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VV R&B Roundup: Drake, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Elle Varner and more!

If you're ever feeling like you're out of the loop in R&B, say no more. Check out our Vixen R&B Roundup made weekly, and especially for you. Spread the word, be in-the-know, and stay lovely!

Have a great Friday! - Aliya Faust (@liyaaaaa)

If nobody else sees Olivia's potential, at least Sean Kingston does. After releasing the video for the "Walk Away" single she sang on VH1's Love & Hip-Hop, she's back. This time, on Kingston's newly released "Sun Don't Shine." Looks like 'Liv is still grinding. #Respect. We see you! Which reminds me: You know how Basketball Wives' Kenya Bell has been looking to break into the music industry? Well, she sort of got her shot. Guess who scored lead video girl in K'Jon's new music video for "Bad Gurl"? Yup.

elle varner

And yaaas! to Elle Varner for releasing a new video for "Refill," the second single off her upcoming album, Perfectly Imperfect. Remember when music videos had storylines? This is it! In the story of a small-town girl with big city dreams, boy meets girl, they dine and dash, steal a car, sneak into a club, miss curfew and only exchange half of their phone numbers before the girl is rushed back to her small town. Perfectly cute.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJIbNepRCS8&version=3&hl=en_US]

chris brown

On to the men of the week... Chris Brown's doing it all, huh? Singing, rapping (whoa there! *Big Sean voice*), producing and directing music videos! Plus, he dropped another single called "Sweet Love" from his upcoming album, Fortune. Did I mention his feature on DJ Khaled's "Take It to the Head," featuring Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne, dropped this week, too? #YouGoBoy!

trey songz

Trey Songz is another jetsetting crooner. He debuted a video for "Sex Ain't Better Than Love" last week, and he's back this week with a new single titled "Heart Attack" off his upcoming album, Chapter V. It's quite a change from the usual sexy-time and party music. "It’s important for me to keep my music urban and keep my music what I started it to be as ‘cause it’s not cool to be an R&B singer no more. That’s not the thing to do if you want a hit and I think we as the gatekeepers we gotta make sure that we bring that music to the forefront," he said in an interview with The Breakfast Club.

drake and rihanna

Speaking of moods: Drake!

He wants to make an album with his "Take Care" co-star, Rihanna! He told UK's Capital FM, "I've always urged her to let me come and really work on an album for her, with her. I feel like I could do some great writing for her." With their chemistry, his writing and her Bajan rebel flare--That'd. Be. Dope! The two were actually spotted hanging out this week at Drake's Club Paradise concert. Rihanna had been in London promoting her debut acting role in the upcoming movie, Battleship, slated to hit theaters May 2012.

In her route to making a musical comeback, Toni Braxton released a video for her new single, "I Heart You." We get to see a more loose side of Toni, something her sisters encourage. The Braxton Family Values season 2 reunion premiered on WE tv last night (March 29), too. Toni revealed that her marriage to her "wasband" (ex-husband) was just finalized after almost three years of being separated. Fear of how their kids would react to the news was supposedly the reason for the prolonging the act.


PERFECT WAY TO ROUNDOFF THE WEEK
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Kelly Price, Luke James and Stacy Francis recently put their vocals down and their hoodies up for a Chaka Khan-pioneered musical track, "Fear Kills. Love Heals," dedicated to the late Trayvon Martin. The song is a re-cut of Chaka Khan's "Super Life" and includes Hollywood appearances by Angela Bassett, Eva Marcille, Loretta Devine, Boris Kodjoe, Rebecca/Terry Crews and more.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2_Pu9AewsM]

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VIBE Vixen's Boss Talk Podcast: Meet Peppermint, The Boss Using Her Gifts For Good

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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