The beloved rapper opens up to PEOPLE about expecting with wife Jesseca “Judy” Harris-Dupart
Da Brat is ready to reveal Da Bump!
The hit “Funkdafied” rapper and wife Jesseca “Judy” Harris-Dupart are expecting a baby, the couple tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue.
“It’s been quite a journey,” says Da Brat, who admits that at 48, “there’s a lot of stuff we learned about women over the age of 40.”
The couple’s road to motherhood started around the time they said “I do” back on Feb. 2 of last year. Harris-Dupart, 41, is the CEO of Kaleidoscope Hair Products and was in the midst of launching a new line inspired by Da Brat and her iconic braids and protective hairstyles.
“It started as a joke, we were like, ‘We’re extending our family!’ ” she says of the tongue-in-cheek marketing tagline for their collaboration. “But then we got a huge response. It was like, ‘Oh my God do we want to actually have kids, and if we do, girl, we better hurry up!’ ”
Harris-Dupart is already a mother of three prior to their relationship. For Da Brat, kids weren’t ever really a part of the plan. “I never thought I was going to have kids,” she says. “I just thought it wasn’t in the cards for me. I’ve had a great career, a full life. I felt like, because I didn’t get pregnant earlier on, then it just wasn’t going to happen for me.”
That is, until she met and fell for Harris-Dupart. “I started looking at life so differently,” says Da Brat. “I was like, I want a little me with you. Something special from the both of us that we can share and raise and love unconditionally.”
Still, she wasn’t keen on the idea of carrying a child. “I was like, nothing’s gonna come out of me!” Harris-Dupart was able to convince her otherwise. “We had a little tug-o-war in the beginning…but I felt like she should have the experience,” says her wife. “She is so nurturing.”
The decision for Da Brat to carry worked out for the best, given Harris-Dupart suffered major health complications following her egg retrieval procedure. But the rapper faced difficult health issues of her own, including having to undergo surgery to remove fibroids and polyps prior to her embryo transfer procedure.
Then came a heartbreaking miscarriage. “I had never been so excited about something that I didn’t even know I wanted,” says Da Brat. “I fell in love with the idea and then it was all snatched away from me.”
“Luckily,” she says, “we still had quite a few of her eggs left.” The couple, who chose an anonymous donor described as “an eager entrepreneur” from their cryo bank, is now 18 weeks pregnant. Firmly into her second trimester, Da Brat says, “It’s just a blessing. I’m excited!” She’s also exhausted. “I don’t have any cravings or nausea,” she adds, “but I’m always sleepy. It’s crazy!”
Another aspect of pregnancy that’s taken Da Brat by surprise: “Everything makes me cry. If someone wins American Idol, I cry. I’m like, I’m tougher than that!”
Reflecting on her tough persona in hip hop coupled with her happy news and bump reveal, “I think people are going to be shocked,” she says with a laugh. That said, she chose to embrace the dichotomy with a gangster-inspired pregnancy photoshoot. “I loved it,” she says.
And there’s no slowing down for the rapper, who, on top of working on new music and co-hosting The Rickey Smiley Morning Show and Dish Nation, stars alongside her wife on their WE TV reality show Brat Loves Judy. The upcoming third season will follow the couple’s rollercoaster journey to motherhood and business partnership as they launch the new Da Brat x Kaleidoscope collection of hair care products, now available at Walmart and other major retailers.
“I felt like she always supports me on everything I do, so I wanted to do something with her,” says Harris-Dupart of co-creating the product line that includes moisturizing rinses, gels, sprays and mousses, all inspired by her wife’s iconic hair. “I call her the queen of protective styles, she’s been wearing them since forever.”
Indeed, Da Brat’s unique style and talent has been on full display since the 90s, though she’d long kept her personal life private. Looking back on it all, the rapper, who first opened up about her sexuality in 2020, can’t help but smile at how life has turned out. “It’s way different now than it was before,” she says of living openly as a member of the LGBTQ community. “When I came out I was like ‘Damn, if I knew it was going to be this nice and loving I’d have probably come out a long time ago!’ ”
Most importantly, she says, “[I came out] because of her inspiring me,” she says of Harris-Dupart, “and wanting to scream it from the mountaintops that I found somebody that I am totally in love with and I don’t want to hide it anymore.”
Brat Loves Judy Season 3 premiere’s Thursday, April 27 at 9 p.m. ET on WE TV.
Da Brat x Kaleidoscope Hair Products collection is available now at Walmart, Target, CVS and more major retailers.
For more on Da Brat’s pregnancy joy, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.