Shanell_3336 Shanell_3336

Shanell Calls On Aubrey O'Day + D Woods For Music Biz Advice + Hates Being Labeled An "R&B" Artist

I’m glad you say that because some women aren’t as bold as they can be because they’re scared of being a “bitch,” you know what I mean? And that brings me into the next question. With your g-spot-inspired single “My Button”, what message are you trying to send?
Oh, gosh! The single [Laughs]. It’s a subject I’ve heard from friends, on TV shows. It’s a subject I heard on The View, you know! Women having to fake it when it comes down to that. The song is a story; I’m talking to my button and trying to convince my button. We may have to go ahead and fake it this time but just hang in there ‘cause if he doesn’t come through, I got you when it’s over with. It’s funny, but it’s real shit at the same time.

It really is, and what made you go with this song?
I was really nervous to play it. I had Cortez, Mack, Wayne in the room, and I was like, ‘I’m about to play a song and I don’t want y’all to get offended because it is kinda on the attack of men.” [Laughs] And they thought it was so funny and so real that they were like, ‘We wanna roll with this one,’ and I was surprised. It’s done in a classy way.

What does it feel to be at this point in your career with your first single about to hit radio rotation? What does that feel like?
I’ve been wanting to do this forever, so it’s crazy. A few years ago it was like people don’t know you until you drop a single, but people are like, ‘When’s the album coming?’ I’m like, can I do a single first? [Laughs] It feels great. I can’t wait. I’ve done and dealt with a lot of stuff in the last few years just media-wise--gossip blogs—and I’m really excited to put some music out for people to listen to instead of talking so much. This will give them something to talk about!

Who is giving you advice about this industry and helping you navigate the biz?
My sister [D Woods] and Aubrey [O’Day]. There are certain things I call my sister about, and there’s certain things I call Aubrey about. They both have dealt with this whole world before I have, and sometimes if I’m crying or upset about something, they’re both looking at me like, get over it. [Laughs] They help me out a lot, and that’s the whole thing that we try to do—support each other. There’s not a lot of women that stick together like that.

What are the two pieces of advice that you Aubrey and D give you that just sticks with you every day?
Aubrey has said to me… Well, I’m a really nice person, and I tend to feel like people are friends. I put people close to me, and she’s like, ‘This is a business. Everybody’s here to use each other, so use people for what they’re good at and then keep moving.’ And it sounded crazy to me! I’m like, use people?! But I’ve seen it happen a few times with people that I work with. This business is not about loyalty, it’s about business and that was something I had to learn quick. That’s what Aubrey has said to me, and D says a lot [Laughs]!

Is there one thing in particular?
Her and I talk a lot more when it comes to the stage and performing. Usually when a person is like, ‘You did a great job,’ she’s the one that’s standing back behind everybody waiting to tell me, ‘Okay, you looked down at the ground five time and you didn’t hit that not right there. You have to breathe in.’ She’ll tell me what I didn’t do right, but I need that because everybody else is telling me, ‘Good job,’ and I can go to my sister to find out what I need to work on.

Constructive criticism is awesome to have. Now, to jump back into the music—On Shut Up And Listen, your sound was sexy and almost hypnotic in a way. Is that the sound fans can expect on your upcoming mixtape Nobody’s Bitch?
Nobody’s Bitch is going to be very loud and obnoxious to some people because it puts the more wild, fun, party side. The stuff on Shut Up And Listen feels good, it’s more melodic and you can two-step to it, but Nobody’s Bitch is when you got your hands up in the air dancing on somebody’s table.

So it’s more of a strictly party album?
Yeah. It’s "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun 2011"!

Does it have any house music undertones?
Definitely. I’m not done working on it yet, but I’ve listened to what I’ve done so far, and I’m like, oh my God! People are going to think I’m a house techno artist [Laughs]. There’s a lot more of that because, you know, I’m a dancer at heart. I need to get people up out their seats, and I wanna hear myself when I’m going to the club. Yes, I want to be sexy and melodic, but at the same time, I can party. Hard!

Do you like being labeled pop/punk? Some people even say that you’re R&B.
I don’t like the R&B [label]. I’ve always done a bunch of different sounds, and I kind of feel like that’s where the listener’s ear is now. There’s access to so much music so easily that people are starting to accept more. People that just used to listen to hip-hop now listen to dance music. Usher doing “OMG”, Chris Brown doing it. With me, the lines are gray. I do it all. I just don’t like “R&B”. I guess because when I was younger, R&B to me was Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. I didn’t listen to that. That was my sister, and I was listening to Madonna and Janet Jackson and people that did a bunch of different music.

I feel you. Your music is heavily influenced with pop, so I understand you not wanting to be boxed in.
They don’t expect a lot to me. I am a black girl that sings, but that’s not it.

Exactly. If you’re a black artist then people want to categorize hip-hop or R&B, but it’s not strictly that anymore.

Are there any specific writers or producers that you worked with for this mixtape that you’re excited about?
I’m really excited to hear my song with Jeffree Star. He just recently signed to Akon, and we got together and did a crazy song [Laughs]. I have some other features on there that I don’t want to tell, but it was so crazy because it was hard to find women that didn’t care what they said. ‘What’s the song about? Oh, I can’t say that.’ What?! Like, come on. So, I got some bossed up girls. We’re not apologizing for anything that we say.

Photos by Drexina Nelson

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Is Expected To Make $64 Million Opening Weekend

Thanks to Us, Jordan Peele has another blockbuster on his hands. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the highly-anticipated horror flick starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, is expected to have a $64 million opening weekend at the domestic box office.

Peele’s sophomore horror film earned an impressive $7.4 million on Thursday (March 21) night previews, and is forecasted to take in about $27 million from Friday sales. The film is also on pace to knock Captain Marvel out of the No. 1 spot at the box office.

Once final numbers are tallied, Us will likely snatch the third-best opening weekend record for an R-rated horror film behind It, which brought in a whopping $123.4 million, followed by Halloween’s $76.2 million opening weekend last year.

Aside from rave reviews and a genius promo run that included simultaneous screenings in major media markets, Us earned a 95 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film, set in the mid-1980s centers around a family of four who set off on a vacation that finds them confronting some familiar faces.

Peele recently spoke to VIBE about casting Duke (our April 2019 cover star) in the role of patriarch, Gabe Wilson. “I have to have somebody voice what the audience was saying,” he said. “In the case of Get Out, it’s Rod, like, ‘How have you not left yet?’ [In Us], Winston is largely that voice. There’s one moment where Lupita [Nyong’o] takes a step into the unknown, where black people [will think], ‘I don’t know.’ But to have Winston say, ‘Aaaand she left. Your mother just walked out of the car.’ That’s all we need.”

Duke also opened up about the intricacies of his character. “His function isn’t to see through the veil. His function is to tell the absolute truth how he sees it,” explained the 32-year-old actor. “He’s sometimes there to say the things that other people don’t want to say, but he’s also there to make fun of things to keep it from not getting too heavy, even though it’s real. That was my job. [Peele] respected that. I like to lean into functions. If I’m going to be your antagonist, I’m gonna really push you. If I’m gonna be your clown, funny guy, I’m gonna do that.”

Click here to read VIBE’s April 2019 cover story.

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Cardi B Explains Why She Wants To Trademark “Okurrr”

Cardi B hopes to secure as many “bags” as possible. In response to backlash and burning questions surrounding her decision to file to trademark “okurrr,” the 26-year-old rapper took to social media Friday (March 22) to defend her latest money move.

Since people tend to ask Bardi to use what has become her signature catch phrase, she figured that it was time to cash in. “You think I ain’t gonna’ profit off this sh*t? B*tch white folks do it all the motherf**king time,” she said. “So you gon’ be mad at me ‘cuz I want to get some motherf**king money?

“While I’m still hear I’ma secure all the fucking bags,” Cardi continued before adding that there are a “lot of ways to get rich” in 2019.

The Bronx native caught heat for wanting to trademark the word because she wasn’t the first to say “okurrr.” Cardi already revealed that she started using it after she heard Khloe Kardashian saying it, but the word was originally popularized in drag culture -- most notably by Rupaul’s Drage Race contestant Laganja Estranja, in 2014.

However, Rupaul attributed the word to Broadway actress, Laura Bell Bundy, who used it in YouTube skits dating back to 2010. In the skits, Bundy pretends to be a hairdresser named “Shocantelle Brown.”

Although Bundy caught criticism for her little character, which was deemed racist, she typically gets credit for bringing “okrrr” (different spelling) to the internet a full decade before Cardi made it mainstream.

No matter the origin, it looks like Cardi will be the only one profiting off of “okurrr.”


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#CardiB on why she decided to trademark “Okurr”

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Kanye West, EMI Working Towards Private Settlement

Kanye West and EMI could be close to settling their legal drama. Each party filed documents requesting a stay of the case to “explore the potential for a resolution,” The Blast reports.

West sued EMI in an effort to “gain freedom” from his contract, and to own his publishing. In the lawsuit, ‘Ye argued that his contract ended in 2010 under California law, which bars entertainers from being tethered to an agreement for more than seven years. The multi-Grammy winner, who signed the deal back in 2003, also accused the company of slavery because the contract doesn’t allow him to retire.

“Even if the contract were not lopsided in EMI’s favor (it is), even if its terms valued Mr. West’s artistic contributions in line with the spectacular success he has achieved for EMI (they do not), and even if EMI had not underpaid Mr. West what it owes him (EMI has), he would be entitled to be set free from its bonds,” the lawsuit reads.

EMI hit back with a countersuit filed in New York, instead of California. The suit pointed out that the 41-year-old rapper signed multiple contract extensions, in addition to accepting millions in advances.

According to The Blast, West and EMI now feel that putting a hold on the legal proceedings will be beneficial to both sides “and the Court by enabling the parties to engage in meaningful discussions in an attempt to resolve this action without having to incur the burden and expense of litigation and motion practice.”

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