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Style Story: Dawn Richard

Fans and critics have watched Dawn Richard transform seemingly into several different facets of herself. From her inorganically matched stint with platinum-selling girl group Danity Kane to her exploration of eclectic sounds with Diddy-Dirty Money, the 28-year-old Armor On singer has now emerged as an independent artist. With that choice, obviously, comes controversy and unwarranted backlash. But while many artists may struggle to find their solo niche among a sea of sound, Dawn confidently knows who she is and has been the same all along.

"Me and Dirty Money, me and Danity Kane, it's all the same person," she tells me. "Puff said I wasn't going any further with Dirty Money, so I chose to keep writing my own story."

And she did. One that encompasses a style that resembles strength, unpredictability and resilience.
On an unofficial summer Friday, the former Making The Band star steps onto a photoshoot set ready to work. In the midst of fainting (almost) over a pair of red Marc Jacobs wedge sneakers, Richard talked at length about current "cool" pop stars, the standouts of today's music generation and how she intends to carve out her space on the style spectrum.

"Check the track record. [Danity Kane and Diddy-Dirty Money] were always ahead of fashion trends," she says. "We were pushing the limits in everything. Danity Kane had five lead singers, which was unheard of, wearing Heatherette; we were doing 10-part harmonies. And Dirty Money had a mogul as a leader. It's never been your typical aesthetic."

Nowadays, the underrated singer-slash-dancer champions a lane she feels is less traveled. Today, it seems the experiences alongside the face of Bad Boy--including meeting Karl Lagerfeld, sitting front row at countless fashion shows and being called into record with music's top producers--play out like ancient history. Forced, essentially, back to square one, she's looking to build something all new, all her own. Tying tribal sounds to classic R&B melodies is just another way to bridge her left-field status to the vision she hopes will be remembered.

"I want to be reminiscent of Brandy. She will always be the vocal Bible to me; I'll be the misfit of music, the rebel of music."

Of course, I ask about the ever-rebellious Rihanna, but Dawn quickly resists any comparison: "Rihanna is Rihanna. I want the music and the style to be daring in itself. I'm pushing androgyny with the patterns and the presence of armor. It's not too exaggerated, that's what the sound is. There's a presence of strength [in the image and music]."

Almost two years beyond Last Train to Paris and a few months past the release of her latest EP, Dawn is staring down the barrel of her debut album GoldenHeart, the first installment of a trilogy. Fans can expect it to be edgier, fresher yet not one set thing.

"You can expect the unexpected with me. I'm not what you wanted or what you thought I would be. I just wanna be me--more of movie, more epic."--Niki McGloster

CHECK OUT THE PHOTOSHOOT HERE!

Styling by Tiffany Hasbourne (@TiffTheStylist)
Photographed by Karl Ferguson (@RageOneMedia)

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SZA Calls For Peace While Receiving 'Rule Breaker' Award At Billboard Women In Music

SZA called for peace and understanding at Billboard's Women In Music event Thursday (Dec. 6).

During her speech for the Rule Breaker award, singer-songwriter recalled today's climate, asking her peers and those watching at home for a little bit of peace.

"I'm sorry for the state of the world honestly, for everybody in this room and I pray that all of us just get through it a little bit easier and just try not to lash out at each other," she said.

The recurring theme of unity among women was also heard on the carpet from artists like Tierra Whack. In addition to her message of love, the "Broken Clocks" singer also thanked her TDE family for rocking with her creative process.

"I'm just so thankful for everybody having patience with me, " she said. Shouting out the key members of her family in attendance, the TDE affiliate gave praise to her mother, father, and grandma. In this brief speech centered around the artist's growth Solána Imani Rowe, known more commonly as her stage name, Rowe everyone for their trust in her.

"I'm grateful for everybody taking the time to have the patience to watch someone grow, it is painful and sometimes exciting but mostly boring. And I am thankful for Top (Top Dawg Entertainment's Anthony Tiffith) for not dropping me from that label. For Peter, who I change my ideas every day and he be like okay I like this," she continued.

Thanking the likes of musical powerhouses like Alicia Keys and Whack, "The Weekend" singer offered her appreciation and condolences to Ariana Grande.

Watch SZA accept the Rule Breaker award above.

READ MORE: Anderson .Paak, Tierra Whack And More Praise Female Artists At 2018 Billboard Women In Music

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Beyoncé, Rihanna, And J. Lo Make Forbes’ Highest-Paid Women In Music List

As November comes to a close, many publications will be crafting their year-end lists for all things pop culture. Forbes released a ranking of the world's highest-paid women in music on Monday (Nov. 19), with Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Rihanna holding it down for women of color.

Beyoncé comes in at No. 3 on the list with an earning of $60 million as she made most of her money through her historical Coachella performance, the joint album with husband JAY-Z, Everything is Love, and the Carters' On The Run II Tour in support of its release.

Jennifer Lopez made No. 6 for earnings tallying of over $47 million thanks to her lucrative Las Vegas residency, endorsements, and shows including World of Dance where she serves as a judge.

Rihanna follows behind the "Love Don't Cost A Thing" diva at No. 7 with earnings of over $37.5 million. Although she hasn't toured since 2016—thanks to her cosmetics and lingerie lines, Fenty Beauty and Savage Lingerie—the Bajan pop star has been keeping herself busy.

Forbes' annual list (which factors in pretax earnings from June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018) has placed Katy Perry at the top with over $83 million in profits due to her gig as an American Idol judge and her 80-date Witness: The Tour that brought in an estimated $1 million per night.

Scroll down to see Forbes' full list below.

Katy Perry ($83 million) Taylor Swift ($80 million) Beyoncé ($60 million) P!nk ($52 million) Lady Gaga ($50 million) Jennifer Lopez ($47 million) Rihanna ($37.5 million) Helene Fischer ($32 million) Celine Dion ($31 million) Britney Spears ($30 million)

 

READ MORE: Nas Makes Forbes’ List Of ‘Hip-Hop Cash Kings’ For The First Time

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Kelly Rowland Hops In Her Bag With New Single "Kelly"

Kelly Rowland has it all and isn't afraid to brag about it on her new single, "Kelly."

Released Thursday (Nov. 22), the singer goes the clubby, confident route while rightfully dropping her attributes like her relationship with God, smoldering looks (a.k.a the drip) among other things. With "Kelly" being the first single since her 2013's Talk a Good Game, the singer comes out swinging, reminding everyone of her power in the game.

The mother of one has promised that her new tunes will be edgier and most honest than her past work that included vulnerable tracks like "Dirty Laundry" and massive hits like "Motivation" and "Commander." Speaking with Vogue over the summer, Ms. Kelly disclosed a few details behind the album.

“It’s about love, loss, and gain and whether it’s professional or with family or whatever, it’s just honest," she said. "I had no choice but to be honest and authentic with this record: it’s about friendship and marriage.”

She also explained a drop in confidence caused her hiatus. “I was thinking about pulling back from recording, but I couldn’t help myself: I still wanted to record. I still felt like I was missing something. The third year just came and left so fast. The fourth year I said: ‘I have to get to work’ and now I’m ready to release some music! I felt like I wasted so much time, and it was my husband who actually called me out on it. He said: ‘Babe, as great as those records were, I think you were nervous, you got gun-shy’, and when he said that it was like boom, a gong went off.”

Glad to have you back, Ms. Kelly. Listen to the eponymous record up top.

READ MORE: Kelly Rowland Debuts Smoke x Mirrors Eyewear Collection At Barneys New York

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