VIBE Vixen: Khia! Jackson VIBE Vixen: Khia! Jackson

Vixen Initiation: Commercial Artist Khia! Jackson

With her eye for vivid color and bold, declarative elements that inspire future vision, it’s no wonder that Khia! Jackson has become an in-demand designer for a host of fashion houses and creative agencies. This Caribbean daughter and technicolor mastermind has created a slew of iconography for clients like Azzuré, Heatherette, Disney, Rocawear, Jordache, and VIBE Magazine. Plus, she’s been one of the primary go-to people for pop powerhouse Beyoncé and her domain of brands. In addition to working as head graphic designer for the Deréon and House of Deréon labels, Khia! recently created t-shirt concepts for Ms. Knowles’ “Move Your Body” anthem as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s "Let’s Move" program.

With a willingness to explore a variety of mediums as she opens up her own studio in Atlanta, Khia! has just produced the innovative webisode series Drawn Out with media house Visually Inklined; the pilot, featuring rapper Joell Ortiz, is set to launch next month on VIBE.com.

Vixen spoke to this accomplished entrepreneur about her history, her philosophies on art vs. design, and what it takes to run your own business.

When did you first start to draw? What was the feeling like holding pen or pencil in hand and creating?
I first began drawing when I was about 4 or 5. My family and I were in the Caribbean. I had an art teacher who taught us students how to make a palm tree with coconuts and two humps at the base for sand. I became obsessed with that little drawing, making it over and over. It was on and popping from that moment on. For all creative people, I feel like there’s a compelling force that pushes you to make something. For illustrators, your pencil is your vehicle. It’s like pouring lime juice through a sieve and making lemonade.  Something natural and raw on one side becoming something tasty and sweet on the other.

Beyoncé in Let's Move t-shirt designed by Khia! Jackson

Beyoncé in Let's Move T-shirt designed by Khia! Jackson

What made you decide to go into design as a career?
I love that design is commercial. It's not elitist. It’s art that allows you to speak to broad audiences with the most varied materials. Fine art often focuses on the artist’s life and perspective, whereas design is speaking directly to an audience. When you design a chair, it needs to be comfortable, it needs to be attractive, it needs to fit the person’s body… it always has to appeal to a group of people. Design always has to appeal in function to a larger audience than fine art. People use design. They sit on it, use it to open their cans. Even if I do a piece that’s considered art, it’s always commercial, for the masses.

Speaking of the divide between art and design, you have a whimsical illustration style yet you're also able to come up with elegant designs, a la your logo for Déreon. How are you able to exist in both worlds?
[Laughing.] Well, when I design for myself, things do get pretty pop, that's true. But when you design for a client, you’re meeting their needs and speaking to their audience, so you translate your skills to do just that. It's not as difficult as you would imagine.

Are there any artists or designers you would name as influences?
I'm influenced by Karim Rashid, Insa, Banksy,  Alexander McQueen, Roy Lichtenstein, and Archie comics.

What are the rewards and challenge of being an entrepreneur?
Working for yourself gives you a freedom that’s hard to walk away from once you've had it. I can take the day off when I want to and know I still have job. I can prioritize my work vs. my life more than an employee can. But you also have to steer your own ship, meaning you have to market yourself and manage your own time and the people that work for you. The pressures of the business are all mine to navigate and there’s no clocking out.

What advice would you have for those who might be interested in pursuing a design career?
Your relationship with people is key. Every major job I've gotten is because someone not only liked my work, but also liked me as a person.  In the creative world, that's rare and valuable. Also make sure that all legal agreements protect your interests—especially if they were generated by your client. Shoot for extended contracts; building new relationships takes time and money. And don't be afraid to align yourself with someone who can do the things you don’t do well. I woke up one day and realized that I'm a big old softie… so I went out and got myself a shark. My new agent is Ari Gold in a skirt!

Check out some of her artwork below:

For more information on Khia! and her work, visit khiajackson.com

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VIBE Vixen's Boss Talk Podcast: Meet Peppermint, The Boss Using Her Gifts For Good

VIBE Vixen's Boss Talk podcast amplifies the voices of women and she/her-identifying individuals in their respective industries as they discuss their journeys toward becoming the bosses we know today. From their demeanor and confidence and persevering through life’s pitfalls to make a name for themselves in their own way, being a boss is much more than 'just running sh*t.'

Miss Peppermint started as a staple in the New York nightlife scene, and after appearing as a contestant on the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, she’s continued to make a name for herself.

Outside of the show, she's traveled the world and is hoping to release her third album, which she hints will be influenced by the '90s, R&B, and neo-soul. She's also planning on re-releasing her debut album, Hardcore Glamour, for its 10-year anniversary.

"I'll be doing a lot in New York this year for World Pride," she explains to Boss Talk's host, J'na Jefferson. Pride takes place throughout June. "The last album I dropped was 2017... I'm excited about that, I'm writing it now. It's just poems, but I'm excited."

Peppermint, who was the first openly transgender contestant on the Emmy Award-winning show, was also the first transgender woman to originate a principal role on Broadway for her role as Pythio in Head Over Heels. 

 

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"On paper, it shouldn't make sense... it's hard to explain what it is," she says of the musical, which combined a loose adaptation of 16th-century piece The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia with the music of the new wave group, The Go-Go's. It closed in late-2018.

"The better way to explain it now that it's over and closed is 'a revolutionary show about dismantling the patriarchy...'" she says about Head Over Heels. "I knew that they wanted to cast a trans actor... I wanted to put as much as I could into it, and try to do our non-binary siblings well and proud... [the show] became something I really believed in."

Peppermint continues to share her love of performing all over the world and is also an activist, who aims to promote the importance of LGBTQIA representation and advancement. She has worked and supported organizations such as The Point Foundation, which aims to help LGBTQIA students attend college. 

"People are just starting to catch on that having queer voices is essential and inevitable," she says of further representation of LGBTQIA individuals in media and entertainment. She praises Pose creator Ryan Murphy for showcasing trans people of color both in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes.

"Giving [trans people] the power to speak for themselves, rather than slapping the community with stereotypes or archetypes... we're past that," she continues. "We're not in the phase where they're feeling comfortable to be who they are, but I think we're getting close."

Listen to the full episode below.

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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"I think the reason why—no I know the reason why—I've been doing this for such a long time is that I fight," Fox said. "When we did Two Can Play That Game, I fought for the way we talked, walked, the way we loved each other." The Set It Off actress continued to state that she consistently declined Two Can Play That Game before signing on to play the lead role. "Because the script, when I first got it, I turned it down three times because it just wasn't a good representation of African-Americans, so I fought them on everything," she noted. "I want to make sure that the images of African-Americans are as positive and as true as they can possibly be."

In 2001, the romantic comedy debuted to fanfare, boasting an all-star cast of Morris Chestnut, Mo'Nique, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and more. Directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop, Iverson, How To Be A Player), Fox plays a career driven person named Shante Smith who navigates a curveball when her boyfriend Keith Fenton (Chestnut) cheats on her with a co-worker.

After its release, Two Can Play That Game raked in over $22 million at the box office.

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