Vixen Chat: Bianca Lawson on ‘Teen Wolf’, Longevity, and Beauty Secrets That Keep Her Looking Ageless

If you look up the definition of “longevity,” a picture of Bianca Lawson should be next to it. She’s been in the acting game for 20 years and her resume includes roles in Saved by the Bell, Save the Last Dance and more recently, The Vampire Diaries. She’s the actress everybody knows, but can’t quite name; the supporting player that completes the story.

Today, she assumes the role of Ms. Morrell on MTV hit Teen Wolf, where she is finally the adult and not the teenager. During our Vixen Chat, we talked about what role she still wants to play, working on (another) hit show and why she doesn’t seem to age.

Has acting always been your dream?

Acting has always been my number one dream. When I was younger, I did it more just as a personal passion and school was my career. I always thought this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life, but I always left the door open in case I wanted to do other things. But it’s pretty much been my number one forever.

What’s one role that you’re still dreaming of doing?

I’ve always wanted to play Cleopatra. I’m a huge Elizabeth Taylor fan and I loved her Cleopatra. I love playing strong, powerful women who own their sexuality. I’ve never played an addict and I would love to do that.

Who’s been your favorite character to play so far?

I enjoyed them all for different reasons. I have to say I loved this miniseries for Showtime called Feasts of All Saints. That’s probably one of my favorites because it was so different from anything I’d gotten to do and I got to spend time with Anne Rice which was like a dream.

If you could spend a day with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

I’ve always been fascinated with Einstein, so I’d love to chat with him and pick his brain. The one person if I could spend time with would probably be my grandmother who passed when I was one.

For those who don’t watch, what is the premise of Teen Wolf?

The story of Teen Wolf is about owning your own power and coming into yourself. We all have these callings where we have to step up and be a larger version of ourselves. Scott (Tyler Posey) has to make that transition from a boy to a man who has great responsibility. I think it’s a really powerful message. My character is the guidance counselor and a lot of other things that are going to be revealed. Her and a couple of other characters are keeping the balance between good and evil.

What are your thoughts on the supernatural?

I feel there is so much more going on beyond our senses. I don’t know if anyone knows for sure, but I definitely feel like there’s much more to this existence that we encounter in a human way. Nature itself is so miraculous. Birth is miraculous—a human being grows inside your stomach. That’s magical to me!

What is it like working behind the scenes on Teen Wolf?

Every set is different, but this particular set is fantastic. Not that I have been on any bad sets, but there’s always a different vibe because people have different energies. It just seems like everyone is so excited and believes in what they’re doing. I’m not there everyday and I’m not someone who puts myself in the position to give advice, but if anyone were to ever come to me, I’d happily do that.

You’ve been acting for over twenty years. What’s the key to longevity?

I don’t know if there’s a key to it. I just felt like I had no other choice. There was never any other options for me. There was never a plan B. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t do it. I never had a master plan. You have little goals along the way, but I think longevity in anything requires endurance.

When you’re not on TV, what are you watching?

I just did a binge of Orange is the New Black. When it was the last episode, I was like “Noooo!” (laughs). I’m also a big fan of Homeland and House of Cards.  It’s easier for me to catch up on things on Netflix or On Demand. Some much time passes where I can’t watch TV, so I have to catch it on an off day.

We’re convinced you don’t age. What’s you’re secret?

That’s very sweet! I definitely think genetics play a huge factor. I don’t really have a routine or regimen and I think that’s the secret—the simpler, the better. I’ve been using the same products since high school. I feel like the more you leave yourself alone, the better. When people are constantly changing products and doing what the ‘new’ thing is—it drives your skin, hair and body crazy. Stick with what’s working and listen to your body. I’ve always been a water drinker. My mom never had soda and stuff in the house. I’m allergic to sunscreen so I don’t avoid the sun, but I don’t dwell in it.

What are some of those products you use?

I have really sensitive and dry skin, so I use Cetaphil cream cleanser. I’m a big fan of aloe vera. My mom had an aloe plant when I was younger and we used that for everything.

Have you had a set of actor friends throughout your career?

I’m definitely someone who isn’t on the scene. I have the same friends I’ve had for years. I have a couple of friends in the industry, but not a ton of actor friends. I go to work, I do my job and if a relationship develops organically, those are the longer lasting ones. I’ve got my same little group that I’ve had for 20+ years.

What’s coming up next for you?

I have a film I produced that’s going to air on Lifetime. I’m excited because that was the first time I was the lead where you’re in every scene and it was so rewarding. And as a producer, I got to be involved with decisions in a way that I had never been before.

Will it be your typical Lifetime-type of movie?

It was written specifically for Lifetime, so it’s definitely got that tone. It’s about domestic violence, and being a young woman. I would love to do more producing. It gives you a little more control. It’s a really fulfilling creative experience for me.

What advice can you give to brown girls looking to join the acting world?

Absolutely believe in yourself. In all situations, nothing is perfect. I wouldn’t focus anything that’s perceived as lack or how many roles don’t go to black actresses. Have tunnel vision. Don’t think of what’s wrong. Think how can I change this? How can I create something for myself? Don’t try to meld yourself into what’s ‘successful.’ Know what’s interesting or different about you and own that. Eventually, people will come around. Surround yourself with supportive people who will remind you what you’re original goal was. It’s easy to get caught up and frustrated.

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Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.
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Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.

 

Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/LxZfxcqRgF

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/BHlANZjCGZ

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/vLqLTVxqO9

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/ALDcT0ZQxR

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/zwk0AWMCoE

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/mM2GWEg1pe

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!pic.twitter.com/GfxBeJxUY1

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...

#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/iXNwssD3sY

— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/cGl269tuTr

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

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Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG

Kiely Williams Explains Fallout With Adrienne Bailon Houghton And Alleged Fight With Raven-Symonè

Our current isolated way of life has given some plenty of time for reflection like Kiely Williams of the former girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls (ask your kids). The tales of both successful groups have been told time after time by fans in YouTube documentaries and members of each collective but Williams has decided to share her side of the story.

Williams hopped on Live Monday (March 30) where she discussed her former friendship with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon Houghton and the infamous chicken throwing fight with actress/singer Naturi Naughton. The mother of one didn't pinpoint exactly why she fell out with Houghton but did point out how she wouldn't be interested in appearing on her talk show.

"I don't think Adrienne wants to have live TV with me," Williams said. "'Cause she's gon' have to say, 'Yes Kiely, I did pretend to be your best friend. Now, I am not.' You were either lying then or you're lying now. You either were my best friend and now you're just not claiming me or you were pretending [to be my best friend."

The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

On a lighter note, Symonè, Houghton and Naughton have kept in contact with Naughton and Houghton putting their differences aside during an appearance on The Real. 

Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

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Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

Kelis is taking her chef talents to Netflix. The musician will host a food competition show titled Cooked With Cannabis that’ll premiere on the very-fitting April 20 (4/20). According to NME, the show will span six episodes and be co-hosted by chef Leather Storrs.

Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

Each episode will place three chefs against each other as they craft three-course meals with cannabis as the central ingredient. Each episode’s winner takes home $10,000. Guests will play an integral role in who takes home the cash prize. Too $hort, and El-P are just a few of this season's guests.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

“Food is revolutionary because it is the one and only international language. It’s the most human thing you can partake in,” she said in an interview with Bon Appetit. “We are the only species that cooks.”

This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

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