Sommore Chandelier Status Sommore Chandelier Status

Vixen Chat: Sommore Talks 'Chandelier Status,' Dressing for the Stage and Dream Movie Role

If you think being a woman in the workforce is hard, try being a female comedian.

Like most industries, the "funny business" is male-dominated and slow to accept a lady behind the mic. For 20 years, Sommore has defied the odds with her unique brand of sass and class. As an undisputed queen of comedy, she continues to tour and tackle just about any topic with wit, confidence and, of course, hilarity.

Tonight (May 31), she'll unleash her newest material on Chandelier Status, a television special airing on Showtime. Vixen caught up with the comic to talk about her new gig, dressing for the stage and what she does best: making people laugh. -- Nicole Brown

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VIBE Vixen: What is the story behind Chandelier Status?
Sommore:
I came up with the title because I wanted to describe what I'm feeling in this new society. Everything moves fast. The only way to know who you are is to stay true to yourself and be a chandelier. When you see a room that's beautiful, it's usually the chandelier that's constant. People usually change all the other things in the room, but the chandelier stays and illuminates the whole room. So, I decided that I was going to live my life like a chandelier meaning I wasn't going to hate on no one else. I wasn't going to compete with anyone else. I was going to concentrate on being the best me that I can be. I believe that when you do that, you shine.

What is the key to reinvention for a long lasting career?
I don't think it's a reinvention. As a stand-up comedian, there's a lot of time when the light don't shine on us. Most of my work is done at night. When the light is on us, it may look like we're reinventing, but I've been doing this constantly for 20 years. I think that people will see the growth in me. When you do this for 20 years, you have to talk about your life. I think that I'm funnier than ever. My view and my take on society, it's smart and it's clever.

Speaking of "new society," are you drawing inspiration from what you see in social media?
I get my material from my perspective. I don't tell jokes on Twitter and I don't get comedians who do. Every now and then, I'll tweet funny ideas I have. But there's so much more that goes into a joke. The media right now is a blessing and a curse. It's a beautiful thing that people can express themselves. People are committing to group thinking [but] sometimes you can lose your individuality.

Is there such thing as going too far in comedy?
I try not to do mean-spirited comedy. There's only two people I won't talk about and that's Whitney Houston and Oprah. After that, everyone and anyone else is cool.

What do you do when the audience doesn't laugh at your joke?
It happens. When the audience doesn't laugh, as a comedian, perfectionist and artist, I don't blame them. I blame myself. It could be various reasons. Someone may have told the same joke before you. They could be settling down and not really listening. I'm a professional. Sometimes they won't get it, but when they do, it's a beautiful thing.

And hilarious. So, why do you think female comics are few and far in between?
It's a male-dominated business. We have to fight for everything that we get. There's men that just don't think that we're funny. And there's people that are going to think women aren't funny period. They get discouraged and give up. It's hard for us to get stage time, to even go up at open mics. I tell women we need to hear your voice. I want to see a woman who has six kids by six different men. I want to see what she thinks is funny. I want to see her get up on stage and bare her soul.

Speaking of men, are you dating?
I date on the road. Usually if a guy is a fan of mine, he already has a perception of me that I'll probably disappoint him. He probably thinks I'm something that I'm not.

Sommore Chandelier Status

VV: Switching to style, what are your must-haves for the dressing room?
S: I have to have water. I have to have Ciroc, pineapple juice, grilled chicken, vegetables, chocolate covered strawberries, roses and candles.

How do you deal with the bright stage lights during a performance?
I hate when I'm finished working and I don't look ugly because that means I didn't work hard enough. When I'm done, I'm usually sweating. I try to use a mattifier, but the lights are hot. Nine times out of ten, I got on some sequins or something hot. I wish I could learn to wear something breezy, but I'm always picking something hot and dramatic.

How do you decide what to wear?
However I'm feeling. My biggest fear is to show up to work and someone in the audience has on the same thing I have on, so I make sure they don't. With that, I just create something to wear. I use Black Opal products. I love makeup. I read makeup books and videos and all those kind of things. MAC makeup. For the most part, I do girly stuff. I'm a girly girl, but I can hang with the boys.

Now, your sister Nia Long just wrapped filming on The Best Man Holiday. Will you be watching?
Of course! I'm her number one fan.

What is your dream movie role?
I want to smack the shit out of someone in a movie. I really do. I just want to be fabulous and go in there and slap the shit out of somebody. I'm past the drink throwing. I want to play a real, real bitch.

Catch Chandelier Status tonight at 10:30pm on Showtime. The DVD is also available for purchase via ITunes or Amazon.

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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.

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Actress Gabrielle Union attends the Being Mary Jane premiere, screening, and party on January 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
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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.

Save the date! 👰🏾It'll be worth the wait. Join us for the series finale of #BeingMaryJane TUES APR 23 8/7c only on @BET! pic.twitter.com/jEwkbC71OW

— #BeingMaryJane (@beingmaryjane) March 29, 2019

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The North Face

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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