Pandora's Box is a new weekly column by singer, songwriter and mother Mashonda. Each week Mashonda will cover interesting people, the latest in fashion, culture, healthy living and luxury.
In 2005, Emily Bustamente met rapper John “Fabolous” Jackson. Her life would never be the same. Like most hip-hop relationships, it has been bittersweet; Emily has stood by her man when he was shot, arrested, and surrounded by countless groupies on tour. She is Fab's lady, friend, stylist, and the mother of his child. I had a chance to catch up with Emily for some real talk, after a recent tapings for her upcoming reality show on VH1.
Stunning, even without any make up on, and casually dressed, the 29 year old, Puerto Rican/Dominican welcomed me in her home. She showed me all of the renovations that her and Fabolous were making to their beautiful, 4-story townhouse. Johan, the couple’s two-year-old son was joyfully running in front of us. Finally, we choose a spot in her bedroom where we could get relaxed. After 20 minutes of non-stop laughter, toddler tips, and summer adventure stories, there was an awkward silence between Emily and myself. I didn’t hear a sound, but Emily insisted that Fabolous was home.
“Yo” Em says.
“Yo” the person replies.
In my mind I’m thinking, “There’s no way she felt him in the house before I could even hear him.” Emily looked at the amazement that came over my face.
“Yeah, I can always feel his presence," she says.
Johan immediately screamed “Papa” and ran down to meet him. As we lay on their California King size bed, I instantly thought, ”Maybe I should get off?”, but Emily insisted I stay. He greeted Johan, “Heyyyy”. And as his footsteps got closer to the master bedroom, Emily stayed relaxed but glowing. As he got closer, I can tell he was trying to figure out who was in his room.
Mashonda: How did you meet Fabolous?
Emily: I met him in 2002 at an event. He sent his brother over to me to get my attention. I told his brother, “If he wants to talk to me, tell him to come here”. He was there promoting his album. When he finally walked over to me, I asked him why did he send his brother. Why couldn’t he talk to me himself? His response was: “I’m shy”. Those words, and his soft-spoken tone, won me over instantly.
That’s sweet. What happened next?
He asked where I was from, and said that I should visit him next time I’m in New York. I gave him my number and watched him store it in his sidekick as “Emily VA”. I felt like, Wow, he’s only going to know me for my state. I never asked for his number, I felt if it was meant to be, he would call me. We stayed in touch on the phone and when he finally came back to VA to do a show, he called and invited me. We spoke everyday from then on and saw each other often.
Fabolous and girlfriend Emily
How did you finally get to New York?
After seeing each other off and on for 3 years, and spending our summers together, he finally asked me to move to NY to be with him. We built a friendship and we used it to develop our future. It took some time before we got physical; we talked a lot and had a lot of the same passions. I remember the first time he told me he loved me. I couldn’t believe that he said the words. It was a lot for him as well. I knew he was serious when he asked me to move in with him. He said “I have an extra room for your daughter, and bring your Yorkie too.”
I look up and catch Fabolous peeping through the side of the chestnut wood and frosted glass door. “Stop peeping” I said. He smiled and came in the room to greet us. The energy that filled the beautifully decorated room was phenomenal. There you had it—John the man, being fabulous with out being Fabulous. I was completely taken and impressed by his non-celebrity. He sat on the floor and played with Johan as Emily and myself went through some photos on her laptop. Nonchalantly, Emily said, “Your food is in the microwave.” His reply was simple, soft-spoken but so sincere “Thank you.”