The Digital Advocate — March 12, 2002
Twila “Stripes” Wiggins left rapper Benjamin Banneker for Banneker’s producer Gloon midway through the recording of Banneker’s album EPHEMERIS.
She didn’t get the reaction from Banneker that she was searching for.
“He cried when he found out Gloon and I had sex while he was in the studio working on his lyrics. I couldn’t be with someone that reacted like that when his woman did that to him. At the time, that wasn’t a man to me,” Stripes admits.
“Where I came up, relationships are about power, and if the man don’t have power, he don’t have a woman.”
The power Stripes is speaking of is one derived from consequences. If the woman does the wrong thing, the man is there to set her right.
“When I say that I asked Gloon to put his fist in my face, I mean I asked for it. Just like I asked the same thing from Benjamin and when he didn’t meet my needs, I found a man who did right there in the same studio.”
The origin of the harshness in Stripes’ candor can be found in her upbringing.
She was born Twila Wiggins, the second of two daughters. Her older sister, Dawn (Mega) Wiggins and her were both shipped to be raised by their grandmother in Wyman, Texas when they were four and two years old respectively, because their mother’s boyfriend didn’t have patience for children and threatened their lives more than once.
Their grandmother, Lily Evans was a seamstress and lived in a housing project called Crescent Towers, an ironic name given all of the apartment units were single story dwellings. There, it was a common sight to see couples take their arguments outside into the courtyard wielding knives, pots and other makeshift weapons.
“That was what love with a man was for Dawn and I. You stayed together with him because he’d kill you if you left. You didn’t stay because he’d cry.”
“But see, that’s what people don’t understand about Gloon’s and my story in particular. Gloon came up seeing the same kind of things Dawn and I did and yes, we lived like that for a couple years. At one point though, we had THE TALK and we both got help.
Separately and together, we got counseling and moved past the need for using anything more than words with each other. Gloon’s been taking shots for what he did, but we both played our parts in it.”
As she continues to speak about it, more layers begin to show themselves about what was going through her mind.
“I can’t and won’t speak for other relationships, but in ours, sometimes I’d purposely try and set him off. I’d keep at it until he got physical with me because I’d didn’t feel like he didn’t really loved me any more. Sometimes I just needed reassurance, even if it left a mark on me or required stitches.”
Twila shakes her head, her eyes are glassy with unspent tears. “Where we are now, this is how I know what I did was right, even though I’m sorry for how I hurt Benjamin. I don’t know if I ever would have moved past this if I hadn’t had a man like Gloon to navigate through this with.”
“What he did was wrong, what I did was wrong, but we both got help for each other’s sake as well as our own. Even if no one else in the world gets it, that’s the beauty I hold on to. I can’t focus on all the ugliness we had to turn away from.”
They turned away from it just in time, because shortly after they began therapy they found out that Stripes was pregnant.
“Gloon and I still have some demons to exorcise,” she explains. “We agreed that he needs to stay away from us until we’ve made the changes we both need to make. Until we’ve done that, our daughter Simone and I will be there waiting for him. Right now, that’s the healthiest thing we can do for our daughter and our relationship.”
By: Alexis McCarran
NOTE: Photo is a model portrayal of a fictional character.
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