There’s a tradition in my office the Tuesday mornings after Love and Hip Hop. The female staffers debrief on the reality show, and fawn over Papoose—he’s kind of like our Matthew McConaughey (think How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), Morris Chestnut (think every movie he’s been in) and Ryan Gosling (think smart aleck rom-com, not smart aleck action, roles) all in one. But what’s even better is Shamele “Papoose” Mackie is actually a real-life heartthrob, which makes him even more special to every Black professional woman (BPW).
For those of you who “aren’t” watching the show (kind of like those secret Trump voters), Papoose is married to Remy Ma (a female rap artist who infamously went to prison at the height of her career in 2008 for shooting an associate and had a surprising career resurgence once released in 2014). Papoose, not only stood by her side–he married her while she was imprisoned. Hood saga aside, Papoose’s loyalty and devotion seemed questionable from afar but the couple’s stint on the popular reality show offers great insight into the true caliber of his character—and it’s not just impressive, it’s inspiring.
Pap does an applaud-worthy job of balancing unconditionally loving and checking his wife (he firmly holds her accountable and pushes her when needed); he’s an overall family man, placing value on securing the ties within their blended nuclear family and extended family, and he’s places his nuclear unit first. Papoose is the embodiment of many of the ideals BPWs put on their vision boards about their potential mate, and he even has a little bad boy edge.
Even better, the rapper-turned-businessman gives ladies something to think about when it comes to judging men with same criteria as books (by its cover, get it). Lets face it, aesthetically, Papoose isn’t the average BPW’s first choice to bring home to mommy and daddy. But, if you look at this man’s choices, he sets the standard for the only type of guy you should bring to the next Black and bougie affair (parents’ gathering or not) you attend.
Here are some of core values Pap embodies that should remind all BPWs to up your hubby vetting game (READ: that does not mean hood crawl for bad boys!).
He Values Being a Leader in the Household
There is often this stigma about showing deference to a man and “allowing” him to be the leader in the home. Here’s the thing, deference can’t be demanded, instead it is willing (and happily given) to men who show that they are capable of making decision with the consideration of what’s best for the ENTIRE household— not based on conveniently pulling out the masculinity card to get what he wants. Papoose has shown that his decisions consider everyone’s happiness, and when he put is foot down, his sassy wife gets in line. Why? Because she trusts him.
He Values His Spouse’s Dreams
This a huge factor for all the BPWs who don’t want to only be housewives post marriage and children. Having a man who gets that your dreams encompass several lanes (husband/partner, little ones, career) and they will intersect (some moving faster than others) but will always be in motion is the game changer. A good woman who feels supported and secure isn’t just invested in her happiness, she creates a killer trickle effect for all of the those in her circle. That means she has more to pour into her man, children and of course, her career.
He Values Family
Papoose isn’t so lost in his career, or wife, that he doesn’t keep his eye on the overall success of everyone the duo touches. He pushes for what is right and fair—even when his partner is being stubborn. By modeling forgiveness and loyalty he makes it easier for his children and spouse to respect his insight. He’s living it.
He Values Marriage, and Commitment
When folks talk about loyalty the focus is often on fidelity. While it’s important to be monogamous—if those are the parameters of your union—it’s even more important to be invested in taking the journey with your spouse, wherever it may lead. Papoose makes it clear that he knows their careers and lives—greatly exemplified by the perspectives he offered after Remy’s recent miscarriage— that he is about the team. That means he’s communicating his wants, listening to her needs, showing up when he is needed, making fair sacrifices and future plans.
He Values His Spouse’s Emotional Security
There are no sexting scandals, concerns about where money is being spent or Papoose’s devotion to building the family as a unit. As a husband, Papoose makes it clear that his wife’s focus should be on growing as a team, not outsiders or drama.
He Values Relationship Rituals
Dinners at cutesy restaurants shouldn’t end after a few years of being together. Neither should kissing, texting or picnics in the park. Papoose presents an acute awareness in the importance of showing up for your marriage. He spends time doing fun and consistent things that will keep the couple connected.
He Values Showing Love
Papoose is great at showing appropriate affection. He’s hands-off with Remy’s female friends, but remains friendly and interested in those relationships. When it comes to his wife and kids, he’s excellent at remaining connected via kisses, hugs, eye-contact (yes, that matters) and words of affirmation.
S. Tia Brown is the lifestyle director at EBONY magazine and a licensed therapist. She also believes in love and the promise that it gives. Follow her @tiabrowntalks