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Dreka Gates Teaches Me Tools To Heal Trauma On Shirley’s Temple

May 6, 2024

Read the full interview on SheenMagazine.com!

If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dreka Gates, you already know the positive impact she has on the universe. A healer in all facets of the word, the Louisiana native first got her start managing rap superstar Kevin Gates’ musical career, even being the person who empowered him to pursue music altogether. To date, the couple share two beautiful children together.

Fast forward to today, Dreka is a proud entrepreneur, revamping her own wellness line called Dreka Wellness. She’s also diving into the cannabis industry, opening her own dispensary in Mississippi called Love’s Harvest. In fact, she told me that she’s invested $2 million into this project… something she’d never do again.

On the 63rd episode of Shirley’s Temple, I sat with Dreka Gates to discuss her identity crisis after managing Kevin’s entire career, opening her own dispensary called Love’s Harvest, tools on how to process trauma, doing DMT and Ayahuasca, her favorite Kevin Gates album, her doctors almost killing her, and more!

You said “I had a complete crisis of my identity. That shit is probably the hardest thing I’ve had to navigate in my entire life. I kind of almost want to cry because it’s 17 years of being this person. And then looking up and realizing I’m no longer hurt. That’s not my identity anymore. That was my entire career. Working through that was extremely difficult.” Was that like a spiritual awakening? 

Hell yeah.

I need to know the details. 

You’re making me want to cry now. Every time I think about it, because it really is. I don’t know if anyone has ever experienced this or if you have, even working a job for the majority of your life. That was 17 years in the music industry as this person and that’s no longer me. What the hell am I going to do? That was literally my every day. I eat sleep, drink, shit. That is everything.

Not playing that role, not being that person anymore. What the hell? Who the fuck am I? What do I even want in life? For so many years, this has been my life. This has been what I wanted. This is what I desired. No, that isn’t really what you want or desire.

Have you been feeling like that for a long time? 

I didn’t have a problem with that. But you know, being in the industry, that shit is —

Oh my gosh! There needs to be free therapy. 

No seriously. For everybody in the industry, there really does need to be. Real shit.

Especially being a female. 

Oh my gosh. Don’t get me started on that. That’s a whole ‘nother story. You walk into these offices and you see nothing but women behind desks doing all the work. But hey, we won’t go there. But yeah, very, very, very painful. Very, very difficult. I luckily ran across a lady —

A spiritual psychologist? 

It’s not the spiritual psychologist, but this lady’s bomb too. I had to go see a spiritual psychologist because man, I need the tools to be able to deal with what’s happening right now. Because it was so much. I met this lady who had a very similar story to mine. I met her in Tulum. I went on a solo trip to Tulum, because what the fuck is happening right now? I just need to get away and try to figure out my life. Figure out what the hell’s going on right now, so I went down there.

It was something crazy though. Her course was about being orgasmic or something. I’m like, hell yeah. Yes, I want to learn how to be orgasmic. But it’s on a whole ‘nother level. She had experienced the same thing. She was in the corporate world for over a decade, literally woke up one day and decided this wasn’t what she wanted to do anymore. She went through the same fucking thing, had a complete identity crisis and went on a soul search. Learned all the tools. I learned quite a bit of some tools from her, and also from my doctor who’s also a spiritual psychologist. It’s a lot to it.

Have you always had this spirituality in you? 

Oh yeah, from the age of 13.I grew up down South. Going to church every Sunday, that’s a must. You have to do that. At the age of 13, I told my mom, “you know, I’m not going to church today.” She’s like, “you’re not what?” I’m like, I’m not going to church. I don’t want to go anymore.” She’s like, “the hell you’re not. Yes, you are.” I’m like, no. Every time I go, I’m sitting there and they’re talking about how bad the kids are these days. I don’t want to hear that shit. No, this doesn’t feel good. Honestly my entire life, I felt I had a higher calling. I always felt like I was a healer. Always felt very connected to source.

Is that what made you want to be a doctor too? 

Yes. But at that time, I didn’t realize that that was what it really was. It wasn’t necessarily that I wanted to be a doctor, I just had that in me, not really being knowledgeable about spirituality. The first thing that came to mind was okay, go be a doctor.

I feel like what you’re preaching now is more valuable than what you would learn in med school.

So much more valuable. What the hell? The amount of knowledge that I’ve gained, literally in the past 3 years has — man, if I knew this shit when I was graduating from high school, God knows where I’d be. I’d probably be walking on water or something. [laughs]

Would you ever go back to med school? 

Hell no. No, because for me, they teach you the Western ways of doing things. No offense, that’s great in emergency situations, but that’s not for every day whole body health and wellness. That’s not it. 

Dreka is opening a dispensary called Love’s Harvest, first black-owned female dispensary in Mississippi. Tell us the meaning behind the name.

Over the past couple of years, people started calling me love. I’m all about love. This is my harvest. This is me that I’m giving you guys. Love is very very powerful. When people come in, you’re gonna be transported to another place. It’s not gonna be like any dispensary you’ve ever been in before. The vibe is like Tulum, because that’s really where that switch happened for me. When you walk in, it’s gonna be very tropical and jungly. All of my people there, you’re gonna leave feeling loved and educated. Feeling really good.

It’s so much to open a dispensary. 

Yes. lt has been I’m not gonna say a struggle, because it could have been a lot more difficult. But the hardest part for me was the fact that I was doing construction. 

You built this from the ground up? 

Not from the ground up, but it was a building from the 1800’s. 6000 square foot building, historical building that I totally renovated. It’s awesome.

That’s a big building. 

It’s huge. I’m like Dreka, what the hell?

Is there grow in there?

No, it should be as big as it is. It’s just a dispensary. I wanted to give people an experience, something totally different. That’s what it is. I will never do it again. [laughs] We’re finding a much smaller location. It’s been great, though. Again, it’s not without its challenges though. I can’t sit here and say that it was easy, because it wasn’t.

What was the hardest part? Because I know licensing is — 

You know what’s so crazy? I had the intention… a lot of people will hire attorneys to do it for them, because it’s a lot. But I didn’t. I did it myself. I’m like, they’re gonna approve me. They’re gonna approve me. Honestly, I did not have any problems with it. I’ve had so many people that are for me and for me doing what I’m doing within the state of Mississippi, so that was a blessing. But, of course, Finding a location was very difficult for sure, because there’s a church and daycare center on every block there.

How far away do you have to be?

1500 feet. I had to get somebody to sign off for me, because it’s horrible. Here’s a block: church, church, church church. It’s insane down there. With construction costs, then I’m in the Bible Belt. Subcontractors didn’t want to do the work because it was a dispensary and all this other shit. C’mon, your grandmother probably smokes weed. You probably go and get it for her.  

What is weed culture like in Mississippi? 

Believe it or not, the majority of the medical patients are veterans. They’re older people.

That’s a very important demographic to cater to. 

It really is. The majority of the state, the people are for it. They’re trying to work out the kinks. It’s gonna be great.

You have Dreka Wellness, how did you know how to be an entrepreneur? You started the label with Kevin, but the music industry I’m sure is way different. 

It’s different. But in any business, or really in anything you want to do: once you have a vision and you’re in alignment with that vision, people come out of the woodworks to help you on that. To make that come to life. I don’t mean to sound all woo woo and magical, but it’s energy at the end of the day.  I literally attracted those things into my life. That’s why you have to be very mindful of the thoughts you have.

I feel like I haven’t tackled my trauma fully. I’m really struggling with nightmares right now, it’s subconsciously fucking with me. 

That’s all it is. It’s shit that’s embedded within us. Things, experiences that we’ve had as a child. Literally from the point of conception, all the way up to the age of 8, that’s where we receive the most programming. By the time we turn 8, all of our behavior patterns, all of our ways of being and thinking, that shit is already programmed in us. On top of whatever we experience, in addition to that. I didn’t even realize to be honest with you, that I had experienced so many traumas until recently. COVID hit, that was a point in time where everyone was forced to sit with themselves. For me, it was a beautiful time, because everything that I swept underneath the rug came up like “look bitch, I’m here. We gotta figure this out right now.”

One of your tools is 12 minute journaling?

Oh yeah, the High Vibe Writing. It is very important. I learned this from the spiritual psychologist I was working with. For him, the 12 minutes was very significant. 12 disciples, he went on and on. Amazing guy. Within 12 minutes, you’re literally writing out all this shit. Because we have to constantly remain in a space of releasing, then filling ourselves back up with love. Like a septic tank, it gets filled up with shit. If that shit isn’t being put back into the earth, eventually it’s going to explode. That’s the same way with us, life is going to life regardless. We have to constantly be mindful of releasing the shit that we encounter. With that, you get to write it all out, then you burn it. It neutralizes that energy.

You say you gotta process something before moving on. What does that look like?

This is another tool, because I’m not fucking perfect. I’m not “hehehe” all the time. I’m genuinely overall a happy, loving person, that’s facts. But I deal with life. Let’s say something happens and I’m pissed. I’m furious.

I would love to see that Dreka. I literally can’t see it.

It doesn’t happen as often anymore. But hell yeah, where you’re screaming at the top of your lungs or your voice goes out? I’ve been there before. But I don’t do that with whoever I’m pissed at, I do that alon. That’s why I love being on the farm. I can go outside and scream at the top of my lungs and nobody’s gonna come looking like what the hell is wrong?

I want to come to the farm just to do that. 

You should, it feels so fucking good. Whatever it is I’m experiencing, if I’m feeling sad or hurt, if I need to scream, if I need to cry. I do that. I go all the way in like a toddler would. You know how a toddler would fall out, they’re acting like they’re about to die? Then a minute later, they’re running around like nothing ever happened. You experience that emotion, allow yourself to be with that. You really sit with yourself and ask yourself until you get to the root of it. LWhy am I feeling this way? What was it about this that made me feel like this? You have to keep asking that same question over and over and over again. Keep asking, it’s peeling back layers. Because the thing that we’re experiencing that really isn’t the problem. The problem is how we’re relating to it. But we’re human. This is a lifelong journey. We’re gonna always be healing. It’s not like you get to a point of “oh, I’m completely healed!” That’s not. Life is gonna always life, it’s about us getting to a point of being able to process it.

The first time you tried weed you didn’t enjoy it, you were with Kevin. Did he smoke with you?

Yes.

Did he enjoy it? 

Of course he did. I don’t know what the hell happened to me. It was horrible. Oh man, his experience was very different. 

Did he love it? 

What? No, he freaked the fuck out.

Because he had to take care of you. 

Yeah, exactly. He was scared to death, like he called his mom. It was horrible.

 

So what made you try it again? How long did it take? 

It probably wasn’t that long afterwards because I’m gonna try more than once. There’s like a million different ways to skin a cat. IThere’s a million different routes to take, so I was definitely gonna try it again. I did and after that, it was way more pleasant.

What’s your favorite thing to do high? 

I really like to sit around and talk shit, or listen to a good storyteller. Good shit talker, Kevin is one of those.

When did he stop? 

Oh my gosh, yeah he was a smoker. I don’t even remember. He keeps telling me: “I’m gonna smoke with you, I’m gonna smoke with you.” I’m like when friend? Hurry up. [laughs]

Honestly, getting high with your partner is one of the best things. 

That shit’s amazing.

What’s your favorite Kevin Gates album? 

Don’t do that. I’m not saying this because of the relationship, but he’s extremely fucking talented. I love him. I don’t even really want to say one project or one song, it’s too hard for me. I’m sorry, his catalog is fucking amazing. 

 

But there has to be one project…

Okay, I’ll say Islah. And that’s because that was named after Islah and that project was a debut album. That shit was hard. That’s the baby.

I was watching the “Breakfast” music video..

Oh, I got so many calls about that. They were like, “Whoa.” I got a lot of that.

Was that your first time doing intimate scenes with him? 

I guess probably to that level. That wasn’t even really… like okay, we do that in front of the kids. [laughs]

You look so good. Was it hard breaking out of your shell? 

Yes, that’s the whole other shit that I had to work through. He was like, “I need you in this video.” I’m like, I got you. But I really recently really came out of my shell. You know how people when you’re young, they’re like, “don’t dress that way, because you’re attracting men and men are gonna look at you.” Men are gonna look regardless. That’s my mindset now. As a child, it was like “oh, I need to wear all these baggy clothes so I’m not attracting men.” No, there’s something in being able to be free in your body and your skin. Men are going to look regardless, get over it. I’m not a feminist, it’s very empowering to be comfortable in your skin and feeling good in your skin. That’s the space that I’m in. So any chance I can be fucking naked, sign me up. Not the sexual aspect of it, but because that shit is so freeing.

Can we talk about you being a virgin before you met Kevin? 

Yeah, we can talk about that. 

I saw in an interview you wouldn’t let him touch you for months. 

I wouldn’t and he was pissed, because he just wanted to have sex with me. I’m a fucking virgin. 

I had lost my virginity to him 8 months after we met. I’m surprised he stayed. [laughs] I’m surprised he stayed around that long.

I’m sure the temptation was there. How did you withhold for 8 months?

Shit, because I hadn’t had sex. I didn’t even really know what it was like. I know oh yeah, I like when you rub on my booty. That feels great. But I didn’t know what sex was like. I was low key scared of it, but obviously not anymore.

To the point when you’re now a sex coach.

I’m working on my sex and love certification. Man, it’s awesome, but in the sense of us getting to know ourselves. Our bodies, getting to know what we want. It’s not so much about oh, do this position and do that position. It’s about having real true fucking intimacy with yourself, your partner. It’s fucking amazing.

Do you masturbate? 

I wouldn’t even call it masturbating. I call them self pleasure practices.

Let’s make that a thing.

It needs to be a thing, but it’s not straight up masturbating. It’s breathwork, itt’s touch. Meditating, it’s a combination of all those things. Minus the vibrators, I don’t do that. 

Jim Jones recently told a story of how Kevin Gates wouldn’t sign to Cash Money without meeting him first. Ultimately, why he didn’t sign? 

There were a lot of different reasons why. I’m not exactly sure what that was why, but there were a lot of reasons. If he hasn’t spoken on it, I don’t want to. It wasn’t anything bad. You have a vision. If that vision that you’re being proposed or presented with isn’t in alignment with what you’re doing, then you ultimately shouldn’t do it.

What was it like being with Birdman?

For the majority of the time, Kevin would go record with them. I wasn’t always with him when he recorded, but those are hometown.

What were those early days like? Because your first show you guys got $250.

Yeah, $250. Then eventually $500. I literally have files of all those old contracts.

You must be so organized. 

I’m a fucking Virgo. Virgos are super organized. Yes, I have all those old contracts.

How many no’s did you guys get? 

Man, a lot. It doesn’t matter how fucking talented you are, getting in the industry that shit is hard. It’s like trying to get in the cool club. It was extremely difficult. But at the end of the day, his talent is undeniable and he has that it factor. He’s a special ass dude.

You saw that early on.

Before he was even a rapper. He’ll tell you this, I told him he was going to be a motivational speaker though. Essentially, that’s what he is. In a different form. He’s just not going on stage and doing his Tony Robbins thing. He’s doing it through music and through interviews. 

 

I asked Kevin Gates how he got sober, because a lot of people don’t have the mental strength and discipline he does. Did you help him through that with the drugs? 

Oh gosh, yes. You have to think, I’ve been with him for two decades. That’s two decades of me literally standing on his side being super supportive to him on his journey. I think he’d say the same, but I played a major role in him.

I love when artists that have a big platform can now preach something positive. It’s amazing. 

It really is, because it’s much needed. At the end of the day, we all know that what we’re consuming is entertainment. With social media these days, it’s hard for a lot of people to decipher between entertainment and reality. It’s good to have those people that are there giving and sending out positive messages, in all of the noise.

Was it hard dealing with a non sober Kevin? 

Oh,yes. Hell no, that’s not fun. It was literally dragging him through everything. Oh my gosh, let’s just get this done. YIt was rough.

You have to manage him, and then deal with that.

It’s a lot. It’s a lot of work. Again, he’s a fucking great person. But it’s very difficult. Very difficult and very taxing.

When he got off drugs, was it a switch for both of you? 

For him, it was more of a gradual thing. He gradually replaced the drugs with working out. Also he does a lot of different practices like yoga. He does breathwork as well.

Do you guys do that together? 

We have, but he likes to go to the gym. I like working out at home or outside. I’m not a gym person.

I know you get up early to workout. 

Yes, I do before everybody else. On the farm. I literally get up and walk next door to my gym and work out. We used to jog together when we were younger. We’d go out jogging. I was pregnant and we were still jogging. That’s my best friend at the end of the day.

Can you bring us back to that early show where he forgot his lyrics? 

Oh man. He was literally standing on stage and everyone standing around staring at him. This was super early, I’m having the vision of him right now. It was this super dark, ot was a place that someone turned into a club where we were at. He literally forgot his words.

Is your brother still his tour manager? 

No, he’s not. My brother is actually the GM for Love’s Harvest, but he was his tour manager for 10 years.

I want to talk about your tattoos, they’re amazing. What was your first one?

I can’t even remember. My first tattoo… [holds breasts]

Were your boobs? 

Yes, but there’s a story of why. My first tattoo was Kevin’s hands.

How old were you?

Old, like 28. I have no regrets. His hands are tattooed holding my breasts. I got it because I wanted to cover — I had a breast reduction, so I wanted to cover up those scars.

I’m sure he loved that.

He does. Your hands are forever on me.

You said your doctors almost killed you. What happened? 

I was 20. I was 135 pounds and I had 34G breasts. Huge, so it was a medical necessity for me to reduce them. I didn’t have to, but it was causing me pain. I went and had the surgery, it was supposed to be outpatient. I ended up staying in the hospital for 3 days. What made this even worse, Kevin was in jail at this time. It was fucking horrible because he knew I was having the surgery. My mom went with me. It was crazy because they wouldn’t even tell my mom what happened. They had punctured my lung, it was fucking insane. But I didn’t find out until way later.

Did you sue them?

Everyone asks me that. Damn it, I should. But no, I didn’t. That was another thing that turned me away from Western medicine.

How did you find out later?

The records. I eventually got the records from the hospital.

Because you knew something was up?

Oh yeah, my mom even knew something. Because I wasn’t supposed to stay in the hospital. I was supposed to come out of the surgery and go home.

How did you feel when you woke up? 

Oh my gosh, it was extremely painful.

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