Black Girls Run! Black Girls Run!

Black Girls Run Too!

Spring is upon us, and it's time to get back in shape!

What better way to lose the winter weight than to hit the park or the treadmill and run off some of those extra pounds from Fall and Winters' many holidays. We spoke with BlackGirlsRun.com founders, Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks, to get running tips on how Vixens across the country can get in shape and dispel rumors that running isn't a black sport.

Founded in 2009 to tackle the growing obesity epidemic in the African-American community and provide encouragement and resources to both new and veteran runners, Black Girls Run! has a mission to encourage African-American women to make fitness and healthy living a priority. They have a network of 70 running teams across the nation, and you have no excuse to not get involved!

Lace up your sneakers because Black Girls Run too!
VIBE VIXEN: Tell us how Black Girls Run! started?
ASHLEY: Black Girls Run! is three years old, and we started out as a blog back in March 2009. At the time, I had been running for two years, and we decided to start blogging about our running experiences since it was very few black women running.  We started off writing post on running, nutrition and health and fitness. From blogging, Twitter, and Facebook, we created a network initially of other Black runners and slowly we started bringing girls interested in running into the running community. Last year, we officially launched our own Black Girls Run! running group. Right now, we have over 60 groups and over 25,000 members.

Wow, your network grew fast. How do the various running groups work?
Ashley: We have running groups in different city with the largest being in major cities. We take in groups every six months for ambassadors who run the group in their city.

What type of women and runners are encouraged to participate in Black Girls Run!
TONI: We have people who have never run a day in their life to marathoners. It ranges from beginners to veteran runners

On the blog there is a post titled "Black Women Struggle with Body Image Too."  In Black culture, the voluptuous and full-figured woman is praised. What are your thoughts on that?
Toni: That's a tough question. On one hand, our community has done a disservice to woman by coining terms as "thick" and glorifying being bigger. While I believe that everyone should be comfortable in their own skin in regards to being overweight or obese, we shouldn't champion that. But then there is also the reverse end of that, where I think all women experience body image issues, and I think Black women get both ends of the spectrum.

What are some easy running routines that people can use to ease back into running?

What are some easy running routines that people can use to ease back into running?
Toni: The best plan that new runners can follow is the Couch to 5K program. It's 9 weeks, and it takes you from being a couch potato to running a 5k, which is over 3 miles. Using an interval program, you build up your endurance.

What's some good gear for ladies to buy to start running and getting back into shape?
Ashley: We always recommend that people get fitted for running shoes, because the easiest way to get injured is to go out and run in shoes not made for running or that are not appropriate for your stride. You also need a good sports bra.
Toni: Those are the two big things. And from there, as women commit to the sport, women should start investing in the proper materials. You should never wear cotton when running.

What are some of the misconceptions with African American female runners?
Toni: From my experience, one of the biggest misconceptions is that you have to look a certain way or be a certain size. The awesome thing about running is that someone bigger or older can have a faster pace. You can't categorize people with running. One of challenges is convincing women that they can begin to run if they are willing to put in the work and train for it.
Ashley: I agree with Toni. Once people decide that they are a runner, then they are a runner, regardless of what you see people who run marathons look like or what is portrayed on television.

It's still small percentage of African American runners. Why is that the case?
Ashley: We are slowly encouraging more African Americans to begin participating in running, but I think running is limited amongst African Americans because of culture reasons, due to lack of exposure and lack of information about the sport. I wasn't exposed to long distance running because my family exposed me to the more traditional sports. It's also due to lack of understanding of how and why you should run. Most people are used to running after a ball, not just running for sport, and I think that's the reason why there isn't a lot of African Americans involved in running today.

For more information on Black Girls Run! visit their site at www.blackgirlsrun.com and on twitter at @BlackGirlsRun.

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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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