tracee ellis ross tracee ellis ross

A Grown-Up Guide to Playing Dress-Up

--Tracee Ellis Ross’s Facebook page, you know that she’s been directly interacting with her fans much more these days, offering personal photos, both close-up and full-length, discussing her TV viewing preferences, and dishing on favored vintage and designer items in her wardrobe. You may’ve also noticed how sophisticated some of her Instagram pics are and wondered if she has a professional photographer on retainer, just to cover the events of her daily life.

As it turns out, Ross is just a fan of self-portraiture–and she happens to be really good at it. But why would someone who grew up under the glare of fame and lives near-constantly in the public eye now even want to spend her personal time dressing up and photographing herself? Well, there’s a difference between a big, business-related photo shoot, where orders are being barked and wardrobe is assigned, and the kind of silly, sultry, empowering pics you take in the privacy of your home.

The latter is something I know a little bit about. I started taking self-portraits in grad school, as an extension of an intense, belated self-discovery phase. As an introvert, I wanted a private and carefree space within which to explore the sides of my personality I’m reluctant to express in public. It’s surprising how commanding you feel when you direct yourself into character–huntress, mogul, sexpot, urban fairy–and position your body at odd angles, under various tints of light. You’re almost entranced and when you emerge from the moment and look at the photographs it yielded, you barely recognize your resplendent, uninhibited, unapologetically fierce self.

As an experience, I highly recommend it. And, apparently, so does Tracee Ellis Ross. Of her own interest in “playing dress-up,” she has this to say:

"I keep posting these fun pics I take of myself and you all say the loveliest things and you keep liking them. THANK YOUUUUUUUU!!!! I have always loved taking pictures. I love playing dress up and I love any kind of “pretty playtime”. Now with all this technology you can do such fun things to your own pictures you almost don’t need some fancy photoshoot to make great pictures. Anyway, playing dress up, playing with hair and MU, being silly being sexy and sometimes creating characters from my dress up has always been a form of creative expression for me. I was a stylist when I first got out of college and worked in the magazine world @ Mirabella magazine and in the fashion Department of NY Magazine. And I have been dressing up and taking pictures side I came out of my mom’s belly. Images, style, clothing —-I love aesthetics but from a deep place of self expression not necessarily from a place of FASHION. Anyway, I am glad you seem to be enjoying what I enjoy. I see some of your nice pics on Instgram and Twitter…FUN!!!!"

In short: yes. Grown folks play dress-up, too. Some of us get more into it than others. At the height of my interest in the hobby, I’d even hit up Forever 21 or Charlotte Russe and buy one of those insanely cheap dresses I wouldn’t have the nerve to wear in public, just for self-portraiture purposes. I’d dress it up or down, coyly lift the skirt or tug at the bodice, or trouble a strand of faux pearls. Someday, I hope to have a home with an extra room entirely devoted to the practice (If you’re a Community watcher, think Troy and Abed’s Dreamatorium.), where I’d build and break-down photo sets and turn myself into Dorothy Dandridge, Donyale Luna, or Pam Grier in the space of an afternoon.

(Continue reading at Clutch...)

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Kelly Rowland Says Her Highly-Anticipated Project Is "Definitely Coming"

Six years ago, Kelly Rowland released her fourth studio album titled Talk a Good Game. The project boasted hit singles like "Kisses Down Low" and the transparent "Dirty Laundry." Now, the Houston native is preparing to release a project that'll surely satisfy fans' patient earbuds.

In an interview with Billboard, Rowland shared her hopes for putting out a new body of work and the pressure that she's encountered since she's been in the studio. "This is by far the longest, most pressure-filled process ever, only because I know what it's supposed to be and I have been so hard on myself. I know it," she said. "And it's the first time I've said it out loud. I've been extremely hard on myself. But it's definitely coming, and I'm more so excited about this project than anything else."

The news follows the recent release of Rowland's "Kelly" track, which was met with critical acclaim in November 2018. In addition to preparing the release of new music, the "Motivation" singer discussed fans' wish for a Destiny's Child reunion. The rumors have been fueled by social media photographs of Rowland with either Beyonce or Michelle or all three, especially during Beyonce's past Coachella performance. But Rowland assures readers that it's not what they think.

"It's so funny. I guess every time people see us together, they just see music but I see sisterhood, and that's what we are and that's what me, her, Michelle [Williams] and Solange and I are. People see us all together, they immediately think music. I'm like, no. Just family." As Rowland previously mentioned Solange, she hopes to one day work with her again.

"I'm a huge fan," she said. "I love her writing and how detailed and particular she is. I always wanted to figure out how the heck she has so many different layers of harmonies when she is constructing these vocals, and it's so complex but simple. It's genius. It's the genius in her genius mind that she has in there." One of the last times the pair collaborated was on Rowland's "Simply Deep" track off her debut solo album of the same name. Solange also penned a few songs off the same project. Fast forward to 2016, and Rowland's vocals were featured on Solange's iconic A Seat at the Table.

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Teyana Taylor To Pay Homage To Ballroom Culture In "WTP" Video

Teyana Taylor aims to keep her hot streak of innovative videos coming thanks to this recent announcement. Taking to Instagram on Wednesday (Jan. 9), the "Gonna Love Me" singer will show adoration to ballroom culture in the visual for "WTP."

Directed by Gregory "Beef" Jones, The Aunties Inc., and Taylor herself, the Harlemite takes viewers on her journey to the expression-filled space where she hopes to rack up 10s across the board from a group of judges. The premise of the video also seems to follow a mockumentary format airing on a fictional network named FEMTV. Alongside Taylor, other men and women get ready to display their talents and confidence on the ballroom floor.

"WTP" is featured on the mother-of-one's sophomore album, K.T.S.E., which was released in June 2018. While the rollout's controversy didn't entirely muddle the excitement behind the project's debut, Taylor said she was sold on the idea that her album would be treated as the biggest out of G.O.O.D. Music's string of releases last year.

"I didn't know ahead of time that there wouldn't be any singles or visuals. But I knew that it was going to be the five-album thing," she said during a HOT 97 interview. "[Kanye] wanted [my album] to be last, he wanted mine to be the biggest. That's the way they sauced it up. I was sold."

The video will debut on Jan. 19. Check out the teaser below.


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👀 1.19.19 👀 #WTP Directed by @teyanataylor & @ogbeefjones @theauntiesinc 🙏🏾🙌🏾🙏🏾 The wait is ALMOST over. 😏 @museumofsex

A post shared by Jimmy Neutch- Shumpert (@teyanataylor) on Jan 8, 2019 at 6:32pm PST

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Trina Braxton’s Ex-Husband, Gabe Solis, Dies After Battle With Cancer

Gabe Solis, the ex-husband of Trina Braxton, lost his battle with cancer, Thursday (Dec. 20),  TMZ reports. He was 43.

Solis passed away at his home in Texas, surrounded by friends and family, according to the outlet. No official details have been released about his passing.

Solis had reportedly been keeping his cancer battle private. His death came as a shock to his loved ones. On Friday (Dec. 21), Braxton seemingly mourned the loss of her ex-husband with a cryptic Instagram meme reading, “I need a hug..E bottle of wine.”

The former couple tied the knot in 2003, and appeared together on previous seasons of WEtv’s Braxton Family Values. Despite finalizing their divorce in 2015, Braxton and Solis confronted lingering issues from their marriage during an episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life, earlier in the year.

Braxton has since moved on to a new relationship, but remained friends with Solis.


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A post shared by Trina Braxton (@trinabraxton1) on Dec 21, 2018 at 9:49am PST

READ MORE: Phaedra Parks To Join 'Braxton Family Values' Cast

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