Lil Moe

She's Back! Lil' Mo Returns With "I Love Me," Explains Near-Death Experience

It wasn’t until this past summer at my girlfriends wedding that I was able to witness Ms. Cynthia Loving soulfully pour her heart out into a microphone. I was instantly a believer and knew that I wanted to musically collaborate with her. She rocked the crowd and made us all feel like it was time to fall in love and settle down.

Growing up military style, Lil' Mo bounced from state to state and was forced to change friends and schools often. Even though this wasn’t something that she enjoyed, Mo admits that this unique upbringing enabled her to “just know how to flow with it." Today, the songstress, songwriter, and radio personality understands how her foundation was designed to help her achieve the heights that she’s been able to reach. Managing her independent label Honey Child Entertainment Inc. for the past 10 years, she’s kept her business in-house for the latter benefit. If you thought that she left, then guess again, because she’s not going anywhere! Get to know the voice behind some of hip-hop's classic records.

VIBE Vixen: How did you come up with Lil Mo?
Lil Moe: Me and my mom have the same name so I wanted to get away from being the part two. I came up with it 12 years ago. It’s easy to remember because you use it everyday no matter what you say. 'Let me get a lil' mo' sugar. Let me get a lil' mo' nail polish.' [laughs]

VV: How is it juggling three kids, a husband and a music career?
LM: I have two girls and a 2-year-old son. My son knows he drives me crazy. He busts in the bathroom and everything. I tell him, 'You can’t come in I have to wipe,' and he says, 'No, mommy you don’t have to wipe.' Ugh! Are you kidding me right now?

VV: How long were you signed to Cash Money?
LM: I signed to Cash Money in ‘04, like a month after I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, and I left in ‘05. They’re a family-owned business, Bryan and Ronald run everything. At the end of the day, they kept it all in-house. It was a good experience.

VV: P.S. I Love Me the name of your new album. Where does that come from?
LM: I took a hiatus from the industry. I realized that you can lose yourself if you don’t love yourself enough or if you get too engulfed in the industry or just caught up in what people say about you. What really matters is the love for yourself, and you really have to go back to what you got into the industry for. My foundation and the only product that I’ve been wanting to push is the love for self. I came out talking I was a superwoman, I came out talking about you trying to love forever, everything I did was built off of that foundation, but one thing I never wanted to compromise was the love for myself. I never compromise my integrity, my dignity, my self-respect or my work. With that being said, my reputation has always been like that’s the girl from around the way, and since I have a lot of around the way girls and and guys that listen to me, I felt like I needed to approach the issues that we’re dealing with in the community and the biggest one is low self-esteem.

VV: Do your daughters sing?
LM: They actually do. Right now they’re at that stage when they’ll sing all loud in the house and be hyped, and when they get around people they are shy. My son, he’s actually the loud one.

VV: I was watching a YouTube video recently, and I saw you talking about a near death experience. What happened and how did it affect your life?
LM: Well that was earlier this year. I had a show at the radio station, and I was traveling back and forth everyday. Sleep deprivation and improper dieting really can take a toll on your body. Me not knowing, I was like, I’ma take these diet pills and I’m just gonna get up. I was drinking energy drinks: one in the morning, the afternoon and the night and I was taking sleeping pills. It was really jacking me up. My body just shut down while I was driving home one day. I had enough strength to pull to the side of the road on the highway and rush out of traffic with my elbows. Thank God that all you have to do is push a button, and it will make an emergency call. They found me and took me to the hospital. All of my levels, my blood, sugar, potassium, oxygen, everything was like... I’m lucky that I didn’t have a seizure or didn’t go to an anxiety coma. I felt myself getting weak. I just went on the side of the road and said, 'Lord, please don’t let me die on this highway.'

VV: What can we expect with this new record? What’s some of the touring and projects that you’ve been working on?
VV: Well I’m resurfacing not as an artist but as an entertainer/entrepreneur. I’ve reached out to a lot of the relationships that I’ve made in the industry. For my first street single “On The Floor.” I called Fat Man Scoop; we have a party record. I shot a video for “I Love Me” which is title of the album. We got Tweet, and she’s coming off of retirement. I got Dawn Richard from Dirty Money; we did a song together. The mission that I want to accomplish with this album and in the industry is just to put out good music. A lot of people say the industry is dead. Well the only people that can revive it are the people who can really write, who have a track record, who are connected and respect it. Not just let me put out this song for the radio. No it doesn’t work that way anymore. That’s why I admire Mary J. Blige because she’s been consistent since day one.

VV: How will you be spending Christmas?
LM: My family and I will be spending Christmas in church and with each other. It's rare that I am without them on the holidays. I don't just mean my husband and three children, I'm talking about all of us. Momma, Daddy, my sister and her hubby and their four kids and my crazy brothers. And we are gonna eat and open presents and act a mess as usual. Never a dull moment at the "LOVING" household [laughs]!

Check out a snippet of our record “Mystery” below:

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VIBE Vixen- Karissa Maggio

Best Of VIBE Vixen's Boss Talk Podcast: Saweetie, Amara La Negra And More On Making Boss Moves

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.'

We rounded up some of our favorite pieces of advice from our first few episodes! Our bosses so far have ranged from rappers (Saweetie and Kash Doll), to authors (Karyn Parsons) to activists (Peppermint). Each of the bosses invited on the show have had some incredible journeys, and we thank them for giving us insight into how they've become the bosses they are today.

Whether they're thanking their mothers for inspiring them to be their best (like Amara La Negra), or chalking up some boss moves to being their authentic selves (Bevy Smith), this retrospective episode focuses on the awesome words these bosses have shared with us thus far.

Listen below to our "Best Of..." episode as well as all of the episodes of Boss Talk Podcast. Be on the lookout for new episodes coming soon.

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Photo by Chance Yeh/Getty Images for A+E

Andrea Kelly Says She's Been Attacked For Calling Out R. Kelly's Behavior

Andrea Kelly has found it hard to march for women as they continue to support her polarizing ex-husband, R. Kelly.

The former choreographer shared her sentiments on an upcoming episode of Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta shared on Entertainment Tonight. Speaking with close friend Debra Antney, Kelly tearfully expressed her frustrations with her ex-husband and praised Antey for sticking by her side.

The former couple was previously in a child support battle for their children Joann, 21, Jay, 19, and Robert, 17. During the time of filming, Kelly owed $161,000 in back child support to his ex. In May, it was reportedly paid off by a mysterious donor.

"When I think about the ways that I have been abused by Robert, from being hogtied, having both of my shoulders dislocated, to being slapped, pushed, having things thrown as me, the sexual abuse, the mental abuse, words can't even describe," she said.

In addition to the child support case, Kelly was charged with 11 felony counts of sexual assault. He's pleaded not guilty despite reported evidence of videotapes that reportedly show the entertainer engaging in sexual acts with minors. Andrea tells Antey how difficult the process has been for her since speaking out about Kelly's behavior in the Lifetime docu-series, Surviving R. Kelly. 

"Here I am, putting myself in a position because I want to help women, and they are attacking me," she said. "There's some things that I don't even speak anymore, that I feel like, once you give it to God, you better leave with God, because if I don't leave it with God, I'm definitely going to be somewhere with my hands on the glass, visiting my children every other Sunday."

Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on WEtv.

Watch the clip here.

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Courtesy of Baby Tress

Baby Tress' Edge Styler Ensures Women Of Color Will Always Shake The Beauty Table

"Do you have edge control in here?"

It's an inquiry my niece asked me over the weekend as we got ready for our cousin's graduation. Atlanta's heat is friendly but mixed with nimbus clouds, frizz (and thunderstorms) are on the horizon. Given the circumstances, a high bun seems to be the best choice for me and my niece, a slick-back style with extra attention to our baby hairs. It's typical for either one of us to grab a toothbrush to slick and swoop our edges with pomade or gel, but with The Baby Tress Edge Styler, the process is easier and equally as stylish.

Created by boutique communications agency Mama Tress, the styler is everything baby hair dreams are made of. It's also a testament to the rise of the "style" in popular hair culture. With a dual comb and brush top, its pointed tip elevates a consumer to baby hair connoisseur.

But the styler isn't something created to appropriate black culture or piggyback on what boosts the most likes on social media. The handy styler was created by Mama Tress CEO Hannah Choi and her team consisting of other women of color like public relations coordinator Mariamu "Mimi" Sillah. The New York native tells VIBE Vixen the styler was made as a gift for an event they hosted but its intentions to propel black hair were always present.

"We try to make it clear that this is for women of color. Because we all understand the history of baby hair, we all have connections, we all have stories, we all do it differently, some people swoop it; if you see some of my coworkers they do the swirls," she said. "This is a product that we want everyone to see and think, 'I don't need to be using a toothbrush. I deserve more than a toothbrush.' This is a tool made thoughtfully with women of color in mind and we are women of color who came up with the idea because we know what we need."

Coming in six different colors, the styler's bristles are stronger than a typical toothbrush and give anyone's edges a look all their own. Over the years, styled baby hairs have gotten the white-washed celeb treatment. From the runways of New York Fashion Week to fans of black culture like Kim Kardashian, its recent love affair among popular culture crosses out its rich roots.

Many have attributed the actual rise of baby hairs to the '70s with pioneers like LaToya Jackson and Sylvia Robinson of CEO Sugar Hill Records sporting their luxurious edges with Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas being the all-time queen. Recent entertainers like Ella Mai and FKA twigs have made them fun and creative. There are also the many Latinx and black around the way queens who have kept the culture alive.

 

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“Our tool is more than a beauty product, it’s a conversation starter," Choi, who is of Korean descent, previously told fashion site Beauty Independent. "There are nuances of someone’s world that you won’t see if you’re not part of that community. And we felt that the conversation around why this market is so underserved should be brought to light and talked about. We are seeing such a big change now in fashion and beauty in terms of representation, and we want to be able to have that conversation without it being heavy. We want it to be approachable. Our brand is very approachable.”

When it comes to moving in the black hair space, Sillah feels empowered at Mama Tress. It also makes it easy to develop black hair tools like the styler. "I feel like my voice is listened to because I am a consumer of all these things. It's empowering to be in a position to have more control," she said. "If we're being honest, a lot of the black hair spaces are not owned by people who look like us. To be in a position where I can say "No, don't create this product, we don't wear things like this,' or 'Actually you should name it this because this resonates with this community,' I'm an advocate for my community. That's part of the reason why Baby Tress was created because it's about a larger conversation, about things not being thoughtfully made for us."

Baby Tress' next steps are to make the styler accessible to consumers and create even more products dedicated to black women.

“We need to be in retail spaces because this is a product you need to see up close and touch it and play with it,” said Shannon Kennard, account executive at Mama Tress tells Glossy. “Everyone who tries it falls in love with it.”

Sillah is more than ready for women of color to elevate their beauty regimen, one creation at a time. The future of Baby Tress includes an array of more products designed with women of color in mind.

"Anything that has to do with baby hair, we can bring to Baby Tress and make it beautifully designed and effective," she said.  "That's what this is about. It's about that step up. Again, we should not be using a toothbrush anymore."

Learn more about Baby Tress here.

 

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