ursula stephen ursula stephen

Vixen Chat: Ursula Stephen Dishes on Rihanna's New 'Do, Talks Natural Hair Care

Mane maven and Motions spokesperson Ursula Stephen boasts a client lists that includes international pop princess Rihanna, Scandal star Kerry Washington and Tinseltown sweetheart Gabrielle Union. By taking even the slightest glance at her portfolio, it's clear the Brooklyn bred hairstylist understands the growing natural hair movement and how to nurture of all type of curl patterns while keeping them fashionable and on-trend.

Vixen caught up with the guru of Black haircare at last night's Motions Meet Up (over cocktails and good conversation, of course) to discuss Motions new product line, Rihanna's ever-changing mane and her favorite celeb naturalistas.
VIBE VIXEN: Besides shaving their hair or rocking it super short, what other ways can women be funky and edgy with their hair?
URSULA STEPHEN: I think the whole bohemian thing is definitely an edgy look, and wearing it undone. Kinda wearing it undone is very edgy. It doesn’t look like you just stepped out the salon. It’s kinda that beach wavy, that messed up wave that I like. I think that’s definitely an edgy way but also a sexy way.

Like, the just-woke-up look?
Yeah, the bed head. Definitely.

With you as a spokesperson for Motions, what are you most excited about with this new line of natural products?
I’m excited that we have a new line for natural hair period, because what natural hair is now is more than a trend, it’s a movement. I’m glad that we cater to those visions. ‘Cause there are so many girls going natural now. You see girls with their hair short, and they’re like, it’s natural! It’s good cause they want to feel like they have a product to go to. They don’t want to be using just any product cause they can’t find something. It’s good that we have something specifically for that need.

Give young women three ways that they can stay on team natural and no revert back to relaxers.
The best way to stay a part of team natural is to really condition your hair, because as African American girls, our hair is naturally dry. Our natural hair is dry period, so we have to use products to keep it soft and to break it down so it’s manageable. That’s what it is. That’s what a lot of people want from it. They run from natural because they realize after a while it’s not that easy. Don’t go natural 'cause you think it’s easy 'cause it’s not. You still have to put work and time in it.

So a lot of people when they get to that point where they start going crazy, they run back from natural, so it’s a matter of patience and finding products like the Motions deep conditioning mask because it’s for natural hair. It’s gonna soften it and help you to manage it. Also, even though I promote products we can use at home, find a hairstylist that is great at natural hair 'cause you need somebody to help you with it in between. And you got to have patience. You got to because it’s not easy to have natural hair.

Which product from this new line is your favorite?

God, it’s rough. I love the mask. I love the conditioner. Anything that’s gonna make my hair soft and pretty, I love it. I love the gloss which is good. Everybody needs the gloss in their life.

How often should a person condition their natural hair? Weekly?
I think personally, when it comes to conditioning, it’s a matter of preference. You really have to start learning your hair. I always say with conditioners and natural hair, it should always be increased. I would definitely do weekly, but at the same time, that’s my opinion. If you’re someone with natural hair and your hair works better with two weeks, then you condition your hair every two weeks. It’s really a matter of learning your hair and figuring out what it is because you don’t want to over-condition either, ‘cause when you over-condition, it gets too soft to hold the hairstyle. I always say conditioners are great like once a week or every two weeks.

Which natural-haired celebs are you’re lovin' right now? Top three.
Alicia Keys, for sure. She came back with a bang, I love it. She's lookin' really really good right now.

I know Tracee Ellis Ross. She’s always been a staple.
Right, I love her hair. You could definitely say she’s one too, but I’m just tryna figure out. Brandy is obviously not wearing her own hair natural, but she’s played around with that more natural type.

Yeah, at that Billboard Music Awards.
Like, really stepping out of the box and doing something that’s just fun. It’s not about what everybody wanna see, it’s about what makes you feel good. The trend is not worth anything at all if it don’t look good on you. Everybody wanna shave their side but are you really that girl? If you wanna follow the trends but make sure that it fits to your lifestyle. Don’t fit it into a lifestyle.

VV: What you’re gonna do with Rihanna’s hair next?
US: Girl, I do not know. That girl is driving me crazy!

Nobody saw that black, shaved sides style coming.
She’s like, 'This is what I want,' and we’re like, Alright, gotta make her happy...but I really love the blonde ombré. That was great and then she actually changed to the shaved side without me.

Oh, so she didn’t want the ombré anymore?
She loved it, but she felt like she always wanted to go black. I kinda made her stop at blonde. I was in South Africa with Motions and she was in London doing promo, and she just did it.

Now with the different colors you put on her hair, how do you keep her hair healthy with the colors?
Yeah the colors is dangerous, I always condition her hair…

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Premiere: Inayah Lamis Busts The Windows Out Of Toxic Love In Visuals For "Best Thing"

Breakups are never easy but let Inayah Lamis heal your heart with her cheeky video for "Best Thing." Inspired by true events, the Houston native sings about bitter feelings about love gone astray.

The emotional ballad is simple in production thanks to the presence of an acoustic guitar, allowing Lamis to show off her vocal chops. Reminiscent of 2000s R&B gems like "I Wished You Loved Me" by Tynisha Keli and recent classics like Tink's "Treat Me Like Somebody," Lamis finds the right words that almost anyone can relate to.

"The track “Best Thing” was birthed from a realtime heartbreak," she tells VIBE. "I went into the lab and wrote it while I was ending a relationship that had a strong hold over me. I literally cried in the booth as I was singing it. My hopes are that every woman or man that has been emotionally broken and taken for granted by a lover will feel comfort in knowing that leaving was the best thing they ever did for themselves."

Thanks to her around the way aura, the video plays off her personality with the presence of "Smakie Lamis" taking Lamis out of her sad girl feels over her deceitful partner, allowing her to hop in the whip and bust out some car windows–even if it's not her beau's car. Directed by Michelle Parker, the video also plays up Lamis' Houston swag as she rides around town in a candy green whip.

The budding singer knows how important her songwriting plays a role in her relationship with fans. Lamis previously shared a bit of her writing style with Refinery29, while opening up about the importance of body positivity.

"Anytime something impacts my life, I write it down and make a song out of it," she said. In her previous visuals for "Suga Daddy," the singer turned up the sexy for a good reason. "I've displayed my confidence as a chunky girl in this video. So many people have things to say about curvy, bigger girls. I feel like we're in a space now where we're able to finally have a voice and be free, and still be sexy. Particularly with the wardrobe, I wanted to show some skin, to show those curves, those back rolls, those fat little pockets I got underneath my chin and shit. I wanted to make sure I displayed that and rocked the hell out of it, confidently."

Lamis is gearing up to release her debut EP S.O.L.A.R. (Storytelling Over Lyrics and Rhymes) on Dec. 13. The singer hopes to share more stories her fans will appreciate and the masses will adore. Her come-up is a digital grassroots movement thanks to her remake of Ella Mai's "Boo'd Up" in 2018 leading to her debut studio single  "N.A.S.," an acronym for "Ni**as ain't S**t."


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BEST THING CHALLENGE 🔥 -Stream/Download my new song BEST THING -DM me your videos -No instruments -No music -Just you & your voice -#Bestthingchallenge

A post shared by Aʅʅ I Nҽҽԃ Iʂ Oɳҽ Mιƈ... 🎤 (@inayah_lamis) on Nov 18, 2019 at 12:05am PST

Taking things up a notch, Lamis announced the #BestThingChallenge to welcome fellow sangers to show off their vocals.

Before diving into the challenge, enjoy the visuals for "Best Thing" below.

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Singer Whitney Houston is seen performing on stage during the 2004 World Music Awards at the Thomas and Mack Center on September 15, 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Whitney Houston's Close Friend Robyn Crawford Details Romantic Relationship In New Memoir

Whitney Houston's personal life has been explored ten times over since her untimely passing in 2012 but one of her closest friends wants to share with the world the Whitney she knew and ultimately fell in love with.

In excerpts to People Wednesday (Nov. 6), Robyn Crawford presents a strong bond between the two in her new memoir, A Song For You: My Life With Whitney Houston. The singer and Crawford met in their youth while working at a summer camp in East Orange, New Jersey. From there, their friendship blossomed into something more romantic. With homophobia running rampant in the 80s, Crawford says they never looked at labels but enjoyed the experiences they shared together.

“We never talked about labels, like lesbian or gay,” writes Crawford. “We just lived our lives and I hoped it could go on that way forever.”

As their journey continued, Whitney's star began to rise which put allegedly put their romance on ice. “She said we shouldn’t be physical anymore,” writes Crawford. "Because it would make our journey even more difficult. She said if people find out about us, they would use this against us....and back in the ’80s, that’s how it felt. I kept it safe. I found comfort in my silence.”

Whitney's relationship with Crawford was mentioned in the 2018 documentary Whitney. Created by the singer's estate, the film focused on the singer's legacy and didn't include first-hand accounts from Crawford. Family members were weary of their special friendship.

"I’ve never seen them do anything but I know that she was something that I didn’t want my sister to be involved with," Whitney's brother Gary stated in the documentary.

But Crawford is finally ready to tell her own story while "lifting" Houston's legacy.

“I wanted to lift her legacy, give her respect and share the story of who she was before the fame, and in that, to embrace our friendship,” she tells People. "I'd come to the point where I felt the need to stand up for our friendship. And I felt an urgency to stand up and share the woman behind the incredible talent."

A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston is expected to hit bookshelves this fall.

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Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Black Music Honors

Keke Wyatt Announces That She's Pregnant With Her Tenth Child

Keke Wyatt has news to share that concerns expanding her family tree. On Monday (Oct. 14), the "If Only You Knew" singer revealed that she's pregnant with her tenth child.

"My husband Zackariah Darring and I are so happy to announce that we are expecting our new bundle of joy!" she wrote on Instagram. "We are excited to welcome the 10th addition to our beautiful family."

The vocalist continued to state that fans can follow her pregnancy journey on her YouTube series The Keke Show where she gives an intimate look at how she balances her career and motherhood.


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My husband Zackariah Darring and I are so happy to announce that we are expecting our new bundle of joy! We are excited to welcome the 10th addition to our beautiful family. Stay tuned for the release date & information for my new YouTube Series “The Keke Show” where you will see me balancing Wife, Mommy and Artist!!! Trust me.. it’s never a dull moment with my family. Love ya sugars💋💋💋 photo credit: @keever_west Styled/Designed by: @keever_west Asst: @freddyoart

A post shared by Keke Wyatt (@keke_wyatt) on Oct 14, 2019 at 4:43pm PDT

In an interview with The Christian Post, Wyatt said she believes she has "an anointing with motherhood" and looks at her children as fuel to keep striving in her career.

"I just don't believe in shutting down. I believe in that's what the Lord had for me," she said. "Babies don't get in the way of careers, we get in the way of careers. If that's what the Lord had for me from the very beginning, there's nothing nobody can do and nobody can say."

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