Exclusive Interview Exclusive Interview

Mashonda Interviews Olivia Longott

Coming into the world by way of Jamaican/Cuban parents, you have no choice but to accept the fact that you are a soul survivor. Couple that with an upbringing split between Brooklyn and Queens and what do you get? A woman that is not afraid to voice her opinion and refuses to give up on her dreams.

I met Olivia Longott in 2000 at a J Records event. At the time she was my label mate and I wanted to attend to support her. When she took the mic I was blown away by the voice that came out of this young woman’s small frame. Olivia went on to earning a #15 spot on the Billboard 200 charts with her debut single “ Bizounce.” After her success, I sadly witnessed Olivia deal with a test that most artist face -The “Don’t Give Up Test." Through the years I was able to relate to Olivia and I felt that our musical stories and frustrations were somewhat similar. I always hoped that Liv, as I call her, would pass the test.

Recently I was able to sit with Olivia one-on-one after almost 10 years. Revealed was a very passionate, caring, and focused woman. After our conversation, I am pleased to announce that Ms. Longott hasn’t given up.

When did you decide to be an artist and how old were you when you landed your first record deal?
I knew I wanted to be an artist ever since I was a little girl growing up singing in the church. I also took piano lessons at 8 years old so I was always a bit musically inclined [Laughs]. I got my first deal when I was 17 when I signed to Clive Davis as the first artist on J Records.

How was your experience working with music mogul, Clive Davis?
My experience at J Records was a learning experience. With Clive Davis being one of the great musical minds of our time, I learned a lot. Unfortunately my time there was cut short by the politics of the industry and me not actually taking my career into my own hands. I was very young and left some decisions up to people who may not have had my best interest at heart, but snakes always reveal themselves when the grass is cut.

How was the transition to being the first lady of G-Unit?
From J Records I immediately took a deal with Interscope Records that later led to my G-Unit situation. The transition to the Unit was pretty smooth. 50 [Cent] and Jimmy Io-vine both made me feel comfortable. At that time 50 was music’s golden child so I felt it was a great situation.

Did you find yourself arguing for creative control at G-Unit?
The problem was with me being an R&B solo artist placed into a group of rappers. I lost my identity. I know 50 had my best interest at heart but it became a marketing struggle. It became more and more difficult for me to be Olivia and not ol’ girl from the Unit. That was the problem.

What was the lowest point for you in your career, did you ever feel like giving up?
I would have to say the lowest point of my career was when Funk Master Flex went in on me for a whole summer. I never understood the motivation for such hostility towards me. Being from NY and my family being from NY, we had to listen to Hot.97 and hear that. That’s part of why I went overseas, to get away from all of that negativity. I just had to go away and reflect on what I was doing, who I was, and find faith. After reflection I decided that I wasn’t going to give up and let my God-given talent go to waste because I felt nobody believed in me. I had to make them believe.

How did you find strength to carry on?
When I came back home, I regrouped and decided I needed to continue doing what I loved to and not let the negativity consume me. It’s been a difficult road back, but what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

Exclusive Interview

How were you approached and what was the number one reason you did Love and Hip-Hop?
As for Love and Hip-Hop, Mona Scott-Young approached me about that. It was originally supposed to be me, you, Chrissy Lampkin and Misa Hylton. From that I thought wow what a dope cast of strong black women; we can be the urban Sex and the City or newGirlfriends. In speaking to my manager we thought it would be a great way for people to get to know me. People never really knew me. I was the little girl at J Records and then the girl with the guys at the Unit. I never really got to be me so this was a platform for that. As long as my music was showcased on the show, I was okay with putting my life in front of the camera. Music is a big part of my day-to-day and anything else wouldn’t be a true representation or portrayal of my life.

Did you think the show would be filled with so many intense arguments between the cast members? Do you think you are being portrayed the way you wanted to be?
There seems to be a lot of arguments but the reality is we knew what we were getting ourselves into. Am I upset about some things? Absolutely, but in the end I think the platform was something I needed. I think we all need to take advantage of the platform we have been given and maybe take our dreams and aspirations to the next level.

Out of the eight episodes that we saw, which one disturbs you the most?
Only the first three episodes had me really annoyed. I won’t drag this out like the show did but lying about a guy is crazy and there is no need for it. I’ve never had a problem in the guy department whether high profile or normal. I don’t need a “look." I have no clue what the motives were in that episode and I don’t even care so with that we are moving right along [Laughs].

What’s trickier: Dating a rapper or an athlete? Why?
Both are pretty tricky but then we have to keep in mind a guy is going to be a guy no matter who he is. You have to be super secure in yourself to date either and put up with a lot of mess, more than what one person should have to. In the end you should be with someone who treats you good, loves and cherishes the time you are together. If you don’t get that then move on asap cause he is more than likely doing some nonsense he has no business doing

Tell me about your record “December.” It’s so beautiful and passionate. Is it about Darrelle Revis?
I loved that song from day one. My manager Rich brought the record to me and said Ed Woods had sent it for me from his writers/producers the Awweyeaz. I took a listen and loved it. The funny thing is the record was cut last year before we even knew about the Darrelle fiasco so I can honestly say it wasn’t about him. The record touches home with everyone. Nine out of ten times a guy will tell you what you want to hear and then tell the neighbor the same thing and in the process deny you for personal gain. December is just the month we chose but this happens all year.

Season two of Love and Hip-Hop?
I think I’ve learned a lot from this past season, but my story isn’t fully told yet so with that I would definitely have that added incentive to close out some loose ends and story lines.

What’s next for Olivia?
Giving the world great music. Finally getting a chance to do it my way and hopefully some brand marketing. Be on the look out for some brand marketing stuff from me. I would also love to get into acting. I did a few things and we are hoping that it translates into some feature film opportunities.

 

 

From the Web

More on Vibe

Beyonce Knowles-Carter attends the European Premiere of Disney's "The Lion King" at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on July 14, 2019 in London, England.
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney

Beyoncè Shells Out Ivy Park Goodies To Janelle Monae, Yara Shahidi, Kelly Rowland And More

We're less than 24 hours away from the full release of Beyoncè's Ivy Park collaboration with Adidas and fans are beyond ready, thanks to her brilliant orange box preview.

The entertainer and businesswoman gifted her family and celebrity pals with treasure trunks of goodies. From Solange to Yara Shahidi, celebs shared pieces from the collection on social media this week. Adidas announced its multi-year partnership with the mogul last April, making history in the process. The singer is the first black woman to be the sole owner of an athleisure brand. Bey took the steps to own the brand entirely after her initial collab with Topshop in 2016 by purchasing the shares of Phillip Green after sexual harassment claims were filed against him.

“It’s a dream come true to re-launch IVY PARK as the sole owner,” Beyonce said in a statement. It’s her first collaboration with adidas but not her first time building buzz for a product. The legend cleverly shared the mysterious orange boxes in all shapes in sized to her friends, thus creating quite the conversation on social media.

Ivy Park is also creating bigger conversations in the corporate world. According to a November research note by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Ivy Park's sales can slowly surpass Kanye West's Yeezy line.

“In-line with adidas approach on other franchises, we would expect there to be a low volume, high priced launch ... to create brand heat and in the following years the brand will likely become more democratized,” the note says.“Initially, Ivy Park will be smaller than Yeezy, but Ivy Park has the potential to be larger, if managed properly,” says Matt Powell, a senior footwear analyst at NPD Group.

We love to see it.

See the celebs bask in their Ivy Park glory below.

Tina Lawson

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I love this couture beautiful Orange IVY PARK Adidas dress thanks @beyonce. @ivyparkadidas @ivypark. @beyonce. @dougspearman

A post shared by Tina Knowles (@mstinalawson) on Jan 12, 2020 at 1:27pm PST

Reese Witherspoon

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Thank you, @Beyonce for the #IvyPark swag!

A post shared by Reese Witherspoon (@reesewitherspoon) on Jan 15, 2020 at 2:28pm PST

Janelle Monae

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Thank you Bey for these @weareivypark pieces ! And a special thank you for my new hide out where I’ll bey escaping my duties . S O proud of you ! Luhhhhh uuuuu @beyonce swiiiipe ☄️

A post shared by Janelle Monáe (@janellemonae) on Jan 15, 2020 at 10:35pm PST

Hailey Bieber

[email protected] unboxing her #adidasxIVYPARK package. pic.twitter.com/Y3rcxIDhCe

— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@BeyLegion) January 15, 2020

Kelly Rowland

[email protected] unboxing her #adidasxIVYPARK package. pic.twitter.com/vGqwwnZrnl

— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@BeyLegion) January 16, 2020

Yara Shahidi

 

View this post on Instagram

 

ADDIDASXIVYPARK PEEK

A post shared by Yara (يارا‎) Shahidi (@yarashahidi) on Jan 10, 2020 at 11:41pm PST

Scottie Beam

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Check my instastories to see what Beyonce SELECTED for me. Lmfao! Thank you so so much @weareivypark @beyonce ✨ THE INFEED PHOTO IS COMING!

A post shared by scottiebeam (@scottiebeam) on Jan 17, 2020 at 6:48am PST

Ellen DeGeneres

Thank you, @Beyonce. I love my big orange box. Your new clothes are really cool too. #adidasxIVYPARK @adidas pic.twitter.com/ecTxZ5o0CG

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 15, 2020

Missy Elliott

Thank you so much @Beyonce I am soooooooo humbly grateful you are a GEM! Lol the box was so big I was scared to open I thought a whole human was gonna jump out but this FYE sis #IVYPARK I LOVE IT! pic.twitter.com/hJbrfDWvXL

— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) January 16, 2020

Diplo

[email protected] unboxing his #adidasxIVYPARK package. pic.twitter.com/D2BKKVzLBw

— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@BeyLegion) January 14, 2020

Zendaya

Zendaya has gotten her Ivy Park box....#IvyParkXAdidas #IvyPark #adidasxIVYPARK #adidas pic.twitter.com/fLYdYAVyWn

— Yoncé Headlines (@YonceHeadlines) January 15, 2020

Kim Kimble

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Thank you @beyonce @weareivypark @adidas for this drip and I’m going to buy some as well

A post shared by Kim Kimble (@kimblehaircare) on Jan 15, 2020 at 4:07pm PST

Rita Ora

Rita Ora out and about in her Ivy Park x Adidas wear. pic.twitter.com/hFt4OQjE4v

— Beyoncé, Period! (@ourhermitage) January 16, 2020

Quincy

Diddy’s son, Quincy, also got a box of the upcoming Ivy Park/Adidas collection, officially dropping on the 18th of January, 2020 pic.twitter.com/rUJOWgy2l4

— Beyoncé, Period! (@ourhermitage) January 12, 2020

Cardi B

 

View this post on Instagram

 

That new @weareivypark bomb

A post shared by Cardib (@iamcardib) on Jan 13, 2020 at 10:15pm PST

Laverne Cox

https://twitter.com/BeyLegion/status/1216405687862988806

 

View this post on Instagram

 

#mood4eva in my Adidas X IVY Park ... #mood #TransIsBeautiful @adidas @weareivypark @beyonce #DisclosureDoc

A post shared by laverne cox (@lavernecox) on Jan 16, 2020 at 12:00pm PST

Michelle Williams

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Looks coming soooooooooon!!! “I GOT IT” by @rickydillard is appropriate! @beyonce @weareivypark @adidas!! Ok bye for now!!

A post shared by Michelle Williams (@michellewilliams) on Jan 16, 2020 at 2:03pm PST

Solange

Solange getting the Ivy Park x Adidas from her sis pic.twitter.com/G2bRO2lTYc

— | IVY PARK X ADIDAS ON JAN 18th (@beysarayonce) January 15, 2020

Kendall Jenner

Kendall Jenner got a Ivy Park box...#IvyParkXAdidas #IvyPark #adidasxIVYPARK #adidas pic.twitter.com/79LGysUZBp

— Yoncé Headlines (@YonceHeadlines) January 17, 2020

Keke Palmer

 

View this post on Instagram

 

why do i feel like the whole planet earth is going to wear ivy park? — #beyonce #beyoncé #queen #queenb #yoncé #rumiandsir #rumiandsircarter #rumicarter #sircarter #blueivy #blueivycarter #jayz #jayonce #beyonceandjayz #thecarters #sashafierce #beyhives #beyhive #beckywiththegoodhair #ivypark #ivyparkbeyonce #weareivypark #ivypark2020 #2020 #beyonce2020 #beyoncephotoshoot #beyonceoutfit #flawless

A post shared by (@bivyslife) on Jan 17, 2020 at 4:36am PST

Continue Reading
Versace

Jennifer Lopez's Iconic Versace Dress To Be Transformed Into Swanky Watch

The iconic Versace dress worn by Jennifer Lopez that sparked the creation of Google Images is now a luxurious watch.

To mark the brand's Spring-Summer 2020 collection, the brand has decided to reprise the Medusa Frame jungle print by way of a sleek timepiece. In addition to the new collection, this also marks the 20th anniversary of Donatella Versace's legendary jungle print. Roman numbers are found in the dial along with an interchangeable black leather strap for additional styling. The piece will cause Versace and J.Lo fans a pretty penny at $1,495.00 when it hits retailers in May.

Since her jaw-dropping fashion moment, the actress-singer has rocked the print a few times. A jumpsuit version was worn in the visuals for "I Luv Ya Papi" back in 2014 with a revamped version of the gown making its way to Milan Fashion Week in 2019.

But the jungle print wristwatch isn't the only second coming of the print. The brand will also release shirts, heart-shaped necklaces, Squalo sneakers and beaded as a three-dimensional décor on Virtus handbags.

Originally worn to the Grammys in 2000, Lopez's take on the dress was both a music and fashion moment. Although the dress was worn by Spice Girls member Geri Halliwell, aka Ginger Spice, Donatella Versace and Sandra Bullock (in another color), Lopez's daring look cemented her spot in pop culture.

“I really didn’t think about it. I didn’t think it was all that risqué, to be honest,” Lopez told Vogue in 2019. “I was more excited it was the Grammys. I wasn’t even thinking about the dress all that much. I was just glad I had something to wear.”

Check out the watch below.

 

 

 

Continue Reading
Supporters of singer R. Kelly, Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage, leave after the singer's arraignment at the Dirksen Federal Building on July 16, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Azriel Clary Contemplates Working With Feds In R. Kelly Case After Fight With Joycelyn Savage

The case against R. Kelly has continued to grow new legs as Azriel Clary has contemplated working with authorities following her fight with former girlfriend Joycelyn Savage.

This week, the 22-year-old returned home after getting into a physical altercation with the 24-year-old at Kelly's residence at the Trump Towers in Chicago. The fight (or screams) were heard on Clary's Instagram Live Wednesday (Jan. 8). After returning home and pressing charges against Savage, Clary is now interested in working with the federal agents in the assault case against R. Kelly. Sources tell TMZ "she now wants to help law enforcement with its investigation into Kelly, but she has a huge hang-up—she's terrified because she's lied to federal agents several times in the past." Clary also signed an NDA during her relationship with Kelly.

During her fight with Savage on Instagram Live, the aspiring singer says multiple times the two engaged in sexual activity when she was a minor, an allegation she denied in their joint interview with Gayle King and with the feds. Elsewhere in her Live, she admitted Kelly convinced her and Savage to lie to King during their interview. He also prohibited them from watching the Lifetime documentary, Surviving R. Kelly. She reportedly saw the documentary after leaving Kelly's residence.

Despite the rumors, federal agents are not involved in the situation between Savage and Clary. Savage was formally charged with misdemeanor battery and made bond. She is expected to return to court in a few weeks. Savage was also briefly reunited with her family this week.

Clary's mother Alice Clary spoke with PEOPLE about the welfare of her daughter and urged the public to see her as a victim, not a willing participant in Kelly's alleged behavior. “Everybody has something to say, she was 17 when she left. Now she’s 22, but guess what? She’s had problems for the last few years,” she said. “She may have done things as far as being grown physically as a young woman, but mentally no. She still has the mental capacity of a 17-year-old because he kept her stagnated for years and didn’t let her be with her family.”

“The battle is won because she’s still here, she’s still alive, she’s still breathing and though she lost a few years of her life, she’s still here to tell her story,” she added. “Because I chose not to keep her secluded in her life, she’s here now and we’re able to say the victory is won because she finally came to her senses and she’s back home with her family.” Now that her daughter is home, Alice Clary is focused on helping her daughter move on from her ordeal with Kelly.

As the families continue to help their children, the public has weaved their own theories into why Clary decided to leave Kelly's grip. Bloggers like Tasha K, who have reported on Kelly's predatory behavior, reported Wednesday (Jan. 8) a possible reason for Clary and Savage's fight. Clary allegedly arrived at the condo with a man, a rule-breaker in the condo. When Savage approached her about breaking the rules, the two got into a scuffle as Kelly's helper named Kimberly watched.

Lifetime followed up their acclaimed documentary with Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning earlier this month with follow up interviews with his victims and notably, Dominque Gardner who was rescued by her mother in the first doc.

Continue Reading

Top Stories