Shanell Explains Her Artistic Director Role For 'I'm Still Music 2' Tour, Faking Orgasms + Bold Style

An unapologetic gypsy of the Young Money familia, Shanell has the guts to speak freely about her sexuality and express her opinions on the opposite sex. With her ballsy, first single "My Button" hitting radio waves this week, she's truly stepping into her own universe unimpressed by boxed-in genre labels and gossip blogs that take focus from the musical content. In the midst of her duties as Artistic Director of the "I'm Still Music 2" tour, hitting the stage and completing her upcoming mixtape, Nobody's Bitch, the punkish rock popstar took time out to speak to VIBE Vixen about her fashion ads for Married To The Mob, where the marriage between hip-hop and fashion is headed and why she dubs her next 'tape "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun 2011". -Niki McGloster

At the end of last year, you modeled for Married To The Mob's Fall collection. How was that experience for you?
It was really cool to work with a female who runs her own company, and the clothing line is along the same lines of stuff I would say. It was exciting, you know, to be apart of a bossed up female situation.

Why do you think your personality fits MTTM so well?
It’s about being bold and saying what you feel and not second-guessing yourself. Like, making statements. Leah [McSweeney], who runs the Married To The Mob line, is a boss, and that’s the who thing I represent and want other females to speak up.

Your nose ring stands out and is very boss. Tell me the story behind why you got it and why you chose the chain and not the stud?
I don’t know how that happened, but at the time I was playing with jewelry to do different things. I used to have chains that connected all my fingers together. That’s the whole gypsy in me. Nose chains just looked really good on my face, and I just started wearing it all the time.

It’s like your signature, though. A good look for you.
Thank you! And they were a lot more crazy and big and funky, but I calmed it down a little bit. I used to have some really big ones that had all kinds of stuff hanging off of it, but it gets heavy after a while. I’m working out to where they’re not pulling so much; they’re still fly, though.

Dope. Cool, so how did you get thrown into the Artistic Director role for the "I'm Still Music 2" tour, and what are your responsibilities?
Two years ago, we did the 'I Am Music' tour, the 'America’s Most Wanted' tour, and I had been working with Wayne’s set throughout those tours, but this tour is a lot bigger and a lot more people. We’re doing stadiums, and it just calls for somebody who knew him, knew what the show needed, knew the music, and I was there. It was kind of something I dibbled and dabbled in with other artists because I use to choreograph and everything, but the difference between being a choreographer and being an artistic director is that you’ve got to sit with every inch of the show. From the video and the video team, from the lighting people, from the stage people to the choreography, to the music… it was a lot more work.

What influenced your artistic vision for the tour?
A lot of the people in that particular field, be it the video [or] the music, they had their own ideas, so it was just collaborating and making sure that all of our visions connected. I’ve put together shows before but nothing this big. I sit down in my room building a look, and I have the music director come in and look. I got into his rehearsal and go see what he’s doing. I sit down with the lighting guy and talk about how we can bring all of the ideas that we have together. It wasn’t just all of my ideas for every piece. Everybody has their specialty and it’s my job to make sure that all of those things make sense together or to change something over here to fit this.

How involved are you on the fashion and costumes of the tour?
Very involved. For instance, my vision for “Bedrock” was to have the dancers, a bunch of female dancers, in a college, sleepover [style]. They have the pillows and each pillow had a letter on it and it spelled out “bedrock” and the girls had choreographed pillow fights, so I go to the costume designer and say, ‘I need some kind of stage pajama look,’ and then he’ll draw up a couple different ideas and pick which ones I want. Then, for “Got Money,” I want them to look like sexy bank robbers. High heels, sneakers… all of that.

Dope, so since you have a lot to do with the costume designing for YM shows, how did you feel about the dildo stunt that Nicki pulled?
I really didn’t know it was going to happen. I hadn’t seen her show since the first night. She was rehearsing in a different location than us, so I didn’t get to see her show before hand, but Nicki’s going to do stuff that’s going to shock you, so…

The media.. I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel about media right now.

Recently, Nicki was invited to Vogue charity event this past week as well. What do you think is hip-hop's current relationship with high fashion?
Well, it’s exciting. When you said that, I’m thinking about Drake. I’m thinking about seeing 50 in a suit, Jay in a suit. It’s kind of exciting to see that people in hip-hop have made it to where you don’t have to be carrying a gun and your pants don’t have to be off. That’s cool for those who do it, but it doesn’t have to be that because there’s so many people that enjoy hip-hop music that feel like if they don’t look a certain way, or they don’t look street, then they can’t be apart of that culture. To see hip-hop move further than just that street element is exciting.

Definitely. It seems like hip-hop, visually, is cleaning it up.
It’s good for our youth. There’s so much violence out here now, and their mentors are the heads of hip-hop. It’s good for them to see that you don’t have to have to be the bad guy. You can be the cool, clean-cut guy that likes to go to school and still be apart of hip-hop culture.

And your style, too, has become trendy. I see it as very rockstar punk. Would you say that your style and your music directly mirror each other?
For the most part, yeah. Music speaks for the silence that women have had to have over the years over just whatever. It’s bold and it’s blunt music. I’m talking about a lot of stuff that women talk about with their best friend. I’m sitting down talking to the whole world about what I would talk to my homegirl about. Women need another voice. We don’t always have to cater our man. We can be mad sometimes, and we can talk about being mad, you know?

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If You Haven't Heard, Beyonce And Peloton Have Partnered Up For The Culture

Beyoncé and  Peloton are uniting for the culture. To spotlight the annual Homecoming season celebrated at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the nation, the Grammy award-winning entertainer has signed a multi-year partnership with the global interactive fitness platform.

“Peloton and I both believe that the power of music can help uplift, motivate and inspire those on their fitness journeys,” said the Ivy Park founder in the official press release. “I’ve been a Peloton member for several years, and I’m excited to partner with a company that helps people, young and old, be the best versions of themselves, in an innovative and adaptable way."

To add to the unprecedented moment, students of select HBCUs (Bennett College, Clark Atlanta University, Grambling State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Morehouse College and Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College, Texas Southern University, and Wilberforce University) will be gifted with a 2-year Peloton Digital membership by the end of this month. "I’m proud to celebrate the students at HBCUs with this donation, to encourage them to find and embrace their own wellness regimens,” added Queen Bey in her statement.

The two brands have worked closely on the creation of themed workout experiences for Peloton's streamed fitness classes. The "Beyoncé Artist Series" class schedule kicked off this week with the On Demand cycling class "Beyoncé Two for One Ride" taught by the platform's two of Peloton's prominent Black instructors, Alex Toussaint and Tunde Oyeneyin. Other exercise classes include "Beyoncé Yoga Flow," "Beyoncé Full Body Strength," "Beyoncé Bootcamp," and more on the Peloton App —all taught by instructors of color. The last class will take place on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 10 am ET.

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Artist Hebru Brantley Collabs With Bombay Sapphire To Support Black Lives Matter Chicago

The front lines of various movements can be filled with not only the physical presence of people but also the creative spaces that support the way. Visual artist Hebru Brantley is adding to the Black Lives Matter Chicago organization with the help of spirits brand Bombay Sapphire. Brantley, a Chicago native, is world-renowned for his artistry. His images and symbolism of blackness gives colorful scenes of spirited aviation and flash worthy stylishness with his young Fly Boy and Lil Mama characters.

For his link up with the Gin brand, Brantley drew on more universal themes as stated in the press release for the union, it's "an extension of Stir Creativity, the global platform from Bombay Sapphire, the Hebru Brantley Limited Edition embodies the brand’s mission to inspire and awaken the creative potential within everyone." The 750 ML bottle went on sale on July 1st and retails for $26.99. A portion of the proceeds will help BLM Chicago in their efforts against racism.

Brantley spoke to VIBE on the collaboration, raising Black children and his place of inspiration. To purchase the collab bottle click here at Reserve Bar.

VIBE: How did this Bombay collaboration come about? 

Hebru Brantley: It all started with me being a part of the Artisan Series back in the day. I had a very successful Miami Art Week experience as a result, which was a turning point in my career. Since then, the brand has been a big supporter of my various creative ventures, like sponsoring the opening night of Nevermore Park, immersive art experience, and one of my most ambitious projects to date. Meanwhile, Bombay Sapphire approached me about doing a very special project, which was designing their first-ever artist-designed limited-edition bottle. I want it to inspire hope for a better future and shine a light on the courage and resilience of Black people in America. It felt only right that Bombay Sapphire and I were able to do this together to benefit Black Lives Matter Chicago, to support the critical work they do in fighting for racial justice in my hometown.

Despite COVID-19 and the country confronting systemic racial injustices, where you are drawing your inspiration from these days?

I've always drawn inspiration from film, TV, comic books, my culture, and history, so not much has changed there. What feels different is my motivation to get out what I create, there is an even greater sense of urgency for me now then there was before. I am grateful for the opportunity to uplift and inspire and I feel that my message really resonates with people now more than ever.

Speaking of racial injustice, we saw your Harper’s Bazaar editorial and as a father raising Black children, what are some conversations you're having with them that you didn't have growing up?

A lot of the conversations are the same or similar to the ones I had with my parents growing up. The only difference is that I was taught to be aware of racism and certain incidents felt historic. For my kids they're living in a racial justice movement, we are living part of history. The conversations and relevance to those conversations are true and current. They're on TV, on social media for my kids to see and experience firsthand.

Besides Bombay, what other projects are you working on?

I'm working towards a few exhibitions in 2021, brand collaborations, etc. We have some exciting things coming up, so stay tuned.

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DJ Snoopadelic, aka Snoop Dogg, performs at the Rookie of the Year Party during Pepsi Zero Sugar presents Neon Beach at Clevelander at the Clevelander South Beach on January 30, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Pepsi

Snoop Dogg Is Dropping His Very Own Wine Bottle

Snoop Dogg will soon release his very own wine blend, thanks to his multi-year deal with Australian winery 19 Crimes owned by Treasury Wine Estates. The name of his first bottle? Snoop Cali Red.

"I've been a fan of this wine, and I'm excited to unveil my Snoop Cali Red this summer and share the experience with all my fans," said Snoopzilla in a press release. "It's one of the most successful brands in the market, so I'm more than eager to bring this collaboration to the world!"

TWE marketing vice president John Wardley added: "Snoop embodies the spirit of 19 Crimes – rule-breaking, culture creating and overcoming adversity. We are truly excited to partner with Snoop and welcome him to the 19 Crimes family. Snoop Dogg, an entertainment and California icon, is the perfect partner for 19 Crimes Snoop Cali Red."

The actual bottle's label is set to feature a photo of a hooded Snoop while the actual blend consists of 65% Petite Syrah, 30% Zinfandel, and 5% Merlot. As for how much a bottle will cost? $12 USD. "Snoop Cali Red" hits shelves in Summer 2020 at select wine stores. For more information or to locate a store near you, visit

Bonus: Earlier this month, a comedic rendition of Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice" made rounds on social media platforms. Watch it below.


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