Evelyn Lozada BBW reunion Evelyn Lozada BBW reunion

Evelyn Lozada Talks New Book, "Basketball Wives" Finale and Love for Rihanna

It's certain that Basketball Wives Evelyn Lozada was created for this celebrity lifestyle. While many reality stars fade into the shadows of D-list fame, this feisty Latina from New York's gritty Bronx borough has expanded her TV limelight into a book deal ("Inner Circle: The Wives Association"), a spin-off show (Ev & Chad) and one million Twitter followers. The first-time author is weeks away from releasing her Courtney Parker-assisted novel, which you can officially cop on June 12.

In the meantime, bottle-wielding Ev is calm, spending her time vacaying in Cabo, loving on fiance Chad Ochocinco and planning her much-anticipated wedding (and wedding special). As our Guest Editor for the day, she talks us through the controversial BBW season finale, why she has such a respect for strippers and her thoughts on Rihanna's wild ways. --Niki McGloster

Without giving too much away, what is the juiciest part of the book?
There’s a mistress in the book and she’s physically assaulted. I think the readers would be very surprised as to who physically assaulted her. She was a mistress of one of the players of the book. Towards the end, you’ll be like, 'Get the hell out of here,' because you're thinking it’s one person and it ends up being…well, you know.

How was the entire writing process for you? I know it stems from journals, but how did you go in and kind of write it to make it fiction?
I have an amazing co-writer, Courtney Parker, and we would have many conversations on the phone. It’s a little tough at times because you’re re-living and talking about things that happened 9, 10 years ago. Also in a weird way, it was a little therapeutic. You know, talking about it and getting excited about this book. She was very, very helpful, and she’s an amazing writer.

What is your reaction to the naysayers and haters who are wondering why you wrote a book?
I’ve learned, especially from Chad, that controversy is good. Nothing phases him and he’s like, 'Why do you care?' I’ve learned a lot of him: the more popular and more successful you become, the more haters and the more attorneys you need [laughs].

How do you develop a tough skin for that?
You can’t do this and be sensitive. For example, you know Suzie [Ketcham], she gets a lot of shit from the show. After she films the show, she doesn’t watch it or go on Twitter. She’s like, 'I don’t know how you deal with it.' I’ve accepted that this is a part of my life and apart of my world now. The more the show became popular, and I started dating Chad, and I got engaged to Chad, it’s been like chaos. I’m never going to hide and I’m always one of those people that say TV can be a gift and a curse, and at the same time it’s opened up a lot of doors for me that I never would have imagined. I can look at [the show] and say, Maybe I shouldn’t have handled it like that. Maybe I shouldn’t have thrown that bottle at Kenya, you know what I mean? If I’m blessed to be on TV for another five seasons, you won’t see Evelyn doing that. I’ve learned from that situation. Me and Tami do get a lot of heat because we are straight forward and in your face and controversial. It's not always positive, but I know we can look back and say, ‘You know what, bitch, that wasn’t cool.’

What other lessons have you learned from the show through watching yourself?
Just to probably listen. Everyone always says it on the show, 'Evelyn goes from 0-10.' And that’s how I’ve always been since I was 13. Where I grew up, most people wouldn’t say, Okay, let's have a conversation. That’s not the way things were dealt with where I grew up. You running your mouth? You talking shit? Things happen. There’s consequences for that. I’ve learned it’s not all about screaming and yelling and, 'Oh, you’re a fucking bitch.' Most of the time I don’t get my point across.

So Basketball Wives has been kind of like an anger management tool for you?
Yeah, it has. I was born and raised in the Bronx and went to public school in Manhattan. New York is a hustle and bustle type of place, you're in cab getting cursed out and everyone is so high-strung. You're always on defense mode. I love New York; I wouldn’t take anything back, but you become a little aggressive [Laughs].

How did you handle the reactions for your VIBE cover?
You know, you have those people that love you and think that everything you do is great then there are those who are like why did they put these girls on here they aren’t role models. I think that goes hand in hand with not really caring what people say. I would like to put a camera in your house for 2 months and see what I capture. People only know Evelyn from the show, they don’t know me fro outside the show, and that’s why I’m happy I was blessed with another opportunity because you get to see all of that. You get to see me with the family, Chad with the family, our kids, the issues we are having. It’s two totally different shows and two totally different things that the world will get to see when it comes to me. I wasn’t really to bothered, I kind of knew that it was going to happen, everybody has their opinion. But for me its been a good response, people love the cover and how the photos came out so that’s pretty cool.

In your last chat with Jen, a lot was said. Could you ever move forward into a space where you could at least be in the same room with her?
I think so. A lot was happening during that time. I’m one of those people, I said some things and I was just like, that was not cool. I live by loyalty and I feel like at that point I broke the friend code. I should have never broken that code and I should have never stooped down to that level. Like, if she wants to do interviews and slick comments, it is what it is. I don’t hate her. Peole just get caught up in this industry; you do interviews and say certain things. I truly don’t wish her anything negative, we’ve gone through a lot together as friends from moving out, men drama, all types of stuff. It's just tough having to relive it then talk about it. You never have that time for healing. But now that the show is done and things are calming down, I’m not angry anymore about it and I don’t hate her at all. I don’t really hate anybody, I was just upset how things were handled.

Do you miss her or the friendship?
I miss her. We were friends for 10 years. I was in her wedding, so you know yeah, and your thinking you guys are going to do this show together, your BFF, and then your kind of like what happened? And we are mutual friends with a lot of people, so everything else became weird energy. It was tough.

Now, Shaunie's been taking a lot of heat too. What are your thoughts on that?
I’ve had conversations with Shaunie, and she is in a tough place because she wears all hats, she’s Executive Producer, a cast mate, friend to us...it’s just tough because you're being pulled from every angle. I can honestly say that from season 1, Shaunie has been an advocate to find a balance. We filmed a charity event for kids with cancer and it was the most amazing charity event that I’ve ever went to. Even the camera men, grown men, were crying. But it didn’t make the cut and they chose to air the part with me calling someone a fucking bitch instead. She’s an Executive Producer, but she doesn’t know what tapes are being sent to VH1; she doesn’t know everything that is going on. But I can guarantee you that it will look different and not only because of all the controversy, but because she’s been working so hard to find a balance.

Read more at VIBE.com!

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Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.
KMazur/WireImage

Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.

 

Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/LxZfxcqRgF

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/BHlANZjCGZ

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/vLqLTVxqO9

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/ALDcT0ZQxR

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/zwk0AWMCoE

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/mM2GWEg1pe

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!pic.twitter.com/GfxBeJxUY1

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...

#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/iXNwssD3sY

— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/cGl269tuTr

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

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Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG

Kiely Williams Explains Fallout With Adrienne Bailon Houghton And Alleged Fight With Raven-Symonè

Our current isolated way of life has given some plenty of time for reflection like Kiely Williams of the former girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls (ask your kids). The tales of both successful groups have been told time after time by fans in YouTube documentaries and members of each collective but Williams has decided to share her side of the story.

Williams hopped on Live Monday (March 30) where she discussed her former friendship with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon Houghton and the infamous chicken throwing fight with actress/singer Naturi Naughton. The mother of one didn't pinpoint exactly why she fell out with Houghton but did point out how she wouldn't be interested in appearing on her talk show.

"I don't think Adrienne wants to have live TV with me," Williams said. "'Cause she's gon' have to say, 'Yes Kiely, I did pretend to be your best friend. Now, I am not.' You were either lying then or you're lying now. You either were my best friend and now you're just not claiming me or you were pretending [to be my best friend."

The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

On a lighter note, Symonè, Houghton and Naughton have kept in contact with Naughton and Houghton putting their differences aside during an appearance on The Real. 

Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

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Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

Kelis is taking her chef talents to Netflix. The musician will host a food competition show titled Cooked With Cannabis that’ll premiere on the very-fitting April 20 (4/20). According to NME, the show will span six episodes and be co-hosted by chef Leather Storrs.

Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

Each episode will place three chefs against each other as they craft three-course meals with cannabis as the central ingredient. Each episode’s winner takes home $10,000. Guests will play an integral role in who takes home the cash prize. Too $hort, and El-P are just a few of this season's guests.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

“Food is revolutionary because it is the one and only international language. It’s the most human thing you can partake in,” she said in an interview with Bon Appetit. “We are the only species that cooks.”

This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

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