Celebrity Publicist Abesi Manyando Speaks on Importance of Work-Life Balance

Abesi Manyando is a writer, author, and founder of the public relations and branding development firm Abesi PR.

She has worked with many recognizable names, including Grammy Award-winning artists Future, Nelly, and Lil Baby, along with Grammy-nominated artist Saweetie, the George Floyd family, Judge Jimmie Edwards, Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, and many more.

Working with such high-profile clients can come with many stressors, which is why Manyando has begun loving herself more through much-needed time off to escape. She sat down with BLACK ENTERPRISE about her views on work-life balance and the importance of living a softer life.

Abesi Manyando’s moment of clarity

Manyando is a busy lady. Outside of her noteworthy career as a celebrity publicist, she has also written for many major publications and penned her own children’s book. Her book, Jarvis Po: The Secret Adventures of a Potato, teaches about “the beauty and power that comes with knowing and loving yourself in a world that may not always be kind or accepting.”

While Manyando’s career and projects were enjoyable for her, doing so much, coupled with the political and racial tension in the country, eventually led to burnout. Watching the George Floyd situation unfold really impacted Manyando. “It does something to your spirit. I think as a Black person living in America…you almost want to question your value, your worth, and who you are…You become nervous to go outside.”

So, what did Manyando do? She decided to take a break from it all. A real, substantial one. She initially took 14 days off and headed back home to the continent of Africa. “And I say, Africa. I know it’s a huge continent, but I went to a few places. I’m not saying that to just generalize,” the Zambia native clarified. Those 14 days led to six months of full relaxation. Manyando traveled to Ghana, Zambia, Ethiopia, and South Africa during her stay.

Living a softer life through work-life balance

Manyando once found detaching a hard thing to do. Being constantly glued to her phone for trends and the latest happenings due to her career, was the norm. “You have to be up all hours of the night. You have to beat the news cycle. You have to make things go away in whatever best way you can. It’s strenuous on ourselves and on relationships.”

During this much-needed trip, however, Manyando learned what truly mattered in life and how to really let things go. She had the chance to witness authentic love and happiness all around her. “I felt the love; I was so happy.” She reminisced.

She loved the warm, kind souls she encountered daily, and it opened her eyes to the balance she needed to create in her own life. “Sometimes we become obsessed with success and we actually stop living because we’re living for money…When I went to Ghana, I just saw people living life and happy. And not everyone had money. There’s a lot of luxury in Africa, and Ghana is amazing, some of the most beautiful architecture I’ve seen…but even the person that doesn’t have [a lot of money] is still very happy…The people that didn’t have much would still try to share.”

This was a huge contrast to what she had become accustomed to seeing. “I saw a different aspect of people. Because here, especially coming from [Trump’s] presidency, people became very rude, and openly so. The negativity and hatred. So being there was like, ‘wow, I can breathe.’ It was like, ‘wow, this is life.’ In life, you’re just supposed to be happy.” It was at this moment Manyando knew she wanted a softer life. “I wanted a softer life. As Black women, we take on a lot.”

Abesi Manyando’s advice for busy people

While Manyando is extremely dedicated to her clients and work, she understands that although tough, we must be able to pull ourselves away from the work we do to be able to work on ourselves and make time to play.

“You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to figure life out. Life will pass you by. You have to put enjoyment in your calendar.”

Manyando shared that she always encourages people to be successful, but for them to be mindful of at what cost they find that success. “I’ve seen very successful people, and I’ve seen their demons. I’ve seen their depression and seen suicidal tendencies. And these are multimillionaires. So, what is the point? There has to be more. You have to have something outside of yourself. ‘Cause, you can self-destruct…You have to understand life and purpose and give back…you have to have love. Love is important.”

The PR professional really hopes we all take the time to re-center and humble ourselves this year. During her travels, she was taught in the best way possible that life is for living. Seeing people live their lives authentically, celebrating good times without alerting social media, was a reminder that happiness and peace are found in the present. “I had to humble myself too. The trip humbled me because what I thought was important, wasn’t even important.” She realized it’s not always all about the business, red carpet, or the next cover.

While still working with her high-profile clients, Manyando has begun to prioritize her art and writing again, and in doing so, has discovered a softer life that makes space for work-life-balance. You can keep up with Abesi Manyando on Instagram, @abesipr; Twitter, @abesiPR; and on her lifestyle blog 7thandLotus.com.