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Book Corner: Jamilah B. Creekmur's 'Raised By The Mistress'

BY JAMILAH B CREEKMUR, AUTHOR OF RAISED BY THE MISTRESS

I really cannot believe I am doing a blog for VIBE.com. Funny story real quick. When I was in college at the Fashion Institute of Technology, (F.I.T.) in New York City, I applied for an entry level position at VIBE magazine as a Fashion Assistant. I was interviewed by Emil Wilbekin at the time. I didn’t get the job and I was heartbroken. But I kept working hard and stayed focused.

Then I landed my position at Saks Fifth Avenue as an Assistant Buyer in Designer Handbags. (A girl’s dream department!) I loved it. And I still kept my subscription to VIBE magazine. ☺ But then you fast forward several years later, and I would be helping to build the brand of AllHipHop. Go forward a few more years, and I would be the key person negotiating a major multi-year business deal between AllHipHop.com and The VIBE Lifestyle Network. Talk about coming full circle. So needless to stay, I am very happy with the journey that my career path took. So thank you VIBE & AllHipHop for having me to sit at the table with both amazing brands. 

And during all the time of being a student, interviewing at VIBE, working in the music & entertainment industry, negotiating deals, and eventually becoming a senior consultant, there was this other story brewing inside of me. Something that I shared with only a few people, but carried with me for many many years…. For over 20 years of my life, my mother was a Mistress. I never thought I would get to a point in my life where I wanted to talk about it publicly, let alone write a book about it. But I did. And boy did I ever! Many things took place in my life that I saw growing up as a little girl, that would shape the woman I have become today. And once I got comfortable with those things, I felt extremely compelled to share this story that is much bigger than myself, my mother and the married man that was a part of our lives for many years.

The truth for me was that as much as I despised what their relationship “represented," there was this complicated “thing” inside of me that actually admired what I saw between them. They had one of the most pure and authentic relationships that I had ever seen. But how could that make sense?? It didn’t. And so began my inner struggles with understanding what love really meant. What marriage stood for. And lastly, what would all this mean for me. I was carrying heavy questions even as a little girl. And on top of all that, my mother struggled with alcoholism. And I struggled watching her. 

I chose to write my book, as a form of closure for me personally. I wanted to move on with my life, and focus on the type of wife I wanted to be for my husband. And I also wanted to explore and discuss how infidelity really impacts the children and families involved. Today, our society almost glorifies what being a “mistress” represents. I mean, we hear more about mistresses than we actually celebrate marriages. It’s very distorted. Yet, it's something that many people are dealing with in some capacity in their own lives, the same way I was. Especially since I was Raised by The Mistress.


Want to read more? Order a copy of Raised By The Mistress on Amazon.com

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Puerto Rico Calls For Ban On Flights From Coronavirus Hot Spots

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico, Gov. Wanda Vázquez has inquired a possible ban on flights from popular cities in the United States due to the high number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Associated Press reports Gov. Vázquez launched the petition to the Federal Aviation Administration this week after officials accused tourists of taking medication to reduce their fevers and failing to adhere to the self-isolation rules. The incidents were later confirmed by GNPR general aide, General José Reyes.

The FAA reportedly granted a request for all flights to arrive at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (LMM), so that Puerto Rico National Guard (GNPR) could screen passengers arriving at the island.

“Now we want people from the areas most affected by Covid-19 not to arrive," Vázquez said. "This as part of the necessary measures to prevent this virus from spreading and affecting the health of the people of Puerto Rico."

As part of the proposal, Vázquez has listed flights from New York, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Illinois as "hot spots" of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, cases in Puerto Rico have sadly risen. The island has reported at least 24 deaths and 620 confirmed cases. Much like in cites like New York, a curfew was imposed on March 15 that closed non-essential businesses and ordered people to stay in their homes with the exception of grocery shopping or picking up medication.

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The Weekend Believes He Inspired Usher's 2012 Hit "Climax"

There's no denying The Weeknd's influence over today's string of moody/alternative R&B. The singer-songwriter has changed the scope of the genre with his mix of synths and dark lyrics but the artist believes he inspired one of the biggest artists in the genre in the process.

As the cover star of Variety's latest issue, The Weeknd discussed the success of After Hours, transitioning into mainstream music and his presence in R&B. While looking back on his classic 2010 mixtape House of Balloons, he noted how two years later he began hearing his sound in other artists.

“House of Balloons literally changed the sound of pop music before my eyes,” he said. “I heard ‘Climax,’ that [2012] Usher song, and was like, ‘Holy f**k, that’s a Weeknd song.’ It was very flattering, and I knew I was doing something right, but I also got angry. But the older I got, I realized it’s a good thing.”

But the resurgence of EDM in the early 2010s might've inspired Usher's hit single. "Climax" which went on to win the Grammy for Best R&B Performance in 2013, was produced by Diplo who looked towards house music and "Atlanta strip clubs" to create the track.

Speaking to The Guardian in 2012, Diplo discussed how he learned about Usher's musical palate which included an appreciation for genre-bending artists like Monsters of Folk and Grizzly Bear.

"The production actually started as a house thing with a chord progression that I wrote, but with some time in the studio alone, I was making a sort of "wildfire" beat out of it," Diplo said." The idea of pushing cut-off on a synth used so much in progressive house music but pulling back. I was making something like a minimal techno record with Atlanta strip clubs in mind."

He also shared how much Usher knew of his work outside of Major Lazer. "Usher knew about my first album on Ninja Tune, Florida," he added. "I was so surprised about how much these guys are into music beyond their normal lane. That is something that makes it very easy to work with him. Usher has the power to take a record into any lane. He's that big. He brought house music to the R&B crowds in America, and with "Yeah!" he brought synths to Atlanta hip-hop. I think he wasn't going to these producers for their sounds ... We all know what they do. Usher is a smart man, he has been doing this for long enough. He's using the producers instead of the other way around."

"Climax" ended up on Usher's Looking For Myself album, which played to all his strengths with dance tracks like "Scream," quiet storm jams like "Dive" and "What Happened To U" and the clubs like "Lemme See" with Rick Ross.

Legendary superproducer Max Martin also worked on "Climax" and would eventually work with The Weeknd on Beauty Behind The Madness standouts like "Can't Feel My Face" and "In The Night."

This isn't the first time the two have been compared to one another. The Weekend issued an apology to Usher in 2016 during the Billboard Music Awards after he mistakenly claimed to win the most awarded male R&B vocalist in the show's history. The Weeknd took home eight trophies including Top R&B Artist and Top R&B Album for Beauty Behind The Madness.

But Usher famously took home 11 trophies in the 2004 telecast for his magnum opus, Confessions including awards for Artist of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, and Hot 100 Song of the Year for "Yeah!".

Elsewhere in the interview, The Weeknd also explained his decision to release After Hours in the middle of the novel coronavirus pandemic. “Fans had been waiting for the album, and I felt like I had to deliver it," he said."The commercial success is a blessing, especially because the odds were against me: [Music] streaming is down 10%, stores are closed, people can’t go to concerts, but I didn’t care. I knew how important it was to my fans.”

The album amassed 2 billion global streams in its first week and debuted at No. 1 in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K., Ireland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and New Zealand.

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Ari Lennox Debuts Lush Music Video For “Bussit”

After dropping a remix EP for her remarkable debut album Shea Butter Baby, Ari Lennox returns with more content in the form of a stylishly-pleasing music video for “BUSSIT.” The “Up Late” singer released the reel on Wednesday (April 8).

Lennox gathered her girls for a self-care day at the spa, all decked out in lavish furs and spring-time colored outfits. “BUSSIT” is featured on the “Director’s Cut” of Revenge of the Dreamers III, a compilation album that features Dreamville’s artists from J. Cole to EarthGang to J.I.D. to Bas and their peers from Reason to Smino to Buddy to Guapdad 4000. The project was released to a wave of fanfare in 2019 that the melodies that didn't make the initial release were later shared with the masses. The album went No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Rap Album category.

As millions are under stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Lennox shared with Apple Music that hopefully new music will be on the horizon to uplift people's spirits. “With everything that’s happening, we want to put music out," Lennox said. "I don’t know, I want to give a little happiness to the world.”

Watch the video up top.

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