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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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!

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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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