It’s been a busy few days for Lori Harvey. Between interviews, celebrating her 26th birthday in style and confirming her relationship with Damson Idris, it’s no wonder she’s been trending on Twitter for days.


Every time Lori debuts a new boyfriend, the chatter is the same. People like this Twitter user suggest and echo sentiments about how she must have read her dad’s book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man for tips on how to be the badass that she is. 

But over the weekend, others pointed to her mom, Marjorie Harvey, for the influential role she’s had in Lori’s game, suggesting instead that it was her mother that taught her everything she knows.

The chatter started with this tweet: 


It suggests Marjorie’s past is more intriguing than most might assume based off of her social media, filled with fashion and family. Couple that with the fact that she’s flown mostly under the radar throughout her time in the spotlight, only appearing in headlines when it pertains to her and Steve’s philanthropy, the buzz of criminal ex-husbands and failed marriages sure is good clickbait. Curious myself, I looked into the details of her first two marriages and was surprised to find out that the claims made in the tweet, for the most part, checked out.

There hasn’t been much mention or discussion of who Lori’s biological dad really is – but every few months, a bunch of Twitter sleuths will say they found a mugshot of Donnell Woods, the man believed to be her biological dad. I’m no DNA expert but I have watched my fair share of Maury and it’s certainly plausible, given their similarity in features. 

Donnell was the man Marjorie moved on to after leaving her first marriage to man named Jim Townsend. In 1992, Jim was sentenced to life in prison for attempting to buy 40 kilograms of cocaine. Less than five years into serving his time, Marjorie filed for divorce. But in January of 2017, after serving 26 years, he was pardoned by Barack Obama.

Townsend came out with a vengeance – and a partially written tell-all book detailing his marriage to Marjorie. When he first left prison, a few media outlets reported on the impact his tell-all book might have on Marjorie and Steve’s marriage. But with no book published yet, six years after his release, it’s a wonder whether we’ll ever find out the contents. 

One notable move Marjorie made is the changing of her kids' last names. As someone who is currently filling in paperwork to hyphenate my daughter’s last name, I can tell you that names count for a lot. But given the level of fame in this family, it counts for even more – and it was a smart move on Marjorie’s part for three reasons. 


The first reason is uniformity. Uniformity may not seem important, but in Marjorie and Steve’s blended family, it really helped keep questions about who is who at bay. Steve had four children when he and Marjorie married. Without all seven kids having the same last name, there would be a clear divide within the household and that might have become a point of speculation for the media. Plus, the name changes were so effective that most people initially, myself included, just assumed Lori was Steve’s biological daughter. 

The second reason pertains to the “worth” of being a Harvey. Steve amassed a great deal of wealth which is inherently tied to his name. Naturally, having that name comes with both privilege and opportunity, especially crucial given all the recent conversations about nepo babies; which, as Lainey noted in this piece, Lori totally fits the criteria of, despite not often being mentioned in the discourse. 

And the third reason is to help create and maintain some distance from Jim and Donnell and the crimes they were tied to. There is some public information out there about the men in Marjorie’s past, like this 2004 article detailing Donnell’s indictment. The article says he was one of five people brought into custody in a scheme to traffic drugs from Houston to Memphis. According to the article, Donnell was indicted along with his four brothers, who, if he is in fact Lori’s dad, would be Lori’s uncles. The men were accused of conspiracy to possess and distribute from 2000 through to 2003. So that essentially means this – at least back then – was a crime family. Of course Marjorie wanted to cut ties.

Twitter has also suggested that Marjorie was directly involved with some of these crimes, and articles by lesser-known media outlets even point to her being under investigation by the FBI and DEA at one point. But that remains unconfirmed and personally, I think her story of being the ex-wife of two men, thought to be drug kingpins in their day, is enough for me to give Marjorie a round of applause for the life she’s created since leaving them.

Now – back to Lori Harvey and the theory that her mom was the one instilling so much of the wisdom and grace we see in her. Last week, I wrote about how my dad pushed me to get an education so that I could be independent and withstand the tricky and uncertain terrain of breakups, parenting and everything in between. When my mom read the article, she joked that the absence of her mention in the piece must leave everyone with the impression that she hadn’t taught me anything. “You taught me what to do with the independence,” I informed her.


So often, dads are praised – by their kids, by the media, by society – in ways moms aren’t for being a present and active parent. When we see dads taking their kid for a walk or doing almost anything without the mother of the child in tow, it’s as if the world stops and we issue a thunderous applause for them doing exactly what a parent is expected to do. And we see that manifest itself in the praise that was automatically, without question, assigned to Steve for his daughter’s successes and how she’s navigated her personal life.

Even in this recent interview Steve did with TODAY, Hoda Kotb cited Lori’s December feature with ESSENCE, suggesting her success is a “page out of his book”. 

“I love how she said in ESSENCE that she was gonna be selfish and that shouldn’t be taken the wrong way. It’s like ‘I’m looking out for me, the things I need, things that fulfill me.’ That sounds like a page from your book, too,” she said.

The praise we’ve been attributing to Steve reeks of the inherent misogyny ingrained in so much of our society. It’s not to say that he doesn’t deserve his flowers for pouring as much love as he has into Lori and instilling some of the lessons he’s taught her, like the idea of “being the prize”, a belief she says Steve helped her develop. But it’s Marjorie who has taught her what to do with being the prize – and how she can use it to her benefit to create the life she wants.

In her interview with Adrienne Bailon, she touched on the importance of boundaries, saying “You have to decide what your non-negotiables are and never waver on them.” 

Despite both her parents having two failed marriages prior to tying the knot themselves, I think women leave failed relationships with different insight because we turn inwards. We ask ourselves where we went wrong and how we failed ourselves. The missteps that become clear in the weeks, months and years following a split becomes the blueprint for the type of woman we want our daughters to be. 

To Lori’s benefit, she has two parents who experienced two very different sides of things, teaching her and giving her a broad scope of whatever lesson is at hand. When Steve is teaching her about boundaries, he’s coming at it from the perspective of men, who have historically been the main beneficiaries of women having fickle boundaries. If a woman says no sex on the first date, it’s likely the man is trying to convince her otherwise. So Steve has been teaching her what to anticipate from men, while Marjorie has been teaching her what to anticipate in herself. Not only is Marjorie teaching her how to build the muscle of saying no, she’s also teaching her how and when to flex it. 


This is why Lori is that girl. She is the full package. She’s beautiful, she comes from what society would call “a good family”, she’s ambitious and is becoming successful on her own. These men are so enamored with her because she is the physical manifestation of “the chase”, this challenge they must undertake and conquer. The proverbial video game character you have to defeat as you near the end. But they get so caught up in acquiring her that they don’t seem to be able to keep her, which again, goes back to what I said in my piece last week. 

It can be so intimidating for men to date a powerful woman with resources and the luxury of choice, which Lori certainly has, because you have to work that much harder to keep her. It shows that whether you’re dating the richest of the rich or the poorest of the poor, not providing the things that a lot of women need to stay in a relationship will almost always be the downfall. Things like visibility, equality, respect, and support. We want to feel admired for our views, our sense of humour, thoughts, morals, and outlook – and it would be nice if there was some intellectual stimulation at times, too. What is the point in being driven around in the nicest cars and dining at the fanciest restaurants if the company sucks? Women with their own money don’t want yours. We just want to be loved in our love language. 

So perhaps that’s why no one has been able to keep Lori. Because she knows that some of these guys want her for the status and the ego boost that comes with being the man on her arm. They want her because of what having her does and means for them. But that’s no match for Lori. Because she was raised by two people who taught her that it’s more about what they can do for you.  

Attached - Lori celebrating her birthday in LA on the weekend.