A lot of women believe that it’s hard to find a good man. Is that true or is it a misconception?
I think it’s a fad for a black man to be hard and gangsta. And if he’s not gangsta, people think he’s gay. There are two extremes. It’s something I’m seeing as I get older. But it starts in the home first. A mother must teach a man how to love a woman and tell him what’s right and wrong. And the father must set an example for his son. But every family doesn’t have that. I’m lucky to have a husband who has a wonderful mother and a wonderful father. They were good examples for him to see. I’m thankful for that.
Are there any couples in entertainment you admire for being examples of a strong family?
I respect Beyoncé and Jay-Z, because I know how hard it can be to stay in love in this business. In the beginning, it appeared as if Jay-Z knew Beyoncé had work to do. I respect that. You can’t go into a relationship trying to change someone. You have to grow with that person and go through everything with them. That’s one thing that I noticed and I respect about them. Of course, I’m not with them every day, but that’s what I see from the outside looking in.
How do you balance family life with a hectic road schedule?
I can’t do it alone. It takes a village to raise a child. I have family who help me when I need it. My son’s grandparents have also been very helpful. [His grandfather] recently spent two weeks with us, and for him to see his papa was wonderful.
What do you want your overall message to be for those who relate to your songs?
I didn’t have great examples while coming up in Oakland. I was able to look to examples in the industry such as Brandy. She was able to do a lot at an early age. In Mary J. Blige I saw strength. She never gave up. That’s what I want to leave behind. I want young women to know that where they start doesn’t have to be where they finish. You have to take it a day at a time. You go through things, you learn and you keep fighting.