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Vixen Initiation: Avery Sunshine Discusses The Downside Of Rising Artistry And The Double-Edged Sword Of Soul

Aptly named Avery Sunshine, this soul singing diva (in all positive senses of the word) is a ball of good-hearted warmth and energy. The singer/songwriter juggled a lot during our hour-long interview that ended up being more of a girl-talk than a business-oriented chat, and VIBE Vixen was able to get a taste of what rising soul artists deal with on a day-to-day basis. A world-traveler, a mother of two and a Pennsylvania native, Ms. Sunshine is passport pimpin' and providing relatable storylines set to soulful tunes for the music lovers and, of course, the women who've "been there, done that." -Niki McGloster (@missjournalism)

Explain how you’re feeling about the tour and fans’ reactions to the album.
It’s incredible, especially when you set out to do this, and you don’t know whether people are going to like your music. I always tell people that you either have to be completely led by God or crazy to do this kind of stuff. [Laughs] This is not for the weak at heart at all. We did the Jools Holland show in the UK. It’s kind of like a late night show, but, instead of having actors on it or whomever, it’s all about musicians. What they do is have a bunch of artists from all over, and we sit around in this circle and one-by-one do tunes. So, we did the show and we looked on Twitter and one kid says, ‘The only reason Avery Sunshine is on there because they needed to make their racial quota.’ [Long pause] Deep. This thing is deep. People are like, ‘Oh, you’re great,’ and then you get a sting like that.

Wow. That kind of thing jolted you.
It does, but I know that we still got a long way to go with race relations, and you can’t let everything you hear bother you. I do understand how a lot of entertainers say, ‘This is too much for me,’ or say, ‘I won’t get on Facebook or Twitter.’ The pendulum swings both ways. As bad as it can be and as good as it can be.

Would you say those comments are the worst part of the business for you?
You know what? The worst part of the business for me right now is this in-between stage where nobody really knows you and having to keep a real job. You know what I mean? That is hard. It is hard to do your regular gig and then go on the road. It’s the balancing [that’s] really, really hard. ‘Cause you know the children have to eat! It’s rough, but it’s getting better. If we want to see the fruits of our labor, we have to hang in here, through this rough period. But what’s so ironic about it is I’m having the best time of my life right now!

Do you have plans of signing to a major label?
I enjoy being indie, but I can’t say. I have learned to not say never because I know what we like right now, but I can’t say that if a major said, ‘Hey, we got a great deal for you,’ that we wouldn’t check it out. There are pros and cons to everything.

With the international and domestic audiences that you’ve encountered, have you seen a difference in appreciation for music?
Absolutely. Here, we’re inundated. You can go to Anywhere, USA and find somebody who sings likes me or better, and it’s just not the same thing in other countries. With that being said, of course when they hear Aretha Franklin sing, ain’t nobody gettin’ it over there like that. In no way am I saying there are a million Aretha Franklin’s in the world because there are not, but there are a lot of people that can sing. There’s Patti LaBelle, Anita Baker [and] Chaka Khan. There’s a wealth of singers here.

What do you feel about R&B and soul singers nowadays becoming these pop artists or changing their sounds to fit a mainstream audience?
Soul singers will always have a place in music. We are that voice, that real voice, that comes from a genuine, natural place. Hence the name “soul,” you know what I mean? If we don’t sellout trying to make ends meet sometimes or trying to be famous, we won’t lose it. But on behalf of soul singers trying to make it, we are competing with the folk with the radio hits. We’re competing with that, and the issue with that is, if you’re not making any bread, how can you even eat to make music?

…Such a double-edge sword.
Yes, it is! It’s like, gosh, I don’t really want to sellout, but the only way that I can sellout is to do this tune that they’ll play on the radio. That’s not really, really who I am, but in order for me to get out here and get gigs, I’m gonna have to do this so people can hear me. Please believe, I’ve had a couple of stations that told me I don’t have anything on my album that they can play on the radio. But if we let that get to us, we’d be out knocking people’s doors down! [Laughs]

When soul singers do take that leap of faith, it seems like they’re losing what their fanbase loves about them.
It’s hard because, in addition to having to sellout a little bit, there’s the evolution thing as an artist. For me, the struggle is the new songs [coming out] in July. Use the same formula? Is that going to be boring? Maybe I should reinvent myself?

It seems like such a battle, but you seem to be moving along quite nicely. You’ve been touring with singer Rahsaan Patterson and have upcoming tour dates with B.B. King!

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Tomi Lahren On Cardi B's 'Dog-Walking' Threat: 'I Would Never Get Away With That'

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"Looks like @iamcardib is the latest genius political mind to endorse the Democrats. HA! Keep it up, guys! #MAGA2020," she wrote, which prompted Cardi to write that she will "dog walk" her.

“I just like to point out the left’s hypocrisy because can you imagine if I would threaten to dog walk Cardi B — or anyone else for that matter — as a conservative, as a Trump supporter?” Lahren said during her appearance on the show. “I would never get away with that but they’re able to do it, and the left applauds it... you can see that there are leftists with verified accounts who are not only laughing at the fact of me being ‘dog walked’ — they’re tweeting out memes showing me in a leash and a collar with Cardi B walking me. Beyond that, they are actually saying, ‘Yeah, she would hurt you, she would beat you up — I wish we could start a GoFundMe page so we can watch your teeth get knocked out.’"

She also criticized U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who wrote on Twitter that people shouldn't underestimate people from The Bronx (where she and Cardi hail from).

“Well, I’m not surprised at anything Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says, but again, I’m also impressed the way the left does the mental gymnastics to justify it,” she said. “...these are elected representatives who are endorsing and saying the same thing. So, you know, it’s really puzzling and troubling.”

Friendly reminder: after over a month, the government is still shut down.

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Cardi B Will Reportedly Have Her Own Las Vegas Residency

Cardi B is reportedly getting her first Las Vegas residency. According to The Associated Press, the “Money” rapper will have a residency at the Palms Casino Resort in anticipation of the debut of its newest complex, KAOS.

“Above and Beyond, G-EAZY, Kaskade and Skrillex are among the other artists who will have exclusive residencies at the complex,” the report reads. KAOS will reportedly open in April. “KAOS is part of the Palms’ $690 million renovation that features state-of-the-art technology designed to enhance performances including a rotating 360-degree DJ booth.”

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"You’re so blinded with racism that you don’t even realize the decisions the president you root for is destroying the country you claim to love so much," she wrote on Twitter with a statement aimed at the political pundit.

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Illinois Man Awarded $1.25 Million After Cops Tackled Him For Stealing His Own Car

A former Northwestern University doctoral student was awarded $1.25 million after police tackled the then 25-year old assuming he was trying to steal a car that was actually his own.

The Associated Press reports Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz confirmed the settlement amount had been reached Wednesday. (Jan. 23) Crosby was an engineering major in 2015 when the incident occurred.

Crosby’s attorney Timothy Touhy said his client was attempting to repair something with his car when a white woman watching called local police to report what she thought was a robbery.

The unidentified woman then followed Crosby in his car as he left his apartment and headed to a science building on Northwestern's campus, giving police his location.

Crosby reportedly exited his vehicle with his hands up but was immediately tackled by law enforcement when he didn't obey orders to get on the ground. Cops later determined Crosby was the owner of the vehicle but charged him with resisting arrest.

A spokesman for the Evanston police said the use of force was justified at the time because officers assumed a theft was in progress. Crosby was the victim of knee strikes and open-handed strikes.

A judge threw out the charges.

“It’s his hope that as a result of this case, that all of us begin a discussion on implicit bias and begin to recognize it and begin to discuss it between yourselves and your friends,” said Steven Yonover, who represented Crosby in the case.

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