Maya Angelou once said, “You can’t use up creativity.” Teyana Taylor is putting these words to the test. The multihyphenate and entrepreneur not only released her much-adored album K.T.S.E after a four-year delay, but the budding mogul has also launched several ventures, including a nail salon, a fitness program and an all-female production company.
While Taylor has always been about business since she hit the scene at 15, her grind really increased after the birth of her daughter, Iman Tayla Shumpert Jr., affectionately known as Junie. “Being a mom makes you move differently, think differently and speak differently,” Taylor says. “Once I had Junie, I realized I was living for so much more.”
One way Taylor has wrested control of her career is through her production company, The Aunties. So far she’s overseen the visuals for her own songs, “Gonna Love Me” and “Issues/Hold On,” as well as directed videos for Lil Duval, Monica, Macy Gray and her husband, NBA baller Iman Shumpert. Still, in spite of her immense talent and drive, the 28-year-old has had to take a hammer to people’s expectations of what a boss looks like.
“There have been times when The Aunties have been on sets where one of my partners will say or do something, and some guys will look at her like she’s got five heads,” Taylor says.
But the singer isn’t fazed. She draws on the examples of the powerful women in her life, like her mom and manager, Nikki Taylor. “My nana’s got five girls, so I’ve always been around strong women,” Taylor says. Being an ambitious boss woman is something Taylor hopes to pass on to 3-year-old Junie. “I’m just teaching her early: ‘You are beautiful, you are smart, you are magic,’ ” she says.
Through her relationship with her husband, Taylor is also modeling the power of commitment. “Love is important,” she says.
But in spite of how cute they are together, Taylor and Shumpert aren’t interested in being anybody’s #RelationshipGoals. “I don’t want my supporters to feel like we’re untouchable,” she explains. “I don’t want y’all to think we’re Perfect Pattys, because that’s just not real.” Taylor and Shumpert do find some enjoyment being a positive example of Black love. “I think sometimes it takes other couples to see like, ‘Damn, they were able to talk and get through it. That’s inspirational.’ ”
Taylor ultimately wants to inspire other women to be authentically themselves—in relationships, in their careers, and in their lives. “I just want them to think of me and say, ‘She moved the world. She shook it up,’ ” she says. “I want to inspire other women to be great, to never compromise their art and to believe that anything is possible. I know a lot of people say that, but I actually mean it.”