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Your Genes vs. Your Jeans

You spot them across a crowded sales floor, or maybe a congested thrift store rack. Denim works of art. The perfect pair of jeans, if such a thing even exists. Beautiful cut, lovely wash—even the little rivets have panache. You swoop down on them, terrified another stylish shopper will make eye contact with them first, and scuttle them back to the fitting room, ready to make love to your mirrored image from the waist down.

Except they won’t come up past the middle of your thighs. Or they do this weird creasey thing across your hips. Or they pucker out so far at the waist, you look like you’re a little tea pot, short and stout. There is your handle and there is your spout.

If I never had to shop for another pair of jeans, I’d do two cartwheels, a round-off and a Tae-Bo kick across the mall parking lot. Jeans are a fashion staple, but next to bras (which belong in the seventh ring of hell), they’re my least favorite thing to look for, and sometimes, my least favorite thing to wear. I’ve broken nails trying to zip them up. Flopped back on my bed wrestling into them. Analyzed my hindquarters from every possible angle under the unkind glare of department store fluorescent lighting trying to buy them. Liked the way they fit my legs but hated the way they rode up in the crotch. Liked the way they fit around the waist but hated the way they flattened my rump. Squatted down in them to manufacture some give when they’ve been damn-girl-can-you-breathe? tight.

If you’re a Black woman, you probably have curves. And when you’re a Black woman with curves, you’ve probably experienced the deflating realization that most designers have visions of Angelina Jolie or Kate Hudson dancing through their heads when they strike out to create a new line. But newsflash: for at least the last five years, and probably longer than that, the average American woman has been rocking a size 14. But you wouldn’t be able to tell by the waif-like sizing of most jeans or the obvious lack of models with meat on their bones.

So when Levi’s introduced Curve ID, I snickered. Levi’s? The same brand the white girls in my high school poured their stick figures into? Seems as though the company is having a hard time breaking with their own stereotype. Their most recent ads for the line purportedly for thicker girls only proves their definition of shapeliness is a few stick-thin chicks with gams the size of my forearms. They defended themselves by saying they do celebrate different body types. Alas, those images, few and far between as they are, were relegated to a Facebook page with some 3,000 fans, a far cry from the pages of the print magazines that reach millions of readers. Pity.

Just because you drizzle syrup on boo-boo don’t make it hot cakes (I don’t know. Just roll with me.) And just because you feign respect for the shape of “real women” doesn’t make it the dawning of a new day. Levi’s may know denim and they may know capitalism, but they wouldn’t know a real womanly curve if it dropped it like it’s hot on their conference room table.

Someday soon, as Americans get bigger and more women fall into that “full-figured” category, which, at this point, is more the average than the exception, designers are going to have to kick that old school thinking to the curb that consumers want to see beautiful, but bony models wearing clothes they’re hoping will sell. Marketing studies have shown that women are overwhelmingly more likely to purchase a product if the gal pushing it looks more like them in age, race and, yes, weight. That includes jeans, Levi’s. Then you wonder why the clearance rack is clogged up with so many overstocked size 2s.

Curve ID let me down, and not just because of the ads. I bought two styles online, sight unseen, because they were on sale but they didn’t come close to the one-stop, don’t-look-no-further discovery I’d hoped for. The fit wasn’t all that impressive. So the love/hate relationship with denim marches on and my two little trusty pairs will remain on call indefinitely until I either whittle myself down to an itty bitty number in the lower single digits or stumble on a brand that can accentuate all that I got going on. Since Mitt Romney has a better chance of leading a conga line at the DNC than I do of being a waif size 4, my money’s on the former, not the latter. Then again, there’s always sweatpants.

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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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