Leave it to the ladies sitting at the red table to shed some light on a juicy topic courtesy of wise-beyond-her-years Willow Smith. It was last year when the 20-year-old first identified herself as polyamorous, but last week she followed up that confession with an in-depth chat on Facebook Watch's Red Table Talk with her cohosts.
"With polyamory, I feel like the main foundation is the freedom to be able to create a relationship style that works for you and not just stepping into monogamy because that's what everyone around you says is the right thing to do," she explained to her mom, Jada Pinkett Smith and her grandmother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris.
"So, I was like, 'How can I structure the way that I approach relationships with that in mind?' Also, doing research into polyamory, the main reasons why monogamous relationships — or why marriage, why divorces happen — is infidelity."
BTW in case, you were wondering…
Polyamorous: characterized by or involved in the practice of engaging in multiple romantic (and typically sexual) relationships, with the consent of all the people involved.
Willow was sure to clear up any misunderstandings around polyamory that are often chalked up to promiscuity, which is not the case. According to her, it's a "natural way" to approach romantic bonds where needs are met without relying solely on one person.
"When you were like, 'Hey, this is my get down', I was like, 'I totally get it.' Wanting to set up your life in a way that you can have what it is that you want, I think anything goes as long as the intentions are clear. You know what I mean?"
Gammy seemed accepting too once she got the scoop on how it all works. Willow's polyamory confession definitely sparks a conversation around the relationship status considered taboo by some and completely natural by others. Even the New York Times did an expose exploring how and why polyamorous relationships work for some.
Now that Willow has thrust the subject into the limelight once again, we asked men and women this: Do you agree with Willow that it's the most natural approach to romantic relationships, or are multiple intimate relationships just "entanglements"?
Here's what they had to say.
As a Person of Faith, I Don't Believe In It
"As a person of faith, I don't believe in polyamorous relationships for myself. I want my significant other to be devoted to the union we have and to honor the intimacy that only we share together. I understand why others may not feel the same, and I completely get that for them. I respect that everyone wants different things, so as long as both parties are on the same page and create boundaries and agreements upfront, I can see that working for others." —Valentina Gonzalez, 31, Digital Marketing Manager
My Man Is My Man
"Multiple intimate relationships are indeed 'entanglements'. Once you are involved with multiple people and it's intense, romantic, and emotional, it gets complicated; because you are now obligated to play a role. I don't believe in polyamory, my man is my MAN. And that's on that.
"The most natural approach to a romantic relationship is casual dating. No serious attachment, you put your feelings aside, maybe no sex?. You are not committed to this one individual, therefore you can explore (in a safe and mature way) meeting new people, learning about yourself, where you have an idea of who and what you want [in a monogamous relationship.]" —Kateri Fischer, BET, On-Air Promo
It’s Certainly Not for the Insecure
"[Polyamory] I often feel is based on how secure you are emotionally as a person and it's certainly not for the insecure or the jealous. If love is to be shared physically and emotionally, be prepared to be left out sometimes and feel no way about it. Just enjoy knowing that you have more than one escape." —James Cameau, 30, Behavioral Health Therapist
It’s Hard to Believe That It’ll Work
"Before watching this episode of Red Table Talk, I was like... 'that sounds a lot like being single or an open relationship…' After watching this episode I think it's a great way to be open about your relationships with all the people you love. It's hard to believe that it'll work because: 1) Who has time to dedicate all that energy to all those people EQUALLY. I barely have time for myself.
"[And] 2) Jealousy and commitments sound like blurred lines in these arrangements because naturally I think people want to feel like a priority not an option. Even after explaining that all your partners hold different spaces in your heart and mind, I'd still feel a void. Part of love/loyalty is not only being there when you want to be but when you need to be. But I respect the foundation of honesty in this approach. So more power to it!" —Hala Maroc, 29, Multimedia Personality
Multiple Partners Consumes Both My Time and Money
"I'm personally not into polyamorous relationships. I understand for myself I like monogamous, exclusive relationships. I think juggling multiple women or partners consumes both my time and money, so I'd rather stick to one partner and focus on building the best life with one person." ––Jeffrey DeRose, 31, Startup Advisory Group Founder
Understand What It's Really About
"I think that honestly people should just do what works for them. I think polyamory is meant for procreation benefits, financial benefits and supportive benefits as well. Our partners aren't meant to be everything but that is why we have friendships outside of our relationships.
"To me, having friends with different intimate bonds allows us to take pressure off our romantic relationship. It's about trust and security in yourself, your partner and your relationship to have these kinds of outside bonds. If people can handle it, then sure, but they should make sure they understand what it's really about. It's more than just sex." —Amiyah Deziire, Author, Midnight Confessions
I’m Too Selfish for All That
"I personally could never, I'm too selfish for all that. However, I'm not one to judge how other people choose to navigate their own personal relationships. What other people do in their bedrooms is none of my business." —Tiffany Ervin, 30, Visual Artist
I Don’t Think There Is Such a Thing as “Most Natural”
"I have nothing against polyamory and those that believe in it, but it's not for me. Personally, I don't have the desire for more than one person at a time, nor the energy. I like the idea of having a special connection with only one other person, and I'm completely satisfied by that. I don't agree that it's the most natural approach to relationships, and I don't think there is such a thing as 'most natural.' I believe what's natural is completely subjective to the person/people involved." —Evans Alexandre, 27, Photographer/Photo Editor
Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!
Featured image by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 Presented by Amazon Prime Video
- Jada Pinkett Smith Willow Sexuality - xoNecole: Women's Interest ... ›
- Willow Smith Polyamory Sexuality - xoNecole: Women's Interest ... ›
- Jada Pinkett Smith Is Over The Stigma Of Vaginas - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
Jazmine A. Ortiz is a creative born and raised in Bushwick, Brooklyn and currently living in Staten Island, NY. She started in the entertainment industry in 2012 and now works as a Lifestyle Editor where she explores everything from mental health to vegan foodie trends. For more on what she's doing in the digital space follow her on Instagram at @liddle_bitt.
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
What would you do if you just got laid off from your corporate job and you had a serendipitous encounter with someone who gave you the opportunity of a lifetime? Tamara Taylor was faced with that decision in 2013 after she was let go from her sales profit and operations coach job in the restaurant industry and met a then-up-and-coming stylist, Law Roach, on a flight to L.A. She and Roach struck up a conversation, and he shared how he was looking for someone to run his business and was impressed by her skills. While she took his business card, she was unsure if it would lead to anything. But, boy, was she wrong. Two weeks later, after packing up her home to move back to her hometown of Chicago, she called Roach; he asked if they could meet the following day, and the rest is herstory.
Taylor founded Mastermind MGMT, an agency that represents some of Hollywood’s best “image architects” like Roach, Kellon Deryck, and Kollin Carter, who are responsible for creating unforgettable style and beauty moments for celebrities like Zendaya, Megan Thee Stallion, Taraji P. Henson, and more. Taylor and her company possess an array of functions, but her biggest role is to be her client’s advocate. We hear endless stories about how creatives aren’t paid or underpaid in the entertainment industry, but Taylor ensures that her clients get their piece of the pie. The entrepreneur opened up about her company and her non-profit, Mastermind Matters, in an exclusive interview with xoNecole.
“I always say that I'm an artist advocate first, deal closer second. So my primary focus is to just make sure that the artist is getting everything that they deserve, whether it's compensation or, you know, certain accommodations, but just making sure that they have everything that they need to be able to show up and provide the best service that they're hired for,” she explained.
“So you know, in the beginning, it was hard because I didn't have any experience, and the artists who I was working with at the time–we were learning together, meaning neither of us had assisted anyone. We didn't have mentors in our specific fields. So every deal was like a new learning experience for us from the styling side and also from the business side, and so it took, you know, doing some research, using some very creative tactics, to find out information in the industry and just starting to request accommodations that I knew other artists were granted, who maybe didn't look like my artists.”
Photo by Christopher Marrs
Ten years later, there’s still not many people who are doing what Taylor is doing. However, things have gotten easier thanks to the research and connections she made in the beginning. During Mastermind MGMT’s ten-year anniversary celebration, she announced her non-profit, Mastermind Matters, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that focuses on helping young entrepreneurs through a 12-week program. The program is divided into “two routes.” The first route is for aspiring creative artists who want to start a business from their talent and all the things they need to learn about business, such as taxes, life insurance, etc. The second route is for practicing creative artists who are already in the industry but need resources such as how to plan for retirement or how to sustain themselves if they can’t work for a short amount of time, i.e., the pandemic.
“I just feel that I'm able to have a business and be successful because of their art as well. And so there are things that I know, I tried to teach it to them but understanding that I can only do so much because I'm not a subject matter expert in those fields,” she said. “So I at least want to be able to provide the resources, and then if they make their grown decision not to do it, then that's on them. But you know, I could be guilt-free and taking advantage of the resources that I'm also providing to them.”
Taylor continues to be an innovator in her industry by always pushing the boundaries of creativity and thinking one step ahead of everyone else. The Chicago-bred businesswoman is moving into the tech space thanks to a new invention created with her clients in mind, and she is looking forward to bigger collaborations in the future. Follow Mastermind MGMT on Instagram @mastermind_mgmt for more information.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Christopher Marrs