In Bravo’s entertaining and intense new docu-soap The New Atlanta, five sexy, ambitious young Atlanta residents who work and play in the city’s white-hot fashion and entertainment industries find their lives intertwined — for better or worse — as they chase their dreams, build their careers and look for love. Or something close to it.
For Jevon “Vawn” Sims, that means balancing his 24/7 career as one of Atlanta’s most sought-after music industry scouts and talent developers with life as the proud single dad of a young son — and a potential new career as an author and relationship expert, thanks to his self-published self-help book, The Man-U-All: Love, Need, Want & Hate!
A former Def Jam artist in his own right, under the tutelage of L.A. Reid and the late Shakir Stewart, Sims discovered his true passion was finding and nurturing other performers, including Blu Cantrell and The-Dream. Working with the latter inspired him to create the BET short series Welcome to Dreamland, and, as he puts it, “just let it open up doors and open up doors and open up doors. Most of the things I’ve done, I haven’t really thought about them — I’ve just felt about them. So if God says do it, I do it.”
We caught up with the charismatic 34-year-old to talk about life and love in The New Atlanta.
Channel Guide Magazine: The show seems like a great opportunity for you to stay busy in all of the business ventures you’re currently involved in — and add TV star to the mix. How did you come to be a part of the series?
Jevon Sims: I heard a lot about it and once I heard that everybody who was doing the show was aspirational, I could see myself — as a young man, as a father and as we all go through the endeavors of dreaming and trying to be successful. And success is subjective. Other people can look at you and see success, but in real life, it surrounds you 360 — life, family, love, relationships and what you want to be professionally. So I think this show shows that in every light and that’s why I really wanted to do it.
CGM: Are you excited for people to get to know more about you on a personal and a professional level?
JS: This opportunity is a blessing. Like I said, the way people view certain things is how they view them, but I know what I’m doing and where I’m trying to go and I feel like this platform is the perfect way to get connected and also show something else about me. When I did Welcome to Dreamland, it was all music-based. It wasn’t really about life, and about artist development and going out and finding stars and developing them and taking them through the rigorous training and the time it takes for me. You get to see why I can’t love. You get to see me and my mom have a talk — “Why you ain’t tell me you love me?” — and you get to see what my father is. You get to see a lot of the things that make up a man or a woman and what he or she is trying to become.
And I just did it honestly. I just let it be. Good, bad or indifferent — my weaknesses, my strengths — I just give it to the world. And I think that it’s going to be great.
CGM: So no regrets — even though we see you get into some pretty heated interactions with some of your castmates?
JS: You think about reality — the whole world is already in reality, because even though you might not be able to hear what other people are saying, they always got their eyes on you, they got their opinions of who you are. And the closer I became to God, the more I just figured it out. This is what I want to do, and now I’m writing this book and in writing this book, I already told y’all all the things that I didn’t really want to tell. So now here’s a platform for me to show it all.
CGM: Are you also happy to get the chance to possibly inspire other aspiring artists or talent scouts, and to show them that if you work hard, you can achieve your dream — but that it is work?
JS: Absolutely. Every opportunity that you get, it’s all about how you come into the platform. Famous — that’s cool. Being on TV — that’s cool. But it depends on what your objective is, what your goal is. That’s not just my goal. Do I love it? Yes. But how do I use it?
So when you get a platform like this, I say let’s make history, let’s make a difference. Anything I want to change, you might not even care — but maybe my son and his whole football team cares. And this platform makes me talking about my book relevant. Because without the platform, you may not even care.
So if I can get the light and get the voice, then I can make the change at whatever I’m trying to accomplish. That’s just me. I just want to put it out there, hopefully somebody will like it and somebody will be moved by it. You can be moved however you want to be moved. Just as long as you’re moved.
CGM: Your relationship mantra, and the basis of your book, is that you want to “fall into respect” with someone, rather than just fall in love. Can you talk a little more about that?
JS: For a lot of men, love is very hard because you’re trying to take the endless gamble to giving something that is very hard for you to give. And that’s everything that you have. And when you do that, especially after you get hurt, it’s a calamity, and most men don’t think they want to love again. That’s why women are so great — y’all can love again. I say y’all got a rubber band heart — y’all can love over and over again, forgive and forget, and try again. I can’t do that [laughs]. I’m just being honest. I cannot do that.
So if I can come up with a method that would make that safer for me — because I’ve done that and been hurt already — then I can come from a place where I’m in love with my best friend. I didn’t get that [in my previous relationship]. So I’m trying to learn that all over again — what’s the safest thing for me to do? I feel like if I can fall in respect with you, then the love can come. Because I feel like a lot of people can love, but they don’t respect that person. I use the analogy of Ike and Tina Turner all the time. I think Ike loved Tina, but he must not have respected her because of how he put his hands on her. I want to build my friendship and make it safe for me by respecting you and you respecting me, and that will make it easier for me to love, that’s my “GPS.” Because just to jump off the building and say I’m going to do this, and the endless possibilities of being hurt, that’s going to be really hard for me.
So that’s what I talk about in my book — The Man-U-All: Love, Need, Want & Hate! — there’s no love without hate. There’s no need without want. You have to be one of those to somebody. At the end of the day, I think a lot people talk about being in relationships with other people. I talk about being in a relationship with yourself. The part of my book that’s the biggest is U. Because everything starts with you. And once you figure that out, you’re like, “Ooh, that’s hard.” Yeah, but I’ve done embraced it already. I’ve embraced it and I’m going to say it, because this is the truth and I can see that. I already have relationship with myself. I’m growing. I get it. And I’m going to be honest about who I am. And I’m going to be honest about where I’m going.
If you figure out what you want, if you figure out what you don’t have and if you figure out how to embrace that and make your own happiness, the man that you get or the woman that you get can only come in to expand and enjoy the happiness you already have.
Honestly, I feel we’re all born males, we have to grow into men and we’re always one Patrón shot from messing up and going back to being a male. And that’s the truth. It’s very hard for us.
CGM: This isn’t just a book for young men, though; it’s a book for really everyone looking for self-understanding and a successful relationship, correct?
JS: I have a “commercial break” that gives you so many ethnicities, professions and age groups. My granddaddy is 93 and my uncle 105 and they talk about how hard it is. So I had to reach outside of my society and my friends and go find somebody whose relationship did work. Because that’s the only way I can obtain it. If I can’t see it, if I can’t touch it, it’s going to be very hard, because my inner circle is no relationships — “I don’t want to do it.” But on the other side, there has to be some other story, so writing this book, it opened my mind. It opened my heart. It helped me say, “Oh, OK! I can. So how do I do it?”
I say to women, you’re either a bad pick or a bad picker and you have to figure out which one you are. Once you do that, you got it. What I love about my family and what you’ll see on the show — and I can’t tell you all because you gotta watch it! — is my mom is so honest, and that’s where I get my honesty from. She talks about it, and it just touched me. That’s what made me write the book. Because I never get to see her cry, and then when I did, we talk about it on the show and she talks about it from that perspective of why her relationship didn’t work with my father. And that’s what makes a real person — to know your mistakes and to be able to speak them. And that helped me.
CGM: It looks like you might be in the center of a sort of double love triangle with Africa and Alex, and Africa and Tribble. Did you know any of them before the show?
JS: I knew some of them. I knew Africa in passing and having a conversation. But relationships and politics and religion are some of the most touchy subjects, because everyone has their own view. I feel like with therapeutic listening, you’re never biased. But unfortunately, things happen and people have their own way of interpreting them and taking it to another level. So you have to watch the show! That’s what comes with it! And it’s good! And I can take it. I’m kind of like a cause-and-effect kind of person. I don’t really start the cause, but I can finish the effect.
It’s just real. One thing I like about this show is that it’s human. Like, this is what’s really happening. He pissed me off for real. I feel like he was disrespectful for real. And now I’m going to handle that accordingly. So that’s what you’re going to get from Jevon Sims on The New Atlanta. I’m just going to do and feel — it’s not fabricated.
CGM: It seems like the city is almost a character unto itself. Are you happy for people to have a fresh take on your town, as well?
JS: I’m stoked, because I’m from Atlanta, so I’m glad that we’re showing it in a different light. Because you’re absolutely correct that Atlanta is its own character. It’s the city. It’s the nightlife. It’s the love. It’s the great relationships — or you can’t get a relationship. There’s all of that inside of it, bundled up like a tornado. And that’s a great thing — because you get great things out of Atlanta. You get great opportunities to go after your dreams.
The New Atlanta premieres Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 10/9pm CT on Bravo.
MORE FROM THE NEW ATLANTA:
• The New Atlanta‘s Alex Dilworth: ‘My mom inspired me to be a trophy wife’
• Africa Miranda welcomes you to The New Atlanta — and The Lipstick Lounge!
• Tribble Reese: From ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ to ‘The New Atlanta’
• Emily Lipman is The New Atlanta‘s business-minded beauty