Frank Ocean Frank Ocean

To Be Perfectly Honest, Frank…

This past Monday night I tweeted: "Dear Future Husband, Let’s take over the world together. Sincerely, Jas."

I was leaving a friend's birthday party. It was late, the weather was warm, I was a little buzzed. As I walked the long way to my train, I felt good, so I shared a very personal, and perhaps uncharacteristically vulnerable, thought. Within minutes, I had dozens of replies. Many of them were retweets from other women, a few were replies from male followers willing to take me up on the request and several were from my own friends but their responses were somewhat surprising. They laughed. The joke became that my phone had been hacked; there’s no way that I had written that.

I said nothing.

Let me be clear, I don’t believe my friends meant me any harm. In fact, I know they didn’t which is why I didn’t respond. But I do believe that sometimes we get so caught up in wanting to be accepted that we will do so at the expense of others. Instead of taking a moment to really think about what I said and that it’s something they also want, they decided to make light of it.

After 24 hours of speculation, singer/songwriter Frank Ocean (via Tumblr) revealed (beautifully) that he was (at the very least) bisexual. He shared the very personal story of his first love, which happens to have been a man. Although the response has been refreshingly positive, the inevitable jokes and backlash surely followed. To some, his music has changed. They’re unsure if he’s singing to a woman or a man. For others, they took issue with the idea of bisexuality all together, reasoning that once you’ve been with a man, you’re gay. Then, some simply wanted a reason to ridicule him, proclaiming they "knew it all along" by his "soft" lyrics and fierce privacy.

But I get it.

Lately I’ve been feeling…lost.

Know that I live in a city and work in an industry where (ironically) everyone is determined to be/look/act cool, yet almost everyone is actually (also) lost; we’re just not supposed to say it. But that’s how I’ve been feeling. I’m learning to come to grips with the idea that people actually do pay attention to what I say, an idea at first that scared me then left me feeling like I had to be extra protective of my own life as to avoid the ridicule so many people are so quick to give.

While reading Frank's blog, I realized that while it makes an amazing statement about homosexuality in our culture, it made an even bigger statement about individuality in our culture. Frank declared quite simply: This is who I am, and that is going to have to be good enough.

I’m a heavy tweeter, I tumbl regularly, and every so often I post incredibly personal blogs about something I’m going through or have recently learned. Despite all of that, only 25% of my life happens in the public eye. The other 75% are the parts that most people don’t see. Part of my hesitation to share more of own story–my journey--has been for the very reason I wouldn’t normally tweet something as personal as I did on Monday: because some people would find a way to make a joke of it.

Now I know what some of you are going to say "who cares?" But let’s be honest, nobody wants to be the butt of a joke. That’s why you see even the most popular celebs spazzing out on random people they feel are harassing them. At the end of the day, we’re all human. And on some level, we all want to be accepted.

Did you know that since 2008 I’ve lost 103lbs but I still struggle with my body image? Did you know that after nine years of working/eating/breathing film and TV, I left that industry and found myself completely lost? I actually fell into blogging just because I didn’t know what else to do. I’ve had my heart broken more times than I think is fair, and it has left me über cautious of who I date–or let in for that matter–simply because I know all to well what it’s like when it’s over.

Real talk, this harsh and expensive ass city that I love, whips my ass, and what many don’t realize about this career choice of mine is that every single day is a battle. While I’m so grateful to God to be able to do what I do and experience the many amazing things I do, I am taxed constantly with chasing down checks, dealing with unprofessionalism, ridiculous hours, horny rappers, constant self-editing and moments where I look at my friends back home–with their families and their quiet stable lives–and I think to myself that maybe I just want that.

I don’t say any or all of this for you to feel sorry for me. Like I said, I know how blessed I am. I’m telling you all of this because I know that if I’m dealing with all of this, maybe in their own way, someone else out there is too. And maybe, just maybe–like Frank–we both can find the courage to say this is who I am. Sometimes in the moment, playing it cool is easier. But in the long run, being you is better. There’s something magical that happens, when you are being your true self and the universe will always reward you in kind.

As I continue to learn and grow both personally and professionally, I have to decide what I want my own personal zeitgeist to be. My dear friend Jovi told me today, "I want you to make being yourself cool." I instantly thought of Frank who was willing to risk so very much just to finally live his life as nothing more than himself. If he can do it, so can I. And if I can do it, so can you.

From the Web

More on Vibe

VIBE Vixen/ Jessica Xie

VIBE Vixen's Boss Talk Podcast: Meet Peppermint, The Boss Using Her Gifts For Good

VIBE Vixen's Boss Talk podcast amplifies the voices of women and she/her-identifying individuals in their respective industries as they discuss their journeys toward becoming the bosses we know today. From their demeanor and confidence and persevering through life’s pitfalls to make a name for themselves in their own way, being a boss is much more than 'just running sh*t.'

Miss Peppermint started as a staple in the New York nightlife scene, and after appearing as a contestant on the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, she’s continued to make a name for herself.

Outside of the show, she's traveled the world and is hoping to release her third album, which she hints will be influenced by the '90s, R&B, and neo-soul. She's also planning on re-releasing her debut album, Hardcore Glamour, for its 10-year anniversary.

"I'll be doing a lot in New York this year for World Pride," she explains to Boss Talk's host, J'na Jefferson. Pride takes place throughout June. "The last album I dropped was 2017... I'm excited about that, I'm writing it now. It's just poems, but I'm excited."

Peppermint, who was the first openly transgender contestant on the Emmy Award-winning show, was also the first transgender woman to originate a principal role on Broadway for her role as Pythio in Head Over Heels. 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Head Over Heels (@hohmusical) on Jan 31, 2019 at 12:26pm PST

"On paper, it shouldn't make sense... it's hard to explain what it is," she says of the musical, which combined a loose adaptation of 16th-century piece The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia with the music of the new wave group, The Go-Go's. It closed in late-2018.

"The better way to explain it now that it's over and closed is 'a revolutionary show about dismantling the patriarchy...'" she says about Head Over Heels. "I knew that they wanted to cast a trans actor... I wanted to put as much as I could into it, and try to do our non-binary siblings well and proud... [the show] became something I really believed in."

Peppermint continues to share her love of performing all over the world and is also an activist, who aims to promote the importance of LGBTQIA representation and advancement. She has worked and supported organizations such as The Point Foundation, which aims to help LGBTQIA students attend college. 

"People are just starting to catch on that having queer voices is essential and inevitable," she says of further representation of LGBTQIA individuals in media and entertainment. She praises Pose creator Ryan Murphy for showcasing trans people of color both in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes.

"Giving [trans people] the power to speak for themselves, rather than slapping the community with stereotypes or archetypes... we're past that," she continues. "We're not in the phase where they're feeling comfortable to be who they are, but I think we're getting close."

Listen to the full episode below.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

Continue Reading
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

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.

Continue Reading

Top Stories