Soul singer-songwriter Angie Stone has an unshakeable faith in herself, in love, in the power of dreams and music. But over the past year, that faith has been tested in the public eye. Last year her relationship with boyfriend/manager Ashanti Graves ended after allegations of him cheating with a production team member on Stone’s reality show, R&B Divas: Atlanta. Then the singer made headlines this past March following a physical altercation with her daughter, Diamond.
Like any singer worth their title, Stone turned to the recording studio and exorcised her demons on wax. The result is the introspective and honest album, Dream. Tracks like the lead single “2 Bad Habits,” “Magnet” and “Begin Again” (featuring Dave Hollister) find Stone owning up to her own shortcomings while still finding time to dream about a love to call her own.
Stone—whose lengthy career includes serving as a member of pioneering woman rap group, Sequence (“Funk You Up”) to reinventing herself as a three-time Grammy-nominated soul singer—took time to share with us the status of her relationship with her daughter, the truth behind her break-up, why she takes part of the blame for her failed relationships and where she’s at now in life and love.
EBONY: You appeared on T.D. Jakes’s talk show a few months ago with your daughter to discuss the physical altercation between you two. Why did you go public on that platform with such a personal issue?
Angie Stone: I did it for my daughter because she needed the world to hear her part. I put myself on the firing block to help her evolve so we could get on with our lives. It worked and she lives with my mother now. It won’t be the last time we fall out. She is my child but she is an adult too.
EBONY: Last year you also experienced a public break-up with your manager and romantic partner, Ashanti Graves. What transpired between you two that led to this breakdown?
AS: Ashanti and I had been involved for eight years and he managed me for five years and we did hit a snag. He has since married someone else and divorced someone else. So he was unfaithful. He had an affair with someone from the production team of R&B Divas: Atlanta but he didn’t marry her, and she was already married. I was told he was dating five different women. A lot of it came as a surprise to me. I was the only one with blinders. But when I saw what was going on I made a decision to walk away. To have that be a part of something public was done in poor taste. But what reality show does not have a break-up during the show?
EBONY: In your song “Magnet,” you address your failed relationships and how you seem to attract the wrong kind of men. What responsibility do you take in the demise of these relationships?
AS: It is a pattern, and what happens is most of these guys are attracted to me for whatever reason. They have a purpose and obviously it has not been for the good of Angie Stone. At the end of the day, we all walk and live in an imperfect world. We are human beings and will make mistakes. I allow my head to think with my heart as opposed to letting go and letting God.
EBONY: What is the status of R&B Divas: Atlanta? Is there a chance it may return to the air? And if so, would you join the show again?
AS: When I walked away, Keke [Wyatt] walked away and the show was dissolved. There was no more show. I think she was tired as well and saw what they did to degrade me and it made me sick. I think the show hurt me and my brand and left a smudge. I think they tricked and baited me to come on the show to be a mentor, knowing they would pick me apart.
EBONY: Does Angie Stone still have time to “dream” about love these days?
AS: I am dealing with things as I go along and waiting for God to send me the companion of my dreams. Once I got away from snakes, I got in a great space. And the music is indicative of that magic. I have a new team of people and teamwork makes the dream work.
The weekly column, On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture entertainment and philanthropy in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of event/media content production company, Souleo Enterprises, LLC.