Reema Major 3 Reema Major 3

Vixen Initiation: Reema Major Brings A Young, Raw & Stylish Flair To The Rap Game

She has a confidence and self-assurance that makes you forget she's only 16 years young. Reema Major, born in Sudan and raised in both Canada and Kansas City, has a musical ear that is seldom seen or heard of at such a young age. While her rhymes are hard-hitting and sometimes quite raw (see: 2010 BET's Hip Hop Award cypher), listen between the lines and you'll catch pieces of her very real and not-always-fun life tales. Her brightly-colored eclectic style is simply an additive to the total rapping-singing package, throwing her in the lion's den of rap blabbers comparing her to Nicki Minaj.

As she prepares her debut album, set to release on Universal Music Canada/Interscope/CherryTree, the '95 baby hit the VIBE Vixen offices to play a few joints from the upcoming project and let us get to know her a bit better. The minor Miss Major dished about her opinion of the Minaj comparisons, growing up quickly in a tough world and meeting her father through MySpace. -Niki McGloster

 

What was the first thing that drew you to hip-hop?
Reema Major:
The cypher. When I was five, my older cousin used to rap. It was summertime and everyone was always outside. She babysat me, and they were always doing cyphers. I was just interested. I fell in love with the art, the whole aspect of rap, from the storyline, to putting the “umph” in your tone. Writing was always an outlet, so once I learned to write, it was natural. I can’t really remember when I started loving it; it was just always there.

How do you feel your age contributes to where you are now? Do you feel like it plays a big part?
I think it does, because when people first hear me they’re like, 'Oh word?' I think my music is just my story and sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes it’s a negative thing. Sometimes people have the wrong approach. Like the older generation, [they'll say], 'Oh she’s a young teen; She shouldn’t, she shouldn’t”. I think they should ask, 'Why does she dress like that? Why does she say those things? What happened? What’s your upbringing?' I think people will get it. It just falls both ways right now, but it definitely does play a big part.

You were born in Sudan and currently reside in Canada. How do those places and the things that you experienced there make you who you are as an artist and as a person?
From when I was born ,I moved around every single year up until the time I was five. So being taken out of environments and having to adapt to different environments caused me to catch up fast. I’m here, then I’m here, then I’m here. It was a culture shock sometimes. That made me grow up fast. Then again, living in the hood and really doing those things I was really a rowdy kid.  Not saying I promote it, but that’s things I did and I talk about it in my music. The success part of it, I was a kid on the block, I used to do all that crazy stuff, but the point is I’m here now, I did it, I got up out of it. Just things like that. I had to adapt to different environments, having to learn a new language, because when I originally came here I wasn’t fluent in English at all.

How did you learn English?
Through schooling, my first teacher was a British teacher, and that’s how I learned English.

You have a song called “Father,” what’s your relationship with you and your father?
“Father” was a song where people thought I was talking to an actual dad, but it was kind of subliminal. The dad I was speaking to was God. That’s why I said, 'Dear Father, today I was told that I’m a refugee… Anyways gotta pack my books, crayons, and my pens, love you Dad, keep me safe, no nightmares and amen.' So I was just speaking to God. I never had a relationship with my biological father; I don’t know him. He found me for the first time through MySpace when I was maybe 13 or 14. I remember it was three o’clock in the morning, and I got a message in my MySpace mail. I never check my MySpace for anything, and I don’t know what made me do that, but I did. And it says, 'Hi, I’m your dad. I’ve been looking you for so long.' I go to the page, and there was no recent activity on the page besides the fact that it made less than five hours ago. I send him a message back: 'If you’re my dad, prove it.”'So he’s like “You were born [on] June 26, 1995 in Sudan.' He never mentioned where because I was born in a jail cell. I ended up giving him my number, [and] we went back and forth for a little bit. IIm sitting on the bed with my mom, my sister’s on the phone, she’s crying and then I hear the beep. I click over and heard him for the first time, ever. I asked how did you find me, he said he had put my mother’s name is Google. And because my mother has a tribal African last name, it’s very rare. The first thing that came up was (my mother’s name), parent of Reema Major. My bio came up, and he went to my MySpace. He read my story about flying to Kenya to Uganda and all these places. And he said, 'From right there I knew it was you and had no question about it.' But that’s how that happened.

You’ve been compared to Nicki Minaj in a lot of ways, what do you say about that?
It doesn’t bother me at all. When you’re a female, you’re gonna be compared to somebody. If you don’t get compared you’re really wack, and you’re not going anywhere. It’s a compliment. You wanna compare me to the hottest chick in the game right now, I’m fine with that. In terms of emcees ,I’m sure people can see the separation.

What have you seen thus far, being a female in a male-dominated industry?
You just have to prove yourself more. I just consider it motivation, so it doesn’t really bother me. There's more dudes in the game than girls, but we’re coming.

Who are your lyrical influences?
I love Eminem, Biggie, 2Pac, Lupe, anyone who makes great music and is good at storytelling, because that’s what I do. I tell my story in my music. So when I hear another artist do that, I can appreciate it.

A lot of talent has come from Toronto. There's Drake, Melanie Fiona, and others. Do you feel like you’re representing for Toronto or for everywhere that you’re from?
I feel like I’m representing from every single place I’m from. I’m representing for Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and definitely Toronto. That’s a city I spend a lot of time in. Definitely Kansas City because that’s another city I’ve spent a lot of time in. I’ve been around so much that I haven’t been at one place more than the other another. I don’t have a solid place, but if you ask me where I’m from I’m going to tell you Sudan because that’s my birthplace, and I’m still fluent in the language and I love my family. So I’m representing everywhere.

What can we expect sonically for this album?
Greatness. The album is just going to be phenomenal. I’ve been in the studio collaborating with a whole bunch of different producers. It was a learning experience also, because prior to that, I was a kid writing rhymes in my room. I haven’t really collaborated with any producers like that. Like sitting in the studio, having the experience of working with someone else and collaborating my vibes with their vibes to create something else, so I love the process. The process is dope, so the outcome is going to be great.

Any key people that you want to name drop?
Nope. [laughs] There’s going to be some dope, dope, dope collaborations.

Where do you draw your eclectic fashion style from?
I draw it from anything around me; I’m inspired by anything. I’ve just always been the kid that wanted to create. I’ve always wanted to make something different. I was in the 5th grade, and I wore a bandana around my head and left my hair poofy, a girl came up to me; she was two grades older and she said, 'I’ve always wanted to do that, but I was really scared.' I’ve always just wanted to express myself. I cut, rip, pull, whatever.

Are there any popular style trends that you’re really into?
I think everything gets recycled. I’ll see something, and it’s from the 80s or the 60s, so I think everything gets revamped. Everything has phases. You’re going to have a trend, then you go to the next one. I don’t like any specific trends. I say style over fashion. For example, whether it’s $2000 or $2, I’m going to buy it. I love labels--Gucci, Louis, Fendi, Prada--but I’d rather pull it, pick it and like it rather than it just be a brand.

What imprint would you love to make on this industry?
I want to go down as one of the best female rappers ever, period. I hope it comes to a time where they won’t even say female, they’ll say Best Rapper Ever. I hope that I can create some type of unity, and I really pray that more females come into the game, so in the next couple years, it’s no longer a male-dominated industry--where it’s just a whole bunch of females. Ladies first.

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'Boomerang' Episode 7 Recap: Family Matters And Pride

Bryson and Simone are a thing, like for real for real. They can’t keep their hands (or tongues) off of one another. As the two of them get steamy in the jacuzzi, a sexually riled up Simone tells her new beau that she wants to treat his face like a bean bag. They are in it, y’all. There’s just one problem — they may be half-brother and sister (insert vomit emoji here). The excitement of finally landing the girl of his dreams is shut down when he reveals that his mother, Jacqueline, informed him that Marcus Graham may be his papa. (Wait. Does that mean Marcus cheated on Angela back in the day? Regardless, what a way to ruin a mood.)

As they wait for the DNA test results, Simone and Bryson still try to be business as usual, you know, chillin’ like they used to. Speaking of business, Bryson is all that. Ari may be his boy and all, but when it comes to directing Tia’s music video, Bryson wants an Italian dude to shoot it instead. He just doesn’t believe Ari can execute. All great directors have vision and through Bryson’s eyes, Ari has none. Simone can’t help but agree. It’s obvious that Tia and her bae are not at all pleased with the video production of her single. Bro gotsta go. Tia has never been one to hold back and in a fit of frustration, she does what Simone couldn’t verbalize; she fires Ari.

Like the “big bad boss” he is, Bryson harshly tells Ari that not only will he basically fail at being a producer, but people will notice that he doesn’t belong here. Hold up. Are we sure Bryson and Ari are friends? Tough love is understandable but to completely obliterate the dreams of someone you’ve been rocking with? That’s foul. Unlike Ari, Bryson knows that he was brought up with the keys and basically helped himself to whatever role he wanted in the industry, a luxury he can afford to extend. Why not help your friend out now even with a little guidance knowing his career aspirations?

Bryson may be able to but Simone is not willing to give up on Ari just yet. She lets Ari collaborate Bryson’s pick, Shayan, who is also seemingly having a hard time capturing dope shots. A conversation with Simone about perfecting his craft leaves Ari somewhat disappointed but open to the constructive criticism.

While enjoying the Atlanta Black Pride festivities, an old filing recognizes Ari and waves him down. In catching up, the discussion quickly takes a turn to sexual orientation labels with a judgemental tone and Ari is not having it. Sure, while he was with her, he liked women but sometimes he’d rather be with a man. “Bisexual,” “Gay,” call it whatever, he just likes who he likes, refuses to be put in a box, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What is not about to happen is him being judged by a woman with five kids and three baby favas. Yikes.

That frustration instantly births inspiration. Instead of dryly shooting Tia performing with Pride weekend just happening around her, Ari points out how the world needs to see all black people not caring about what anyone has to say about them, especially when the world includes women rocking $12 jewelry. Sashayers, milly-rockers, and twerkers galore, the video shines on the culture, highlighting Kings and Queens of all shades, ages, genders, and sexualities. It’s a good time. Even Bryson can give up his props and that lead director credit to Ari. You see, Bryson? You gotta have a little faith like David always has.

Speaking of our fave pastor, unlike many Baptist churches, it’s amazing to see that David embraces and participates in the Atlanta Black Pride weekend. With the help of Crystal, David is preaching a message of loving who you are and loving others. His sermon last week no doubt spoke to the soul but if you recall, Crystal did notice that a lovely lady attended the service moreso for David and less so for Jesus. That obviously triggered something. Crystal and David may not have been able to work out their marriage but the attraction is absolutely still there. Could it be one-sided though?

You didn’t think we forgot about Bryson and Simone, did you? It should be noted that for his entire life, all Bryson ever wanted was to be like Marcus Graham, but not like this. David is right: be careful what you pray for. No matter the outcome of the paternity test, Simone and Bryson will undoubtedly be in one another’s life (maybe less like Whitley and Dwayne and more like Denise and Theo).

Well, folks, the results are in (insert Maury voice). In the case of Bryson J. Broyer, Marcus, you are NOT the father! But, you may still have some ‘splaining to do. Now that they are officially not related, Simone can finally go ahead and have that seat. We know, sis has been tired all day. Ow!

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Yvette Nicole Brown and Gabourey Sidibe were some of the actresses who were vocal about the treatment of actors of color when faced with beauticians in Hollywood.
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Celebrities Use #ActingWhileBlack Hashtag To Point Out Pitfalls Of Hollywood's Beauty Scene

While being a working person of color in Hollywood is something to admire, those fortunate enough to be working in these spaces often have difficulties finding the right person to do their hair and makeup with the right amount of diligent care.

Model Olivia Anakwe took to Instagram earlier this month to detail the issues she faced before a runway show, when she was disrespected by haircare professionals who refused to work on her textured hair.

"Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others?” she wrote. “It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class."

The hashtag #ActingWhileBlack began to spread on social media over the weekend, and people of color chimed in to share their stories.

Actress Yvette Nicole Brown shared that she often carries her own hair extensions and clothes for shoots, and that having stylists who are untrained in black beauty often runs the risk of them looking bad later on. Oscar-nominee Gabourey Sidibe shared a similar sentiment.

Insecure’s Natasha Rothwell hit the nail on the head in her tweet about the issue with not hiring the right people to work with ethnic hair.

“If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair,” she wrote on Mar. 11. “Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.”

Check out some tweets from celebs on this issue below.

 

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This message is to spread awareness & hopefully reach anyone in the hair field to expand their range of skills. Black models are still asking for just one hairstylist on every team no matter where your team is from to care for afro hair. I was asked to get out of an empty chair followed by having hairstylists blatantly turning their backs to me when I would walk up to them, to get my hair done. If I am asked to wear my natural hair to a show, the team should prepare the style just as they practice the look and demo for non-afro hair. I arrived backstage where they planned to do cornrows, but not one person on the team knew how to do them without admitting so. After one lady attempted and pulled my edges relentlessly, I stood up to find a model who could possibly do it. After asking two models and then the lead/only nail stylist, she was then taken away from her job to do my hair. This is not okay. This will never be okay. This needs to change. No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a black hairstylist! Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others? It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class. I was ignored, I was forgotten, and I felt that. Unfortunately I’m not alone, black models with afro texture hair continuously face these similar unfair and disheartening circumstances. It’s 2019, it’s time to do better. || #NaturalHair #ModelsofColor #BlackHairCare #HairCare #Message #Hair #Hairstyling #Backstage #BTS #AfroTexturedHair #Afro #POC #Braids #Message #Spreadtheword #Speak #Awareness #Growth #WorkingTogether #BlackGirlMagic #Melanin

A post shared by Olivia Anakwe (@olivia_anakwe) on Mar 7, 2019 at 9:07am PST

#ActingWhileBlack Makeup & Hair in one bag. The other bags are filled with clothes because some wardrobe stylists don’t know that cute clothes exist in sizes larger than size 10. “Here try on this mumu, I know it’s a little big, we’ll just belt it!” #ActingWhileBlackAndChubby https://t.co/gl3b64Omtj

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya! https://t.co/mGAzpuoKtb

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya! https://t.co/mGAzpuoKtb

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

If they don’t have the budget to hire a black hairstylist for me, or won’t, I just get the director to agree that my character should have box braids or senegalese twist.

— Gabby Sidibe (@GabbySidibe) March 11, 2019

PSA: If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair. Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.

Congratulations on advancing to the next level of inclusion! https://t.co/A1Q9ZpvXmH

— Natasha Rothwell (@natasharothwell) March 11, 2019

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Kim Kardashian is seen on February 7, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)

Kim Kardashian Credited For Making Crimped Hair Cool Like Beyonce, Janet Jackson And Naomi Campbell Don't Exist

Spring is nothing without doses of cultural appropriation from those out of touch with black culture.

Insert Vogue, who decided to give props to Kim Kardashian for bringing back crimped hair on Friday (March 15). The businesswoman has been on the move lately, rocking a mix of kanekalon and yaki ponytails during fashion month, Chance The Rapper's wedding and other Kardashian-related events.

“What makes this look so modern is that the front is sleek,” explained her stylist Justine Marjan. “This gives a cool contrast to the texture.”

The texture? 

With many trends from the aughts coming back to the mainstream, this is one that hasn't really gone anywhere. But black beauty markers (layered gold chains, perfect baby hairs, name chains) paired with media ignorance and the Kardashian's own fascination with black culture has made it okay for her to receive all the props.

But we can't forget those who have slayed kanekalon, yaki and crimped styles like...

Janet Jackson

The singer's look for her comeback has been a uniform-like one, with Ms. Jackson rocking all black and her now signature ponytail.

Beyoncé

This. was. last. year. How could anyone forget this? The entertainer rocked various styles of kanekalon hair for Beychella.

There was also this amazing look at Serena Williams' wedding.

 

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A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Nov 19, 2017 at 9:01am PST

Ruth E. Carter

The Oscar-winning designer made the look all her own while on the red carpet for Black Panther. 

Nicki Minaj

Fans of the rapper are aware her early looks included fun crimped and wavy styles. When she made to move to ditch her color wigs in 2014, she's kept the crimped styles close to her heart.

And we cannot forget about our queen, Naomi Campbell

She's owned the look her whole career, from the runway to the red carpet, Ms. Campbell has always been on the forefront of casual beautiful looks.

Social media also got wind of Vogue's post, including actor O'Shea Jackson who like many of us, is just over it.

Maaaaaaan come on now. Come ooooon now. Bringing it back? Vogue stop this https://t.co/FEGSw3GM9V

— Stone Cold Shea Jackson (@OsheaJacksonJr) March 15, 2019

https://twitter.com/SassySouthpaw20/status/1106642402448732160

https://twitter.com/riridotxo/status/1106924628851728384

Perhaps there's a bit of truth of the theories of fashion outlets trolling readers but this just deserves a permanent eye roll.

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