Rita Ora Rita Ora

On the Come-Up: 5 Fierce Female Singers to Watch

It’s not often the Roc's head honcho passes through with new artist in tow, so when Jay-Z randomly decided to visit Clear Channel with Rita Ora last month, we already knew she was something special.

She's got the looks (she notes Gwen Stefani as a strong influence) and also packs voice. And if her career takes off similarly to that of another Hov-stamped Diamond princess (Jay-Z first introduced Rihanna to the world around 2005), the future could hold a lot of promise for Roc Nation's spunky newcomer.

But Miss Ora isn’t the only songstress currently on the come-up. Flanking Rita are five other vivacious vocalists worth noting, so get your iPods ready. Today VIBE takes the time to get you well-acquainted.

Bridget Kelly

On BK’s saucy remix of Miguel’s “Quickie,” she sets the record straight: “So disrespectful, I'll be the one to check you,” she sings, later telling him to “knock his own wood” since he won’t be knocking her. And that’s exactly what makes this Roc Nation siren so easily noteworthy: she’s feisty. Nevermind the fact that she’s been Jay-Z’s go-to A.Keys stand-in for live renditions “Empire State of Mind” or that she hit the road with Estelle for the UK singer’s tour – the fact of the matter is this girl can blow. Try her "Every Girl" EP on for size.

Listen:
Bridget Kelly – “Seek and Destroy”

Connect:
Rocnation.com/bridgetkelly
@theycallmeBK
Tiara Thomas

"I didn’t know I was going to be on the mixtape," Tiara Thomas said of her feature on Wale’s "More About Nothing." "I got on Twitter and was like, 'Why do I have all of these new followers?'"

Sure, 19,000+ followers may be considered a lot for an aspiring artist still in college, but Miss Thomas isn’t your ordinary lady rap-singer. For one, she has a penchant for picking brash rap lyrics and making them melodically palatable. For two, she comes equipped with this aura that has followers dubbing her a young Lauryn Hill. Maybe it’s her skills with the acoustic guitar? Or perhaps it’s the fact that she’s not bad with the bars. Whatever it is, we’re into it, and we think you may be, too.

Listen:
Tiara Thomas – “Are You That Somebody” (Aaliyah Cover)

Connect:
Youtube.com/user/xsmall18
@tiara_thomas
Sabi

Before you heard Sabi on Cobra Starship’s “You Make Me Feel,” she was one half of Warner Brothers girl group The Bangz. But once band mate Ella Ann was injured and the group was no more, Sabi went on to pave a new lane as a solo artist. Since then, she’s collaborated with Britney Spears, gone on tour with Spears and Nicki Minaj, and released a single called “Wild Heart” that was featured on the trailer for "Kourtney and Kim Take New York."

Listen:
Sabi – “Wild Heart”

Connect:
Officialsabi.com
@sabisoundz
Kimbra

Australia’s Kimbra is not a book to be judged by its cover. On the outside she’s a sophisticated lady with a comely appearance, but when she opens her mouth, fire emerges. Kimbra’s sound can best be described as new-age jazzy, classy enough for the old heads yet cool enough for contemporary popsters. The 21-year-old has had much success with her debut "Vows." Most recently, she was featured on indie artist Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.”

Listen:
Kimbra – “Cameo Lover”

Connect:
Kimbramusic.com
@kimbramusic
Melody Thornton

If you haven’t yet heard Melody Thornton’s cover of “No Church in the Wild,” you may want to do yourself a favor. “Lipstick&Guilt” captures Melody at her peak since topping charts with the Pussycat Dolls, and after taking out some recup time to embark on a solo career, the diva finally reemerges with her mixtape, "P.O.Y.B.L." (Piss On Your Black List), which we can’t wait to hear once it drops on March 15.

Listen:
Melody Thornton – “Love Gun”

Connect:
Onlythemelody.com
@MelodyThornton

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VIBE Vixen/ Jessica Xie

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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