Meghan’s Childhood Boyfriend Defends Her Against Bullying Claims, Noting How Black Women ‘Are Expected to Know – The Root

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on October 2, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa; Joshua Silverstein arrives at the 18th Annual Golden Trailer Awards hosted by Wayne Brady on June 6, 2017 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on October 2, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa; Joshua Silverstein arrives at the 18th Annual Golden Trailer Awards hosted by Wayne Brady on June 6, 2017 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Photo: Facundo Arrizabalaga – Pool (Getty Images), Maury Phillips (Getty Images)

Meghan Markle may currently be under “investigation” by the royal family, but her day-ones remain loyal to the duchess, against whom accusations of bullying made in 2018 by members of the royal staff were revived just ahead of her and husband Prince Harry’s televised sit-down with Oprah.

Earlier this week, award-winning performing artist and professional beatboxer Joshua Silverstein, apparently also a “childhood boyfriend” of the now-duchess, sat down for an exclusive chat with Us Weekly. As he shared with the outlet, he doesn’t “personally see her” behaving in the manner alleged by former staffers.

“I see her doing whatever it is she feels like she should do in order to be happy and coexist within a system that has probably not been very welcoming to who she is and where she comes from,” said Silverstein, who went on to note the racial dynamics inferred by Meghan herself in the widely watched interview.

“When you find women of color–particularly Black women–standing up for themselves and speaking out and speaking against what they feel [is] disrespect or oppression, often times whiteness tends to classify that in negative ways because they don’t want that to happen,” he said. “It’s almost like people are expected to know their place and whenever they don’t fall in line with that, then people say it’s a problem.”

Sidebar: Silverstein seems like a real one. While we don’t know when or for how long he and Meghan dated, she’s clearly maintained his respect–and his clear acknowledgement that she is a Black woman, since that’s too often been questioned and challenged.

In more of that discussion subsequently published by Us Weekly, Silverstein also addressed Meghan’s much-publicized relationship with father Thomas Markle, who has shown demonstrably less respect when speaking publicly about his daughter (in fact, quite the opposite).

As Silverstein recalls, the relationship was always “challenging.”

“I knew her dad growing up as kids,” he explained. “I didn’t see him often … but I did know that Meghan’s relationship with her dad was complicated and I understood that as most teenager-to-parent relationships are.”

While Silverstein didn’t claim to know “the specificity of what Meghan went through” in what is now a clearly troubled dynamic with her estranged father, he did note:

“Being there when Meghan’s parents were divorced at that time … it’s hard raising your kids without the secondary parent,” and adding “It’s all challenging. I don’t think there was anything specifically surprising to find out at that time because there were a lot of people that I knew [who] had challenging relationships with their parents. But I did know about it.”

Additionally, Silverstein expressed empathy for both Meghan’s choice to distance herself from her father’s side of the family and her and Harry’s current estrangement from the British senior royals.

“I think at the end of the day, we’re all human beings and we all have to create boundaries with people that we may not want to create boundaries with,” said Silverstein, “but at the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you and your family,”

In regard to the media’s characterization of his childhood friend and her growing family, Silverstein extended grace in an undoubtedly difficult time.

“She’s probably having to make hard decisions and uncomfortable ones for the sake of just being able to smile the next day,” he said. “That’s what life is about–making tough decisions so that you can live the life that allows you to thrive as the person you want to thrive as,” he added. “As long as she’s happy and he’s happy, that’s all that matters.”