Whether you are an industry vet or a fan of the culture, the name Karen Civil rings bells. And it should. Civil has etched her presence into the cultural landscape. Recently, her name has been in conversations that do not speak to her résumé or work ethic. If you were looking for an official statement, you will not find it here. If you were searching for a response to the accusations, keep searching. It is not in here either. What you will find is a woman who has become comfortable with herself and transparency. You will find the peace and the beauty of healing.
Civil’s résumé is impeccable.
She kept Young Money’s Lil Wayne connected to fans during his bid before digital media was really a thing. When the Democratic nominee for the 2016 Presidential election, Hillary Clinton, needed to bridge the gap, Civil was there to aid her. Louis Vuitton and ETHIKA have formed long-lasting relationships with the culture curator. Civil leveraged her skills for Beats by Dre all while keeping her ears close to music’s ever-changing landscape. Her roster of artists that she has worked with include: Teyana Taylor, YG, Nipsey Hussle among other notable artists. If it is hot, more than likely, Civil has her hands on it. And that is a lot to carry on one’s plate.
The pandemic put a stop to most of everyone’s plans. It has been a tumultuous year in regards to the loss of life, but for Civil, this past year has been one of healing and growth. “The pandemic forced me to deal with my emotions where my brother and I (and a lot of my family) weren't even talking to each other. [It’s been a blessing]I love these changes and it's something that I really needed.”
Civil credits her move from Hollywood as a source in getting her health back on track.
“This move recently has been one of the best things for me because I used to live in Hollywood where I would post me eating out, just eating whatever. And now I'm at home and it's given me such organization. I'm making my smoothies, I'm making my lunch. I'm putting more effort and time into what I'm putting into my body,” states Civil.
She also reflected on her journey to peace. For her, the journey was not easy, but necessary. “…I like to tell people, it's not like one day I woke up and I was at peace and I'm okay. That wasn't it at all,” explains Civil. “It was more like, it's something that takes time. No, you have to keep reaffirming yourself, reaffirming those messages in your life. There is not a change that happens overnight, you have to put in that work to have that appreciation and love and change for yourself because I realized I'm like, 'Man, I'm on all of these things. I want all of these things done. And Karen, are you working towards these things?'”
We all know, it's easy to work towards and save money for a bag but what about finding peace in other forms? As the media maven states “Let me put time and effort into waking up and making my bed or, writing in my journal, really creating positive habits to enforce change within yourself. It's a little bit harder for a lot of people, but I took that challenge for myself and I needed it. And I love the change. I mean, I really, really love the change."
However, what many do not know is that Civil has social anxiety.
She is present for work, but that takes a toll on her. She attributes the quality of going all out for those she commits to both personally and professionally to her upbringing. While Civil doesn’t blame her family, she acknowledges some of her traits are genetic. “I’m not mad at them like, 'Oh, why did he make me like this?' It's just a part of a trait. It's a part of who I am as an individual, but I notice it. I see it. And I have to fix it. It takes me a little bit longer, but I'm just making it my business to put forth that effort to be a better person. When you put people first for so long, after a while your cup is defeated and no one's pouring into it, what happens next? You know what I mean? You have to make sure your cup stays full. And that is putting yourself first.”
Her epiphany on becoming one with her emotions occurred on a flight as she watched the Disney movie, Inside Out. The movie taught Civil that displaying happiness or joy isn’t a realistic expectation. It isn’t life. We can choose gratitude and joy, but naturally, some things are going to cause us to grieve or be upset and that is perfectly fine. We have to acknowledge those things and move forward.
Unfortunately, she knows first-hand about grief from several different viewpoints.
Karen lost her friend, Mac Miller, a few months before finding out another friend, Nipsey Hussle, was murdered. While processing that, the pandemic came. “Malcolm was my clutch. He was my person in the middle of the night who plays music, who is my friend to go with. It was like 2018, 2019, and 2020. I had to finally sit with it because I kept being so busy trying to hide how I felt and push it on the back burner until one day I broke down so badly. And I said, 'God, why am I breaking down like this?' And instead of questioning Him [further], I realized I needed to break down like this. I needed to be in this place.” Civil took other losses in her personal life as well that catapulted her into her journey of healing
What has excited Civil most about this space in time are the important conversations regarding therapy and healing that are taking place; the power of kindness; and knowing who you are.
Before ending the conversation, Civil and I were able to converse about her philanthropic efforts. To know Civil is to know that philanthropy is dear to her. She has her Live Civil empowerment brunch as well as her day at the Barclays Center. Civil has continually given back to Haiti, fostering community development. Civil’s endeavors continue, but she has now added organizations like the local Haiti nonprofit Hope for Haiti where she has been an ambassador for the last two years. During the pandemic, Civil wanted to make sure she worked with people and brands who donate to local organizations. Although Karen Civil has no direct affiliation with Summa Everything Community Center, Inc. or Dreamers Youth, she is a huge supporter of their mission and loves the work they are doing in the community.