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Mas Appeal: Vixen’s Guide to Carnival

If Rihanna’s taught us anything, it’s that Carnival is one hell of a party. The blogs were recently barraged with photos of the sexy pop star in scantily clad ensembles having the time of her life at Barbados’ Cropover. But too many of us fail to realize that such uninhibited fun is well within reach of the masses. People from all walks of life flock to these elaborate, culturally-driven celebrations with hopes of unleashing stress through music and dance. Women take the act of “playing mas”—reveling the streets in elaborate costume—seriously, as it gives them a chance to free themselves while summoning their inner diva.

With Carnivals taking place year-round in almost every major city, there is something for everyone.  Whether budget or endurance is your concern, Vixen’s Guide to Carnival will point you to the perfect party paradise.

-Daria A. Diaz

Photo Credit: urbanislandz.com

carnival

Cropover (Barbados)

With Bajans across the island celebrating the sugar cane harvest, this idyllic travel destination is transformed into a party haven.  As the festival begins to gain momentum and notoriety, it grows beyond belief. Perfect for those who must get their beach bum on but don’t mind a good party.

Where to stay: Rent a villa. Options are plentiful and they work out to be less costly than hotels when traveling with a large group.  Opt for the south coast if you want to be close to the action, or luxuriate on the west (aka the “platinum coast”).

Where to eat: Oistin’s Fish Fry is well known for its local delicacies and party vibe.

Where to play: Baje International and Zulu International are currently the island’s leading Kadooment bands. baje-intl.com, zuluinternational.com

Photo Credit: numusiczone.com

carnival

Nottinghill Carnival (London)

“God save the queen” for London turns all the way up during this Carnival weekend. Although the United Kingdom has a heavy West-Indian presence, onlookers can’t help but be transfixed by the wave of color, sound, and motion. Popping off the third weekend of August, it also proves a great time to tour Europe. You already made it across the pond so why not?

Where to stay: Bayswater Road offers a wide range of hotel accommodations, all of which are walking distance to the parade route. There are also several metro stations along the main road that make the rest of London easily accessible.

Where to eat:  Shepherd’s Bush, an area situated close to Nottinghill, is home to the Westfield London Shopping Center, which offers many options for epic eats. The Mall houses a wide selection of upscale restaurants and a variety of small local eateries can be found directly outside.

Where to play: Euphoria Carnival and Poison UK are both great options. euphoriacarnival.com, poisonuk.com

Photo Credit: ww2.hdnux.com

miami carnival

Miami Carnival

Miami Carnival presents the perfect balance of urban fare and Caribbean flare.  With a heavy hip hop presence, attendees can dabble in both music scenes. Not to mention, it’s Miami!

Where to stay: Most of the Carnival events are downtown, so it’s the most convenient place to rest your head. But South Beach is always a great option for those who don’t mind heavy foot and car traffic.

Where to eat: There’s just something about Miami’s more elusive eateries that exude sexiness.  Fine dining restaurants like Prime 112 and Zuma are well worth the splurge.

Where to play: Check out the well endorsed Generation X for a good time on the road.  generationxmiami.net

Photo Credit: winstondelawarblog.com

Carnival of Trinidad

Trinidad Carnival

Trinidad is to Carnival, what Beyonce is to R&B.  No surprise that her hubby chose to shoot his “Big Pimpin” video at this world famous festival.  Beware, “It ain’t for everybody.” Trinidadians have successfully mastered the art of ‘fete-ing’—relentless partying that leaves minimal time for sleep.  And unlike most Carnivals, Trinidad offers two full days to parade the streets.  After 72 hours of non-stop ‘fete-ing’, followed by two days on the road, those strong enough to endure rightfully earn the title “Carnival Aficionado”.

Where to stay: Port of Spain is the heart of the action.  The Hyatt Regency is the leading choice, but beware because it’s also the first to sell out.

Where to eat: Dawn’s Roti shop—nestled on a small road in Diego Martin—is far from fancy but boasts the best roti in Trinidad. Period.

Where to play: The exclusive Tribe Carnival offers one of the best mas experiences in Trinidad.  carnivaltribe.com

Photo Credit: travel-images.com

 

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SZA Calls For Peace While Receiving 'Rule Breaker' Award At Billboard Women In Music

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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