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Music Abroad: 5 International Vixens You Should Know

There is nothing new about talented Vixens coming from abroad and shining on American soil. Landing heavy rotation on radio stations and stealing the hearts of American fans, British singer Adele is the latest example of this, and Rihanna, hailing from the island of Barbados, has become one of music's biggest acts. Also, Sade Adu, of Nigerian and British descent, is known as a soul legend. Of course, there are more brilliant artists in the world who haven't quite cracked the American music mainstream. For those looking to upgrade their playlists with some audible treats, here is a list of five international songbirds worth your attention from now on. - Natelege Whaley

 

1. V V Brown
Reppin': England, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico
Signature Style: Pinned back bang, masks, costumes.

V V Brown's style of pop is in no way cookie cutter with its swing and explosiveness. She stepped on the scene with her debut album Travelling Like The Light in July 2009. The album made an appearance on the US Billboard charts peaking at 179. Her single "Shark in the Water," about a stint with a disloyal beau, charted at 67 in America. Although Brown hasn't blown-up per say, she has made her buzz in the industry performing at SXSW and also being invited by one of her musical influences, rapper Q-Tip, to perform at the Jack Daniel event in Los Angeles in June 2010. In September 2011, V V Brown released her single "Children" featuring Chiddy from Chiddy Bang. The song will be on her upcoming album Lollipops & Politics to be released in February.

Songs to Know: "L.O.V.E.," "Shark in the Water," "Children."


2. Shingai Shoniwa of The Noisettes
Reppin': England and Zimbabwe
Signature Style: Up-dos, gold and shimmer, color blocking.

With her voluminous hair always pinned up to show off her cocoa brown features that can compete with any top model, Shingai is definitely a style magnet. As leading lady of The Noisettes, she has released two albums since 2007 with the band including What's the Time Mr. Wolf and Wild Young Hearts (2009). Their catchy tunes meet somewhere between rock and pop, with Shingai's soulful chops bringing the songs alive. Born in South London, England, Shingai's childhood was not so fortunate, as her father died when she was 11, leaving her to be raised by a single mother. Music then became her escape from reality. This child-like reverie and excitement is always present in her live shows and music videos. So far, The Noisettes have performed at Coachella in 2007 and SXSW in 2006 amongst countless other shows. They are currently working on a new album.

Songs You Need To Know: "Don't Upset The Rhythm," "Never Forget You," "Every Now and Then."

3. Asa (Pronounced Asha)
Reppin': France and Nigeria
Signature Style: Quirky specs, buns.

The happy go-lucky singer Asa has made a name for herself in her birthplace of France and home country Nigeria. Inspired by her father's collection of Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley and Fela Kuti records, Asa decided to pursue a music career. Her self-titled debut released in 2007 and peaked at number 15 in France. Her sophomore album Beautiful Imperfection (2011), reached number 3 on the US Billboard World Music chart. Asa possesses a serene control on her 1960s inspired "Be My Man," and her song "Why Can't We" brings out more of her fun laid-back vibe. In 2011, Asa was nominated for Best Female Act in 2011 at the Victoires de la Musique (French Music Awards). She has also opened for Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg, Akon and John Legend, and has toured internationally.

Songs To Know: "The Way I Feel," "Why Can't We," "Be My Man."

4. Nneka
Reppin': Nigeria and Germany
Signature Style: Curly 'fro, natural, street-culture inspired.

Nneka, does not want to be your next pop superstar. Her hip-hop and reggae inspired tunes have given her a platform to record emotionally-charged responsive lyrics about unrest in her native Nigeria and in the world. This has brought her comparisons to Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill. Nneka began her musical career after moving from Nigeria to Germany. In April 2005, she opened for Sean Paul in Hamburg Stadtpark, Germany, and received great feedback, leading her to begin recording her first album Victim of Truth, released later that year. She followed up with No Longer at Ease (2008), and Soul Is Heavy in 2011. In 2010, Nneka, received an opportunity to be a more familiar face to America, coming aboard as the opening act for Nas and Damian Marley's Distant Relatives tour.

Songs To Know: "Heartbeat," "African," "Uncomfortable Truth."

5. Rebecca Ferguson
Reppin': England
Signature Style: Classic, retro chic.

Already being compared to Aretha Franklin and Macy Gray, with her stern and rich vocals, Rebecca Ferguson is another British singer to be reckoned with. Before becoming a contestant on the The X Factor UK, Rebecca was rejected from Britain's Got Talent and P. Diddy's Starmaker. Although distraught at first, she continued on with her dream. She wanted to win The X Factor, and being runner-up allowed her to have more creative freedom over her album. Her debut Heaven released December 2010, and the songbird's first single "Nothing's Real But Love" reached top ten on the UK Singles charts. Her second single "Too Good To Lose" will release March 4.

Songs To Know: "Nothing's Real But Love," "Glitter and Gold."

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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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