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Whitney Houston Last Song: A Farewell

The room was filled to capacity -- full of Soul singers, producers, musicians, writers, the very best of the R&B experience. Where else could you see Faith Evans, Brian McKnight, Keke Wyatt, Kenny Lattimore, Michel’le, Anthony Hamilton, Monifah, Goapele, and Ledisi in the same venue?

I was there -- only a few steps from the stage on Thursday, February 09, 2012 -- at Kelly Price’s Pre-Grammy Party to hear Whitney Houston’s last song.

Whitney walked in gracefully, attached to daughter Bobbi Kristina, Gary, Pat, and the rest of her entourage. She stood and watched as act after act from the Soul tradition paid homage to the greatest songs and singers. Whitney danced, hugged, and seemed to enjoy a space amongst those whom she’d seen grow up in the industry.

As I watched her embrace honoree Kelly Price off-stage, I thought of our entertainers, our generation’s most impactful, who Whitney helped to mold. Credits began to roll through my mind: Mariah, R. Kelly, Mary J, Brandy, Monica, Aaliyah, Tupac, Faith Evans, TLC, Christina Aguilera, Usher, and the ladies of Destiny’s Child. All of these artists publicly revered her as their inspiration in the entertainment industry.

After Kelly took stage, she spent a few minutes celebrating Whitney saying, “She challenged me to be a better singer. Whitney stopped me in the middle of rehearsals for Heartbreak Hotel ... and I never held back again.”

As Kelly continued to sing praises to her idol-sister-friend, Whitney daintily walked up the stairs and stood face to face with her mentee. She gently grabbed the microphone and said, “I love you ... I’m so proud of you ... my friend.”

I pretended she said the words to me. We all did.

Then, just as we thought she would leave the stage without gracing the room with the sweetness of her voice, Whitney opened up and softly sang a gospel lullaby to Kelly. Whitney’s last song was “Jesus Loves Me,” a poignant final declaration of her love for God.

The entire crowd watched and listened to Whitney’s last song, some with eyes closed -- most with tears streaming down.

This was the Whitney Houston I remembered being introduced to before I even had a concept of what an album was. That big, blue Whitney album sat up high atop dad’s old record player. My mom would play “For The Love Of You” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” over and over in the late 80s -- my very first memories of hearing Whitney’s voice.


It would be many years before I fully understood Whitney’s impact on the music industry. I played those tapes -- yes, cassette tapes -- over and over again when singles were the hot buy at Sam Goody Record Store. The Bodyguard Soundtrack was the first I’d ever owned.

There were times that I would play “I Have Nothing” on repeat or try to make the piano keys match Whitney’s runs at the end of “Run To You.” She taught me discipline as an artist. This same discipline was evident in every record she recorded. Whitney didn’t give us no mess!

Her voice defined us. It was the indescribable possibility of young Black kids to create art more impactful than anyone could have ever imagined. Her pitch-perfect soprano made our hearts stop and chilled us to the core.

Her voice was the essence of excellence.

Back at Kelly’s Grammy Party, I came across another revelation on Whitney’s voice, and that was her dedication to social issues. I listened to the same voice used to help Nelson Mandela call an end to the apartheid movement.

In 1994, Whitney was present to headline an international campaign which celebrated the release of Mandela and signaled the end of the South African massacre which saw scores of men and women killed in hate. Whitney opened her Concert For A New South Africa with a moving Stevie Wonder cut, “Love’s In Need Of Love Today,” one of the songs Wonder ultimately performed at her funeral.

Her voice was a siren for equality, a beacon for justice, in the same light as Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, and Marvin Gaye.

She spent countless dollars and lent her artistic space in support of many charities over the years including Children’s Hospital, Save The Music, United Negro College Fund, and her massively affective Whitney Houston Foundation for children.

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She gave the world so much more than her symphonious voice -- she gave the world color, hope, and life.

Near the end of Whitney’s last song, I marveled as I had forgotten about the pain, the drugs, and the questions about her sexuality, the accusations, the death threats, the stalking, the miscarriages, and the icy cold depression. I forgot how painful it was to be Whitney Houston.

She sang her song, and in some strange way it felt like she was singing her troubles over.

We’d all heard Whitney’s 2009 declaration, “I was not meant to break,” but we got to see the triumph with our own eyes, that night. The Whitney that stood before the packed crowd in Hollywood, less than two days before her untimely death, was vibrant, unequivocally beautiful, and stronger than ever.

She was strong for us.

That night I told Whitney, “I love you ... I’ve always loved you,” and in many ways, I spoke for all of us who grew up watching the AT&T Your True Voice commercial. I spoke for those of us who stared wide-eyed at the TV screen to see her pulverize the National Anthem. I spoke for those who would never get the chance to.

Whitney’s last song was more than an ironic happenstance. She sang her last song for Kelly and Faith, Bobbi Kristina, Cissy, her family, colleagues, haters, her fans, and all of the people she’d touched throughout her 48 years.

She sang for me ... and that was enough to remember the Whitney Houston that reshaped our culture, our spirits, and our lives.

Her last song was sung with dignity, pride, hope, and above all these things -- love.

God bless you, Whitney.

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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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"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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