Mashonda on Forgiving Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz

What did it take for Mashonda to forgive Swizz Beatz? The singer turned author sat down with ESSENCE for an exclusive interview to talk just that -- and more! In this initmate conversation with ESSENCE Senior News and Culture Editor Christina Coleman, Mashonda opens up about the hard fought battle to forgive and move on.

ESSENCE.COM Oct, 18, 2016
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[BLANK_AUDIO] You two collaborated on this new project. So can you tell us why you decided to unite? Well I think that we had no real choice. We are working together to raise a son. And It just felt like the right thing to do. Alicia released her song, and she played it for me, and I was blown away at how beautiful it was. My son was blown away that it was dedicated to him, and it's just the perfect time to I think show the world that Love is still in existence and it's still being displayed throughout families and raising children. So you've been working on a blended family project for quite some time for a number of years. So did you take your project to a lesions with and is that how the song came about? So I've been working on my blended project for five years now which is just about the amount of time that we've been working on blending our family. I absolutely took the project to Aleesha and Swiss because having them involved means the world to me. It makes it so much stronger. Alicia's song, though, came about from her own experiences and her own passion about the subject. And it just so happens that it goes perfectly with the book and the overall project. So it worked out really. Really well. Yeah. So the public, we know a little bit about five years ago, eight years ago, we know that you were married to Swiss Beats. We know that you've been blending your families for quite some time but can you talk about the challenges that you guys face? The unique challenges you faced. I think the number one challenge In any family, or in any relationship, is a lack of communication, a lack of understanding. And so, for us, we pretty much had to develop a trust, and we sat at many tables together My house, their house, we've had many phone calls text messages, and it took years to get to the point to where we are today. This doesn't just happen over night, and there are times when we don't understand each other, and we don't agree, but we make it a point to find that middle place. Because we understand that the outcome is so much greater than us. We've got five children to raise pretty much and they're all so close and they love each other. And I think for us, our goal has always been to make it easy for them. Make their lives easy. Right. Also making our lives easy, too because You want to love the people that are raising your children with you. And what's the dynamic with Swiss now? You and Alicia have really gotten public with your relationship, and I know Swiss has been vocal about that, but what is the relationship like? Swiss is like [LAUGH]... He's like an old friend, you know? He. Sometimes I feel like we are like brother and sister. It's really weird. We can get on the phone and talk about our son, we can talk about all of his other children, we can talk about music, art. And we can also talk about how incredible, which is crazy, because we talk about how incredible Alisha is. In the mix of all this. And so, it's just an evolution to know that you've reached that point as a human being to have these conversations with someone you were once married to, but you know that that's the father of your child forever. And you just make it work. You just look for the light in every situation and with Swiss he's just always gonna be that person for me. Yeah, yeah. So, I know you have a ton of tips about blending families in your new project that's coming out. When? Blend will be out in 2017. 2017. But just for our viewers, right here, right now, could you give them some tips on how to blend their families? I just feel like the number one tip is to first forgive yourself. Sit with yourself for as long as you need to And understand the things that you need to let go of to create a new person because you can't really deal with new people until you've dealt with yourself and your issues. So start with self. And then slowly reach out and open out, and allow. A lot of it has to do with allowing instead of resisting. And I mean honestly when you are a good parent, and you have tunnel vision of being a conscious parent To this soul that you brought into the world. There's really nothing that you won't do to make it work for them. [BLANK_AUDIO]