Archive for Simon & Schuster Interviews Raqiyah Mays

Posted in The Man Curse, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2016 by Raqiyah Mays

Words by Abiola Abrams

Do I have your attention yet?

In her book The Man Curse New York 107.5 WBLS radio personality and author Raqiyah Mays explores the complicated legacies of love passed among generations of women. The book, which is described as “self-help fiction,” examines generational curses and love cycles through the story of Meena Butler, a successful woman who tries to break her family’s Man Curse. This “man curse” has prevented the women of her family from marrying. Raqiyah has written for diverse publications and was featured in VH1’s “Future Leaders of Black History” campaign. She was also saluted as a leader for her powerful work as a part of The Limited’s “New Look of Leadership” campaign. Women’s empowerment and leadership is an important part of Raqiyah’s platform, so of course, she was down to dig a little deeper. Let’s see what she has to say about love.

Raqiyah, we have all seen those statistics that admonish successful African American women as “doomed to be alone.” What do you feel is the legacy of love for black women?

The legacy of love for black women and for black people as a whole is complicated. It’s complicated because of slavery and post-traumatic stress from slavery. From systemic laws that were made to break up the black family. I attribute this to part of our legacy when it comes to different types of love.

There’s family love where black women have been the ones who received the love, showing the love and holding families together. For romantic love, our legacy has been difficult. I say it’s because of post-traumatic stress disorder, because of slavery, because of the things that we have to deal with emotionally from seeing our children pulled away from us and our men being taken away from us, killed and whipped, and being forced to raise children by ourselves. Forced to put on that smile and holding it all together.
I think continually seeing that throughout time, on the plantation and in the streets has subconsciously made some black women feel that men might not be there to help them. Some feel they may not find love. Do all black women feel like this? Absolutely not. But there are issues of love as a black community being connected to slavery and traumatic stress disorder.

So once and for all, what’s the Man Curse? Do you feel that there is a Man Curse?

My novel, “The Man Curse,” is a fictional account about a young woman who is working to break the man curse that the women in her family believe has prevented them from marrying. They believe that they are hexed.

I’ve had countless women come to me and tell me that they feel cursed. I’ve had women talk about coming from different families of women that aren’t married that don’t speak of this publically but privately say that they’re cursed. I heard this from gay men, white women, and I’ve absolutely have heard it from black women. Is there a curse? I believe in the power of the mind. I believe if you feel that you’re cursed, then you are. You manifest it, you believe. Do I believe that sometimes like my protagonists in my novel, that if you are taught to believe something about yourself, that you become what you’ve been taught? Absolutely. Generational cycles and ways of thinking about ourselves that I talk about in my novel, are definitely part of and one of the reasons some feel like they don’t deserve love.
The dating site OK Cupid tracked racial statistics and attraction via their platform. Their statistics revealed that African American women reach out the most on their platform and are responded to the least. How do you think this affects our relationships and how do black women deal with that level of rejection?
I think that every woman’s experience is different. Maybe it was just that dating website. I’ve used dating websites before. I have found that it was every other race that reached out to me, mostly white men. How do we deal with rejection? I think it’s about your outlook and your mindset. The right one for you will find their way to you; you will call them to you. When someone is not reaching out to you it’s not about you. It’s about them. They’re just not the right one. It’s about waiting for that right person and also making yourself right. You can look at rejection as a negative or as a positive thing. Say, ‘thank you Lord for not bringing me another deadbeat!’ You can say, ‘I know the right person will come to me when the time is right.’ You can open yourself up in other ways of meeting people. You might meet at a birthday party, at the bookstore, library, or at the museum or somewhere where you’re out not even thinking about meeting someone and just enjoying your life.



Her Agenda Live Panel Recap

Posted in The Man Curse, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2016 by Raqiyah Mays

her agenda pic

Words by: Jada Vanderpool

When you’re driven to succeed you don’t let anyone or anything get in your way, not even your emotions.

But personal drama and dilemmas that manifest while we work to grow our careers can shake up our lives at any given moment. To handle this, some utilize a strategy called compartmentalizing. Panelists Keli Goff, Dina Kaplan, Tia Williams and Raqiyah Mays shared their experiences and coping mechanisms on how to deal with it at the Her Agenda Live panel event “Real-Time Resilience.”

“You have to have self-preservation, no one is going to save you,” said Tia Williams, author and copy director of Bumble and Bumble. “You have to be the one to say ‘Why am I still here?’ You don’t owe anybody anything, and nothing good is going to come from the frustration and anxiety. The good stuff is on the other side of there, so get there.”

At just 25, Williams became Glamour Magazine’s first black beauty editor. Yet despite being a trailblazer and making her family proud, she suffered a great deal of stress from work abuse.

“The editor threw a bagel at my head.”  At the time, she also dealt with an unhealthy relationship, and didn’t eat for a year.

Yet she had a wakeup call that for her, the resilience wasn’t in toughing out the unhealthy environments she was in, but leaving them.

“Finally I was like, what good can come from all this negativity? It doesn’t matter if I’m the first black anything if I haven’t eaten in five months,” said Williams. “So I quit and put all my stuff in storage and broke up with the asshole and I moved to Spain and I wrote my first novel.”

Dina Kaplan founder of The Path shared a similar story of resilience in knowing when to walk away.

After working as a news reporter, she founded a tech company,, and worked as a leader for all seven departments within it.

In a market with no other known women influences, she decided to follow the route of men- or at least how she thought men acted- tough and no nonsense.

“I wasn’t true to myself and that ended up manifesting into panic attacks,” she shared. For two years, she was paralyzed by fear and couldn’t walk on a street alone in New York City. After a night of terror attempting to cross the street in 2011, she left the company and bought a one way ticket to Bali. She traveled the world for two and a half years.

Her key to survival now isn’t compartmentalizing, but being honest with herself and her emotions.

“I think we should bring ourselves to everything. If you have a bad day say it, find someone to hold hands with and let’s bring all of us to everything, because I think that compartmentalizing thing can lead to dangerous things for our body.”

Raqiyah Mays, author, journalist and radio personality’s world fell apart when she lost her job at 98.7 Kiss FM while dealing with a tough divorce. But letting go of her hard exterior to truly feel the moment she was in helped her move forward.

“It’s like a dark tunnel, the light is at the other end of the tunnel, you have to walk through it and feel all those emotions,” she said.

She told the audience, “You can’t tell anyone else about the truth until you tell yourself the truth, that’s where it begins. You talk about working, and working all day, that’s being emotionally unavailable, that’s an addiction.”

Keli Goff, journalist and screenwriter for projects including season three of BET’s Being Mary Jane, made three categories of rules for herself and if things didn’t fit into them, she wouldn’t do it. They include something for someone she loves, something she just wants to do, or something that advances her significantly financially or professionally.

“What we need to be successful, what works for you as long as it’s not harmful to anyone else is not something you have to apologize for.”

Many of the guests left the night feeling relieved learning that feeling stressed or unhappy is normal for many women.

Arielle Peters, an audience member and former worker for New York City’s District Attorney spent many nights working until 3 A.M. before realizing it was time for her to quit her job. After feeling like a failure for leaving, the panelists’ discussing their issues hit home for her.

“When I heard them talking about hating their job and what they were going through I was like ‘oh my god that was me, ok that was normal,’ and no one ever told me that.”

Tanira Wiggins, who also dealt with similar issues said she learned from the event that if you’re unhappy it’s ok to forego the attitude of doing hard work in order to be happy.

“It’s conversation I’ve been having with myself and my friends for a long time but until I came to the panel today I didn’t have confirmation that what I’m doing is right.”

#BreakTheManCurse #167

Posted in The Man Curse, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 18, 2016 by Raqiyah Mays

“It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you use that makes a difference.” -Zig Ziglar #‎BeInspired‬ ‪#‎TheManCurse‬

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#BreakTheManCurse #166

Posted in The Man Curse, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2016 by Raqiyah Mays

“The first place where self-esteem begins its journey is within us.” -Stephen Richards #‎BeInspired‬ ‪#‎TheManCurse‬

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#BreakTheManCurse #165

Posted in The Man Curse, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2016 by Raqiyah Mays

Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. ‪#‎BeInspired‬ ‪#‎TheManCurse‬

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#‎BreakTheManCurse‬ #164

Posted in The Man Curse, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 15, 2016 by Raqiyah Mays

Chase your dreams until you catch them…and then dream, catch, and dream again. ‪#‎BeInspired‬ ‪#‎TheManCurse‬

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#BreakTheManCurse #163

Posted in The Man Curse, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 14, 2016 by Raqiyah Mays

Happiness is not something already made. It comes from your own actions. ‪#‎BeInspired‬ ‪#‎TheManCurse‬

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#BreakTheManCurse #162

Posted in The Man Curse, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2016 by Raqiyah Mays

Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. ‪#‎BeInspired‬ ‪#‎TheManCurse‬

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Posted in The Man Curse, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2016 by Raqiyah Mays

The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. #BeInspired #TheManCurse

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#BreakTheManCurse #160

Posted in The Man Curse, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2016 by Raqiyah Mays

“The greatest step towards a life of simplicity is to learn to let go.” #BeInspired #TheManCurse

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