"The hustle is so real! I want this so bad," says Jamilah B. Creekmur. The author, formerly of AllHipHop.com, is in the middle of a grueling but rewarding promotional tour for her self-published book, “Raised by the Mistress,” which explores the effects of her mother’s 20-year relationship with a married man. If you follow Creekmur on Twitter, you will see she is hustling like an indie hip-hop group to spread the word about her page-turning memoir. Published independently and distributed by Karen Hunter Media, “Raised by the Mistress” can be purchased now via Amazon.com. Clearly, Creekmur's hustle is paying off, but it's mainly due to the solid story, which was written with the help of New York Times bestselling author Aliya S. King. BET.com sat down with the “Raised by the Mistress” author to uncover her views on infidelity, hip-hop and her superstar cousin, 2pac.
The book has three different authors: you, your mother and the married man she cheated with. Was it a challenge to get them to tell their story?
The story was really birthed out of me wanting to bring closure to these negative feelings. As I was approaching my own marriage, deciding what type of wife I wanted to be and how I wanted the rest of my life to look, I went home to have the conversation with them and to try to figure out how can I pick up these pieces. The way that everything unraveled caused me to feel compelled to want to share this story. I asked my mother for her blessing to include certain things that happened. When I came to her with the story, she was at a comfortable place talking about it and he was as well. It went from us having conversations to me wanting them to actively be a part of them telling the story. Then, how amazing Aliya King is, she was able to inspire all of us to weave this into one cohesive story.
Believe it or not, I've talked to some women who have proudly dated married men. Can a mistress ever be happy?
Absolutely, and I'll tell you why. A lot of times when they are dealing with a married man, they're not getting all the things that come with having a husband. You don't have to deal with mortgages, child care, bills -- you don't have to bear those responsibilities. To an extent, you get the more attractive part of dealing with a man. But, at the same time, you are definitely getting the short end of the stick because there is no involvement in the core areas that are most important to him as a man. Otherwise, he wouldn't allow you to be his mistress; he wouldn't have you in that role. I do think a mistress can be happy to an extent, depending on what her intentions are. If you begin to develop feelings, then those short, quick-fix feelings will begin to die off and you'll eventually want all of the things that the wife has. It slowly morphs from short-term gratification into long-term emotional distress.
How has your experience as a child affected your life as a woman in hip-hop, where infidelity is often bragged about?
It's in all of us -- that little tiny space in the back of your minds, where the "what if" possibility exists. My personal opinion – when you begin to live your life thinking, "This can never happen to me!" – that's when that pain is even deeper if and when it does happen. I went into my marriage allowing myself to be extremely vulnerable considering the things I have seen in the past. A large portion of things I saw growing up would indicate that I should not have faith in men and marriages, but I fought that so hard. With trust, you have to do it blindly because it's 100 percent rooted in your faith and the unknown. I'm blessed to have a wonderful husband who has given me no reason to not trust him, even in this industry we work in. And, I'm confident in my space as a woman. I didn't walk into the industry assuming everyone is out to get me or my husband; I went into it with high expectations that we would do the right thing.
Tupac was your cousin and he is mentioned in the book. Give me a little reflection on the person Tupac Shakur was.
I never knew Tupac the "superstar." I only knew my cousin Tupac. He was a regular cousin, very much a dominant personality. We always did different renditions of Prince songs -- he always was the lead as Prince! [Laughs] I hold onto memories like that of him. He was a warm person, big heart and enormous ambition. I'm happy I've been able to carve out a lane for myself as a businesswoman without having to lead with, "Tupac is my cousin." I just hope he's proud of me. At the end of the day, I just hope he is glad how the family has managed his legacy and that we continue to try to do as much as we can in our own individual careers.
Why is your story important to the BET audience?
A lot of times we talk about the man and the woman, but we don't necessarily look at how infidelity impacts the children. I really hope the BET audience is open to having those discussions with me and helping me to encourage others that might be struggling with the same challenges that I've struggled with. You can choose to not be a victim to the circumstances that have happened in your life. I made a conscious choice that where I've come from and what I’ve been through doesn't dictate what is to become of my life. I know that is important to the BET.com audience.
“Raised by the Mistress” is available now. Click here to order!
Clay Cane is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com. You can read more of his work at claycane.net.