Karrine Steffans will never be quiet about her story. Her video vixen past has propelled her to three New York Times bestsellers, seven books total, motivational speaking and next up she has her eyes on scripted TV. It’s been over a decade since she’s actually appeared in a video, but the natural beauty hasn’t been able to shake the infamous label.
Steffans stepped off ESSENCE Fest's #NoJudgmentZone panel stage in a headturning African print kente maxi skirt. Fellow panelist Mariah Huq (Married to Medicine) told Steffans she now understands who she is after hearing her story. The women embrace for hugs, promises to uplift one another and pose for photographs.
Backstage, Steffans is exactly the same person we see in interviews. Confident, unbothered, articulate and direct. Our conversation weaves between Black female sexuality and why she feels Blacks shouldn’t celebrate the 4th of July. It’s crystal clear the 36-year-old mother was never just a vixen. She has something to say and it’s time we listen up.
1. She’s All About Women Owning Their Own Sexuality
Steffans’ past sexual exploits with rich and famous men are no secret. She wrote a #1 New York Times bestselling book about it. If you’re looking to shame her on doing what she wanted with her body: Don’t. She doesn’t care. After being raped at 13, the author says she became sexually promiscuous. Her mother and father didn’t raise her so she had to figure out life on her own. Now she preaches a feminist message that women’s bodies are their own to do what they want. She points out the double standard in how men want experienced women, but shame you for having had a lot of sex. “Which is it?” she asks. “Black women have been taught to be ashamed of themselves their entire lives. It’s generational,” she says. “It’s hard to undo that language because you’ve been taught for hundreds of years your body is ugly and shameful and your sex is shameful and you should only be having sex if someone tells you do so. A lot of it is post-slavery trauma.”
2. How Can You Not Love A Woman That is Pro-Black?
Without even asking the Vindicated author what she thinks about the 4th of July she gets passionate about why Black people shouldn’t celebrate the holiday. “It’s the Fourth of July and I tell people if you’re Black in this country, you can’t celebrate the independence of a country that kills you,” she says. “You just can’t do that. This is not our holiday.” To her it feels like “we’re living in a Jim Crow era.” She’s the mom who made her 17-year-old son throw away all of his hoodies after Trayvon Martin was killed. “Between the burning of our churches to the killing of our women and men and children in the streets and how it’s been escalating, it’s been so regressive.”
3. She’s All for Black Love
I wanted to know if she felt a way about Kim Kardashian being able to build an empire from a sextape versus how she’s been shamed for writing a sex tell-all. She kept it PC on Kardashian, but she did say Black female sexuality has never been viewed in the same way as White female sexuality. “I don’t think that what I’ve done in my life has stopped me. It’s actually propelled me forward. I just don’t choose to be as exploitive as a Kardashian might be because I still like my privacy.” Steffans says even Black love is not celebrated in the way White love is. “I do see that there is a difference in the way...because Black love and Black sexuality, even if it’s just Black love, is still not ok. Even if it’s pure marital, amazing love it’ll never get as much write up as White love.
4. What You See Is What You Get
The Vindicated author doesn’t cower at the mention of her past or ex lovers. Ask her about the infamous nickname and she’ll tell you, “If I’m going to do anything I’m going to be the best at it.” In case you didn’t catch that, yes, she’s referring to giving oral pleasure.
5. She’s Evolved
Steffans claims she is a married woman. She also has a 17-year-old son. Her glory days of hanging with celebrities or going to the hottest parties are long gone. She’s not twerking in videos. “I like being at home with my family more than I like being on the road,” she tells me. Her focus is on work. The New York Times bestselling author is not going to be quiet. And if you listen closely she drops some gems.