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Tia Mowry Approaches New Horizons

Tia Mowry bursts onto the phone, a ball of positive energy. From LA, she sounds bubbly, could even be glowing. Quite possibly, the 33-year-old mommy of Cree Taylor may still be over-the-moon about becoming an auntie.

“This is the hardest secret I have had to keep! But it’s out!!!!! I am gonna be an auntie!!!!!!!!!! OMG! Cree is gonna have a cousin!” she wrote on Twitter.

Or maybe she’s hooked on the high of Oh, Baby! an advice book about pregnancy and motherhood that hit shelves earlier this month. Within the pages, Mowry tells of her own baby-carrying journey, shares tips and pinpoints the forgotten details of when women gain baby bumps—style. It’s a dream actualized for the lovable star. ”You know how you always had a vision—well writing a book was always my vision,” she explains. “I just didn’t know what kind of book I was going to write.”

Now heading out on a book promo tour, Tia anticipates an intensified schedule while joining a long list of women who have perfected the balancing act of work and home life. “I’m the type of woman that looks up to Kimora and women that do it all.”

However, the mom-slash-wife-slash-actress kicked one main entrée off her plate: BET's The Game.

The popular show about the lives of football players navigating the world of fame has clipped two of its leading roles (Pooch Hall will not return next season either), allowing the now budding entrepreneur to focus on other individual feats as well as projects with her twin sis. In the meantime, she still heavily supports the TV spot that seems to have lost some faithful followers. "It has different angles, different lighting, but if you dive into the story and look at the story and not what it looks like, it is still a great show and the show that it needs to be."

She chats with Vixen about the certainty of her post-Game future, the changes in her personal style and what's in store for this season of Tia and Tamera.–-Niki McGloster

 

Photography & Makeup: D'Andre Michael/Maldonado Agency
Hair: Karmin Odoms/Margaret Maldonado Agency
Styling: Misty Casseus


VIBE VIXEN: Congrats on your upcoming book! How did you venture into writing and this book deal?
TIA MOWRY: I’ve always wanted to write. Actually in college that’s what I kind of excelled at. I loved just putting all my thoughts together and jotting them down and basically doing research and all that kind of stuff, and I always wanted to write books. You know how you always had a vision? Well writing a book was always my vision, I just didn’t know what kind of book I was going to write.

VV: Were you surprised that your first book ended up being a baby book?
TMH: No. My mom will tell you, my sister will tell you, my brothers will tell you, I always wanted to be a mom. I love babies, I love little kids and I loved being able to talk about my pregnancy. And the experience, I loved the whole process about being a mom. I annoy my sister because she is pregnant now. Like I will call her up and be like, ‘Tamera, you have to remember this’ then she will be like, ‘Tia, every pregnancy is different.’

Sometimes I have to try to not overly override her with tips because I talk about those women in my book. Like, everyone will come up to you and tell you things you have to do but every pregnancy is different. My sister she was so sweet last night; she texted me that she was [imitates Tamera] ‘feeling so queasy and I’m going to throw up.’ I was like, ‘Okay Tamera, just suck on a lemon.’ Then also she actually read a chapter in my book on what you need for a nursery and she found those tips very helpful, so I’m thankful I can help someone with things that I had to find out on my own. And I just love helping my sister out and giving her tips! I’m just so happy that she is pregnant.

What was your favorite part about the entire writing process?
Two things: my whole process and I’m so happy I wrote it this way. I wrote it from a journalistic perspective, so I was jotting down stuff in my journal during my pregnancy because I wanted it to be authentic and from a realistic perspective and approach. You know it’s funny how you forget. In those 10 months, you really do forget your experiences—you remember them but it’s hard to relive them, so I really liked that part [of reliving them]. I also liked the tone of it. It’s how you would talk to your best friend or your girlfriend, very conversational. When you’re a mom you have so much information in your head and you want to try and figure out as much information as you can, but I didn’t want to seem like I was teaching a course in college; I didn’t want it to be like that. I wanted it to be a fun, crazy funny conversational piece.

Favorite part of the book?
My favorite chapter in the book I say would have to be the “Mama Style” chapter, because I felt that there are a lot of pregnancy books out there but a lot of them didn’t delve into style and fashion when being pregnant. My book talks about this: where you can buy different pieces online and price ranges and different kind of accessories style and informing women to embrace their body. Even with my sister, we were having a meeting the other day and she was wearing all black, and we as pregnant women tend to do that. We’re putting on a few pounds and you’re getting used to it, so it’s kind of like embrace that belly! It’s so beautiful, you won’t have it forever, put some bright beautiful color on that belly; that’s kind of what I talked about in my book.

How has your style changed since having the baby?
It’s so funny you asked me that because Tamera just told me, ‘Your style has really changed.’ My whole thing with being a mom is that you don’t want to lose your identity; you don’t want to lose who you were before. You can still be that hot, sexy mom. If anything, I like to think I’m wearing heels even more. I didn’t wear them that much until the end [of the pregnancy], so I’m now all about wearing heels. I wear a lot of vibrant, flowy, colorful clothes, before it was edgy. I’m a mom now, but when I go out, I don’t forget who I was before.


Speaking of before, you were a child star. How would you feel if Cree wanted to be in the show biz?
You know, it’s inevitable because his dad’s an actor, his mom’s an actress. I’m just telling you, I just looked at some pictures where we just did this photoshoot and he is just smiling and cheesing away in this picture [laughs], it’s great! So to deprive him of something that he really wants to do would just hurt my heart, but he has one ultimatum: he has to go to college, finish and have an education, then after that he can do whatever he wants.

We'll see more of him on the show, but what else can fans expect on this upcoming season of Tia and Tamera?
Well, what they will see different this season is how I will balance being a working mom, and I think this is what a lot of women experience. Will you always feel guilty? Yes. Will that guilt ever go away? No. It is so hard because I really find myself crying sometimes because I’m away from my son but then I have to change my perspective some. This is actually making me a better mom, because I am providing him with the best, so it’s very bittersweet; you will see me doing that.

With Tamera, you will see her kind of struggling with where her home is because her husband’s family is up in Napa and he lives in Napa. You can tell that her husband’s heart is in Napa, but where is Tamera’s? It’s something that I think a lot of women can relate to when you first get married. You don’t really see men doing much sacrificing for their wives and their jobs on where they want to live; it’s always the women that give up their lives. But with my sister, you can see the struggle and juggle.

Now, Tia and Tamera is in a totally different category of reality shows such as Basketball Wives. How do you view those type of reality shows?
I haven’t seen Basketball Wives, but I heard about it. I am a huge fan of the Real Housewives of Atlanta, but I just think that Tamera and I have a different take on these reality shows. I remember when we were pitching our show to different networks, many of them didn’t want to pick it up because they felt like we didn’t have enough conflict. My sister and I were like, ‘We aren’t those type of people,’ so it’s all about us being positive role models. People always say it’s nice to see fresh, vibrant, funny women on television, and that’s my sister and I. That’s how our career has always been and we knew we weren’t going to change who we are for the show business, so it’s kind of something that has been accepted.

How do you feel about the reactions to The Game this season and the changes that have been made?
I basically agree with them. I do think the show is different and it’s taken a new turn, but it’s not a new show. It is more from a drama perspective now and these last few episodes have been amazing. It’s almost like you are watching a mini-movie, and for the fans that watched it from the beginning, they can’t adjust well to the difference, but new fans love it because it’s a real show. I have to appreciate that these characters are real and they come from a realistic perspective. We talk about topics that a lot of people don’t want to talk about.

So what would you tell the old fans now in order for them to get on board?
Just basically get on board because these are the same characters, same writers, same producers, the only difference is that it is shot differently.

Awhile back we got to see you in a different light when you appeared in Pleasure P’s “Under” video. Can you see yourself doing more music videos?
Oh my god! If Usher asks me to be his leading lady, I would def do it. [Laughs] I say that because I love his music and I’m a huge fan of his. I love Usher’s new video to “Climax.” I think the reason I say Usher because he would try to take it from an actor’s perspective, so I think I would be a great fit.

Looking beyond the vids, what’s next?
I want to be an entrepreneur especially in the baby world and with my sister. I want to build a brand from scratch and focus on it, whether it’s building a television show for positive women of color, movies and building a brand with my ‘mommy-hood.’ I would love to do more books and continue to come out with products that inspire women to be amazing moms and give them amazing advice. But I also love to act. I like to give myself a challenge. A lot of people didn’t think I could be this character on The Game coming from Sister Sister, so now I would like to even raise that bar and try to book a drama, whether that’s me being a doctor, lawyer or cop, so that’s my next thing that I definitely want to do. I want to continue to build my brand, continue to act and build my brand as a unit with my sister.

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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.
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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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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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