Ask Uncle Bun B: On Choosing a Mate and Claiming Your Power

As half of the legendary Southern duo U.G.K. and the MC behind “Trill O.G.,” which just received five mics from The Source, Bun B is also the uncle you wish you had. With years of experience both in the entertainment industry and marriage — he’s been with his wife for twelve years — Bun can discuss everything from politics to relationships with graceful ease. So, in light of all that’s happened with The-Dream and Christina Milian and Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz, we figured it’s the perfect time to get some dating advice from a happily married man.

PARLOUR: Let’s say a couple’s been together for two or three years and are planning on moving in together instead of getting married. What’s your take?

BUN B: I’m not a big fan of that. They’ve been together for three years, they’re probably already having sex and the only thing separating them is their personal space. If they’re not ready to commit fully, then it can only hamper the situation. Once you allow people into your personal space, it usually doesn’t strengthen the bond, it tends to separate it and if they haven’t already become engaged or really ready to move to that next level anyway, moving in together is a minor technicality. I wouldn’t suggest it at all. It’s always good to keep as much personal space from someone as possible until you’re ready to share everything.

PARLOUR: What’s your advice on choosing a mate?
The most important is to choose someone with whom you feel you can build something. As a woman you don’t just want to get with a man that’s a good provider because if anything happens to that provider, you’ll be left to find another one and you’ll never learn how to provide for yourself. If you’re a woman in that type of relationship, there will eventually be a child involved and you don’t want to be that type of mother to your child. So before you look to get married, make sure you have some sort of training or that you’ve learned a way to contribute and make money should your provider fall by the way side. But the best scenario is to have two like minded individuals working towards the same goals both of them equally enjoy building up something until they establish that foundation where one of them can choose to take the time off to raise a child, that’s the perfect situation. Well, actually the really perfect situation is that they grind hard so they can retire and raise a child together. Good luck finding that.

PARLOUR: We just finished Aliya S. King’s novel called “Platinum” which made life as a rapper who’s committed to his wife or girlfriend seem damn near impossible. What’s your advice on staying true as a husband and an MC in the entertainment business?
First, let me address the stigmatization that comes with that statement. I don’t think that it’s strictly something that deals with rappers, of course you see it in the entertainment industry, actors and athletes, but a lot of that just means the person might have money but they definitely have notoriety. A lot of people compromise themselves for some sort of notoriety, but if everyone knew who really had money in this world, things would be much different. We have lots of millionaires and billionaires that no one notices because what they earn money from isn’t in the public eye.

The entertainment industry actually fosters adoration, ‘Come let me entertain you and come let you adore me’ that’s the exchange that goes on in the entertainment industry. It’s where the athlete becomes the performer and you have these big arenas that seat thousands of people to watch them. To both the adoring fan and the entertainer, this dynamic can be a little bit overwhelming, especially if you weren’t the star quarterback in high school for example. It’s very hard for people not to embrace that attention, though it’s easier for a woman not to embrace it because of how women are raised and taught. A woman doesn’t have to be famous for men to fawn over her, so usually when women become famous it’s not a big thing. Men, however, are totally different. Most come into fame stable but trying to build a relationship with people who don’t want them for a sincere purpose.

The advice I usually offer young entertainers and athletes is be smarter than your dick because your dick is going to make decisions that your brain would be totally against. The hardest thing for mankind, men and women, to deal with is the attraction of the flesh. It’s a daily struggle. For example, I used to smoke cigarettes for years and I quit. Do I still want cigarettes? Yes, every time I see someone smoking a cigarette I’m jealous, but I won’t have one because I know it’s bad for me. These are personal choices that people have to make, now have I been in a situation where I’ve almost taken a cigarette because I was just that down and out? Yes, that’s when you have to really reach for strength. No one is perfect. Relationships can be difficult just based on who left the lights on last night, or who ate the last pork chop, that kind of shit will bring the roof down much less infidelity. I know many households where privacy is a bigger violation than infidelity, it all depends on the individual involved.

In my personal situation with the woman I married, been together for 12 years married for seven, has demanded honesty from me. Initially I wasn’t used to that because most people in my relationships prior to her had just accepted whatever I told them to be part of the ride, but my wife actually cares about me as a person so she wasn’t impressed by my fame. With her, she said ‘I know this isn’t going to be easy, you just have to be honest with me at all times. If you don’t want to be with me, don’t take the time to fall out of love with me, meet other people, fall in love with someone else and then say you don’t want to be with me. Tell me when you fall out of love and that you don’t want to be with me because of me and I can deal with that. Don’t bring other people into this.’

I don’t think these kinds of line are laid out for people. Women have to do a better job of defining the parameters of their relationships and they have to be willing to stick to it.

PARLOUR: Do you think women don’t utilize the power we have in relationships? How can we be better?
You have to stop using your power in relationships for purses and shoes. There’s nothing wrong with wanting nice things, but if all you’ve built your relationship around is making sure you can maintain these nice things then that’s the only parameter to which he’s going to be loyal and faithful. So when you get mad about other things, he’s going to say ‘All you ever wanted was this and I gave you this all the time. You never said this was going to be an issue.’ There’s no such thing as implicit understanding in the bowels of a relationship. I’m going to tweet that.

PARLOUR: Hm, we figured it’s better to ask you, a guy who’s been in a relationship for 12 years, dating and marriage advice rather than someone who’s single or recently wed.
I’ll be honest, when my wife and I got together, we had the same issues that everyone else had. I was not a mature person and I made some very poor choices. It came down to me having to accept a certain amount of responsibility as a man. Once we got married and the things that weren’t normally an issue, like money and infidelity, still weren’t an issue but that still doesn’t mean that there are no issues. Now because we spend so much time in each other’s personal space, that becomes a problem.

PARLOUR: Where’s your personal space at home?
I tend to go and stand in our formal dining room, that’s my space. Of course I can’t sit in there because those are the good chairs.

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