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Summertime fine…

ESSENCE July / August covers featuring Yahya Abdul Mateen II and Jazmine Sullivan

Source: Brad Ogbonna / Brad Ogbonna

ESSENCE Magazine definitely understood the assignment when it came to their July/August 2021 issue, which features GRAMMY nominated singer Jazmine Sullivan and EMMY award-winning actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II on it’s two covers covers dedicated to the “ESSENCE Festival of Culture” and “Summer Screen Kings” respectively.

Keep reading for excerpts from both of their interviews!

For ESSENCE’s feature on Sullivan, titled Jazmine’s Tale, the singer opens up to Insecure co-creator/writer/producer Issa Rae about the importance of holding space for Black women, therapy and the freedom of sharing her own journey.

ESSENCE July / August covers featuring Yahya Abdul Mateen II and Jazmine Sullivan

Source: Brad Ogbonna / Brad Ogbonna

The magazine editors were inspired to bring the creatives together after their tweets about collaborating went viral…

Check out excerpts from the article below.


“I wish I could say I had a master plan, but I really didn’t. I was just doing what felt natural, and luckily I had gotten with a record company and with people who allowed me to do that. But for me, I just wanted to express myself in the most natural way, and that means me writing my stories. So many of the songs at that time came from a lot of the childish stuff I was going through. For example, busting windows out of an ex’s car and literally going straight from doing it to not being able to sleep. I was restless, because I was still in the moment. And so I just started writing about it. I let my girlfriends hear it, and they were like, ‘Girl, do your thing—whatever this leads to.’ And it led to my world opening up in such a different way…”

Wow… so she really busted ol’ boy’s windows huh.


“Before now, I had really just been concerned about expressing myself and getting my story out there—and people have connected to that. But for this project, it was important for me to share the stories of the women I love and hold dear to my heart. I feel like they are just as banging and dynamic as me. And I want to give space and opportunity to women, period…”

She accomplished her goal. That last EP was truly FIE!


“I feel like we get caught up in thinking there’s ‘only one’ of us. There can only be one R&B superstar; there can only be one rap girl at a time. That’s not true. God was not stingy when He was giving out gifts. And you’re not the only person. There are many other women, especially Black women, who can do what you do. And let’s all create spaces for each other to get out there and do that…”

She’s preaching a whole sermon right here. Black women win when we come together instead of competing!


“The first five minutes I was holding back tears, because I was like, ‘Wow, this is the first time I’m actually speaking about my feelings. And it’s not in a song. It doesn’t require notes. I don’t need to impress anybody with what it is that I’m actually doing. This is the first time.’ So I was holding back tears even doing that. But after that first five minutes, I was surprised by how much I was enjoying speaking to somebody, and somebody listening to me, and I didn’t have to perform to do it. But finding the right therapist is a process—because I went to therapy one time, years ago, and I hated the experience, and I feel like it stopped me from going for a long time. And then I found this new lady, and it’s a totally different experience. So you have to find the right person for you, that you actually want to open up to. But once you do that, a weight lifts off of you—just from speaking, just from telling your story. And that’s what ‘Heaux Tales’ was. It’s like, ‘Tell it, girl. Tell it. Set yourself free.’”

Finding the right therapist is so essential! We’re glad Jazmine is working on her mental health and that her music has helped with that healing. It sure helped us! What’s your favorite song off ‘Heaux Tales’?

In case you missed it, Jazmine Sullivan is the ESSENCE Festival of Culture Presented by Coca-Cola headliner. The festival will stream across two weekends June 25-27 and July 2-4 on and

Hit the flip for excerpts from Yahya’s feature.


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