Aisha McShaw is the longtime girlfriend of Reverend Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader, Baptist minister and founder of the National Action Network.
Sharpton delivered the eulogy at the memorial service for George Floyd today at North Central University in Minneapolis. The service was reserved for family and friends of the Floyd family, but the event was also streamed online. Supporters gathered near the chapel to pay their respects.
Here’s what you need to know about McShaw:
1. McShaw Owns a Luxury Women’s Clothing Brand
McShaw entered the fashion industry nearly a decade ago as a wardrobe consultant, according to her LinkedIn profile. She explained on her professional website that fashion had always been her true calling and that she “began her fashion journey as a stylist, styling housewives, corporate women, celebrities, and attending numerous red carpet events herself.”
McShaw says her taste is “influenced by old Hollywood glamour” and that she was driven to “create timeless pieces for herself that she did not see on the market.” Within a few years, McShaw expanded her reach by starting her own line of custom womenswear items. She explained to The Knockturnal that she was tired of wearing clothing from other designers. “I always loved to draw and sketch as a child so I figured I would take it to another level.”
McShaw told Essence after her first fashion show that she strived to include both timeless and more edgy items in her collection in order to give potential shoppers options. “I feel like I have something for all generations and something for every woman. This collection brings us together. Every woman wants to feel beautiful, confident and empowered. That’s my line. It’s all about beauty and simplicity and that’s what I wanted to show tonight.”
2. McShaw Says She’d Love to Dress Former First Lady Michelle Obama
During the 2017 debut of her fashion brand, McShaw was asked which woman she would most like to style. She told the New York Daily News she would pick former first lady Michelle Obama.
McShaw had actually met Obama several years earlier. McShaw shared a photo to her Facebook page in 2012, posing with the then-first lady. A friend asked whether it was a wax figure and McShaw responded, “No that’s her the one and only.”
McShaw has attended multiple White House events alongside boyfriend Sharpton. The couple was invited to a state dinner in February 2014 when the Obama administration hosted French President Francois Hollande.
Sharpton and McShaw have also been regulars at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinners. They attended the event in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Sharpton has not always been amused by the comedians’ bits. In 2016, Larry Wilmore used the n-word toward the end of his set in reference to Obama. Sharpton said the remark was in “poor taste” and that it had been offensive.
3. McShaw Has a Daughter & Worked In Banking Before Meeting Sharpton
There are few details of McShaw’s personal life before she began dating Sharpton. She has a daughter named Laila, but McShaw does not share pictures of her on social media. The New York Daily News reported in 2013 that McShaw’s daughter was a teenager at the time.
In 2012, a family member referenced McShaw’s child in a comment on Facebook. He described McShaw as an “awesome mom” and a “beautiful woman.” McShaw has also kept the identity of Laila’s father under wraps.
Before entering the fashion industry, McShaw worked in banking. She notes on her fashion brand’s website that her prior career in the banking industry lasted more than 10 years. Multiple outlets in 2013 reported McShaw worked at Wells Fargo as a personal banker, citing her LinkedIn profile. Her account no longer lists that experience.
4. Sharpton & McShaw Made Their Romantic Relationship Public in 2013
McShaw and Sharpton have been together for at least a decade. In an interview with Vanity Fair in 2016, McShaw was described as Sharpton’s “girlfriend of six years.”
Sharpton and McShaw appeared at various events together but they didn’t make their romantic relationship public until 2013. McShaw confirmed she was Sharpton’s girlfriend during a political event in July 2013. The couple attended the New York County Democratic Committee Award Ceremony and a reporter asked McShaw about her and Sharpton’s relationship.
Sharpton and his former wife, Kathy Lee Jordan, separated in 2004. But the Daily News reported in 2013 that the former spouses had not filed for divorce. Sharpton’s aide, Rachel Noerdlinger, told the newspaper that Sharpton was caught off-guard when he received some criticism for his new relationship. “His exact words to me were, ‘Rachel, I’m not announcing an engagement or a marriage. Don’t I have a right to date when my marriage has been over for a decade?'”
McShaw appears to get along with Sharptons’ ex-wife. She and Jordan sat next to each other in October 2017 when Sharpton’s daughter, Dominique Sharpton, got married.
5. McShaw Is From Westchester County, New York
Sharpton has a home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In 2017, he shared an article on Facebook that indicated McShaw had launched her clothing line from his apartment. The Daily News wrote that Sharpton didn’t have a choice about supporting McShaw’s brand because he was surrounded by it. McShaw told the newspaper, “I turned this apartment into a showroom so there are clothes everywhere. We have a sewing machine here, we do most of our production in the apartment, so he’s been very supportive.”