Teedra Moses Teedra Moses

VIXEN Chat: Teedra Moses Talks "The Lioness," Rick Ross + Kreayshawn Beef

The last time we sat down with New Orleans' sassy songstress, Teedra Moses had just penned her name to Rick Ross’ rising Maybach Music Group. Shortly after, she took the realm of underground R&B by storm with her widely received mixtape Luxurious underGrind. But what has MMG’s first lioness been up to since then? In a recent follow-up interview, Miss Teedra was gracious enough to give VIBE Vixen the juice on life as an MMG signee, why it’s taking so long for her sophomore album to drop, and even put in her two cents about that scandalous Rick Ross/Kreayshawn beef.- Stephanie Long

VIXEN: The last time we checked in with you, you had just signed to MMG. What’s it been like since then?
TEEDRA: Since then, I started to work on a mixtape that I released on July 4th of this year, and I released a video for “R U 4 Real”. [I’ve] just kind of been doing  a lot of putting myself back out there so that people become aware that I’m still doing music again. I’ve been pretty much been working on getting the buzz back, and it’s been pretty successful. I just released a remix to one of the records that I had from the Luxurious underGrind tape, a remix with Wale on it, and it’s getting really great reception. It’s getting people prepped and reminding them of what I did with Complex Simplicity and making them ready for The Lioness.

Yeah, definitely, and that recent mixtape received a lot of love and positive feedback. When can we expect to get the album?
The situation with the album is that I make songs, then I wanna do something else. I have four songs that have never changed. Now I have a total of 10 songs that make up the album, and there’s a couple more I’m working on. But the thing with the album is just when the label is ready. I can’t push before the label, you know what I mean? So what I do is just try to make sure I’m ready. I’m always ready and do my part to create the buzz to make it a priority to put the record out.

For sure. Do you feel pressure to make this album perfect since Complex Simplicity came out such a long time ago?
No, I don’t feel a pressure to make it perfect. I just feel a pressure to make it a press-play kind of album. I just feel strongly about making it something that stands out. Perfect? I don’t even know what that is, but I just really want it to stand out to me. That’s the hardest part, getting me on board like everything is good. I almost didn’t put out Luxurious underGrind because I was like, ‘Ughhh, this is just not good enough,’ but I had to step away from it and go back and listen to it and say ‘No, no, this is good, let’s go!’ So that’s kind of how I have to do it sometimes, but I’m not trying to be perfect. I don’t think there is such a thing.

Okay. Are there any curveballs on this album or anything that will have the fans significantly surprised?
I’m influenced by groups like Kings of Leon. I’m influenced by groups like Little Dragon. I’m influenced by people like Bob Marley. Everybody knows my sound. It’s clear; that’s why I stuck to it. But with this album, because it is an album and because I’ve done these records always doing my sound, I’m trying to come with a little influence of different things that my ear intakes. For instance, the “Another Luvr” track from Luxurious underGrind, it’s a little bit of a different rhythm for me because I’m just trying to take from what I’m listening to at that time. At that time, I was listening to the Midnight Marauders album. On The Lioness, I'm taking from things I listen to. “Ritual Union” is one of my favorite songs from Little Dragon. I love how that song is so soulful and soft, but it bangs and it makes you move. So I listen to records like that and say, ‘I wanna take that formula’ and make a record. It’ll be different than the regular two-step that you’re used to hearing with my records.

Nice! Now going back to MMG, how come you weren’t on the compilation album?
I was on the compilation album, but I came into the situation when it was almost done.I flew out to New York and just did some vocals on some records, I did a hook on a couple records, but I didn’t really do a song because it really was a rap album. And I’m not the kind of person that will force myself into a position, you know? It has to be organically done, and I just had to play my position. One of my favorite records is the first record, “Self Made." I’m singing harmonies, and I feel that I’m a really good arranger and I use my instrument well. I think that’s a perfect example of me putting my impact on a record without me saying one word. I was on there, but I wasn’t on there in the sense of having a whole record or a whole verse. We tried some of that, but it was just kind of forced. I’m not into that. It’s not about quantity; it’s about quality, and I think the places where I was placed on a record were in quality places where my voice was highlighted.

Tell us one thing you’ve learned about or from each of the guys since signing – Ross, Meek, Wale, all of them.
You know what I learned? They’re very hungry, and they’re very competitive. They don’t sleep; they just work, work, work, work, work. They try to consistently make music, and it’s really inspirational to me. They’re not dominating rap music because of some fluke; they really put in the grind. I look at Rick Ross, and he really amps everybody up to just go out and do a great job, so that’s kind of what I take from them.

That’s what’s up. Audra The Rapper is known to be an affiliate of MMG. What’s your relationship like with her?
You know, I’ve never really talked to Audra. We’ve talked on Twitter a couple of times, but I just liked her off rip. I don’t know her too distinctively, but I like Audra because she just says what she wants to say. We were supposed to work together, but it never has panned out. I haven’t had the chance to make a close relationship with her, but I think she’s talented and I like her personality. She also works hard. I’ve always admired people paving their own way. I fuck with her.

Dope! So final question, and I have to ask, what’s your take on the whole Rick Ross and Kreayshawn beef? Because I know they got into a little something backstage at the VMAs.
Girrrl! [Laughs] I didn’t know they had beef. I’ve heard of Kreayshawn, but I really don’t know who she is like that. I really don’t think Ross is affected, though – I can tell you that part.

[Laughing] Okay, well is there anything you’d like to add?
Nah, man, I’m here, I’m working hard, I’m prepping for a really good sophomore album to finally, finally come out. And in case people missed the July 4th release of Luxurious underGrind, I would ask them to please go download it at www.teedramoses.net [Laughs]

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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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Actress Gabrielle Union attends the Being Mary Jane premiere, screening, and party on January 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
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BET To Unveil Edible Billboard For 'Being Mary Jane' Wedding Finale

As Being Mary Jane comes to an end, BET is willing to offer fans a taste of what's to come in the series finale.

The network has enlisted the help of Ayesha Curry, celebrity cook and cookbook author, to create an edible billboard that also doubles as a wedding cake. The sweet treat will commemorate Mary Jane's (played by Gabrielle Union) nuptials in the two-hour series finale.

On April 20 from 1:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal in New York, fans will be presented with the edible billboard. At the intersection of Ashland Place and Hanson Place, the closer Being Mary Jane enthusiasts get to the billboard the quicker they'll notice that the four-tiered wedding cake is created from individual boxes, each containing a slice of Curry's prized wedding cake.

All fans have to do is pull a box from the billboard, snap a picture for the 'Gram, take a bite and enjoy. Although lovers of the show won't be able to celebrate with Mary Jane herself, biting into a slice of her wedding cake, for free, is the next best thing.

Don't forget to tune into the series finale of Being Mary Jane on Tues. (April 23) at 8/7 c.

Also, check out what's to come on the series of Being Mary Jane below.

Save the date! 👰🏾It'll be worth the wait. Join us for the series finale of #BeingMaryJane TUES APR 23 8/7c only on @BET! pic.twitter.com/jEwkbC71OW

— #BeingMaryJane (@beingmaryjane) March 29, 2019

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The North Face

Ella Mai On The North Face's 'Explore Mode' Campaign, New Music And Living In The Moment

Ella Mai is in her own age of exploration. Her eponymous debut album scored her a platinum plaque with her breakout hit, "Boo'd Up" earning her a Grammy for Best R&B Song. But the accolades aren't driving her creative path. The arc in her compass is all about the places she's traveled, the people she's met and the lessons learned along the way.

"To be honest, personally, exploration is like growth. I feel like if you don't explore new things, whether it's going outside, meeting people or trying new food, you won't ever grow because you're just stuck in your little comfort zone which can be super scary to come out of," she tells VIBE at The North Face's Explore Mode event in New York on Monday (April 15). The singer is one of three women (including model-activist Gabrielle Richardson and chef Angela Dimayuga) who teamed up with the brand to share a message of enjoying the outside world without digital confinement and the global initiative to make Earth Day a national holiday.

The London native's urge to explore came in handy over the weekend when she performed in the brisk desert of Coachella. Inspired by artists like Rihanna and Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mai helped fans enjoy the hazy sunset as she performed hits like "Trip" and her latest No. 1 song, "Shot Clock."

"It's such a good feeling, especially when it comes to radio," she shared about her track reaching No. 1 on the airplay chart. "I wasn't even sure if people listened to the radio because people have so much access to streaming platforms, but obviously having all three of my singles from my debut album, go number one on urban radio is incredible."

That energy was brought to the Coachella stage with the festival being her biggest artistic exploration so far.

"My favorite part of the performance would have to be when I performed "Naked" and because it was dark, and I performed when the sun went down, I couldn't see how far the crowd actually went back. But during "Naked," it was such an intimate moment I asked everyone to put their lights up (phones) and when I saw how far it went back I was like, "Woah." That moment sealed it for me."

"Even there were two people in the audience, I still would've done my best," she added. "But just to see the crowd be so engaged, even if they didn't know the music, was a really good feeling. I had so much fun."

As the festival energy in Indio, Calif. continued to thrive, another rested on the streets of Los Angeles following the loss of Nipsey Hussle. With the singer having ties to those close to the rapper like DJ Mustard, she says the shift in the city was hard to ignore.

"As weird as it sounds, you felt it," she said. "Even in the weather, it was super hot and then everyone got the news and it started raining. Just a weird energy shift." As a new L.A. resident, the singer says Nipsey's influence cannot be denied.

"I feel like the energy shift went both ways; everyone was really sad, grieving and mourning but everyone feels more inspired by what he was doing that they want to go out and do something and change in their community. It's still a very touchy subject in L.A., especially the people that I'm around since they were very close to him. I think everyone is super inspired to do better and try to be more like him, which is great to see. YG's whole set at Coachella was dedicated to him, I know Khalid had a dedication to Mac Miller. Everyone is super aware of what Nipsey was trying to do and how he wanted to change the world."

Engaging in The North Face's mission to explore seemed to be in the cards for Mai. Like many of us, Mai was familiar with the brand's effective coolness factor. "I remember running home and telling my mom that I needed a Jester Backpack because my cousin had one as well, and it's similar to the other stories, I wanted to be like my older cousin (laughs) so my mom ended up getting me one." But there's also the incentive to showcase the importance of stepping away from the phone screens and into leafy green forests.

"I'm such a live-in-the-moment person," she says of her lack of identity on social media. While she might share a thought or two on social media, Mai is interested in appreciating the world around her. "I feel like everyone is so consumed about documenting the day, you don't really get to live the day. You just watch it back but I like to have the memories in my head. Of course, sometimes, I'll take out my phone but I try to live in the moment as much as possible."

Part of that mission is ensuring Earth Day is celebrated the right way. With the support of Mai, Richardson, and Dimayuga, The North Face officially launched a petition to make Earth Day a national holiday.

“The North Face is no stranger to exploration and this Earth Day we are proud to join our partners and fellow explorers in a global effort to make Earth Day a national holiday,” said Global General Manager of Lifestyle at The North Face, Tim Bantle. “We believe that when people take time to appreciate the Earth, they feel more connected to it and are more likely to protect it. Explore Mode urges us to unplug from our digital lives to connect in real life to the world, each other, and ourselves in the effort to move the world forward.”

Mai hasn't hit her all of her exploration goals just yet. "I really want to go to Indonesia or Bali," she said. "That's one of my Bucket List places I really, really, really wanna go." For her essentials, the singer knows she has to bring along a windbreaker set and of course, a jester backpack. "I think the backpack is the most important thing."

In addition to a few trips around the globe, one destination includes the studio for new music. While she hasn't had time to lock down a moment to record, the inspiration is sizzling.

"When I work in the studio, I like to be like there for a good amount of time," she explains. "I like to block off two to three weeks at a time, I don't like to go to different studios and different places, it's just a comfort thing but I'm very excited to get back cause I have a lot of talk about. I've seen so many different places and met so many new people and a lot that I didn't get to experience last year."

Learn more about The North Face's petition for Earth Day here.

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