Hazel-E on Overcoming Challenges and Thriving Across Music, Reality TV, and Entrepreneurship

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In the ever-evolving landscape of the entertainment industry, Hazel E has proven time and time again that resilience and determination are key attributes for success. In a recent interview with this beauty, I uncovered so many gems about her life that people may not be aware of. With full transparency, she discussed her recent ventures into new music releases, her return to Los Angeles, her journey through divorce, and the joy of motherhood with her three-year-old daughter Ava. Hazel E’s story is not only one of empowerment and perseverance, but also of the courage that comes from her spirit. As she continues to navigate the complexities of the entertainment world, her unwavering strength as a woman shines through, inspiring others to embrace their own paths with courage and grace.

It’s worth mentioning that Hazel E’s journey is likened to an intricate tapestry woven with threads of versatility, determination, and unwavering resolve. From her early days as a double for Raven-Symoné on the Disney Channel to her impactful roles as a publicist, and the mastermind behind the idea to create Love & Hip-Hop Hollywood, Hazel E has left an indelible mark on the industry. Her ability to navigate diverse roles and excel in each endeavor speaks volumes about her tenacity and creativity. Through her vision and leadership, Hazel E provided a platform for emerging artists and entertainers to showcase their talents and share their stories with a global audience. Although in this interview she speaks on not always being acknowledged for some of the things she has done, I must say that her dedication to uplifting others and amplifying diverse voices has still earned her accolades in the industry and positioned her as a trailblazer in the world of entertainment.

As I delved into Hazel E’s remarkable journey, I uncovered the layers of resilience, creativity, and passion that have fueled her rise to prominence in the spotlight. Through her triumphs and challenges, Hazel E stands as a beacon of inspiration, reminding us of the power of perseverance and the beauty of embracing life’s complexities with an open heart. Read on and develop an even better understanding of Hazel E’s journey—a testament to the strength and grace of a woman who continues to shine brightly in a world full of possibilities.

As someone who has successfully navigated the music industry, reality television, and entrepreneurship, what have been the key lessons you’ve learned along the way?

One I’d say never give up, right? I’ve been navigating this industry for 20 years. I started off when I was in college as an intern. I worked my way up from there.  A lot of people don’t know this, but I was doubling for Raven Symoné on the Disney Channel while I was interning to be a publicist. I got into music, I got into TV. I opened my company and so part of it, I’d say to never give up. Never let age deter you from doing anything because I feel like things for me didn’t even start popping until I was in my thirties. I felt like, “Oh my God, I’m in my thirties and I’m just starting to get on TV.” Like all these girls start when they’re in their teens and in their twenties and now I’m thinking I’m approaching my expiration date at 40. I feel like I’m just getting started. So, perseverance is a lesson that I feel people should understand. You gotta keep going.

How did you transition from a career in music to reality television, and how did this decision impact your personal brand and business ventures?

Honestly, I feel like the transition was natural. I kind of felt like I fostered the transition because I felt like I wasn’t getting the worldwide exposure that I needed. And when thinking about the Love and hip-hop franchise in Atlanta and New York, I was like, we need to have something like that here in L A. So, when I started putting together the cast of Love and Hip-Hop Hollywood, I was thinking to myself, we have to bring this program to LA so that the artist here can get the same kind of nationwide and worldwide exposure that these other cities are getting. So, I was like, let’s bring a program to the city that is on TV, but it’s based on music. So, for me, it was easy because I was just basically taking what I was doing in music and with my love life and putting it on the platform of television. Although it came with people being in my personal life, and I almost felt like music was the backdrop once I got to that level, it was like second fiddle to the drama. So, for me, I feel like it was a great move just so I could get my brand going.

Can you share some of the biggest challenges you faced while building a career in multiple fields, and how did you overcome them?

I’m pretty hard on myself. I feel like I’ve always been a jack of all trades and a master of nothing. I have all these great things that I’m good at. I’m really good at music and rapping, but I’ve never gotten the recognition that I need. I’ve never cracked the Billboard hot 100 list. I’m bomb at doing reality TV. But I’ve never won or been acknowledged in it. I’m popping on social media, but when it comes to like, being in those top categories and recognized amongst my peers in music and TV, I don’t get that top recognition. So, I feel like being good at all these things, but not being the top dog in those fields is challenging.  It’s like you gotta keep on knocking those doors down. I will say that I feel like of all things, that when I was a publicist, I did get my client’s Grammy Awards. I guess I did get recognition in the reality TV Awards realm. The show, “Iyanla Fix My Life” won two NAACP Awards for the episode that I was on, so then I finally got some recognition in that world. As far as music, I just started releasing new music and now I’m coming back to that arena to go ahead and see how far I can take that. So, it’s still about persevering and you know, I gotta keep trying and keep going until I can’t anymore. It’s still challenging, and you still have to keep going. It’s hard some days. I’m just like, why am I still trying to do this? Like I need to just hang it up flat screen. But then that little thing in my gut, that’s like, man, I didn’t move out to Hollywood and dedicate over 20 years to this game to just walk away because people haven’t said you’re the top, or you’re the best. To me that means you gotta keep going until you get your flowers.

Tell us about your businesses. What inspired you to venture into entrepreneurship?

Well, you know I did the PR thing and when I got on TV, my attorney at the time was like, you know when you start on this platform, you need to have something that can sustain you whether you last on the platform or you don’t. That’s when I came up with Girl Code Incorporated. I had actually named my mix tape that I released in 2012 with DJ Charisma the Girl Code mix tape. So, we took that, we incorporated it, we incorporated Hazel E. While I was building my name in the space of television and music, we also branded my company Girl Code. Under my brand, I was able to release music with Empire. I wrote my book, “Girl Code Inc Ethics as a Lifestyle.” Then, I have the marketing branding firm, and we do a lot of brand deals. I work with a lot of other celebrity and influencer girls, and we work with multiple brands on social media. I’ve had my company for 10 years. So, when Hazel E decides to not be “Hazel E’ing” anymore, Girl Coding can still exist.  In addition to that, it’s something that I can pass along to my daughter. I put her under there, I do her brand deals and stuff under Girl Coding as well. I feel like it’s just something that I can leave behind that can keep transforming and growing even when I’m tired or I feel like my light has gone out. I feel like my brand can still exist even when I don’t.

The entertainment industry can be tough. How do you stay relevant and continue to evolve in such a dynamic field?

Maybe because when I started in public relations back in 2003 after I graduated college and I started off as an intern, this thing called the World Wide Web and internet wasn’t as popular then. Publicity was more television and print driven. Like, that was the thing, the goal was to get in magazines and on TV. I would pitch to these online media sites, you know, stories to get our clients digital media write ups. Now, look 10 years later and that’s all that the world cares about. People don’t even have cable anymore. We get our news on our phones, like everything has gone digital. So, learning that specific genre of media became my advantage. So, being that I know how to navigate media online, it kind of gives me an upper hand in being able to stay relevant. I feel good because a lot of those writers and a lot of those journalists that were doing online news are still doing it and are now the editors at some of these top websites and blogs, and they still know me from my PR days. A lot of them really support me because they’ve seen my growth and transition in this industry, and how I went from behind the camera and made a name for myself to in front of the camera.


How would you describe your personal style? 

I mean, I’m still navigating it. I’m trying to elevate my look and, you know, evolve into that grown, edgy, sexy era that I strive to live in. Social media is great for fashion. I follow fashion blogs and some of the top “it girls” to see what’s hot and on trend. I take my risks and I try to see what is gonna look good for my body type. That’s something I had to grow into in real life. Like, I could think to myself, oh, I love the way that looks, but that might not look good on my body. Everything doesn’t look good on everybody and that’s something that I’ve had to grow into. But, from the moment I stepped foot on Love and Hip-Hop, I mean, even when I started rapping, I had both sides of my hair shaved. I was the rap, hip hop, pop star type chick. I’ve never fallen into that, you know, old glam phase or been extremely modest, but I’ve always kept an edge about me. The night that I met you, I had on leather because it was a leather-based party. Whatever look I choose, I feel like it’s gonna translate well on camera and I feel like it’s gonna be a win.

In what ways do you use your platform to empower and inspire others, especially aspiring entrepreneurs, and women in the entertainment industry?

With my platform before, especially when I was on Love and Hip-Hop or Marriage Boot Camp, I didn’t necessarily use my platform. I didn’t even understand the platform that I had. I just knew that I was on TV and that I was popping. Once I honed into what the platform actually meant and I could use it to inspire, showcase my talent, my abilities and become an inspiration to others and especially women and young girls, I’ve taken it way more seriously. I was married, I’m recently divorced. I’m a single mother and I use my insights, like, you know, when you’re going through your algorithms on social media, and I realized that I have 89% women who make up my fan base. So, a lot of things I post, I try to show women that I’ve loved, and I’ve lost, and I thought I found my person. I built this life and guess what, it didn’t work out and I lost it. I want to send the message that you can still persevere, but it’s not easy. It’s hard. I cry at times. I fell in love in front of the world, got married in front of the world, got divorced in front of the world and I’m picking the pieces up and moving on in front of the world. I use my platform to explore how hard it is being a single mother, how I’m overcoming it, how dating is going, whether it’s good or bad. I show how to be an active present mother in my child’s life. I show what I’m doing, how I’m handling things, and how I’m moving on and staying on top of it all. I get a lot of messages from women around the world, and they tell me how much of an inspiration I am to them. They share what they’re going through and they tell me how seeing me and with my daughter helps them or how it’s helped them leave their situation with their narcissist partner. I’ve even been open about my plastic surgery ups and downs and women have opened up about their fears, what they’re thinking about doing, and what advice I can give them. I feel like I have been transparent. Once I put myself on reality TV and decided to open my life up for the world to judge me good or bad, I have been an open book for the last 10 years of my life. I believe that it helps other women get through their own difficult situations. I just try to be an inspiration and I hope to help women make better decisions and basically learn from my mistakes. At the end of the day, I want them and especially my daughter to hopefully do better than I did.

What is something that people may not know about you?

Gosh, I feel like they know everything about me. I preach that I’m educated. I preach that I’m a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha incorporated. Some people act like they still don’t know, even though it’s come up several times, but I’m also a college graduate. I feel like I get the label of bully or a mean girl, but I feel like that stigma is wrong. Like, you know, Hazel’s with it, she gives everybody hell. But I feel like I’m mislabeled maybe due to the platform I’m on. I wish people would go and re-watch stuff from the beginning and see that I don’t really start nothing. I’m like a don’t start nothing and won’t be nothing type of chick, but once provoked, then it’s like on from there. I’m a nice girl and I wear my heart on my sleeve, but if you trigger me, then I’m different. Initially I’m loyal, I’m so loving, I’m caring, I’m nice, and I don’t like to bring the harm to anyone. I have no bad intentions for anybody in this life. I believe in doing unto others as others do unto you. But if you have ill or bad intentions, then you’re going to probably get everything that you’re asking for. 

At one point you were dating Katt Williams. He has been in the media a lot for voicing his opinion about other comedians and things taking place behind the scenes in entertainment. What are a few things you learned from him? 

Well, Katt taught me to own myself. He’s the one that helped me pay for that initial Girl Code Inc and Hazel E trademark. He said that he’s always owned himself. He always owned Katt Williams. He always produced his Netflix specials and he’s always maintained and owned his own brand. So, he could never be bought and sold because he always owned himself. So, in the beginning of my career, he always wanted to make sure I had ownership of me, myself, and my brand so that whether things worked out or not, that I still owned me, my music, my books, my brands. This way, I was always able to do whatever I wanted to in any space that I wanted to do it in. He taught me the importance of always having full and complete ownership of everything that I wanted to do in the entertainment world. 

One of the other things he taught me that stood out during a conversation we had one day was about my looks. He asked, “So do you think that when you walk in a room that people care how beautiful you are or how smart you are?” And I was like, “They initially care how beautiful I am, but when I get in the room and I start speaking, they’re gonna care about how smart I am.” Katt basically was like, no, you’re wrong. He told me they will only care about how beautiful I am and that I have to trick them by not letting them know just how smart I am. He said it was because being smart would turn them off because they just want me to be beautiful. He was like, you have to play the beautiful part up and you have to sneak in the brains part because once they know you’re smart it changes things. Katt is really very, very intelligent, but he couldn’t let people know that then. He had to crack jokes to get those masses of people behind him, but now he’s able to let everybody know, like he ain’t no fool and he is on a different level. 

With that being said, and with March being Women’s History Month, do you believe that you have to play your intelligence down sometimes?

Yes, absolutely, and it’s hard, you know? Even with this strong black woman terminology that we hear a lot, it’s almost kind of like a dig to us now. Like, oh you’re a strong black woman, you got it all figured out, don’t you? Oh, all you strong black women don’t need a man, do you? It’s like some guys don’t realize that we have to be strong. It’s not like we want to be strong all the time. Like we do want a man and we do want to be in our feminine era, but with our backs against the wall and everything that we face and all the challenges to be taken seriously, it’s hard. It is also challenging to always be looked at as a sex object or to be considered second choice behind another type of woman or another race of a woman. Like, yeah, we’ve, had to fight for everything that we were given, and to use being a strong black woman or intellectual black woman as a weapon against us is even crazier. It’s like we’re damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t.

What’s a typical day in the life of Hazel E?

First, I’m a single, present, and active mother to my amazing three-year-old Ava, I’m a full-time mom.  I’m a mom trying to balance mommyhood in addition to working. Me and Ava just recently moved back to LA, so we’re trying to figure out our new normal. I’m also a dance mom. I have her in ballet, tap and hip-hop dance. Ava and I shoot our content together. I squeeze in my Instagram shoots, my campaigns, these interviews, these podcasts. She even comes to the studio to record with me. When I work out, she goes to the kid’s club. I try to stay on my fitness routine to keep my body up. I am working together in this co-parenting space with her father, so I can now start to try to figure out my next phases in life with dating and figuring out my next career steps and my next TV show opportunities. I just released two singles, “What That Bread Like”, and I just dropped the music video for “I’ll Be Good.” I’m back in the studio working with Hendrix and ATL Jacob. So, I have two records that I’m working on with those guys. Ava and I are just trying to put these pieces together of what our new life looks like and figure out how God’s ordering my next steps. It’s new for the both of us and we’re figuring it out one day at a time.

Any last shoutouts you’d like to give and anything else you’d like to share about what’s coming up for you?

We have some more magazine articles coming out. We do our mommy and me campaigns and we just launched Ava Dior official on YouTube.  Just a lot of mommy and me stuff. Just keep checking for me in that TV space because I do have two projects coming out there. Stay tuned for new music, keep us lifted in prayers, and keep looking out for what we have coming in the future.

As we reflect on Hazel E’s remarkable career, one thing becomes abundantly clear: her resilience, versatility, and unwavering passion will continue to inspire generations to come. Hazel E’s story is not just one of success, but a testament to the power of perseverance and the enduring legacy of a true trailblazer.

For more updates, follow Hazel E on her Instagram

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