Two months after announcing his decision to file for divorce from Jeannie Mai, Jeezy is opening up in an in-depth interview with Nia Long. Throughout the interview, which lasted for just over an hour, he spoke about his traumatic childhood and touched on the reasons therapy couldn’t help him and Jeannie save their marriage.
While he went into great detail about his childhood and upbringing, and though the interview certainly touched on his decision to file for divorce from Jeannie, he didn’t appear to reveal any new information. But for those listening closely, him sharing his lived experience as a child that grew up in the hood provided a lot of context as to why things may not have worked out.
"This has not been an easy journey. I can tell you that I'm sad. I can tell you that I'm disappointed. I can tell you that I'm uneasy," Jeezy said when Nia asked about his split. "But God has put me on a different path, and that path is going to entail for me to take care of myself and to love myself and to be in the best situation that I can thrive as someone who's been through all of the things that I've been through."
Besides the initial questions of why Nia, of all people, was the interviewer, the overall reaction to the conversation was mixed. Some people walked away from the interview suggesting Jeezy and Nia should start dating after exchanging so much of their lived experiences with one another and connecting over the fact that they both went through very public separations. For that reason, among many others, I think she was a great choice as an interviewer. She, too, grew up in the hood and spent years dating men just like him, according to some of what she shared during the interview. But that mutual understanding that they seemed to have right off the bat is what may have been missing in his marriage to Jeannie.
When Jeezy and Jeannie started dating, there was a lot of chatter about the interracial aspect of their relationship. During her time on The Real, Jeannie repeatedly expressed a lot of ideas that illustrated that she fetishized Black men, including this one, where she revealed her preference to have “dark meat on the side”, highlighting her innate attraction to Black men, despite marrying white. The reaction was the same on Jeezy’s side, with many people side-eyeing his decision to marry an Asian woman despite him already having three Black children by three different women.
After the interview with Nia was released, social media users continued to suggest that his union to Jeannie was an attempt for him to “elevate” himself. Many people took great issue with his remarks during the interview about “needing sistas” at his lowest.
This idea of returning to Black women solely in times of need is something we saw with Jonathan Majors when he conveniently began dating Megan Good after being accused of domestic violence against his white ex, which I wrote about here. With the impression of Jeannie being that she preferred sex with Black men, but married white, the parallel for Black men is that they only commit to non-Black women if there’s something substantial to be gained, particularly in times of crisis.
Jeezy and his ex, a musician named Mahi, got engaged in December of 2016 but separated three years later and have been on awful terms since. They had a brutal custody battle that resulted in him paying $7,500 in child support each month in addition to $30,000 for his daughter’s tuition. With the closeness in timelines between that bitter separation and him getting together with Jeannie, the idea that he was looking for something new and something different doesn’t sound too far-fetched.
When Jeezy began diving into his childhood, he shared some crushing revelations about being a witness to a man in his neighbourhood shooting his partner four times, being molested by a female babysitter who was older than him, and having his mother pull a gun on him, prompting him to leave home at the tender age of 14.
Jeezy was very candid about the impact all of these experiences had on his ability to accept love and be vulnerable in his relationships, which included his friendships as well. But all it screams to me is that he was likely emotionally unavailable in his marriage – and understandably so.
It’s clear that there were a lot of fundamental differences in their upbringing, their ability to manage their trauma and perhaps more than anything, their willingness to go the distance to make their marriage work. It was clearly not a mutual decision.
I’ve written extensively about relationships and marriage on this site. And though I am always appreciative and mindful of the nuance that comes from any couple’s decision to marry, to stay together, or to divorce, I completely reject the idea that Jeezy “tried everything” to make it work, and instead, recognized just how a) difficult marriage is and b) different he and Jeannie’s upbringing and trajectory may have been. Therefore, he decided to call it quits.
I want to be clear that, in saying that, I’m not passing judgement. I’ve walked away from relationships for less, so I completely empathize with him feeling like he was safer or better off on his own. But I do think the reason there’s so much curiosity about this split in particular is because there was no one specific thing that caused their demise, though there are speculations that she may have cheated considering the title of his album. That being said, my ability to relate to him in terms of our united emotional unavailability and disbelief that someone of the opposite sex can embody exactly what we need is what brings me to the conclusion that Jeezy, like me, is simply not the marrying kind.
From what he described, he is a man who has lived in survival mode his entire life. I think he assumed that his relationship with Jeannie would offer some sort of mend, and when he realized that his union was actually very triggering for him, he bailed.
"I think love is two people healing together and giving each other the space to do so," he said at one point in the interview.
I disagree. I do believe that love can bring about healing, but it shouldn’t be the place to do it. If you’re not seeking that healing out on your own, particularly in preparation for love, it’s not a fair expectation that your partner is going to sit and coddle you through your healing, especially if they’re not at a similar place in their life.
It seems clear that both he and Jeannie have a lot of work to do on themselves, separately. She spent a few years talking about her failed marriage on The Real, and whether he was open about it or not, Jeezy has a history of traumatic relationships that left him ill-equipped for his marriage to Jeannie, even if he didn’t recognize it.
As the child of an interracial couple myself, I’ve seen firsthand the disconnect that can happen in a relationship where deeply-rooted experiences tied inherently to our race are not properly understood or appreciated. And to assume that any interracial couple is exempt from this or can overcome this unique challenge without crystal clear communication and empathy is categorically incorrect.
With Jeezy finally feeling comfortable enough to speak his truth, which Jeannie has been doing all along (and on national television), I think he will find it very freeing and may find relief from a lot of the experiences he’s had that still seem to have a grip on him. This is likely the healing he desperately sought after in his marriage. And when he finally finds it, perhaps when he’s ready, he can try again.
You can watch the full interview here: