By Lauren A. Sylvester, Journalism Student, Medgar Evers College
His mother suffered from alcoholism, and his father died of AIDS. While he obtained scholastic honors, his twin brother spent more of his life as an inmate than as a contributing member of society. He was teased for his “tar baby” skin and raised by a grandmother who did not always understand him. He felt like a leper.
Many of these scenarios disqualify some people from being able to have sustainable relationships, whether intimate or platonic. But for Raeshawn Holliday, his relationship deprivation has instead become his testimony. He is now coauthor of the newly published Single Man, Married Man, a brutally honest book filled with dating advice from men’s perspectives.
Since its release in February of this year, Holliday and his coauthors have been on nonstop tour promoting the book everywhere, including the Today” show,”CNN” and “Good Morning America.”
And that is not all, Over the past six years, Holliday has written for a number of publications, online and print. They include The Source magazine, Russell Simmons’ GlobalGrind.com, HelloBeautiful.com, and NecoleBitchie.com. He has done fashion styling for various artists and hosted fashion shows.
He also expanded his fan base with the start of his InspiRAEtion workshop, held in his New York City office. It was created to “uplift and allow others to see in themselves what they don’t know or have,” Holliday says.
Holliday proudly admits that he has not been this happy in a long time. “Relationships now, be it friends, family or otherwise, are now a gift and a curse,”Holliday confesses. “We must refuse to continue relationships with those that aren’t growing with us, and I have had to eliminate a lot from my travel. Growth and separation go hand in hand, and trust God will replace all that we think we’ve lost.”
Looking back, Holliday accepts his early upbringing as a part of his testimony. “I am beyond grateful for those moments in my life,” Holliday says. “I learned a long time ago to accept all parts of me, regardless if people understood them or not. I wouldn’t be this Rae if I was never that Rae,”
One of the steps on his path to success began when he and his business partner Gabriel Williams created a lifestyle blog, StuffFlyPeopleLike.com.“Stuff Fly People Like was inspired by our love for the blogs at the time,”Williams, says. “Rae and I scoured the ‘net all day, addicted to prominent blogs, like TheYBF.com and ConcreteLoop.com, so we decided to just create our own.”
StuffFlyPeopleLike.com became a “one stop shop” of fashion, entertainment, and music. “If you think you’re ‘fly’, want to be ‘fly,’ or just want to maintain your ‘fly,’ SFPL is where you should be,” Williams boasts proudly.
A life in entertainment is equivalent to the life of a freelancer. It often takes him or her a lot more time than the average 40 hour work week to accomplish the majority of his or her work. For Holliday that life included leaving a corporate job where he was earning almost $90,000 a year. He wasn’t really trying to get rid of his most stable source of income, but he attributes the decision ultimately to a universal shift led by his higher power.
“I had gotten cocky,” Holliday lamented. “I’d been among so many celebrities, attended so many events, that in my mind, it was hard to go back to my regular job. I realized quickly that it wasn’t what I wanted to do, and that attitude reflected in my workplace. Simply put, I was laid off.”
So he used his charisma to make himself known as an entertainment host. That kept him afloat, mentally and financially. But he soon decided he wanted to make his own decisions and broke away from the group with which he was working.“Rae Holliday got better once I’d started doing life alone,” Holliday beams.
Holliday decided to take, what he calls a “Spiritual Leave of Absence.” It was a separation from the friendships and relationships that did not bring as much joy as they once did. It was in that lonesome space where he realized there was a void in his life. In his quest for success, he did not realize his spirituality was suffering.
“Taking God seriously changed his life,” says Holliday’s close confidante, Harlem Harris. “He was spiritually drained, and stopped seeing his purpose, and his purpose has always been to be exactly who he is, raw and unfiltered. He is the friend who will speak highly of you behind your back and the mean truth directly to your face.”
“I can honestly say, I am not the same person I was seven years ago,” Holliday admits. And it shows through the 18,000 people who he touches daily on Instagram with transparent inspirational posts each morning.“I’m just continuing to pray a lot for balance, and I no longer put too much on myself,” Rae stresses. “Anything I do must be good for the body and good for the brand or it just isn’t good for me.”
Right now, things seem to be working favorably for this Bedford-Stuyvesant native. He is living his dreams. And based on recent videos from his latest hosting gig, he is still very much so loving life.
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