The Open Letter read ’round the world. It’s caused fans to take sides and women to voice their opinion on whether R&B singer Mashonda was justified or just plain crazy in sounding off on Ms. “Empire State of Mind,” Alicia Keys.
Take away all the hoopla, and the topics at hand–infidelity, the “other woman”–are issues women worldwide have faced. From a BFF to mommy dearest, if she herself hasn’t hit the issue head on, she knows a woman who has. Thus the reason for this discussion: LuxLadies.com asked 13 intelligent females to shed light on the Open Letter. What do they think of Mashonda? Are they turning their back on Alicia Keys? Read on, find out, and share your thoughts.
“As a woman, I feel I want to say, ‘That’s right girl, tell her what’s up.’ But as an adult, I do feel at times there are more graceful ways to handle those types of situations. Having your relationship viewed and talked about by millions of people can’t be easy, but being that this is a very one-sided argument, it’s better to handle this out of the public eye. I feel for her because I’m sure the pain is immense, but girl, sometimes you need to humble yourself down, and handle your business without trying to air it out.”
“I definitely understand Mashonda’s frustration and her need to express herself in some way since she wasn’t getting a private response from Alicia. I don’t necessarily think Twitter is the best forum for that though lol… Mashonda could have instead had a heart to heart with Swizz to let him know that all three of them should get together to talk if Alicia was nonresponsive. Maybe she tried everything she could, as she wrote, but it seems like a lot of her personal business to open up to the public.
When a woman is in a situation like that, we just want closure and you want to hear the ‘other woman’s’ side. But if you don’t get that, you just have to let it go. I personally think it’s not on Alicia to explain herself to Mashonda. To me, that’s on Swizz since he’s in the middle of the whole thing. He could communicate both of the women’s concerns. Of course, we don’t know all the details so I don’t want to speculate too much. I think any problem in any relationship always boils down to miscommunication.”
“I refuse to pass judgement on either woman involved in this debate. I’m sure they both have their own reasons for landing themselves in this current situation, which is none of my business. And yet that’s exactly the point: none of this is our business. Alicia should have been more cautious with her Tweets and Mashonda should not have vented on the web, even as a last resort. If Alicia is now with Mashonda’s husband and they share a child, there MUST be a way to approach her face to face and simply ask to have a conversation. Mashonda mentions her son many times, and I see where she’s coming from, but this is the same son that is going to one day be able to Google his mom’s name and trace through everything she put out there for the world to see. Not cool.”
Lauren J. Rivera
CEO, Side Job Productions
“An open letter on Twitter is not really my idea of class nor is it really the forum for handling ‘grown women business’ BUT since they are celebrities… (I’ll call Mashonda a celebrity because she answers to one name but for future notice-one album and a hip-hop hubby does not make you a celeb) I’ll let Mashonda get away with this because not only was it well written and obviously authentic BUT blasting her on Twitter was probably the only way she could have Alicia feel a smidgen of the hurt Mashonda did finding out about their affair and being subjected to pictures of them hugged up on every news outlet and blog. My heart goes out to Mashonda. If this made her feel better (or helped her get some PR), so be it.”
Account Manager, Urban Marketing & PR
He’s just not that into you.
No seriously, while I understand Mashonda’s desire to smooth things over with A. Keys for the sake of the children that she shares with Swizz, her open letter indicates that she’s seeking a bit more than that. Heartbreak and betrayal are some of the most difficult things to deal with and I feel for her, but I think she’s looking for resolution in the wrong place. She has to find the strength to move on within herself. No one can give her that, not Swizz Beatz and definitely not Alicia Keys. Sure, Alicia may have been ‘dating’ her husband, and that’s inexcusable, but ultimately by telling her to step back Mashonda was asking Alicia to put the needs of a stranger (Mashonda) above her own and I know very few people that would be capable of doing that, celebrity or not. Besides, what explanation or apology could A. Keys offer that would be sufficient or believable? The bottom line is, Swizz Beatz decided that he was no longer interested in continuing with his marriage to Mashonda. It’s as simple as that. It’s a bitter pill to swallow but she needs to take it and move on to the greater things that await her in life.”
Director of Content SOHH.com
“I do not think that Mashonda was correct in speaking publicly about her views on Alicia Keys’s and Swizz’s relationship. I believe that it should have been done in a more professional manor. However, I do understand being upset and frustrated about being cheated on, but that is something that should be spoken about in private and directly to Swizz Beatz. We women sometimes forget that a lot of girls out there dont really know if these guys are in relationships because they are being fed lies or what not. We tend to take it out on the women they are cheating on us with because being cheated on creates a huge insecurity within us. I think Mashonda should just move on and wish Alicia Keys the best, because if in fact Mashonda was cheated on, Alicia Keys should be afraid herself.”
“Sometimes it’s hard for a woman to see the error in the ways of her man when she’s scorned. I think that calling Swizz her ‘husband’ in a letter firing off against ‘the other woman’ just shows how misguided Mashonda’s anger really is. For a woman who appeared to have class in an otherwise tasteless situation, she really turned her grace on its ear with Internet banter like she’s a guest on Jerry Springer. If the rumors are true and Alicia Keys is really together with Swizz Beatz then it is what it is. But blame your ‘husband’, Mashonda. He was the one who took the vows. As for Alicia- for someone who wrote a song called “Karma,” I sincerely hope she believes in it.
“I feel Mashonda’s letter to AK was very honest. People might say that she is just bashing AK for attention, or whatever the case is, but things are always different when the shoe is on the other foot. AK is a celebrity but she is also a regular person. There are three sides to every story…but in this case it’s not so much about the damage that’s been done (the cheating) but about the way AK is handling the situation. Do you still see her as the same Superwoman? Does she believe in Karma? Makes you think.”
Sirius XM Radio/AListRadio.net
“You can say whatever you want on the Internet and a heart scorned will be louder than any microphone, yet at the end of the day, it’s not just Alicia, IT’S BOTH OF THEM who’s at fault here. Mashonda has directed her criticism to her adversary but her husband’s the liar, perhaps even a sociopath for living a double life and making her believe he was happy at home. We all know lovers stray when they’re not satisfied. Airing our dirty laundry for the world to see won’t close doors and heal hearts – as much as it’s hard, walking away gracefully might be the only way to teach her son about forgiveness and being the bigger person.”
Co-founder of the collective, Bodega
“It’s a well written letter, but who is Mashonda trying to reach here. Something tells me the fans and not Alicia Keys. I find it extremely hard to believe Mashonda hasn’t been able to reach Alicia Keys in the last two years. We (public) have no idea what went on behind close doors inside the marriage of Swizz and Mashonda. What is Mashonda trying to say with this letter… that ’she’s hurt,’ that ‘it’s Alicia’s fault,’ that ‘it’s Swizz’s fault.’ I just don’t understand the reason for the letter and not to mention two years later. Why now? This is only one side of the story. Yes, it’s unfortunate their marriage is over… but we don’t know the full story. Who are we to label Alicia Keys a ‘homewrecker,’ Swizz Beats as ‘grimey,’ Mashonda as “the victim.” We’ve never heard of any mess like this going on in either Alicia or Swizz’s past, so how are we to pass judgement on the situation when we don’t know the facts.
This all seems a little publicity stunt on Mashonda’s part to try to turn Alicia Keys’ fans against her, as well as Swizz Beatz’s and gain more fans on her side. At this point, I want to hear from Swizz Beatz, I want to hear from Alicia Keys. And call me a hater, but I doubt Mashonda even penned this letter herself, sounds like a good editing job by her PR rep. If she really wanted to discuss the issue, rather than putting her dirty laundry out there for all to read, why not handle it in private (a la Jay-Z and Beyonce). I’m not taking sides here, but the story just doesn’t add up, we need more information. In a court of law, ‘you’re innocent until proven guilty’ but in this case both Alicia and Swizz are ‘guilty until proven innocent.’ Let’s stop pointing fingers and learn the facts. That’s all I’m saying…”
Owner & Publisher, Str8NYC
“[I] had a hard time giving my thoughts about the subject of Mashonda’s Open Letter because I’ve largely felt compelled not to judge (Mashonda most of all, Alicia to some degree and Swizz to a lesser extent) on any aspect of the situation. I’m a little disgusted by the way tabloids have handled the situation, and while I think Mashonda chose her words well, I felt uncomfortable reading the letter because I felt it wasn’t meant for my eyes. It also made me wish that women could be more compassionate toward other women in general.
I think it’s unfortunate that the public may possibly come to know Mashonda more for an Open Letter to Twitter than for her music. As genuinely concerned for her son’s well-being as Mashonda is, her decision to Tweet(way)Longer than 140 characters will probably have some negative impact on him in the future (thanks to the inevitable cruelty of being born in an era of Internet savvy schoolchildren). Hopefully the Open Letter will do more good than harm by serving as a bridge toward a better relationship for all parties involved. Love can indeed HURT.”
“I understand where Mashonda is coming from in the sense that there is a child involved and for the child’s sake there needs to be a “friendly” relationship between the two women. Mashonda should be reaching out to Alicia. BUT I think Mashonda should have kept it private. If I were in Alicia’s shoes, the more public Mashonda makes the situation, the less likely I will be available to speak with her. It’s just not an ‘adult’ thing to do.”
“At times we are faced with a cruel reality of relationships ending without any closure. Not all relationships end with the closure we want or fill our expectations to our satisfaction. Instead of focusing on what we expect from the other person (AK) involved, we can create our own closure by taking control of the situation and acting on behalf of our best interests. We need to accept the situation and learn to move on, no matter how difficult it may be. Mashonda needs to close this chapter in her life for good and focus on raising her son with the father involved. Eventually, when she is healed, she will be open and receptive to a new, healthy love. The ‘closure’ Mashonda has is the very fact that something that once was (her marriage), has ended. Letting go can be a first step towards closure. Moving on (not contacting AK or confronting her with this situation any longer) is even another big step into putting this situation behind and viewing it as a learning experience. Best of luck to Mashonda on an unfortunate situation and let’s give her credit for being a strong woman and leaving her cheating husband.”
Founder of SPICE NYC Special Events For Women