Draya Michele on 'Basketball Wives', Love, and Making Money

When Draya Michele was cast on hit reality series, Basketball Wives: LA, many wondered how she fit in and if she would have a place on the show. But Draya quickly went from introverted newbie to viewer’s favorite. This overtly sexy model/entrepreneur is taking her reality show platform to new heights. Vixen spoke to Draya about BBWLA, her business ventures, being a Ciroc girl and her love life.

Photo Credit: Vibe Vixen

Draya MicheleYou're best known for being a cast member on BBWLA. How has being on the show changed your life?

You go from being a regular small town girl to this person that everyone recognizes in a big city. I’m in LA and everyone recognizes me so it’s a really big difference, it’s kind of cool.

Season 1 we saw a pretty shy Draya and the following season you came into your own. Tell me about that evolution. 

For the first season of Basketball Wives I kind of went in blind and I just had to take each and every obstacle that was thrown at me. I went through every emotion a person could possibly go through, I laughed, I cried, I just went through it all. And so the second season I was a little more prepared for anything they were ready to throw at me; I had the confidence to deal with it better so you really saw the true me on season 2.

There was a rift in your friendship with model Brooke Bailey during the last season. Where does your relationship with her stand now? 

There is no relationship between Brooke and I and on Season 3 you won’t see Brooke at all.

Have you guys already filmed the new season? And can you tell me a little bit about what we’re going to see?

Well you’re going to see me of course and just a more in-depth side of my life. You’ll see my family more; you’ll see bits and pieces of my love life, a more intimate side of my life. It’s not so much what I’m doing for my jobs, or money, it’s just more personal so you’ll see that. And you’ll definitely see a lot of new things with everyone; whole new people, people you’ve never seen before.

Speaking of your love life, I saw that you're dating football player Orlando Scandrick, how did you two meet?

We actually met through a mutual friend and we’ve been dating for about five months now, but we just decided to make it public.

And things are going well?

Things are going great, I can’t complain, I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.

DrayaIt's no secret that you're beautiful and have a gorgeous body, what are your beauty and workout secrets? 

I don’t like a diet so in order to eat whatever I want I have to workout. I’ll train my body and get it to where it needs to be and then I’ll fall off from the gym. I’m not a die-hard gym person but I do like to workout.

Let's talk about your nails, they've been red for quite a while, any reason why? 

I’ve tried other colors and I just don’t feel myself. If I have pink I feel it’s too girly, if I have nude it’s so plain on me I just can’t. I just have to wear red, it just suits me, it’s very sexy, it’s very mature, and I just like it. Red goes with everything, it’s classic and it was like the first shade of nail polish to ever be created.

Your Fine Ass Girls clothing line has been doing well. What was the motivation for that line? 

Well I started by saying “wit’ yo fine ass” it was something that I just said all the time. I wanted to make things that people were able to get that was a part of Draya but I didn’t want it to be like merchandise, I didn’t want to put a slogan on a shirt so then I just came up with Fine Ass Girls and was like “well why not do that?” and even people that don’t know me can wear it just because it has a great name, it’s catchy. I just wanted to start something that could be for everyone.

You've been getting a lot of ridicule on Instagram by people who feel you only find beauty in lighter skinned women, how do you feel about that? 

Oh good! I am in no way biased or do I prefer light skin or dark skin it’s just that the people that model my clothing are my friends in real life. I don’t hire models and I don’t have castings and say “not her or her.” These are just my friends and these are just regular girls and I just pick them based on if them being my friends, I don’t see color. It’s just about how the shirt looks, so really I could use headless pictures, it’s just about if my t-shirt looks good that’s all I really care about.

What's a vixen to Draya?

I think of vixen as something sexy. I think that “X” in there just makes it like a sexy woman. Vixen itself is just a sexy word so I think it’s just any woman that’s sexy and doing whatever her talent is and succeeding at it. 
Draya

Your swimsuit line Mint Swim, which many of us first learned about on BBW, has just released its second collection "Sand Meet Beach" what was the inspiration for that collection? 

I definitely took a lot more time creating this line and I wanted them to be really sexy. I wanted to keep them all in the same color scheme and not do anything too wild so I kept it basic white, basic black, and then there’s a little bit of tan. And there’s a bit of red and orange in there, I just wanted to keep it nice and clean and chic.

You're also a Ciroc Girl, how did that partnership come about and what is it like? 

I met the Vice President of Ciroc and she basically had a belief in me. She followed me and she knew that I had a following so she just took a chance on me and she brought the idea to Puff and everyone else and everyone was on board and they gave me a shot. I’ve been doing really well for the company now for about five months.

What are you listening to now?

I’m definitely like a classic Jay-Z fan, like diehard everything Jay-Z is great to me. I’m a big fan of Kendrick Lamar so I’ll always support him. And then my best friend musically introduced me to Frank Ocean; I’ve become a fan recently.

As a person who lives in the public eye, people think that they know based on what they see. What do you want people to know about Draya?

I just want people to know that Instagram is just a small fraction of my life. It’s pictures that I select to go up there and you know there are some things in my life that I like to keep private. There are people that inquire so much about my family and as a mother that is a very scary thing so I have to protect my family and keep them a little out of the limelight just because they’re so in demand. When people say “well where’s your son? Where’s your son? Where’s son?” it has the opposite effect on me, instead of making me actually want to post my son, it puts a slight fear in me like why are you guys so obsessed with my son? That would scare any parent for strangers to be so concerned for their child. I just need people to know that I keep it private.

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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.
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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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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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