Monica launched her music career as a preteen, and at 42 years old, she remains booked and busy. The star, who graces the cover of Essence‘s July/August digital issue, credits the love and support she gets from her fans to her honesty and vulnerability.
“When I’ve made mistakes in my life, I created music about it. I didn’t hide it when I experienced different things,” she said. “I talked about it, and I shared about it. That is what’s kept me connected to different generations of people throughout the years.”
When her younger fans call her Auntie, she doesn’t take it the wrong way. “It’s a level of affection that they’re showing to me, because they know that I’ve been there,” she says of her thoughts on the term. “They know that I don’t see myself any different than they see themselves—I just have a different profession. When they say ‘Auntie,’ it’s a sign of respect, it’s a sign of love, and I’ve never taken it any other way.”
In her personal life, Monica is the mother of four, including her former fiancé’s eldest son, Ramone, who was 4 when she came into his life. Despite the many accolades she has under her belt, she says, “They are all my greatest accomplishments yet.”
“When I see them with my youngest, Laiyah, who is 9—having her be the only girl, and the way that they love on her—it just lets me know that this is one thing that I got right with the four of them,” she says. Though she believes the time she spent alone following her divorce from former NBA player Shannon Brown “was best for my children,” she says she “can’t wait to meet the person I could spend the rest of my life with.”
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