Have you ever found yourself up late at night Googling the whereabouts of a celebrity from another time? I do it regularly. Google is my homeboy. I often wonder how they’ve aged from when I first discovered them way back when. If they happen to be an actor, I usually head to IMDB to see when their last film project came out.
Around Aretha Franklin’s funeral earlier this month, that person for me was Tevin Campbell due to a frivolous Twitter debate about her tribute roster. Today, that person is Nivea. No, not the skincare company, Nivea, the singer — the mother to Lil Wayne’s and The Dream’s children, and also the latter’s ex-wife. BET aired a special interview with the “Laundromat” queen earlier this week, and while I initially resisted the hype to tune in, eventually I caved. Well, it certainly didn’t disappoint. It was emotional and gripping; I couldn’t turn it off.
Nivea exuded a pain that is all too familiar. It was the opposite of Mom Guilt. She had regret looking back on the career that never was. As her lovers rode high on the Billboard charts, she stayed at home raising her children (by choice) because she loved them so much. Who knew? I expected to see some trash talk about her exes, maybe a dragging of a studio exec who stunted her career, or a story of beef with a fellow R&B Chick, but none of the such occurred.
Nivea reflected on her childhood and how she was brought up in a family of singers. Her upbringing was far from cushy and she opted for a life on the run for fame. She found it, but it was more of a discounted version. She had settled. She discussed going on tour with The Dream and being booed because she was molded into a Black Britney Spears. There was no truth or authenticity to her as she was forced to play a part to pay the bills.
Then, the children came. Nivea is a mother of four and the fathers of her children are both superstars. She stayed at home as a dedicated mother would. It was that or abandon them and that wasn’t an option.
I feel for her and the sacrifices she had to make resulting in her putting her career on hold. “Don’t Mess With My Man” and “Complicated” were certified bangers and it’s safe to say she brought 80% of the oomph to Mystikal’s song “Danger.” I wonder what could have been.
The lesson I take away from her experience is to never forget about you. Love yourself enough to demand the same opportunities and considerations as your romantic partners. Give yourself space and quality time to fully explore and embrace your passions because life is too short. Thankfully, she still has time to make those dreams a reality.
She announced that she was working on a new project, a hall pass she given herself now that her children are older. It would be a dual effort; a dichotomy depicting her two sides. For so long she had hidden her talents and the best parts of herself to be a mom.
Nivea, if you’re reading this, I applaud your selflessness. If not us mothers, then who? Beyonce’ said we’re strong enough to bear the children and then get back to business, but sometimes that isn’t the case.
Check out Finding: Nivea on BET.com.