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Kimberly Chats With Justine Simmons, Our Celeb Mom Spotlight


 Justine Simmons, wife of Rev. Run and founder of Brown Sugar jewelry designs talks about: blended families, the first Mrs. Run, battling depression, Michelle Obama, and the one baby product she wants every Black mom to know about. 


You may know her as Jussy-Jus, star of the popular MTV reality show, Run’s House, www.runshouse.mtv.com.  But Justine is also the accomplished author of the popular children’s book, God Can You Hear Me? (Amistad/HarperCollins) and co-author with her husband of Take Back Your Family—an inspiring call to create powerful families. Justine dishes with Kimberly Seals Allers on celebrity mom life in the spotlight and keeping passion in your life. 
KSA: What’s the biggest misconception about Justine the celeb-reality TV star and the mom we all watch and love? 
JS: People think my mothering skills seem easy but before I met my husband I was the total opposite of wanting to be a mom. I wanted to make money, have a nice car and go dancing. The change surprised me. It was God.
KSA: God is indeed powerful. And here’s another area where he often has to work his magic. What’s your advice for dealing with a man with children and ex-spouses? 
JS: I pray that everyone in a situation where your man has children realizes not to take what the ex-spouse did or is doing out on the children. The kids don’t want to be in that situation. They would rather have their mom and dad together but they have to roll with it. Be kind and understanding. Put yourself in their situation. Then ask yourself, how would you want them to treat your child. I give a lot of credit to Ms. Valerie (Run’s first wife) because children only do what they hear and the children were never mean or rude to me. I just opened my arms and gave them love. 


KSA: That’s great. But what have been some of the tougher moments of parenting? 
JS: When my oldest girls left for LA I got really depressed. My children had become my life. They say you must have balance but I didn’t take time for me. I really didn’t do me! So when they left I was empty. My husband always said, "at the end of the day it’s just you and me."
A Dream Deferred
KSA: So what did you learn about yourself from that experience? 
JS: I had great passions in my life but as soon as the children came into my life I didn’t care about them anymore. Now that the kids are getting older, I’m getting back to doing me. That’s why the Brown Sugar line is so important to me. 
KSA: The Brown Sugar Collection (http://www.simmonsjewelryco.com/brownsugar/) is a beautiful line of jewelry. I’m really feeling those rings! 
JS: Thank you. I realize now that I have too much creativity inside of me that needs an outlet and I can do that and be a great mom! 
KSA: Yes you can! Isn’t it an amazing time to be a black woman and mother?  
JS: It is. What I love about black women is that we’re such nurturers that if you are a mother, no matter what you do, it shows. Even Judge Hatchett!! You still know that she is a mother. 
KSA: What strikes you most about our First Lady Michelle Obama? 
JS: What I love about Michelle Obama is that although she is the First Lady, we see mother. We don’t see that spirit of we have to disown our kids as if people will think less of us as business women. I remember watching television perhaps during the Democratic National Convention and there was an image of one of the girls resting on their mothers’ lap at this very important event. Another person might of said, "Sit up straight. Don’t lie down like that here." But she didn’t. You see her strength in her boldness and her quiet. 
KSA: One of the things I’ve lamented and blogged a lot about is that people are shocked that Michelle Obama exists when there are thousands more like her out there but nobody wanted to believe us. 
JS: It’s so unfortunate. People don’t see who we really are as black women. Although they do know whom to call when they want someone to raise their kids…but I won’t go there. 
KSA: Me neither. Tell me about mommyhood after 40. 
JS: I’m much more tired. I don’t have as much stamina. My husband reminds me that’s why God said don’t have them after 40–because they go, go, go! But Miley is doing her thing, growing up so fast and I’m loving it. 
KSA: Any baby products you want to tell other moms about? 
JS: I would love every mom to know about the Your Baby Can Read program (http://www.yourbabycan.com/ ) based on the research of Dr. Robert C. Titzer, Ph.D. My daughter Miley is 16 months old and reading words!  As young mothers we don’t always know all that is out there to help our children thrive, so all our kids do is want to dance or other things that don’t necessarily help them get ahead in the world. When Miley goes into her room she wants books not toys. If every mom could get this for their kids and give them that strong foundation for reading and learning, our kids will be out of this world. 
KSA: Wow! That sounds amazing! Any advice for moms of older children? 
JS: Always listen to your children. Even a simple "How was your day?" is important. They may start with one word answers, but don’t give up. Keep asking, keep listening and more will come out. 
Check out Justine’s Brown Sugar Collection on HSN on Friday February 20th, @ 7:00pm-8:00pm, and Friday February 21st @ 3:00am-5:00am. 


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