My Story: Choosing Myself Over My Relationship

As a child Denee “Dnay B.” Baptiste knew she wanted to be a dancer. She got her big break working on the video set for Kelly Rowland’s hit single, “Motivation.” After the video shoot, she was stuck in the airport for about three days, and as repayment, she was offered the opportunity to dance with Beyoncé on the Oprah Winfrey Show and on the Billboard Music Awards.

As her dancing career was taking off, Dnay B. was in a relationship with someone who was ready to take their relationship to the next level. “He was ready for marriage, he was ready for a baby and I wasn’t at that level yet,” explains the Harlem native. “I’m in the prime of my career and I can’t just walk away and give it all up. You don’t want to be with somebody who has a bunch of what ifs or shouldas, couldas. And as a result of that, that caused the relationship to really go sour.”

While Dnay was flourishing on stage with Beyoncé and other artists including Kelly Rowland, Tinashe, Jason Derulo and more, her relationship with falling apart. “He just got angry. He was angry with me for choosing my career and choosing myself over anything else,” said Dnay. “That turned into him verbally say things or he would stay away from me for a long period of time. Or when he did come around it was never joyful. It got to the point where I was like I cannot be stressed at work because I’m working really hard. I’m working these long hours and then I coming home to what’s supposed to be my safe haven and I’m stressed out there. Because of that, I just couldn’t do it anymore.”

The turning point for Dnay was a friend asking her if he never changed, would she be ok with that. The answer was no and she knew it was time for her to choose herself. “I bought him a plane ticket and told him he had to go. I told him, ‘You have to get out of here. You cannot stay here. You can’t keep stressing me out.’”

And then the healing process began. “I had to walk away from this five-year relationship. I’ve known him since I was 13 years old. He was my high school sweetheart and best friend. We’ve always been in contact, so it was really just coming to terms that the relationship is dead.”