Rochelle Aytes Rochelle Aytes

Rochelle Aytes: Role Play

From gorgeous mastermind behind TLC in VH1's upcoming biopic Crazy, Sexy, Cool to assertive side piece in Mistresses, premiering on ABC June 3, Rochelle Aytes' reel redefines upcoming attraction

It took a bitch fit for Rochelle Aytes to realize her passion. After the former dance student dabbled in Broadway theater for the Elton John and Tim Rice smash Aida, she nailed a breakthrough performance during a 10-minute improv called "I'm So Pissed" in one of her acting classes. "Ironically, it was the perfect time for me to take the class because I was hurt by an ex-boyfriend who cheated," she recalls of the moment she decided to consider acting as a career. "You face the wall and then you wait until you're at a heightened 10 emotionally, turn and yell out whatever you want to say to the person. There's so much you can draw from that."

A hot and scorned woman is a recurring theme for Aytes, who returns to small screens as the widowed single mother April Malloy who discovers her dead husband has a secret family on ABC's Mistresses this June. She was also tapped for the role of TLC's founder Perri "Pebbles" Reid in VH1's Crazy, Sexy, Cool: The TLC Story - a biopic on the R&B/rap girl troupe set for release later this year. While the dancing actress admits to lacking pipes, her Harlem roots helped level out her character's street mentality. "Pebbles told it like it was and was a little hood She's from Oakland, Calif. and because I'm from Harlem, I got to bring a little bit of that cool, homegirl fun to her," says Aytes, who stars alongside rapper Lil Mama, singers Drew Sidora and Keke Palmer. "This situation was far from me in that I'm not a singer, but I have an assertive side. This is how [Pebbles] was. Sometimes, I like to be in control."

The self-professed boss lady makes that clear with her career path. After her mother enrolled her at the Ruth Williams dance studio in New York at an early age, Aytes would shake her tutu in ballet class and then perfect her shoulder-pop to Janet Jackson's "Control" at home. The in-house choreography proved valuable during her education at the LaGuardia School of Arts—alma mater of Nicki Minaj and Azealia Banks—where she earned her degree in fine arts. She even clocked in at KFC for two months during high school before swapping fried chicken for sandwiches as a classroom assistant while still showing up for her acting and dancing classes. "I didn't grow up hand-fed things," she says. "I made a living at my craft from a very early age, which is why I am where I am today."

Read on at VIBE.

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va DuVernay speaks onstage during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 10th annual Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 18, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Ava DuVernay And Theaster Gates To Lead Diversity Council For Prada

Major luxury brands like Prada and Gucci have been under fire since releasing luxury items with racial undertones. Sparking controversy that is not easily repaired with public apologies, Prada has announced a Diversity and Inclusion Council lead by director Ava DuVernay and social practice installation artist Theaster Gates.

Gates and DuVernay, who have used their art in social justice missions will join " Prada’s initiative to elevate voices of color within the company and the fashion industry at-large.” The pair will also help the brand provide the opportunity for designers of color to obtain internships and apprenticeships that are inclusive of diverse communities.

In a statement to WWD, Miuccia Prada, Prada’s Chief Executive Officer, and Lead Creative Director stated explained the brand's willingness to learn from their own mistakes while actively including creative of color in the company.

“Prada is committed to cultivating, recruiting and retaining diverse talent to contribute to all departments of the company, Prada said. "In addition to amplifying voices of color within the industry, we will help ensure that the fashion world is reflective of the world in which we live, and we are thrilled to be working with long-time collaborators, Ava DuVernay and Theaster Gates, on this important initiative. We look forward to working with the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council to help us grow not only as a company but also as individuals.”

The Diversity Council will work alongside the company's Social Responsibility department to recommend strategic approaches within the next few months.

 

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Solitary Alignment: 5 Self-Affirming Reads For Single Ladies On Valentine’s Day

Ahh, the Feast of Saint Valentine—the Hallmark holiday that strikes us with its arrow each year, for better or for worse, depending on your bae status. While the romantic holiday is adored and celebrated by many, if you’re still reeling over, say, your ex’s refusal to commit, chances are Feb. 14 is more of a heartache for you than anything.

But as a wise woman once said, “If they liked it then they should’ve put a ring on it.” So whether V-Day has you scared of lonely or sulking over a lost love, as another wise woman once said, they “would be SUPER lucky to even set eyes on you this Valentine’s Day. That’s it. That’s the gift.” Shout out to The Slumflower.

Sure, having a bae on Valentine’s Day is cool, but so is reminding yourself why you’re just fine without one (cue Webbie’s “Independent”). In fact, single folks have better relationships overall, according to the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. You know how the old adage goes: love yourself before loving someone else.

For this Valentine’s Day, VIBE Vixen rounds up a nourishing list of books for our sisters doin’ it for themselves. Consider this your reminder of how badass you are—because you are! Oh, oh, oh. *Beyoncé voice*

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Cast of 'Boomerang' (L to R): Ari (Leland Martin), David (RJ Walker), Bryson (Tequan Richmond)
Kareem Black/BET

BET’s 'Boomerang' Recap: Can You Really Hate The Player?

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As Tara reluctantly Insastories the night’s dull festivities, Ari gives his homie Bryson the cold, hard truth: Simone does not want his a**. Out on the balcony, Crystal and David (RJ Walker) have a moment; the two clearly have history. A shared beer and a couple of laughs reveal that David is an aspiring preacher, begging us to wonder if that’s why little Creflo’s relationship with Crystal didn’t last. The newly invited pizza guy, Shawn, makes his crush on Simone crystal clear and Bryson. Loses. His. Sh*t. Damn, we heard the friend zone was a cold place but we never thought it was that brick. Simone and her new eye candy rendezvous en route to and from the bathroom where Shawn makes a very forward ask to keep Simone company in her bed.  We’re not even going to hold you all, Simone was out; my mans didn’t even have to ask her twice. Le sigh. Poor Bryson. He just keeps taking L after L.

Okay, so remember kitchen bae who bumped into Simone making Bryson get all Mighty Mouse? Well, the gag is, his eyes are just for Ari (Leland B. Martin) and the two make their exit for a steamy hot tub sesh. Bryson feels stupid now, but at least someone is getting a happy ending.  Confused as to why the love of his life doesn’t view him the same, Bryson looks to pastor David for some well-needed reaffirmations. Repeat after me: Everything happens in God’s timing. A spirit of prayer, a childhood photo, and spin of Ahmad’s “Back In The Day” is just what Bryson needs to finally feel the relief he was yearning for all night.

This season of BET’s Boomerang looks like it will be filled with bomb hairstyles, plenty of passion, and some “aww sh*****t” moments.

Tune in to Boomerang on BET every Tuesday at 10/9c to see if this nice guy will ever finish first.

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