term efficiency and that starts with taking care of you.

How do you find balance with:

Friends? 

I've always had to have friendships that can withstand spending long periods of time possibly without seeing each other. I try to make sure that even throughout the crazy schedules, I just check in every now and then. Even if it's for a moment. You never know what people are going through, and sometimes a familiar voice can be the grounding love that you need.

Love/Relationships? Dating? 

I have to say I used to be really bad at this. I've completely put love on the back-burner for my career because I didn't believe I could find the balance. The fear of staying in bed a little too long and putting off important things because now that's you and someone else. It's always been scary for me but I think that balance and the right partner is key. Sometimes it helps to have someone you love telling you to either stay in bed longer or get your ass up!

Exercise? 

I have three dogs and two of them are very active breeds. When you're sitting in the studio like I am all day, it's key to make sure you're being active in some way, shape or form. Whether it's riding a bike, walking the dogs or dancing like nobody's watching, I try to do something!

Tayla Parx

Credit: Joey James

"Any real workaholic's main priority should be long-term efficiency and that starts with taking care of you."

What about health? Do you cook or find yourself eating out? 

When I'm on tour, it's pretty tough to eat healthy! I'm a sucker for sweets but I honestly love to cook at home, so I have no problem cooking for myself when I have the time. It's relaxing and I love getting creative with my seasonings! I'm from the south so I don't play when it comes to that!

Do you ever detox? 

Oh my God, actually I just finished a detox last week and it's so, so, so hard for me, but necessary. I've just found out I'm allergic to a lot of things I've been eating all my life. When you go back to eating after juicing, your skin will show you where you're messing up. It was three days of straight juice and the remainder of the week was intermittent fasting. I love food so that was tough. The very first salad I had on the day back eating was like heaven.

When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you handle it? 

I try to hype myself up! Sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader [and] remind yourself how far you've come.

What do you do when you have writer's block when creating a song or creative concept for a project? 

I look to experience something new anytime that I have a block. It could either mean that I'm burnt out or bored. I find that if you put a creative in an uncomfortable situation or new situation it'll allow a fresh perspective!

Honestly, what does success and happiness mean to you? 

Success and happiness are intertwined for me. I've always thought that happiness is me having success doing whatever It is that makes me happy in that moment with no boundaries. If I woke up one day and wanted to leave the country, or not leave my home or take the year off. Whatever the mood, I find my happiness In the freedom of knowing that the decisions are mine to make everyday.

For more of Tayla, follow her on Instagram. Her new single "Dance Alone" is now streaming on all platforms.

Featured image by Joey James

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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