Tionna Smalls Tionna Smalls

Vixen Chat [Part 2]: Tionna Smalls Slams 'Basketball Wives,' Seeks to Uplift Women

Since we were first introduced to Smalls on VH1's What Chili Wants, audiences have witnessed the blunt honest take an alternate route to get her point across. Instead of sugarcoating tips or giving faulty advice (which TV sometimes calls for), the 27-year-old media personality decided to pen books that serve as self-help manuals.

Girl Get Your Mind Right and most recent kickstart to a pocketbook series, Men Love Abuse, have gained a healthy amount of recognition, launching Tionna to the top of our list of relationships advisers. Should we sleep with the man we're dating? Do we give men too much power? Should we ignore his phone calls?

She answers it all, even adding in tales of her own love mishaps.

Vixen caught up with the Brooklyn native on her way to Lovey's boutique. In part I of this interview, she spills on why nice girls finish last, why she thinks celebs are watering down her lane and the top dating no-no's. But now, in part II, she's slamming VH1's Basketball and telling us her plans for future projects. --Niki McGloster
VIBE VIXEN: What is it that you think black women are doing wrong?

TIONNA SMALLS: Giving up too much for love. Women give up too much of themselves for love. We give up our coochie, our mouth, our past, at times we give up our bread, and it's gotta change. If I can’t save this generation, I will try to help the other generation and those girls coming up. I just do not like these women now.

With the younger girls, their is an issue of wanting to "claim" a man so quickly.
Ugh, girls are claiming everything these days. Very possessive these young girls are. Personally, I don’t want a young girl to be claimed. If you are 18 and under, you are too young to be claimed. I mean, I did it at a young age. But you have to ask yourself, Are you sad more than you are happy? Does your mother like him? Is he on your level? These are things that black women have to ask themselves. I’m writing a book for teenagers, and after I get a few more of these Pocketbook series out of the way, I’m going to write a book for the teenage girl. I’m gonna travel the world talking about it and like get serious with these teenager thing.

You've mentioned previously that crying in front of your man is a huge no-no, but why?
Take your ass in the shower and cry. You can’t be showing emotions to your man. You can’t cry in front of these people like that unless you maybe put in five or more years. But if it's only been a few months, and you cry because he made you upset about something, he got you. It’s like playing cards, you don’t show your whole hand in spades. You showing your cards by crying, and he knows he got you.

So when is it okay to cry?
I don’t think you should cry over relationship issues. I know some people may think, She is such a hard ass bitch, but when you are first in a relationship, you don’t need to be doing those things. Crying aint gonna change the situation.

Okay, let's switch gears. I know you've heard about Chad and Ev's situation.
I don’t watch Basketball Wives anymore for the simple fact that it lowers your IQ. I watched the show because my fans loved it and to watch with them, but I don’t like anyone on that show. Everyone [on the show] plays too tough. Staring at a bunch of weak bitches all day? I don’t have time for that.

You want to be inspired by something.
Yes, it's time! Shows like that are turning our children into whores. Like, I’m on a book signing tour right now, about to go back to school to be a therapist... I am doing stuff right now. I also study relationships outside of school, and I am finding that they are turning your kids in obsessive angry whores. What people don’t realize is that I actually sold a show to a network called Boss Chick. They sold it back to me saying that people don’t want to see females in bossy roles; they want to see drama. People don’t want to see women getting money; they want to see us fuck rappers and get money from players.

That's sad that networks don't really want to strictly showcase women being confident and being entrepreneurs.
That’s why they got Meeka [Claxton] off the show. Granted, Meeka may have came off a little messy on the show, but Meeka is doing it. She may not even know this, but I really admire her. Meeka Claxton has a wonderful husband, two beautiful daughters and she lives in a mansion in Long Island. She’s doing it, and the reason why they don’t want her on the show is because they don’t want to show that. They want to show bitches renting out condos. They don’t really have the best interest of black women on that show in mind.

You seem to really be about uplifting young women and teaching them something. What specifically do you want them to learn?
Entrepreneurship, financial literacy and independence, especially financial literacy. No matter what, we don’t know everything. I want to really teach young girls how to save. I’m only 27, and I’m just learning how to save for a rainy day. Before I even got on TV, I use to spend money, I used to waste money, I use to treat everybody to dinner, but now you won’t see me waste a lot of money. In the hood, we are taught to floss, but I definitely got something up my sleeves for the young girls. I want to create a non-profit after all this is done and be a boss chick. I got some classes coming called Entrepreneurial 101 for men and women because I never do anything for the men.

Lastly, what's the most important chapter in Men Love Abuse?
The most important one is “Never Let Him Have too Much Access” because that goes back to having your own, keeping your friends and never just making a man your all.

From the Web

More on Vibe

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)
Getty Images

BET To Release 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

Continue Reading
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.

Continue Reading
Mike Windle/Getty Images for McWraps

Tatyana Ali Shares She’s Pregnant With Second Child

A new bundle of joy is on the way for actress Tatyana Ali and her husband Dr. Vaughn Rasberry. On Saturday (April 13), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star shared the news on Instagram, posting a picture of her baby bump and an excited caption.

“I was on a work trip recently and I thought it was about time I captured my baby bump,” she wrote. “We’re so excited! They say every pregnancy is different and they ain’t lying. Phew! I’m exhausted this go round, swirling with emotion and starving, like constantly. Feeling very blessed.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I was on a work trip recently and I thought it was about time I captured my baby bump. We’re so excited! They say every pregnancy is different and they ain’t lying. Phew! I’m exhausted this go round, swirling with emotion and starving, like constantly. Feeling very blessed. #BabyRasberry

A post shared by Tatyana Ali (@tatyanaali) on Apr 13, 2019 at 7:52am PDT

 

View this post on Instagram

 

“Who are you calling?” I asked. He said, “the baby in Mama’s tummy”- Already in cahoots.

A post shared by Tatyana Ali (@tatyanaali) on Apr 14, 2019 at 6:47am PDT

In 2017, Ali and Rasberry had their first child, Edward, who arrived a year after the pair wed in July 2016. In an interview with Parents, Ali described her method to parenting, which she picked up from her mother and father.

“I’m more laid-back than I thought I’d be,” Ali said. “My dad was like this with me and my two sisters. While my mom was stricter, he said, ‘If you teach them everything they need to know, they’ll be prepared and figure things out.’”

Continue Reading

Top Stories