Tionna Smalls Tionna Smalls

Vixen Chat [Part 1]: Tionna Smalls Talks 'Men Love Abuse' and Dating No-No's

Relationship expert, entrepreneur and author Tionna Smalls is a no-holds-barred kind of Vixen.

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. --Niki McGloster

VIBE VIXEN: How do you feel about Musiq Soulchild writing a book on relationships?
TIONNA: I mean, I love Musiq. We were together last year at The Women’s Empowerment Conference, and we were discussing relationships. He has a good amount of knowledge, [but] I just feel like everyone is trying to jump on it now. Like, him, Tyrese and Steve Harvey, it’s all becoming a mess now. And it’s messing it up for people that do this for a living. There are a lot of guys that you guys don’t know about.

Like who? Who can you name that we should be on the lookout for?
You got Paul Brunson. He’s on the come-up! He is about to have his own show. Tony Gaskins. A lot of people know him on Twitter, but a lot of people don’t know him on the mainstream arena. It’s like all us relationship people should get together and record an album get make some money. [Laughs]

Now on that same note, there are popular relationship bloggers and writers in the mix. You have Demetrius Lucas, Jozen Cummings... What are your feelings on that angle?
I don’t think about them. I just do what I do. I’ve been doing this for awhile, and we are in two different arenas. I feel like we talk about the same stuff but don’t talk about the same stuff.

What are some things that you think qualifies a person as an expert?
That’s just a title that someone gives people like me. I don’t think I’m an expert; I’m more of a relationship coach. I’m going back to school to be a therapist because I’m really good at it, and I’m taking it seriously. I think what makes someone an expert is having their papers together. You aren’t an expert until you have all those things together, but if you are really good at this you will be able to influence, you are able to empower and you are able to lead people. I always put on Twitter, ‘I’m your leader,’ and I always say that because when it comes down to entrepreneurship and this relationship stuff, I’m the best that has ever did it. I mean as a young female.

It seems that people trust your opinion, especially since your appearances on What Chili Wants.
Because I keep it real, that’s why. and people don’t keep it real. That’s why I share my own story; I don’t write books that say, 'Oh, you better do this and do that.' I share stories of myself and others. Most of my books are 50 percent my life and 50 percent the life of others, so I’m learning.I definitely respect that you share your own stories. Now, you rag on the " nice" girls when it comes to your new book. Have you ever been a nice girl?
I’ve never been a nice girl. I believe nice girls finish last. I mean it’s sad, but I believe you have to be [tough].

What about the girls that are just naturally nice?
Being nice has gotten you what? Are you married? Are you with the guy of your dreams? Does he drive you places? Nah? You have a big fat zero! Therefore you don’t need to be nice but don’t get me wrong you can’t be too bitchy because you will lose but with my man it’s a balance I get nicer every year.

[Laughs] So what is it that these nice girls should do to be less nice?
Become more aggressive. I would tell them to read my book first, then try to be a little more aggressive to be a little not passive and they will see results immediately.

You can guarantee that?
I can guarantee that one specifically. It’s like you don’t put yourself in situations where you don’t want things to happen. For example, if you don’t want to have sex, don’t put yourself in the position to want to have sex. Dudes will try to play you. They will try their luck with you early.

So you learned fairly early that men love abuse?
My father would always tell me about the game when I was young. I was eight and my sister was 12 back, and he taught us very non-traditionally. Like, of course we all make mistakes, but I learned from them and I never made the same mistake twice. Disappointed maybe, but never heartbroken twice.

You advise not cooking for a man that you're dating. What are some other things that you would put on the 'do not' list?
Save the Suck! That's one of the main chapters in my book. You don’t need to be giving all your sex to your man. Like, we all did it; I was the head master at one point, but we can just keep on sucking and jiving with a man that’s not your man. And stop giving him so much access. Women we have to change in 2012 because black women are losing and not finding love.

Check back for Part II tomorrow!

From the Web

More on Vibe

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. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Head Over Heels (@hohmusical) on Jan 31, 2019 at 12:26pm PST

"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.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

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.

Continue Reading
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

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.

Continue Reading

Top Stories