Ralph Pittman Jr. is a husband, father, speaker, businessman, entrepreneur, and the newest husband to join Bravo’s reality show, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” alongside his wife, actress Drew Sidora.
As a native of New Jersey, Pittman has the heart and soul of a true champion. Early on in life, he recognized the value of being focused, dedicated, and strategically involved in making strides toward his personal and professional goals.
With a degree in Business Economics from Rutgers University, Pittman understands what it takes to maintain a high level of success while balancing family, career, and other business endeavors that he’s sowing the seeds of achievement into. His expressive nature thrives when he can place meaning and significance into what he is passionate about—so, it’s no surprise that along with his business degree, Pittman has also studied music theory. With his skill set and his dedication for growth, he has been able to use both sides of his brain the (the left and the right) as a businessman and musician. Pittman explains, “We are all looking, and searching for answers to become the best version of ourselves, and you’re going to actually fail sometimes in order to do that; but in that failure, there’s growth. It’s really truly not ever failure until the day you pass away.”
Success has been smiling on Pittman for years and it shows. He is the founder of Pittman International, a holding company, and serves as a strategic advisor to Fortune 500 companies.
He is also the founder of My Mind Music and My Mind Music for Kids, an American music enrichment and wellness company, which curates and creates therapeutic music to promote and improve the quality of life for adults and children. The melodious music of My Mind Music boost happiness, relaxation and evokes thoughts of peace and serenity.
As a musician, Pittman has worked in the music business as a composer on various tv and film projects. He most recently composed music for the acclaimed film, “The Preacher’s Son,” based on the novel, written by New York Times best-selling author Carl Weber.
Pittman is also accustomed to staying physically fit. In his college years, he played football and stuck to a strict fitness regimen. Because heart disease runs in Pittman’s family, he is dedicated to living a healthier lifestyle by watching what he eats and exercising as well as promoting health, wellness, and fitness. To extend his dedication even further, The Pittman’s created the “Drop It With Drew” and “Drop It With Drew and Ralph” exercise programs to motivate and encourage fans to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle.
In a recent interview, Pittman and I sat down to discuss his life as a father to three beautiful children, being a loving husband, his multiple businesses, self care and so much more.
You have three beautiful children, Josiah who is ten, Machai who is five, and little Aniya who is three. I want to know from you, what has being a father shown you the most, and how has it changed your perspective, if any about life before you even have children?
It’s interesting. I think the biggest lesson first and foremost that it teaches me, number one, is patience, because they’re going to do something. I don’t care what it i! (laugh) With no kids, you’re on time, you can run out the house at the drop of a dime if you have something going on. With kids, you have no idea. They may have a blowout, they may spill something all over themselves, mess up the outfit. (laugh) Truly, it comes into the area of expectations, and I think sometimes our expectations can become a little unrealistic. I think kids have actually forced me to have no expectations at all. Do your best, but if you expect too much, you’re going to probably be sadly disappointed.
We talked a little bit about how kids will keep you active, and how they keep you on your toes. I know how important fitness is to you in your overall lifestyle. Where did that motivation come from?
You got it! Yes, fitness has always been something that’s been pretty near and dear to me. I started off running track when I was young, played football in college; but you lose it at some point in time. You get kids, suddenly you develop the dad bod, then you got the sexy dad bod, whatever you call it… Something that you can rest your beer on top of. (laugh) What ended up happening with me is, I realized that I ended up developing high cholesterol and I’m like, “Wait, me?” Then exploring a little further, something we don’t always talk about is what runs in the family, what’s hereditary.
I realized that heart disease runs in my family, which my father recently passed away from. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to meet my grandfather, my kids aren’t going to have a chance to develop a relationship with their grandfather, and for me I’m like, “I got to change, I got to do something about this. I want to live, and I’m going to put a movement in place, because there are other people dealing with these same situations, and I want them to live as well.”
Tell us about the fitness movement you put into place.
I’ve created a program called Ripped with Ralph, and it encourages people to be accountable, have accountability partners, because sometimes it’s hard to get the motivation if you’re doing it by yourself. Even for me, I don’t like going to the gym all the time, but if I know I have somebody there that’s counting on me, then it’s like, “Ah cool, I got to make sure I have it. I don’t want to be the first to let you down.”
Do you think that a lot of times people talk themselves out of being more active because of simply being busy? How can people break out of sabotaging their health?
You’re so right about it. I mean, I think unfortunately, we get into a position where we’re very reactive, and proactive. I want to get people to a place where they don’t need the doctor to say, “You got to work out because of this or that, or if not, you have this amount of time to live.” How do you get up to actually get that motivation to do it? You need something, and you’re right. I’m a musician as well, and I play and even create music to stimulate you enough so that you can use that as your alarm clock to say, “All right you know what? I got to get myself in gear, I’m going to put my shoes on, I don’t care what distractions I have, if the babies are doing something, I’m still going to get it in. Whatever it takes, I can make it happen.” Even if it’s at home in your bedroom or in the living room, there’s an opportunity for it all to happen.
Speaking of that, do you believe that you convey the importance of health to your kids too? What do you do at home with them to increase their physical activity?
Oh man, trying to get them pulled away from their iPads! It’s become hard because of course, for a while you didn’t want the kids to go outside at all, so you encouraged them to actually be at home in the room, cooped up with their iPad, because that’s the only thing they can do. Now I’m transitioning them to say, “Look, now we got to get out this house here. Let’s go do a little workout, we’re going to have some fun.” Really, truly just making the art of working out exciting. That’s the magic trick, if it’s fun, they’ll do it. If it’s tedious, and work, and painful, they’re not, and that’s the transition. We go out and play basketball, do competitions and stuff like that. You’re working out, but it’s competitive, so now you’re having fun with it. Even my little daughter gets involved. We got booked to do a workout competition for a Daddy Daughter Workout Event. It is about making sure that we have a healthy lifestyle so that we’re all in shape, and we all can increase our wellness.
We’ve all seen you on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and one of the prominent storylines that we talked about earlier in the conversation was how you reintroduced your son Josiah to his biological father, Hip-hop record producer Ricky ‘DP’ Brascom, as he wanted to establish that presence in his life after he was incarcerated. What was it like for you as a young man meeting Drew and becoming a father to Josiah. Were you nervous? Scared? How did that feel to you internally?
I knew that day would come, and one thing that I’ve always told myself is that I would embrace the opportunity, because I feel like having a child is the greatest gift to any person, especially to a man, because that’s your legacy, right? And I wanted to embrace it with open arms, as long as he was open to it, and really welcomed the opportunity for him to build, and develop, and establish a relationship. Because for a couple of reasons, one, Josiah can come and have a conversation with me, but there’s a lot of things I can’t tell him about. His upbringing, who he is, what is hereditary for him, various stories about his personality. Those are things I cannot tell him, but who can is his biological father. To establish that kind of relationship, and to be open with it was important to me, but it’s hard because there’s an ego thing with men of course, right?
It may have been typical for some men to say, “Why did you come around? Everything is fine without you being here.” But—I took a different approach because I don’t ever want Josiah to ever say, “You guys prevented me from developing or establishing a relationship with my father.” I don’t want that to ever happen, and so I really wanted to push it, and make it clear that, yes, give him an opportunity to do that. Understand and know who he is, and then you have to decide on how you proceed with that relationship moving forward, and knowing that I will always be here, and I’m supporting you, and standing behind you 100%. I get it, I’ve heard horror stories as well. I think it comes down to a place to where everyone says, “Look, this isn’t about me, this is about something much bigger which is this child, and his upbringing.”
photo courtesy of The PittmansDo you think that as adults our own issues that may have developed as a child, impact us as adults and parents ourselves?
Yes! But we grew up with these challenges in our lives that we don’t know where they came from. We kind of journey to it, then later, we develop problems. Because either depression, or somebody did this to you, said this to you, and now all of a sudden, you’re living your life with these challenges. It could be avoided, or questions be solved just by trying to work through it and understanding where it came from. Sometimes we can’t do that by ourselves, we need other people to help us even identify that there’s some challenges. I call it damage, but it’s what happens, and how do you get around? I even think when it comes down to just parenting in general. We all get it wrong sometimes. Going back to the expectations, we have these high expectations… “I am going to raise the perfect child, and you’re going to be this, this, this, and this, and I’m going to groom you like this.” How often does that actually work?
Sometimes it fails miserably. We don’t have all the answers, we don’t. The only thing that you can really truly change, and control is yourself. We’re all damaged in a way.
I’m thinking back to some of episodes of The Real Housewives of Atlanta when you went away to Tampa for a few days, and all the controversy that came up with that decision to do so. I totally understand the need to get away from life, and how regrouping is needed sometimes. Why do you think that society might question the idea that men also need to practice self-care and nurture their mental health? It’s not just something for women.
Oh, 100%, and I think it’s the environment that we’re in. The reality of it is that I travel… typically I’m traveling probably about two to three days a week. Then you are in the house, tensions start to bubble up. Tensions start to flow; you never have an opportunity to get that kind of release or a way to be able to process it all. I feel for men, especially when you talk about very ambitious, highly motivated driven men. We put ourselves in a position sometimes where we try to do it all. Then what happens is a lot of people start to rely on you. It’s like, “All right, so this right here, I’ll solve it.” You become this solution; you’re looked at as a problem solver. What happens is you kind of pour yourself out, and you become burnt out. What do you do when you’re burnt out to restore yourself? People don’t see that. That’s when you have to really do that self-care. You have to go away to make sure that you and your mental stability is okay for you to be able to function at the highest, your highest self. That’s the only way you can do it. You have to get away to be able to do it, or find something that truly does fulfill you, and especially if you don’t have something that’s pouring into you. Once again, this goes back into that expectation element. This is also something that I feel is really huge. A lot of times, people get into relationships expecting somebody to fix them, right?
We get into this place, and we develop these false expectations. Men are guilty of it also. A woman is like, “I want a man, because he can help me in these particular areas, and that would make me happy.” Suddenly, as a man we get into a relationship saying, “You know what? I’m going to go ahead and be this great guy, and I’m going to do all of these things for you, and you’re never going to want to ever look at anybody else.” Now, on both ends, it backfires right? Because that woman, as she’s looking for that man to come fulfill her, her needs are always going up because the same thing that you did before no longer has the same impact anymore.
What happens is he’s burning himself out because he’s trying to meet these expectations that keep moving, and the woman looking for happiness that’s never going to fulfill her anyway. It’s always a moving target. Until people really start to focus on themselves individually, and say, “Look, this is what is going to make me happy, and I am responsible for it.”
In your time traveling, being on the show, and just being authentic—what is the biggest challenge or misconception that people had about you that you want to clear the air about?
I think it’s because I’m layered. Once again, even during this conversation, right? We can say that I think one thing that a lot of people do is they draw conclusions so quickly without really having a complete picture or full understanding. It might not necessarily be my challenge so much, but it really truly becomes challenging as I’m dealing and talking with people, even my own family sometimes. I’m like, “Hey, you do understand that’s just one side of Ralph that you saw right?” There are multiple sides of me, and there’s a backstory. I think it does come down to really clarifying and cleaning up what actually took place, so people have clear understanding of who Ralph is. What my intentions are, what I stand for, and even what my purpose is in life. Those are things that you just don’t have an opportunity to see as much, and it takes opportunities like this conversation to really be more expressive and vocal, because it really just takes one second or one impression for you to draw some kind of conclusion. I think that’s the humanistic thing. “Oh, this happened? That must mean that…” Well, it actually doesn’t, or something to that effect. I think that’s been one of the most challenging things, but I feel even being outside, I get more love than anything else, than people coming and saying different things.
There are many who view reality shows as negative, when ultimately, there are things that people learn about themselves from watching—which can prove to be positive for their own growth. What has the biggest impact been for you in relation to being on the show?
I think the biggest impact is being able to show the positive on a platform like The Real Housewives of Atlanta, I think where a lot of people may associate it with negativity or arguing and fighting, it’s not always that way. I think our goal is to show positivity, how families really work. Not just the pretty and the fairy tale times. Somebody’s raw moments where people have to deal with their own issues. How do you deal with this problem that’s actually coming up? How do you address it, and what does it look like and are there other people around there that are dealing with the same thing that I am? And it’s quite surprising. Some things that other people are dealing with, we’re seeing many messages in our Dm’s about it.
Those are the magical moments. I’m looking for the positive more than I’m looking for the negatives, and I have to, because if you don’t, this platform can destroy you.
Social media can be vicious in and of itself. When people vent, they can project a lot of negativity into situations. How do you deal with that aspect of your life?
Yeah, I’m telling you, when it came down to trauma, I watched… and of course I had my publishers on deck, when everyone started talking about me leaving for three days. The messages that started coming in, it was a flood of people, and I was like, “Should I turn my comments off here? They’re saying some pretty mean things.” I was like, “Well you know what? I’m not going to turn it off. I’m going to allow people to be able to vent their own stuff, because really truly, they’re not mad at me, they’re mad at a situation that more than likely has happened in their life where they may feel some kind of level of abandonment, or anything else that may pop up that actually is a trigger for them. It is trauma that they have to also go and deal with.” A lot of the times, we draw conclusions based on things that aren’t actually real or it didn’t really happen like that. It allows you to go and see a different perspective, and that’s why I like how things kind of came around full circle. It was so funny, everybody’s like, “But you know what? If Ralph did something, I’ll pay somebody money to go and find out what’s going on. It was kind of crazy, but it happened, and this is something that was a trigger for people.
Experience is always the best teacher, and you being a father of three children have plenty of experience. As your children get older, what kind of advice would you give to them about the opposite sex? What is some of the general advice you would tell your boys about women, and what would you tell your daughter about men?
You know what? That’s a great question! This is where I got in trouble myself, because once again, I’m going to go right back to these expectations right? I mean, have high expectations for yourself, have high dreams, and desires, and goals, and hopes. When it comes down to other people, sometimes they will let you down, and it’s okay. It’s okay for that to happen, and you need to really focus more on the things that you can actually change, things that you have control over which is yourself. Your heart might get broken. All that is going to actually take place, but it’s an opportunity to be able to grow, and learn. We are all looking and searching for answers to become the best version of ourselves, and you’re going to fail sometimes to do that; but in that failure, there’s growth. It’s really truly not ever failure until the day you pass away.
Let me tell you, from my own personal success, that truly has been the key to me actually being able to come up from the School of Hard Knocks from New Brunswick, New Jersey, and then getting to this place where I am now. You could say the woman of my dreams, the home of my dreams, the family of my dreams, and everything else that I’ve been able to manifest in my life, came from all those negative moments that I had to go through. You have to go through the forest, before you can actually get the true sunshine.
What kind of advice would you give to new fathers who need some sort of guideline about how to put balance in their lives?
That’s a great question. I would say, to make sure that your positioned right, you definitely can do some research, and read all the different little baby books, but there is really not a clear guideline of how to raise a child. Have some patience with yourself, one, and give yourself some grace, because you don’t have it together, and it’s okay, no one does. The second thing I would say is just to be open to learning. With fatherhood, you have to definitely be patient. It’s a big transition going from being this person where, “I’m going to take over the world, and I’m going to do all these great things.” Sometimes you just got to slow down, and say, “All right you know what? Let me pay attention to the small things.”
That right there is the best experience in the world is when things slow down, you get to spend that genuine time, and truly connect, and bond with your child. That right there is absolutely amazing. Then, the number three thing is just continuing to be there and be involved. Once again self-care is very important. Understand who you are, so that you can actually give to your family the right way, because if you’re not, if you’re in a place where you’re too stressed out, or you’ve got too many things on your plate, you may come off in the wrong way.
I wanted to ask you about your creation of Mind Music for Kids. Can you talk about that real quick?
Yes, yes, yes. Mind Music for Kids is a sleep system that I created to help kids reach REM sleep. Interestingly enough, I created it for myself, so I also have a compilation called “Changing Seasons.” That’s more for adults, but the reality of it is, it all works for everyone. One of the things that happened, is my baby was crying, and I ended up jumping on the piano, I started playing just some melodies, something very soothing, and all of a sudden the crying stopped. Mind you, this is Machai. He wasn’t really able to actually see me. He was too young at that point, but he tried lifting his head, put it back down, and I kept playing a little more, and suddenly, he was out. I was like, “Well you know what? I may be actually onto something.”
How can people find out more about My Mind Music and My Mind Music for Kids?
Visit www.mymymusic.com, and support. I’m getting ready to release my first animation which I’m extremely excited about. Expect that by the time this interview is released, so that will be on YouTube. Especially as the world is now starting to open, I really want to take my music to another level, and see it being used in the school systems. I’d like to have a bunch of adults using it as well, so they can recognize the power of music inside of their minds.
Any plans for Father’s Day?
Yeah! Well, of course I think this is the time you kick your feet up, and you let everybody serve you. This is my day here. I mean it doesn’t happen often, but this is about me! My father-in-law has my same birthday, so that day I thought was special before, but my birthday has been kind of stolen (laugh). Father’s Day is my day that I can actually take to myself, so… No, no, no, wait… actually, I’m doing Ripped with Ralph, and that’s one of the things that I’m really truly focusing on for Father’s Day. Of course, I lost my father eight months ago, and I really want to be able to acknowledge him, and then also focus on other parents that are out here making an impact, raising their children, doing the best they possibly can, and having grace on the ones that are trying to have that relationship or establish something. It’s not always easy to be a dad, or the dad that you want to be. That’s the big thing. It’s a question that people don’t ask a lot, like, “What’s the dad that you’d like to be?” You don’t hear that very often, but for whatever capacity that you can be, just do the best you possibly can, let’s keep pushing, and raising our kids.
To learn more about Ralph Pittman, click here.
Desirae L. Benson is an entertainment publicist, journalist, content editor, and entertainment media host, residing on the west coast. She hosts her own show featuring four different segments with celebrities, musicians, and people of prominence. To find out more, visit her page on Facebook and Instagram: @DesiraeBBB or the hashtags: #DesiraeBBB • #DesiraeLBensonPR #MovedByTheMusic •#AdayInTheLifeOfDesirae• For media inquiries, Email:DesiraeBBB@gmail.com