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Vixen Chat: Tasha Smith Talks 'For Better or Worse' and New Unisex Fragrance

We know actress Tasha Smith as the neck-rolling, over-the-top character Angela Williams from Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse (and Why Did I Get Married). The TBS dramedy has returned for a second season and finds the opinionated woman and her hubby Marcus generating a lot more laughs, confronting exes and counseling their friends on their relationship woes.

On her off days, Smith doubles as a casually-styled woman, wife to entrepreneur Keith Douglas and an acting coach at Tasha Smith Actors Workshop in Los Angeles. Add to that the countless trips she takes around the country to encourage women, couples and families.

Vixen caught up with the Hollywood vet (@TashaSmith4Real) to chat about the series' second run, her newly-released unisex fragrance Us and her personal style versus her onscreen self. --Niki McGloster

VIBE VIXEN: First, I want to congratulate you because it's really awesome to see Black actresses on TV. I think that’s big for the Black community. As for your character Angela, how is your character going to change?

TASHA SMITH: Well Angela is not the one going through as much drama as she was last season. She’s more of the one helping everyone else out with their drama. Her household is more balanced right now; her and Marcus are doing really good. They're working through some of the things from last season, from her burning up the car and all that stuff. But their pretty much back on track with their marriage and it seems that everyone else relationship around them are falling apart and their the ones that are helping everyone else pull it together.

That's definitely a change.
I mean Angela got old boyfriends coming through and everything

What is Angela's fashion style?
I mean, she is a fashionista more than Tasha Smith [Laughs]. I feel like I do okay, but Angela? Oh, she’s all about fashion, hair, nails, clothes. She’s all about the trends, the trendy hair, the trendy clothes and she has to be sharp in some heels every time she steps out the door. She’s’ giving you Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian with the shoes, okay!

I’m more casual but I’m learning how to pull it up, because when you look good, you feel good, and it's something about a great heel that makes you feel sexy and fabulous. That’s how Angela is and I’m kinda living vicariously through her and taking on some of her fashion traits because I used to be in flip-flops and Birkenstocks. Seriously, I used to wear Birkenstocks and flip-flops and UGGs all the time. It was always about comfort to me but between [playing] Angela and my husband, I pull it together and throw on a heel even when I’m not on the red carpet.

Overall, how much of Angela is Tasha?
Well they’re both loud [Laughs]. Other than that, some of the things Angela does, I would never do have done. I would never burn up no car, clothes. I would never go to that extreme like Angela is extreme. She goes crazy; she doesn't have that barometer in her that goes, 'You should not do this girl,' that inner voice that stops her from going too crazy.

Will we see Angela soften up a bit more this season.
Yea she’s not going to be soft but I’m going to say she’s going to be funny, and silly, and fun.  You know not mean and angry all the time. She's funny, she’s silly, she has a little bit of that I Love Lucy energy. She’s always getting herself in trouble and trying to find a way to get herself out of it, and that something that's cool and fun. She’s more of a comedic relief, not so dramatic and so aggressive.

VV: Why did you want to come up with “Us” fragrance?
TS: I needed something that I would love. I was wearing a lot of different fragrances, and I just couldn't find the one I love. [My husband and I] went to a chemist, we got our smell down, and I’m telling you, it just smells fresh and pretty and beautiful. It also has a different note when a man wears it. It's unisex and it takes on a whole 'nother smell on a ma. I love it!

Was it difficult to create?
It was not that easy. It does take patience; you got to really put different smells together until you're really able to come up with what you love. I like things on more of a citricy, floral kind of note.  So it has a lot of that in this Us fragrance.

Do you plan on creating any other beauty products started?
Absolutely, we’re working on a body butter, body cream and body wash, because I’m all about healthy skin and using organic products. And we're working on also extending the line of fragrances as well.

Sounds exciting, do you know how soon we can expect the other products?
I’m saying within the year.

Outside from what you’re building currently, what other beauty brands do you kinda love?
I love Carol's Daughter. They have amazing face butter, and I’m just a fan. Lately, as far as my day moisturizer--Neutrogena, oil free. I found that my skin has been a little oily during the day but at night it gets a little dry, that’s why I use the face butter at night as my face cream, my night cream. During the day, I use Neutrogena oil free moisturizer. I got to tell you that stuff works really good; I would spend a lot of money on moisturizers, but that Neutrogena just works with my skin.

Lastly, one of the culture trends is the 50 shades of Grey trilogy. If there was a book called the 50 shades of Tasha, what would it be about?
I’m all about motivating to be honest with you. I would probably share a lot of the things that I’ve experience and overcame in my life in a way to be able to empower people, whether it's family, personal, relationships, social or career. Just being honest and transparent to help women to pursue life and be passionate about their life and about their future. And of course lovemaking is in that too, you know what I mean? But for me, it just wouldn't be focused on that one dimension there but I would just be about, Look, this is all the stuff that I’ve gone through, this is all the stuff I overcame.

Tune into For Better of For Worse every Friday at 9 p.m. on TBS.

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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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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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