In this day and age, it seems like meaningful relationships are hard to come by. Everyone is so caught up in their day to day activities, that dating and interpersonal relationships can become a hassle. For women, being single can can come with a lot of stigmas. But Stacii Jae Johnson is determined to change the way people view single women, and the way that single women view themselves.
This Saturday, single women and not so single women gathered at the Rennaisance Waverly Hotel in Atlanta, GA, to be inspired, inspire others, and to talk about what it means to be a single woman in 2015.
Stacii Jae, founder and CEO of The Single Girls Club, V103 radio personality, and former political fundraiser/special events coordinator for the likes of President Obama, Hilary Clinton and Mayor Kasim Reed, took the stage at the opening of the program.
Stacii’s name may or may not ring a bell with you, but the media personality has been in a number of TV shows and movies that we all know and love. Stacii played the role of “Peaches” in Thin Line Between Love and Hate, starring Martin Lawrence and Lynn Whitfield, she played “Sherri” in How to Be a Player, and she’s also made appearances on ER, Martin, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
The theme of the program, “Living, Laughing, Loving, Learning Me” was a call to action for Stacii’s guests. She dared the women to find out what makes them happy. In a very emotional moment, Stacii, with tear filled eyes shared the fact she didn’t always know what made her happy. She says that it wasn’t until she found THAT out, that she was truly OK with being single.
“How many times as women do we include ‘ME’? I was supposed to be this accomplished person, but I never asked myself what made me happy. I am determined to live my life for me.”
I had the chance to sit down with Stacii Jae and Shawn Bullard of WE TV’s dating series Match Made in Heaven and here’s what happened:
On Why She Wanted to Have The SGC Event:
“I graduated from Spelman College, and one of the reasons I went to Spelman is because my family said, you know Morehouse is right across the street, and we need you to bring home a Morehouse man so you can live the Spelman/Morehouse lifestyle and have the kid…and there is nothing wrong with that if that’s what you want. And I confused that want and all of the other things that people told me with being single. I took on all of that and I became depressed. I went through a very bad time in my life and I could not understand why, until I asked myself what made me happy.”
What Was That Ah Ha! Moment:
“Something challenging always has to happen to make you get through that. I resigned from working with the current mayor of Atlanta. Some things happened and I was asked to resign, which made me get on my knees and ask a lot of questions about my life. Basically, they said, ‘You just need to go, because you’re bad for us.’ That was one of my most defining moments. I ended up leaving politics and going back into the entertainment industry. Because [politics] was so attractive to people looking in, you’re looking for everybody’s approval. And if you can’t tell, I’m not really the political girl. I like to dance. If there’s a bar and they let me dance on the bar, I’m on the bar dancing.”
On Social Media and Dating:
“I love it. People laugh at me because I put my pictures up online. But if I want to date online, I got to do that. I might have people ask like, ‘Aren’t you that girl Peaches?’, but that’s OK. Social media allows me to tap into somebody in DC, or tap into somebody in New York, and I’m not afraid to. And I put all my best pictures up.”
On Stigmas Associated With Single Women of a Certain Age:
“Oh, there’s definitely a stigma. Because I AM in my 40’s. And when I tell people that, they always tell me that I look so vibrant, and I always ask, ‘What am I supposed to be?’ I’ve never been married, I’ve never had kids. I did some research. 44.9% of women in the United States are single. 60% of that number have never been married. I think [women] are thinking twice because we are smart, and we’re looking at all these divorces and the drama that comes with them. I gotta make sure that you are who you say you are.”
What Piece of Advice Would She Give Single Women Around The World:
“Ask yourself are you happy, and what makes you happy. That changed my life. I have people asking me not to be so happy. But also realize that even when you proclaim that happiness, you’re always going to have things that knock you down. But it’s not getting knocked down, it’s the getting up that’s important. One of the reasons I’m honoring so many women is because it’s always good to have that sisterhood of women you can talk to. This is my sisterhood that I’m starting. We’re taking this to six different cities. We’re bringing these women together and we’re going to love on them.”
Like Stacii said, it’s always good to be in a room full of positive women. There is no greater feeling than getting kind of affirmation, but it never hurts to get a chance to see how a brotha feels about things. So I sat down with Shawn Bullard, the star of WE TV’s dating show, Match Made in Heaven. He was a part of the SCGE panel, and I also got to talk with him one on one. He had a few things to say:
On Being America’s First Black Bachelor:
“It means bringing back being a Black gentleman to television. It also means being a role model to Black men. We are successful business men. We don’t have to be successful just because we’re athletes or entertainers.”
Why SGCE is Important:
“I learned a lot form this event. I love women and I want to see women do well. I’m really close with my mom, and you’ll see that on the show. I just wanted to hear women’s voices. It’s great to be around powerful women. Especially women of color. I believe women of color have gotten an unfair shake and haven’t been as glorified as they should be. I wanted to give women a true, honest opinion on what men like.”
On Single Women of a Certain Age:
“I hear about stigmas. But there’s nothing wrong with being picky. I just think those women aren’t willing to settle. I’m not a man who’s ever put a stigma on a woman, because she was single.”
Women Giving Up Too Much Too Soon:
“I think living together should wait until you guys are married. I think people move into together because they can afford the rent.”
What Turns Him On:
“The type of women that are here today. The way they carry themselves. Successful. The way they command the room. The way they walk. I like a woman that is confident and driven.
On His Future Projects:
“I own a beauty salon. We have the Black Gentleman’s brand of hair coming out. I have two books coming out. One is called ‘For The Love of Real Estate.’ Real estate, you gotta know when to sell, same for relationships. And of course, Match Made in Heaven, check it out on Thursdays, on WE TV at 11PM EST.”
I should also mention that Stacii Jae, along with Nicci Gilbert (Of the R&B Group Brownstone) and Executive Producer, Queen Latifah were filming for an upcoming docu-series called “From the Bottom Up” that will air this Fall. Stay tuned for updates!
And remember, like Stacii Jae said, remember to ask yourself what makes YOU happy!