Da Brat And Judy Have True Love

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Da Brat And Judy Have True Love

The married couple talk about what’s changed since they had their son, True, last year, and what they hope to teach him about Black love.

by Taryn Finley
Published Feb. 21, 2024

“True” is a fitting name for Da Brat and Jesseca “Judy” Harris-Dupart’s son.

It describes their love to a tee. It’s authentic, it’s full of laughter, it walks its own path. And it manifested a healthy baby boy in October despite the odds being stacked against them.

Da Brat, who was born Shawntae Harris, married Judy in 2022. After Judy experienced health complications birthing her third child, they decided that Brat would carry her wife’s eggs at age 48. Several doctors advised against it, as her pregnancy would be considered high-risk. After getting additional opinions from Dr. Jackie Walters of Bravo’s “Married To Medicine” and Dr. Obehi Asemota of Hope Fertility, they were able to conceive True, their “miracle drop.”

“It’s an amazing process that I got to carry the love of my life’s eggs in my belly and have the love of my life’s child,” Brat said during a Zoom interview. “It doesn’t get any better than that. I couldn’t ask for anything more, and I wouldn’t, ’cause then I would feel like I’m greedy, even though she gives me the world.”

On the screen, she and her wife are sitting hand in hand in their Atlanta home. They take turns gushing about their newborn. You can feel the joy this moment holds for them as they witness life’s first big milestones with True. The snags and roadblocks seem minor in comparison to the space they hold for each other. Their five-part special, “Brat Loves Judy: Special Delivery,” shows the support this couple have had for each other as they raise their son. It aired in November, but audiences can stream all episodes on AllBlk.

They’ve shared their own milestones, too, as they witness their son settle into life. A big moment for Brat was coming out, as she says Judy gave her the space to love authentically. For her part, Judy, who grew up wanting the kind of love her parents had, found a love that’s better than she could have ever dreamed.

“To be able to see a Disney love story in our love, but a different version, an amplified version of what I thought it should be, is just amazing,” she said.

Da Brat and Judy talked to HuffPost about how they’ve redefined love for each other, being an inspiration for so many who look like them, and what they hope to teach True about Black love.

Congratulations on True. You both had such a long journey to bring True into this world. How does it feel now when you look at how your love manifested your son?

Da Brat: Man, it is the best feeling in the world to me. And he is everything. He’s our miracle drop. He’s everything. He’s the reason that we smile every day, no matter what’s going on. He smiles, it all goes away. He makes everything better; he’s just a miracle. He is the best thing that’s ever happened to us.

I love it. And on the show, Jesseca, you say that your love has changed and y’all are there for each other in a very different way now that True is here. Can you explain a little bit about what you mean by that, and how you show up for each other differently now?

Judy: Well, since we brought him home from the hospital, we’ve done everything together. Until she had to go back to work, all of his diaper changes were together. All of his feedings, even if he was breastfeeding, if he was nursing off of her, I still was right there trying to get his hand right, or just all the different ways that I’m able to support or that she feels like she needs to be able to support. We’ve kind of been there for each other this whole entire way.

Da Brat: We do everything together with him. If she’s bathing him, I’m holding up his leg. Or if she’s changing him, I’m trying to entertain him and make him dance so he doesn’t cry up top while she’s wiping his booty, ’cause he don’t like being changed. 

Judy: Right. So it’s not like an obligation. It’s more so like...

Da Brat: Teamwork.

Judy: Enjoyment, you know what I’m saying? You know how sometimes kids can be an obligation. So I think the way we looked at this is, we are appreciative and we feel very fortunate. So it’s not like, oh shit, I gotta go change another diaper. It’s like, it’s diaper time. And it is crazy, as small as that may be, it’s just we try to enjoy all parts of raising him.

Da Brat: And we really do. We really do.

Judy: Yeah. He flipped over for the first time yesterday. 

Da Brat: Yes. Oh my God. We celebrate everything too.

Judy: He did it three times in a row. So that’s a big thing for us. [laughs]

Judy and Da Brat attend a screening of
Judy and Da Brat attend a screening of "Maxine's Baby: The Tyler Perry Story" at Georgia State University on Nov. 8, 2023, in Atlanta, Georgia. Prince Williams via Getty Images

Y’all glow when y’all talk about him. On the show, y’all also touch on postpartum depression and the postpartum aftereffects. Jesseca, I know that you had some experiences with postpartum depression in the past. I’m wondering if any postpartum aftereffects have shown up for y’all with True. Are you open to share a little bit about your experience with that?

Judy: Well, so I can tell you as her partner, I have 100% been there and tried to be every single thing that I need to be able to support her to make sure that she still feels beautiful, that she still feels supported, that at no point does she feel alone. I never wanted pregnancy or having a baby or recovering from birth to [feel] like a handicap or anything like that. So I have been real intentional about that upon the whole pregnancy journey, especially after recovery. I try to do as much as I can.And so we didn’t experience that over here.

Da Brat: Yeah. I don’t even know what that is. I’ve never felt that because I’m fortunate enough to have her. I’ve never felt alone. I had a questionnaire from the pediatric, “Do you wanna harm you or your baby?” I’m like, “What?” I’ve never felt any of that. I’ve never felt depressed. I’ve just been happy. I used to cry every single day just for being overwhelmingly grateful to be holding this living thing that came out of my body, and for him to be healthy, and just nothing was ever depressing to me. And I’m grateful to have her, because I never felt any of that stuff. Like, she talks about chasing her baby daddy with a knife down the street and stuff. Like, I was like, “What?” [laughs] 

Judy: First of all, this lady didn’t even have morning sickness in pregnancy.

Da Brat: I never threw up.

Judy: That’s why it’s crazy that later in life we had a successful pregnancy and none of the stuff that comes with it, like the bad stuff or the negative stuff that comes with it. The only thing she had was like some mild carpal tunnel and swollen hands and swollen feet. But outside of that...

Wow. You were blessed.

Da Brat: Yeah. Had I listened to everything some of the previous doctors before we had Dr. Jackie Walters and Dr. Obehi Asemota, they probably would’ve scared me into not having a child. They told me I was too old. They told me I definitely wouldn’t be able to carry. They told me I was high-risk, I had high blood pressure. We went to a couple of IVF places, and they were very insensitive. They’re like, “Where’s your husband? Who’s your boyfriend? Who your boyfriend?” Bitch, we holding hands. [both laugh]

She is my boyfriend. Like, it was, “Oh, you’re not gonna be able to, oh, you’re too old, oh, she’s gonna have to carry.” And none of those things were true. So, if you trying to have a baby or if you have dreams of having kids and you think it’s too late, just don’t give up. Go. Still try. It’s worth it.

Judy: Yeah. And find the right doctors.Don’t just give up. Just go get a second opinion.

A lot of people, especially people who identify as LGBTQ, find so much hope and inspiration through y’all’s story, especially as two Black women. We know that Black women specifically have higher rates of maternal mortality. And to be able to not only show your love on screen to us, but also show this process, is so important. What does that mean to you, to be that kind of representation for so many? Is that something that you think about?

Da Brat: We really just live, but to hear that and to know that, it means the world. To know we can inspire millions of people, and they look at our story and they can relate and we give them hope and they want to try when they’ve given up ― that’s the best feeling in the world.

We really love warming people’s hearts and blessing them and giving them things that they may never see. So to inspire them like that, that’s the best thing in the world for us. We absolutely love that, because we weren’t trying to do that. We’re just living our lives, being blessed and being grateful and humble and still thanking God for everything. We love the fact that it inspires people and we ain’t even trying to. That’s the best part. So we wanna just keep doing that. We wanna keep motivating people and giving people hope.

Y’all have such a way with affirming each other through words. Every time y’all call each other “Beautiful” as a nickname is just so heartwarming. How did “Beautiful” become the name that you call each other? And how does that feel when both of you hear that?

Da Brat: It’s everything. It’s everything. I don’t know. We were doing it not so much, but then I feel like every time I came home from work and I might be down and tired and I would go in the room and open the door. She would be so happy to see me be like, “Hey beautiful!”

I think it resonated with her that I loved it so much. So I start seeing her and being like, “Hey, beautiful.” Because it made me feel so good. I wanted to make her feel just as good as it made me feel. And we just do it all the time now. And it feels so good. Like just the smallest thing like that can brighten somebody’s day. It brightens mine. I could be tired, but when I walk in, even if she’s busy, she might look up and her whole face, everything lights up and it’s like, “Hey, beautiful.” It’s just a great feeling. That’s the only way I can describe it. It just makes your heart feel good.

Judy, how does it make you feel? 

Judy: Well, yeah, she gave me the story of when she was in prison. And this lady that was in there with her.

Brat: This heavyset really sweet older lady; she had short gray hair.

Judy: So every time she saw her she would be like, “Hey, you so berr-tiful,” so she put an R in it. So from there, when she told me that story, I made sure to always say that to her when I saw her, because I do be excited when she comes home. So then we started saying it to each other. And then, every time we use it we add an R. Hey, “berr-tiful.” [laughs]

That is so cute. Judy, how has Brat redefined love for you? 

Judy: So I was fortunate enough to watch an awesome love story growing up. I got to watch almost like a Disney love story with my mom and my dad. And so that’s something that I aspired to have or aspired to see, and I never really got to see it [for myself]. I watched my dad overly love my mom. I watched my mom overly love my dad. I watched when my dad took sick, my mom still treated him the same way. She did not treat him like he was sick. He was the breadwinner; when he wasn’t the breadwinner, there was no change in the attitude.

So I watched all of that and then I was told “I love you” every day. So all of those things that were positively taught to me as a child, I didn’t really get to see as I was dating. And then when I started dating her, I was seeing it. But it was just a different version of it. This is her all day: “You need anything? You OK? You need anything? You OK?” That’s just who she is. That’s just naturally who she is, not only to me, but to people. So to be able to see a Disney love story in our love, but a different version, an amplified version of what I thought it should be, is just amazing. So that’s how she’s redefined love for me.

<span class="copyright">Prince WilliamsGetty Images</span>
Prince WilliamsGetty Images

That’s beautiful. What about you, Brat? How has Judy redefined love for you?

Judy: What? Now you have to go behind that.

Da Brat: Oh my God. [laughs]

I think my wife has redefined love for me because, one, she gave me the courage to come out. She loved me in a different way than I’ve ever been loved before. And it made me feel like she’s the one, and I need the world to know that I am in love with this woman. I’m gonna hold her hand. I’m gonna scream it from the mountaintops, and I don’t give a fuck who has anything to say about it or who’s against it. I’m grown as hell. I make my own decisions. I pay my own bills. I don’t care what anybody has to say, and I’m just going for it. 

She gave me the courage to do that. And it was like a weight was lifted. It was a whole different world. It was more colorful, and it was just more loving. And so many people embraced it. More people embraced it than people that were negative toward it. So it just made me feel really, really good. She motivates me in being a forward thinker and a creative mind. And she’s a risk taker. I’m always scared to take risks, but she’ll bet it all. And if it don’t work, we’ll be broke tomorrow, but...

Judy: No, no, no. Well, I promise you, I go down to zero and guess what? I promise you I got something else. I’ll find a way to make it back.

Da Brat: Just being around somebody fearless and learning from them teaches me to not be so scared to take risks. So I just learn from her every day. And she’s just an amazing woman to have, to look at... Girl, you fine to look at, to love, one to be loved by. I am the luckiest girl in the world. And then she had some eggs left, so she gave me True. I got to carry him in my belly. It’s an amazing process that I got to carry the love of my life’s eggs in my belly and have the love of my life’s child. It doesn’t get any better than that. I couldn’t ask for anything more, and I wouldn’t, ’cause then I would feel like I’m greedy, even though she gives me the world still. [laughs]

What do you hope to teach True about love ― specifically, about what Black love can look like?

Da Brat: Well, he will see what Black love looks like by looking at us. We’ll always be the perfect example to him that we can be. We don’t fuss. If we do, we get over it very easily. We come to a resolve ’cause we can’t stand and be mad at each other for long, because it hurts our feelings. So we’re gonna just be the best example of Black love that we can be. And we have people in our village who exemplify Black love, so we’re gonna surround him with the best people. His godparents have amazing Black love, and we’re just gonna surround him with the right people to love him and show him the proper way to love and be a respectful man, a gentleman, a man with integrity, a mannerable man, a God-fearing man, a “loves his mommy and his mama” man.