Jazmine Sullivan wears her heartbreak on her sleeve showing fans that even the most prominent celebrities face deep self-image insecurities.
Sullivan speaks straight to the matters of the heart with the message embedded through the lyrics in her song, “Masterpiece”. As she sits down during her performance of the song, with hair as big as her voice, and lights dimly lit, Sullivan shares with fans the importance of loving yourself.
Lack of self-esteem and self-acceptance, she further explains, led her to allowing a man to abuse her during a previous relationship. The song expands on the idea of not wanting to fit the mold of what society thinks she should look like, but instead finally embracing herself, and not being afraid of every inch of her body, because she realizes she is a masterpiece.
I think the older I get, I’m getting a lot more comfortable with myself.
Performing at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre, Sullivan airs all her dirty laundry through performances of songs featured on her most recent album Reality Show, baring the life-altering lessons she learned during her brief leave of absence from the industry. In our exclusive sit-down interview prior to the show, the 28-year-old shares how she re-discovered her self-confidence.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A MASTERPIECE? I would say being comfortable with yourself, being confident, that’s basically what it is. It’s the hardest thing to do, [because] you compare yourself to everybody out and nowadays being regular is not even good. At this point people try to go above and beyond, so it’s just being comfortable in the skin that you’re in and finding beauty in that.
WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER OR RE-DISCOVER YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE THAT YOU SPEAK ABOUT ON THE TRACK? I think the older I get, I’m getting a lot more comfortable with myself. It’s like there are certain things you just can’t change, so you kind of have to be like that. It’s just coming with age and also after the relationship I was in, having gotten through that and having been able to move on and kind of get back to myself and do my own thing, it’s beauty in that. I’m proud of myself and proud of the fact that I was able to move on.
We all go through bad relationships, may not be the same degree of bad, but we all go through relationships like that. I just felt like it was necessary for me to talk about.
THAT RELATIONSHIP YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT, WHY WAS IT SO IMPORTANT TO SPEAK ABOUT? I struggled with whether I should talk about it or not, because I didn’t know if I should. It’s just a part of my story and I felt like I’ve shared other things so far, so I don’t really need to be ashamed of something that I went through. We all go through bad relationships, may not be the same degree of bad, but we all go through relationships like that. I just felt like it was necessary for me to talk about.
THERE’S A QUOTE THAT SAYS ‘IT’S BETTER TO HAVE LOVED AND LOST THAN NEVER TO HAVE LOVED AT ALL.’ DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE? I agree. I mean, I don’t have any regrets about the relationship . . . I think that everything that happened needed to happen to get me to the place that I am now.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF, IF YOU KNEW THEN THE THINGS YOU KNOW NOW? I would really try to stress my worth. I think that would keep me from a lot of situations that I put my own self in, in the name of love or whatever. If I knew my worth I wouldn’t have stayed in certain things.
I mean there’s a lot of advice, but something tangible I would say is if you have people who you know care about you, like parents or friends that are trying to let you know certain things, listen to them. You know, take their advice because obviously they are telling you for a reason.
WHAT OR WHO HELPED YOU DISCOVER THAT WORTH? Well, God of course, because God loves us and He made us and He wants us to know that we are great. I also had my parents and my friends. I have a really good support system, so they help me with all the stuff I need help with basically.
IT’S NO SECRET YOU ARE A HUGE FAN OF SHOWS LIKE “LOVE AND HIP HOP” AND “THE REAL HOUSEWIVES”. DO YOU THINK THESE SHOWS REAFFIRM OR DIMINISH THE WORTH OF WOMEN? I don’t know. I guess it’s personal for each woman. I mean for me all it serves as, is entertainment. You know I don’t really put too much thought into it because it’s just a TV show to me. I don’t look at that for any kind of influence on my life, it’s just TV shows, entertainment. As far as what it does to other people, I really don’t know.
LET’S SAY A WOMAN IS STILL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RELATIONSHIP THAT YOU WERE IN, WHAT IS SOME OF ADVICE THAT YOU CAN OFFER? I mean there’s a lot of advice, but something tangible I would say is if you have people who you know care about you, like parents or friends that are trying to let you know certain things, listen to them. You know, take their advice because obviously they are telling you for a reason. I think also if I had listened to those people, I probably wouldn’t have been in the situation that I ended up [in].
WHO WAS YOUR ANCHOR THROUGH THAT TRYING TIME? My mom. She just told me the truth.
THERE WAS YOUR FIRST ALBUM FEARLESS, THEN CAME LOVE ME BACK AND NOW THERE IS REALITY SHOW. HOW HAVE YOU TRANSITIONED BACK INTO THE INDUSTRY? It’s been cool so far. Before I got back into it, I was nervous. [There’s] been so many females that have come out since I’ve been out and I was just like, ‘Oh man, I don’t know if people are still going to want to hear what I have to say or whatever,’ but having come back [though] I don’t even have a number one song. I [still] feel the love. Regardless of where I’m at on the charts, I feel the love from everybody . . . that kind of just reassures me with my place in the industry.