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Vixen Chat: JoJo Talks New Single 'Demonstrate,' Mature Lyrics and Her Ideal Man

JoJo can sing all the things girls wouldn't dare say...at least out loud.

With the release of her latest single "Demonstrate," the 21-year-old soul shocker plays a temptress in the bedroom over a melody crafted by Drake's right hand man, Noah "40" Shebib. The collab is all thanks to a YouTube cover of "Marvin's Room" that has racked up 45 million views (and counting).

The once ginger-haired teen songbird is all grown up now and has no problem pouring her heart on wax. As the viral YouTube machine continues to pump out new R&B songbirds, Jo sees no competition. In fact, she's even besties with 'I Am Other' femme fatale Leah Labelle.

Though the Boston native's got the vocals and the looks to slay the game, JoJo's been taking her time on a new album, waiting for the exact moment to pounce.

Now sounds about right.

VIBE Vixen: Did the collaboration with Noah come about through the YouTube cover of "Marvin's Room?"
JoJo: It was in a way. It was a dream of mine to work with him. They're a really incredible team, so I was excited at the fact that he took the time to work with me, and it was interesting. When we were in the studio together, when we first got in, we were laughing about how we've already done a record together, we just never really done it knowingly.

What was his feedback about your take on Drake's song?
He was very positive about it. He liked how I put my own spin on it and we were talking about how it's a new time in music. This is the era of everything going viral, spreading everything so quickly.

You've been in the music game for more than eight years. Do you feel like you have to compete against this new crop of artists who are getting famous off the web?
Absolutely. I think it would be silly to say that I wasn't. Everybody is kinda on an equal playing field as far as I'm concerned, but at the same time, I don't like to think about competing. I like to think about being my personal best, representing something that I can be proud of and just trying to one-up myself and keep my blinders on in that regard, because if I was really focused on outdoing everybody, that would be a really stifling existence.

It seemed like "Demonstrate" came out of nowhere because you dropped "Sexy To Me" and "Disaster" earlier this year, but they didn't get as strong of a response as this single did.
To be honest with you, this is the first time in a long time where I felt like everything is just making sense for me. I'm doing the music that I want to do, and the fact that I'm getting such a positive response from it just reiterates that it's OK for me to move in this new direction.

It's been two years since you've released your mixtape Can't Take That Away From Me. What changes have you gone through, whether it's in the creative process or life experiences, that led to you becoming more vulnerable in your music?
I've been through a lot. The biggest change for me was after the response came in from "Marvin's Room." I was really, really apprehensive to put it out there because I thought people would think, Oh she's so grown now, she's using the 'F' word, who does she think she is? [Laughs] I didn't know what they were going to say. So when they responded and there was a lot of positivity and people were digging it, it gave me the OK to be myself. I am that rough-around-the-edges chick who's very outspoken. I think I've become more liberated from that. And yeah, I've definitely gone through things in my personal life where I can't help but to write what I'm going through, so for the past three years, when I was working on the album, a lot of the material I was writing was very angry, very aggressive because that's what I was going through in my personal life. I was in a terrible relationship and now that I'm on the other side of it, I'm writing about love, making love, feeling good, having a good time and that's where I wanna keep the music at right now.

A lot of girls flock to your music. Were you nervous that the younger ones now would hear you cursing and think, 'Hey, that's not the JoJo I used to listen to?'
I still think that I can simultaneously be myself--a young woman, outspoken, sometimes controversial artist--and I think I can also be a role model. I don't think I need to choose. I have to make the decisions that make me happy in my artistry, but I know that the young lady that I am is someone I can look at in the mirror. I have little cousins that I have to see when I go back home to Boston and my family is all up in my face all the time. My mom was like, 'Goodness gracious, Jo, that was very raunchy!' I know that when I go back to Boston, I still have my family to answer to, [and] I never wanna compromise myself in a way that I can't feel good about what I'm doing.

You said that you put a lot of your relationship experiences in your songs, so is it safe to say you're living the single life?
Yeah. I'm just super, super focused on me, fortifying myself. I'm 21 and I just wanna live, wanna feel. That's kinda the exploration that I'm taking with this album.

You've come a long way from singing about first loves to bedroom antics. What do you look for in an ideal man?
I love weirdos. I like 'em weird. I like them intellectual. I want to learn something. I want you to teach me something. I don't mean that in a creepy way, but I mean, like for example, guys from another country or another place that I'm not familiar with or maybe he studied something I find fascinating. I love an alternative intellectual.

Anyone who's visited your Twitter sees that you're fascinated with dinosaurs. What's the story behind that?
I just love them. When I was little, my parents were together till I was maybe 5 years-old and they're much better separate than they are together, so when they would get into really big arguments, it would kinda scare me so I would go into my room and I would make habitats for my dinosaurs. I would sing and then I would drown out the noise and I would take grass and rocks from outside and playdoh and I would  go into this world with my dinosaurs and it just brought me a sense of peace. I just liked to think that I was chillin' with my imaginary dinosaurs, haha. I remember in third grade, our teacher gave us this assignment to give an argument and I was giving an argument as to why we should recreate dinosaurs or why scientists should find a way to make dinosaurs roam the earth again. I'm a weirdo. I don't know what type of stuff my mom fed me in my childhood.

Your Twitter playlist looks very diverse. You listen to everything from Kendrick Lamar to Alanis Morissette. If you could soundtrack your life at present with three songs that are not yours, what would they be?
Frank Ocean "Sweet Life," Kendrick Lamar and Dr. Dre "The Recipe" and Drake "Good Ones Go."

I definitely think "Good Ones Go" is the better half of "Cameras" that gets overshadowed.
I love the "Cameras" part of it but the "Good Ones Go"?! Every girl wants to hear that! That's my jam.

Jumping Trains is the album that you've been working on. What's the status on that?
To be honest, I'm moving in a new direction. I haven't come out and said it, but if you listen to the difference between "Disaster" and "Demonstrate," they don't fit on the same album. So with the release of "Demonstrate" and the feedback it's been getting, it reconfirmed for me that I'm doing the right thing. I want a very consistent, cohesive body of work and that's what I'm working on finishing up. It doesn't really bother me that I've been working on something for four years. I just want it to be right. Whatever the timing happens to be, whether it's the end of this year or early next year, I just pray that it's right. I'm almost done with the tracks that I would consider the album to be. It's just about fine-tuning and sitting down with my team and things like that.

Can we expect Noah or any other big collaborations artist-wise to hop on this?
Yes. I'm getting back in with Noah for the album and there are some guests that I'm really excited about. I've been getting a lot of positive feedback from particularly the hip hop community which means a lot to me because I'm such a fan of hip hop music so just to be embraced is really exciting.

Is there any possibility of you working with Drake formally?
I would absolutely love that. I hope so. It's definitely on my wish list. Drake does a better job than anyone of kinda creating an atmosphere and bringing people into it.

What do you hope to accomplish with this comeback album?
I want my music to create an atmosphere that people can put the record on and enter into. I wanna represent a different type of chick, that girl that can be one of the guys but is totally embracing of her feminine side. I just want this album to be crazy, sexy, cool. I wanna kinda take it back to the way music used to make people feel, particularly R&B music in the '90s.

Is there an album out right now that you feel is doing that at all?
I think Frank Ocean's new album is incredible. It's so inspiring and exciting.

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In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"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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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.

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Ella Mai On The North Face's 'Explore Mode' Campaign, New Music And Living In The Moment

Ella Mai is in her own age of exploration. Her eponymous debut album scored her a platinum plaque with her breakout hit, "Boo'd Up" earning her a Grammy for Best R&B Song. But the accolades aren't driving her creative path. The arc in her compass is all about the places she's traveled, the people she's met and the lessons learned along the way.

"To be honest, personally, exploration is like growth. I feel like if you don't explore new things, whether it's going outside, meeting people or trying new food, you won't ever grow because you're just stuck in your little comfort zone which can be super scary to come out of," she tells VIBE at The North Face's Explore Mode event in New York on Monday (April 15). The singer is one of three women (including model-activist Gabrielle Richardson and chef Angela Dimayuga) who teamed up with the brand to share a message of enjoying the outside world without digital confinement and the global initiative to make Earth Day a national holiday.

The London native's urge to explore came in handy over the weekend when she performed in the brisk desert of Coachella. Inspired by artists like Rihanna and Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mai helped fans enjoy the hazy sunset as she performed hits like "Trip" and her latest No. 1 song, "Shot Clock."

"It's such a good feeling, especially when it comes to radio," she shared about her track reaching No. 1 on the airplay chart. "I wasn't even sure if people listened to the radio because people have so much access to streaming platforms, but obviously having all three of my singles from my debut album, go number one on urban radio is incredible."

That energy was brought to the Coachella stage with the festival being her biggest artistic exploration so far.

"My favorite part of the performance would have to be when I performed "Naked" and because it was dark, and I performed when the sun went down, I couldn't see how far the crowd actually went back. But during "Naked," it was such an intimate moment I asked everyone to put their lights up (phones) and when I saw how far it went back I was like, "Woah." That moment sealed it for me."

"Even there were two people in the audience, I still would've done my best," she added. "But just to see the crowd be so engaged, even if they didn't know the music, was a really good feeling. I had so much fun."

As the festival energy in Indio, Calif. continued to thrive, another rested on the streets of Los Angeles following the loss of Nipsey Hussle. With the singer having ties to those close to the rapper like DJ Mustard, she says the shift in the city was hard to ignore.

"As weird as it sounds, you felt it," she said. "Even in the weather, it was super hot and then everyone got the news and it started raining. Just a weird energy shift." As a new L.A. resident, the singer says Nipsey's influence cannot be denied.

"I feel like the energy shift went both ways; everyone was really sad, grieving and mourning but everyone feels more inspired by what he was doing that they want to go out and do something and change in their community. It's still a very touchy subject in L.A., especially the people that I'm around since they were very close to him. I think everyone is super inspired to do better and try to be more like him, which is great to see. YG's whole set at Coachella was dedicated to him, I know Khalid had a dedication to Mac Miller. Everyone is super aware of what Nipsey was trying to do and how he wanted to change the world."

Engaging in The North Face's mission to explore seemed to be in the cards for Mai. Like many of us, Mai was familiar with the brand's effective coolness factor. "I remember running home and telling my mom that I needed a Jester Backpack because my cousin had one as well, and it's similar to the other stories, I wanted to be like my older cousin (laughs) so my mom ended up getting me one." But there's also the incentive to showcase the importance of stepping away from the phone screens and into leafy green forests.

"I'm such a live-in-the-moment person," she says of her lack of identity on social media. While she might share a thought or two on social media, Mai is interested in appreciating the world around her. "I feel like everyone is so consumed about documenting the day, you don't really get to live the day. You just watch it back but I like to have the memories in my head. Of course, sometimes, I'll take out my phone but I try to live in the moment as much as possible."

Part of that mission is ensuring Earth Day is celebrated the right way. With the support of Mai, Richardson, and Dimayuga, The North Face officially launched a petition to make Earth Day a national holiday.

“The North Face is no stranger to exploration and this Earth Day we are proud to join our partners and fellow explorers in a global effort to make Earth Day a national holiday,” said Global General Manager of Lifestyle at The North Face, Tim Bantle. “We believe that when people take time to appreciate the Earth, they feel more connected to it and are more likely to protect it. Explore Mode urges us to unplug from our digital lives to connect in real life to the world, each other, and ourselves in the effort to move the world forward.”

Mai hasn't hit her all of her exploration goals just yet. "I really want to go to Indonesia or Bali," she said. "That's one of my Bucket List places I really, really, really wanna go." For her essentials, the singer knows she has to bring along a windbreaker set and of course, a jester backpack. "I think the backpack is the most important thing."

In addition to a few trips around the globe, one destination includes the studio for new music. While she hasn't had time to lock down a moment to record, the inspiration is sizzling.

"When I work in the studio, I like to be like there for a good amount of time," she explains. "I like to block off two to three weeks at a time, I don't like to go to different studios and different places, it's just a comfort thing but I'm very excited to get back cause I have a lot of talk about. I've seen so many different places and met so many new people and a lot that I didn't get to experience last year."

Learn more about The North Face's petition for Earth Day here.

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