Born and raised in Newburgh, NY Shanda Freeman was destined to do great things! Becoming a young mother at the tender age of 15 did not stop her from believing she would achieve all her dreams!
Beginning her career in HIV/AIDS Services in 1996, Shanda worked as a Case Manager and Counselor for over 8 years. This rewarding and life changing career allowed her to overcome and leave an emotionally and physically abusive first marriage. In helping others she gained the strength to help herself! In 2002, Shanda met and fell in love with the “love of her life” and current husband, Fatman Scoop! Fatman Scoop is a Hip Hop promoter and radio personality famed for his on-stage rough, raw, loud voice. In 2007, they created their sex and relationship advice podcast Man and Wife! With a combination of their wit, charm, and life experiences they are able to provide their 5 million plus audience with real and unabashed “love” advice! Man and Wife debuted on MTV in 2008!
In branching out on her own, Shanda created Shanda Says! Shanda Says vlogs and advice column offers her audience a place of experience, compassion, enjoyment, and fashion! Shanda has contributed her advice articles to numerous media outlets such as; Essence.com, AOL BlackVoices, The New York Post, and Straight Stuntin Magazine to name a few. She tours the country delivering speaking engagements at different schools and colleges offering young people and women her life story of strength and overcoming obstacles. Her love of fashion will have her branching out and conquering her dream of Clothing Designer as well! She continues to be an “All or Nothing” woman! For Shanda, there are no limits, only opportunities!!
Q&A With Shanda Freeman
BS: Although you encountered hardship as a woman, what kept you going?
Shanda Freeman: My faith and belief in my future. I really knew with hard work and persistence I could achieve anything. My education also gave me confidence! I’m most proud of my intellect! My parents instilled these confidences in me as a child and I hold to them this day!
BS: What has aided you in not becoming a statistic as a teenage mot tpiuvprviher? Did other women around you influence you? Do you believe the type of people a person have around them influence their decision-making?
Shanda Freeman: Back in the mid 80’s when I had my daughter, there were so many statistics stating that young mothers were destined for welfare, more children and a failed education. I never had anymore children and graduated with honors with my class. I have ALWAYS hated statistics and was determined to exceed any expectation that society or any individual would put on me! I am still this way. Never doing what is expected, but exceeding the norm.
BS: Domestic abuse, be it physical, verbal, mental, sexual, or even financial is a growing issue today. How did you overcome any abuse you experienced through your first marriage?
Shanda Freeman: It was very difficult. I was married for 10 years and on the outside looking in I appeared to have it all. Most women would take my place, but I was hurting and scared. I worked with Safe Homes to devise a plan for me to leave that marriage safely. It took years for me to gain the courage to leave and trust that I would be ok on my own. I am so proud to be in a position to speak to young women about me overcoming this part of my life. It’s so empowering when you achieve strength of yourself!
BS: From what the world has seen, you and FatMan Scoop are in a loving relationship? How did you two learn to become such loving and understand partners? What’s the most essential ingredient for a lasting relationship?
Shanda Freeman: Me and my husband our both on our second marriage. He went through such unhappiness as I did and when we found each other, it was like, YES! This feels right! He has been my best friend for the past 9 years. We have our moments, but we have a mutual love and RESPECT for each other. I’m proud of that. The essential ingredient for most any relationship is COMMUNICATION! We all know how important it is, but so many of us don’t know how to communicate well. It’s often times how we’re raised. Me and my husband are always talking. If you’ve watched our show Man and Wife you’ll see that Scoop is never at a loss for words!
BS: For eight years you worked as a case counselor for HIV/AIDS. How was it a rewarding and life-changing experience for you? How important is it that we within the Black Community not only get “checked” but protect ourselves?
Shanda Freeman: My career was so life changing at the time because my clients looked to me for help and guidance in dealing with this deadly disease. Unknown to them, I was going home to havoc. Their strength in dealing with this disease and living with the stigma of it really helped me emotionally. If I was going to be a help to others, I had to help myself. With EVERY racial community we have to be informed of this disease regarding prevention and transmission. It truly is not a disease that has favorites. In terms of media we always get the African American community stats. I have been in the trenches in fighting this disease and will share with you that all races and sexual orientation have been affected. We all have to take personal responsibility of our health and bodies. That’s not for your partner to do. Period!
BS: What to you are the rewards of giving back to your community? In which ways have you done so?
Shanda Freeman: My rewards are always so emotional for me! When I tell you that as I sat in my 10th grade class pregnant with my daughter, I always wanted more. I would get looks and stares and finger pointing. I was mad at myself that I had in society’s eyes become a statistic. When I speak to young women today and share my story it’s so wonderful because they respect a struggle. They appreciate that you share your life’s mistakes, but through better choices and a solid education you can overcome anything! I love our youth and I always want them to be better and to be real ladies. I’m very old school in that way.
BS: We know you love fashion, what designers do you love, and will influence your work in the near future?
Shanda Freeman: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE fashion! I have since the days of Easter Suits! My mom was big on her children always being presentable and being ladies. I adore 70’s fashion! I grew up with it and find it inspires most things that I wear. I love DVF, Rachel Pally and pieces that I’m currently designing myself which I cannot wait to share with the world!
BS: What next should we expect from Shanda Freeman?
Shanda Freeman: Expectations?! Expect that I will exceed them! LOL! I am currently working on an affordable and classy clothing line with my good friend and partner Rachel Fenimore of Fennimas jewelry.My own TV Show,based on my vlog Shanda Says,continue to bring the best sex and relationship advice with my husband (MAN AND WIFE) to the masses and most importantly continuing my work touring the country inspiring and empowering women everywhere to be the best that they can be! I am also proud to be hosting Full Figured Fashion Week this year in NYC June 16th-18th! I would like to thank Ms. Gwen Devoe for allowing me to be a part of such a beautiful event! I hope to see many of you there!