I recently had the pleasure of chatting it up with the always real, down-to-earth LaShawn and April Daniels, co-stars of the Tamar & Vince show. When I was new to the blogging scene, they were one of the first celebrity couples I interviewed here on this website. I immediately became a superfan and loved what they stood for. I adored how they showed the world that there are, in fact, happily married black couples making it work every single day.
So when the opportunity presented itself to catch up with them, I didn’t hesitate. I was “yassss’ing” and “amen’ing” pretty much throughout our interview, and I’m pretty sure you’ll do the same.
BMWK: During our initial interview, the term “rock out with me” had just been born. You’ve now created a women’s empowerment movement and more from that one phrase. What inspired you to take “rock out with me” to another level?
April: Just listening to the demands of our fan base. Initially, it was women with the Rock Out With Me Empowerment Tour, but we’ve always been an advocate of healthy relationships. That’s clearly our stance on the Tamar and Vince show. So we figured if people are asking for it, why not give it to them? We can do that with our eyes closed because it’s something near and dear to our hearts.
We were newlyweds once upon a time, so it can be hard to find your rhythm. We figured if we could be transparent on TV, clearly we could do the same with this online platform.
Everyone loves to paint marriage as a white picket fence. And the minute you get in there and it changes colors, your first thought is, “Wait a minute this is not what it’s supposed to be. Maybe we made a mistake”. It’s all about sharing and letting people know they’re going to have those moments, but there is so much more if you just stick it through. We must’ve got divorced about 35 times in our heads in the beginning [laughs]. Some people don’t want to be real about that. We just really want to speak to our fan base and hopefully, speak to others who may not know who we are. We want people to know love is hard, marriage can be difficult but so worth it if you’re willing to hang in there.
LaShawn: That pretty much sums it up. If your memory serves you correctly, it started out as a couple’s thing. When you did the first interview with us, the whole “rock out with me” came from her saying it to me on the show. So it’s kind of like we’re bringing it back to the source.
BMWK: What are tips/strategies for calming down a heated discussion in order to keep unity, communication and the respect factor intact?
April: When couples are disagreeing, I think it’s very important that you take a minute before it escalates. At that point, we’re now in our emotions because we both want to be heard. We’re talking at each other instead of to each other. It helps when we first take note that we are bothered or upset. And that’s never where you want the relationship to go. At the end of the day, you have to be accountable for your actions. Take a minute and come back. Definitely don’t go to sleep in the guestroom for three days. But if you need a minute or thirty, come back and get to a place where you both can be heard and understood…It doesn’t matter how many times you apologize, you can’t take words back. They will always sit in the lower part of that person’s heart.
BMWK: What has been the key to a loving, nurturing and long-lasting relationship between the two of you?
April: One thing people don’t really get to see or know about me is that I’m super silly. Sometimes, I’m so silly that I know Shawn wants to smack me upside my head because I’m a big kid. I think it’s very important to have a silly side to the relationship. Of course, you have the accountability with our faith. I always make sure I include God in the relationship for my husband, for myself and for my family. I want to have fun with my husband. I want to be able to laugh with him and just enjoy each other.
People get so caught up on this love thing. I love my husband without a doubt. But I really like my husband! Marriages and relationships are really lacking the like part. People tolerate each other because they said, “I do.” I work every day to keep liking him. When you like your husband or your mate on top of love, oh my goodness, you guys can conquer the world together! People get so stuck on love. But how many times have we loved something that wasn’t good for us? Love will cloud your judgment. Yes, you should love your spouse. But on top of that, you should be in like with them. He comes in the room sometimes, and I’m like, “wow, he’s my husband.”