We all know that Kandi Burruss is a certified boss. From penning your favorite hits such as TLC's "No Scrubs" to starring in critically acclaimed shows like The Chi and branching into the beauty industry with Kandi Koated cosmetics, the Atlanta native has not lifted her foot off the gas since stepping on the scene back in the early '90s. The ever-evolving mom of four continues to dominate any lane she enters and makes it her mission to advocate for Black economic wealth and staying power within our community along the way.
The television personality's most recent history-breaking moment comes as she makes her Broadway producing debut on the brink of the premiere of the Broadway play Thoughts of a Colored Man. The theatrical stage play stars Broadway's first all-Black, male cast and features an all-Black creative team. A true reflection of the importance of art sparking social change.
In between her bustling production schedule, 21Ninety chatted with the multifaceted businesswoman. We spoke about the next chapter to continue building her legacy, navigating the ups and downs of a blended family, her vision board of artists to work with, and what a day of self-care looks like when she's not busy plotting world domination.
Dontaira Terrell: In making your Broadway producing debut, what have you learned about yourself?
Kandi Burruss: That's an interesting question. I learned how much it's important to me that we, as African-Americans, are shown in certain places in a light that we've never been shown before. It's a passion for me, but I didn't realize how much of a passion it was. I always go hard for us, especially getting what we deserve in all the different businesses I've been a part of. Usually, I'm representing as a woman, and in pretty much every field that I've been in, you don't see many women making power moves in business compared to men. So it was always a lot of firsts for me to be the first woman to do this, or the first woman to do that.
As African-Americans, we always have known that Broadway has not been the most diverse. However, for us to have the ability to bring this show that has an all African-American male cast along with an African-American writer, director, and producing team for me, it was, 'Okay, we have to make this happen. It's a must so that we can be seen.'
DT: I want to pivot to talk about motherhood. What has been the hardest period of motherhood for you, and how did you deal with it?
KB: As a mother, I think I have a lot of moments that I would consider to be challenging, but when it was hard for me to get pregnant with my last two children, I think that was probably the hardest. Before I got married, we knew we wanted to have children together. Then once we actually got married, I was shocked that it didn't happen on its own. When I was younger, I had Riley, with no issues or problems. So I didn't think that it was me. I thought maybe something was wrong with him [my husband].
When I found out it was me, that was a bit of a hard pill to swallow. You start having all of these thoughts going through your head, such as 'What's wrong with me?' or 'What did I do wrong?' And then, you have to start thinking about other options to have a child, and other thoughts start creeping in your head, like, 'Should I even be considering this?' 'Or maybe God doesn't want me to have more kids.' That was probably the hardest period of motherhood because that's a big decision you have to make and a huge process you have to go through, like in vitro [fertilization] to have a child.
DT: We've seen you navigate the ups and downs of being a blended family, so what advice would you give to a newly blended family?
KB: It's a lot of work, especially when you have older children. I think it's easier to get younger ones into the idea that this is the way our family is. I think it's important to do a lot of family fun activities together. With us having older girls, you need to constantly plan family outings together to force the children to interact. You have to build that relationship because sometimes, just being in the house, everybody goes to their own room, and that communication isn't there. But in any relationship, it's all about great communication.
DT: We always talk about success in terms of career, but how would you measure success as a parent?
KB: If your children feel loved and you know, they feel the love, and as they grow up and still love you dearly, I think that's a success as a parent. Also, as they start building a foundation for themselves for a future and you are helping them become their own man or woman who can handle things positively without you being around, I believe that's success as a parent.
DT: With wearing so many hats day-to-day, you have to give a lot of yourself to other people as a mom, wife, daughter, entrepreneur, friend, and the list goes on, but in what ways do you show love for yourself?
KB: I just told someone the other day, I'm not good at self-care. The only thing that I do for myself regularly that I enjoy is getting my nails done. I know it's something so simple, but that is probably the only thing that I am guaranteed to do for myself, even when it has nothing to do with work. I enjoy getting my nails done on my day off because I can relax with my homegirl, who does my nails. We'll laugh and joke together. It's simple, but it is my moment just for me.
DT: You've worked with many artists, but I'm curious who is on your vision board to work with next that you haven't already worked with?
KB: That's a tough one. As far as music is concerned, I would love to work with Rihanna. I think that would be dope as far as someone to work with musically. In other areas of my life, there are people that I would like to work with, like Will Smith. I would love to be in a movie with him.
DT: What's a song from your catalog to describe your mood right now in this very moment?
KB: It would be one of my favorites that Destiny's Child performed called "So good." I've always loved that song. It represented where I was at that time in my life, and even still to this day, I totally relate to what the lyrics are saying.
DT: And for my last question, what are you hoping the next chapter of Kandi Burruss will be, or what are you hoping to achieve?
KB: World domination (laughs). There are so many things that I want to do. Ultimately, I would like to continue to set myself up for success. I would love to have my own major talk show one day; hopefully, soon. I want to produce films and TV shows with my husband, which we are actively planning to do in the future. Continue to build our restaurant group and build a legacy that I can pass on to our children and help my other family members accomplish their dreams and goals. So there's a lot that I want to do for myself and the people around me.