Miranda Brooke Miranda Brooke

Vixen Chat: Miranda Brooke Talks Balancing Relationships and Her Vibrant Style

Southern songbird Miranda Brooke knows how to play with the boys (see VIBE mag shot on next page), but the confident, stylish mixed chick has a knack for singing the lives of young ladies.

Stamped by the Bu Vision imprint beneath Island Def Jam's umbrella, the 21-year-old Tennessee-bred signee got comfortable with the mic from an early age, then her unstoppable hustle began. Brooke finally flew to southern music mecca, Atlanta, and garnered well-deserved co-signs from music top hitmakers, including Jermaine Dupri, Sean Garrett and Bryan Michael Cox.

Currently, the bubbly and quite vocal songstress is holed up in the studio recording her debut effort and pushing broken-hearted girl anthem "Hater." VIBE Vixen caught up with MB to discuss why a man in her life won't slow her down, the beauty products she swears by and what sets her apart from your everyday artist.

 

Were you nervous when you first signed to Def Jam?
Yes! Are you kidding me? LA Reid was head here at the time, and I was like, Oh my God! I have to sing for L.A. Reid right now. But he was so cool about everything. He believed in me, so he welcomed me into open arms. Then he ended up leaving and doing X-Factor, so Barry Weiss came in. I had to re-audition and everything. Thank you, Jesus, that they both believed in me! That’s major. Not many artists can say that they had to audition twice.

What was the most difficult part of your journey?
That hardest would have to be me being in public school. Most people who want to be artists are home-schooled, but I did public schooling. When you’re trying to be a singer, and you’re in public school, people hate on you and they discourage you. I felt like that was pretty hard, but I believed in myself so that kept me going. I would be sad some days after school, but I kept pushing.

Touching on the topic of haters, your lead single, "Hater" takes on a different meaning. Hands down, it's a very relatable and honest record about getting your heart broken.
That’s what I’m trying to do.

Did you pull anything from an experience for that?
That’s a real life experience. Then I see my friends go through it all the time, especially in college. 'Oh my gosh, I can’t believe he dates her!' [Laughs]

Are you in a relationship now?
Yeah I am.

How is that influencing your music and even the journey of your career?
My business comes first, and as long as that’s okay and he gets that, it’s all good.

What are three tips for girls who are dream chasing and in a relationship?
Stay focused on your career because the relationship can come and go. At the end of the day, you always want what you’ve always dreamed of. So if this is what you’ve always dreamed of, make sure you stay focused and pursue that.

Communicate! You might not be face-to-face too much, so Skype or send a little text every now and then. You’re never too busy to text. Make sure you keep the communication going.

Whenever you have off, bring him with you. If he’s supportive and he’s happy about you and for your career, then he’ll support it. If he doesn’t, and he’s complaining? Big no-no. He’s got to be willing to let you do your thing.

Knowing the legacy with Def Jam, are you nervous to fill those shoes? What will you bring to the table that we haven't seen?
I don’t think they have a young, urban girl who speaks to the youth right now. I can fill those shoes. They definitely don’t have an urban girl that’s doing the type of music that I’m doing, so I’m definitely bringing that to the table. For them to sign me, they have to believe that I can fill those shoes so I gotta believe it too. It’s only right that I do.

For your image, what direction are you headed into as far as style?
It’s got to stand out; it’s cool and young. I’m vibrant and energetic, so I gotta have color; the shoes got to be funky. Jackets and shoes are my thing and hoop earrings. It can’t be too mature or too safe. I want people to say, 'Have you seen what Miranda is wearing?” It has to be like that.

Any beauty products you have to have?
My MAC foundation and lip gloss! Gotta put my face on [laughs]. There’s this product called Mixed Chicks; I use it for my hair. I’m a mixed chick, so it works for me.

Lastly, what sets you apart from everyone else coming up right now?
I am the voice for young girls right now. We need that. I want to be the "homegirl" kind of artist, not too far away or not approachable. I think people can feel that through the music and people can rock with that. Once they figure who I am, I definitely think they’ll be down with it.

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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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