Vivian Billings Vivian Billings

Vixen Chat: Viv Billings Opens Up About Her Family, Abuse, and Steph Lova Drama

We've seen Vivian Billings on The Gossip Game doing her thing and pursuing her beat, but we didn't see—until recently—what Viv was dealing with at home. Here Viv opens up about supporting her son through his gender change, her issues with Steph Lova, and how she copes with sharing her private life on national television. —April Dawn Ricchuito

Vibe Vixen: Is there really beef with Rich Dollaz?  Would you ever collaborate with Ms. Drama and Steph Lova in the future?
Vivian Billings: I have no problems with Rich Dollaz. I am not open to working with either one of those ladies (Ms. Drama or Steph Lova) and I think that’s all I’m going to say about that.

We saw you meet up with Steph Lova to discuss the remarks she made on air about your son, Kayden, and KK’s sexual orientation. What was going through your head at that moment? How did you stay so calm in that situation? What were you hoping the outcome would be?
When I filmed the scene with Steph Lova, I wasn’t there to talk. For those that may not be aware, Mona (Scott Young) begged me to have a dialogue with Stephen and asked if I would take out my hair pins in which I said “No”. However, I was open to hearing Stephen apologize, which she never did, so at one point I felt like I had said enough and just spit at her.

Photo Credit: VH1

Vivian and kaydenWhen Star appeared on Steph’s show, he let her think you said a few things. Do you feel like Star was maybe playing you both to help himself come up? Did you take this up with him off camera? If not, do you have any plans too?
Star and I have a really close relationship and so when he went on Steph’s show, I already knew there was a possibility that he would say something to set her off. It’s what he does, that’s his job. He’s a shock jock and he did just that. I have no issues with Star because at the end of the day, Steph should’ve known better than to fall for the okey doke.

I love that you’re so supportive of KK. Were you hesitant to discuss such a sensitive issue on the show? Have you and KK received a lot of support from fans?
I certainly did not want to have my child’s sexual orientation put on blast, especially not on a public platform. However, due to Stephen’s ratchet mouth, it’s what happened. At this time, KK and I have received a lot of positive support from outsiders. Renee Graziano offered a shoulder to lean on and I thought that was so nice of her.

What are some ways women can be supportive of others in similar situations?
I think the only way to be supportive in these situations is just to let the person know that you are there for them no matter what. And I feel like that’s just what I did with my child.

Photo Credit: newnownext.com

gossip game castViolence against women–violence in general–is something we see a lot of in the hip-hop culture. How do you feel about Rick Ross’ rape lyrics? Do you think hip-hop has gone too far?
Yes, I was in an abusive relationship at one time in my life, but my situation has nothing to do with Rick Ross. I think nowadays people are too sensitive and easily offended. I live by the motto “if it doesn’t apply, let it fly” so a lot of things just don’t bother me. So was I wasn’t offended by Rick Ross’ lyrics.

What advice would you give to someone who is currently experiencing abuse? How did you cope? What helped you heal?
I’ve learned that the individual has to be ready to leave. They have to want to leave because if they don’t, you become the villain and not the person who is doing the abusing. It took me some time [to develop the courage to leave], but I realized I could do a hell of a lot better in life. And I did.

Your makeup is always on point. What are some of your favorite beauty products and secrets?
My favorite beauty product of all time is Pond’s cold cream.

Lastly, what’s next for you? What can we look forward to?
You can look forward to growth, maturity and a possible radio deal.

Photo Credit: VH1

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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.

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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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