After years of motivating and inspiring others, journalist/radio personality/activist Raqiyah Mays is turning her dedication to positive vibes into her debut fiction novel, The Man Curse.
As the writer chatted with VIBE Vixen about her new body of work and breaking onto the scene as a new author, Mays gives readers an inside scoop into what they’re in store for. The novel centers around the life of a young woman named Meena Butler, who is surrounded by the belief that she’s next in line of a generational curse when it comes to love.
Mays dishes on it all, from love to self-healing, and even the pressures of being compared to Terry McMillan as she digs deep to reveal what has gotten through the trails that life has thrown in her path along the way. Continue reading as The Man Curse author enters our Vixen Chat session, giving women off all ages something to think about when it comes to their approach in all that life has to give.
VIBE Vixen: What about this point of time in your life made you think that this was the perfect opportunity to begin your journey as an author?
Raqiyah Mays: It has actually been 10 years in the making, writing and all. If I could’ve finished it 10 years ago, then it would’ve been 10 years ago, but life gets in the way. And anyone that’s a writer knows that the hardest part about writing is getting started and then finishing it. Outside of personal things and life getting in the way, I was able to delve deeply into finishing the book when I moved to L.A. in 2011. I was just at that point in my life where I felt tired. I just needed to get away from a lot of distractions in my world. I had just had a divorce, my grandmother had died, and I got laid off, everything just came at the same time. I remember asking myself when my grandmother passed, ‘What would she want me to do?’ I knew she would have wanted me to live my dream. I had never been to L.A. so I went and focused on finishing the book.
What can your audience expect from The Man Curse, and what do you hope they get from reading it?
I have to emphasize that The Man Curse is relatable. People can read it and be like: ‘This is real. This happened to me.’ The main character, Meena Butler, is vulnerable and emotional, but when she becomes unafraid she begins to look within – that’s when she begins to heal and does what needs to be done to heal. I hope that women who read the book understand there’s nothing wrong with doing what it takes to heal yourself, to actually go there and heal your emotions and talk to someone. Sometimes you actually have to face yourself and face your past and the reality of the situation.
Given the subject of your book, do you believe that there are curses in love or is that just a myth?
It’s funny because for years when I run into church folks, they’ll say: ‘Hmm, yes…generational curses. That’s in the bible.’ I also tend to believe that it is a law of attraction. I’m big on name it and claim it, so you are what you think. If you feel like you’re cursed then you will live a cursed life. If you feel like all men are dogs then that’s what you will attract in life. Once you change your outlook and your perspective then you change what will manifest and what comes to you. That is what I believe. I’m not a relationship guru, don’t get me wrong, but I believe in vision boards, writing down your goals, and affirmation, and seeing things to fruition. These things work to mindfulness, this is real. That’s what I believe in.
With Meena Butler’s character, it’s often a misconception that women can’t have it all whether it’s family, love, and career simultaneously. What is your personal take on that, and do you think women can indeed have it all?
I disagree with that narrative that you can’t have it all. It’s a socialized thing and I really, honestly feel that way because this is a man’s world. I think the thing to having it all, and let’s just say in this case we’re talking family and a work life, yes you can. I know plenty of women that do. I know powerful women that have high-ranking jobs and kids at home, and they’re married and they have a personal life. Now, it’s difficult, but they have the support to get through it all. So, I don’t buy into that [not being able to have it all] and I don’t think any woman should because the moment you start to believe that, you manifest it for yourself.
Karen Hunter called you the next Terry McMillan, how did that feel for you being a breakout author?
I was surprised that she said that. She’s a no-chase type of person, she tells it like it is. So when she said that, I had to marinate on it for a while. It is a big deal and I feel honored that she would say that. I definitely felt a lot of pressure when it came to putting my art out into the world as my first novel. I can’t just go back like in digital media, in which I worked in, and edit it and change it. This is it; this will be it forever. It was nerve-racking, it was scary and so I felt honored equally at the same time that she said that. In the end, I am ready to prove myself and I do believe in my talent. Bring it on!
What’s next for Raqiyah Mays?
My dream would be the film interest that has come with this book. It’s pretty exciting. I would love to see The Man Curse on the bigger, small screen. We’re putting energy into that and we’ll see where it goes. The next step is embarking on two nationwide tours: one will have radio personalities conduct uplifting conversations with women, the second will travel to different colleges across the country to speak with young women. Getting this book out and in front of as many people as possible is very important to me because everyone wants love in their lives at some point. My dream is for people to be like: ‘When’s that next book, Raqiyah?’ and being a part of making amazing content that features people of color, our stories, and what we’ve gone through. Sharing that with the world is priceless.