Porsha Williams Grew Into Her Purpose, Follows Her Grandfather's Social Justice Legacy, and Co-Parents with Forgiveness

Former Real Housewives of Atlanta star, author, and entrepreneur Porsha Williams turns her celebrity platform into social activism and uses her family dynamic to encourage positive co-parenting.

Porsha Williams
Photo: Porsha Williams

Porsha Williams grew to fame during her nine-year stint on the reality TV series The Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA). The Georgia native's bubbly personality, infectious laugh, and flawless reads helped launch her into the multi-talented television host, businesswoman, and media personality she's known as today. Williams quickly proved to be more than a reality star in a lineup.

The granddaughter of civil rights leader Hosea Williams, she was active in the Black Lives Matter movement and protested for justice for Breonna Taylor in 2020. Now, with her new book, The Pursuit of Porsha: How I Grew Into My Power and Purpose, she can add national bestselling author to her list of accomplishments. What's evident though is that the mom of one prides herself on one thing above all: her 2-year-old daughter Pilar Jhena.

In an exclusive interview with Kindred by Parents.com, the former reality star opens up about all these moving pieces in her life—motherhood, Black Lives Matter, and mental and women's health—and how she found her purpose.

On Motherhood and Co-Parenting

Growing up, Williams was inspired by her mom, child care center owner Diane Williams, from whom she learned many entrepreneurial lessons. In 2013, after her divorce, Williams created Go Naked Hair, a successful wig company. While rebuilding her esteem and after her newfound fame as a reality star, Williams discovered the business . Go Naked Hair is where celebrities shop for hair extensions, wigs, and lashes. Inspired by her mom, she created "Pampered by Porsha" in 2018, a luxury line of quality bed sheets.

Williams says becoming a mother later in life is an advantage when she's balancing motherhood and being a TV host, author, social activist, and self-proclaimed boss.

"I balance it all by prioritizing time with my daughter. They grow so fast," she says "I sacrificed some of the money I would have made to spend time with my daughter when I left the Housewives show, and I don't think I'll ever regret it."

Most of us never enter parenting with the idea that we'll need to blend families and co-parent, but it happens. Since Williams co-parents with her ex, Dennis McKinley, she knows firsthand the challenges that come along with it. Her advice for parents struggling to establish healthy co-parenting relationships is forgiveness. She encourages parents to forgive themselves and the other person, and use tools like co-parenting apps or hire an attorney to help with parenting plans.

"Co-parenting is a brand new experience, and we tend to blame ourselves for the failed relationships," says Williams. She urges parents to focus on being prayerful and being the best co-parents they can be.

On Mental Health and Women's Health

No stranger to sadness, Williams dealt with depression for years. Recognizing the cycles, she threw herself into work like many of us do to cope. When learning about her pregnancy, her daughter PJ became her primary focus. Although Williams experienced postpartum depression, she says, "It was nothing but God and my mother supporting me through it. For me to be the best mom I can be now, the best Porsha I can be, I prioritize self-care."

For Williams, that means making use of her village when she's not her best. She leans on her mom or nanny to care for her daughter PJ when she needs alone time to reset. Recently, she's decided to seek therapy again for help with working through emotional issues.

While dealing with depression, Williams also dealt with fibroids. More often than not, the discussion of having fibroids is a conversation not explored as women. "Unfortunately, it's not something we pass down when we're telling each other how to do our baby hair and other things about being a woman. We don't pass that down; we keep that quiet," she says.

According to some national estimates, nearly a quarter of Black women between 18 and 30 have fibroids compared to about 6% of white women. By age 35, that number increases to 60%. Black women are two to three times more likely to have recurring fibroids or suffer from complications.

Williams learned about her fibroids while trying to conceive and unfortunately experienced a miscarriage. Back pains, headaches, hair loss, and extreme fatigue were some of the symptoms she endured. Although she underwent a myomectomy, she didn't get relief until a uterine fibroid embolization.

"It's depressing when you have something foreign in your body that stops you from being yourself," says Williams. "My life has been flipped upside down, and my quality of life has improved since having the embolization."

Williams says that it's important to advocate for yourself, switch doctors when you need to, and being vocal when dealing with health care professionals, especially since the pandemic started..

On Her Grandfather's Civil Rights Legacy

Porsha Williams came into her own as an activist when she sprung into action, attending protests and demonstrations in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement. In the summer of 2020, Williams and Until Freedom set out to raise awareness to win justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman murdered at the hands of the Louisville Metro Police Department. The group organized a sit-in at the home of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and they were arrested.

Williams didn't think twice when social justice leader Tamika Mallory asked her to attend the protest. Speaking out and using her platform was an easy decision for the author. When she was arrested, she compared the experience to a spiritual one and said, "I have never felt more connected to that part of my grandfather than in that moment."

As a little girl, Williams grew up attending protests with her grandfather, the late Hosea Williams, who worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights movement. Williams reflected on her grandfather's sacrifices and how his legacy has inspired her to use her voice to fight for social justice. "My grandfather and all the other activists who fought for us were selfless," says Williams. "They were doing the job that was thankless and put themselves in a space where they had to sacrifice a lot of their time."

When Williams was arrested while fighting for social justice for the Black Lives Matter Movement, she felt the power of her ancestor's blood rise inside of her as she sat inside of the jail. She understood the severity and sacrifice of the assignment and recalled how people like Sandra Bland didn't survive going to jail in similar situations.

The moment called her to think about her grandfather, his sacrifices, and how God kept him. She thought about Breonna Taylor, her mother, the loss of her life, and how much loss African Americans have had to deal with. Although justice for Breonna Taylor is yet to be served, many protests have erupted for a call for criminal justice reform.

Outside of protesting, Williams honors her grandfather by supporting the charity her grandfather founded, Hosea Helps, each year. Her family is still keeping her grandfather's legacy alive with the work that started in 1971, and she's incredibly grateful to the community for standing by for so many years.

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