Howard Homecoming

Howard University Homecoming Party Review

Howard Homecomign

Howard Homecoming is the only 72-hour event you plan months in advance. During this weekend you drink, party, and—for college graduates—you reenter your college days. Leaving that weekend with nights you can't fully remember and exhaustion you can't seem to surpass means you've had one hell of a good time. As an alum venturing back to reminisce with my Howard family and make new memories with my co-workers/friends, my mission was to find out if this year's festivities will live up to the name: Epic. Between me and my posse we were able to hit plenty of parties getting a first hand experience. Check out my review of the good, bad, and unfulfilling parties during HUHC.

Additional reporting from Stacy Ann-Ellis.

park HU Homecoming

Park at 14th: "Essence of Elegance"

Grade = C-

As an avid Park goer, I wasn't too impressed with this experience. I was first surprised to find that arriving early for the delicious food special of free food as long as you purchase a drink no longer existed. This change in the establishment's perks should have alluded to the type of crowd I would be surrounded by. Overall it was an overly-crowded event with too many men standing still uninterested in entertaining a good time with a female companion. Luckily for my sake this club still knows how to have VIP that allows you to exit the extremely crowded life.

The Park on 14th is still one of the best clubs in DC if you plan on partying with people who abide the dress code (sexy always) and want a ratchet-less great night. However as a kickoff party event during Howard Homecoming, I doubt I'll be adding it on my must-go-to club for next year.

Shenanigans

Shenanigans: The Birthday Tweak

Grade = A

This inexpensive homecoming kickoff party—which was hosted by the HU Dream Team, was held at Tuscana West and featured an open bar until 11:30 pm. It was primarily a birthday celebration for a handful of the hosts, but it also doubled as the after party for the Homecoming Fashion Show. When the club reached closing time, patrons simply took the fellowship out into the street right outside and peacefully (albeit drunkenly) continued the turn-up. It was the perfect marriage of a much needed family reunion and pre-game for the crazy weekend to come.

Shenanigans

Shenanigans "Let Out"

Grade = B

"It was so nice it must be mentioned twice."

It's foolish to miss this turn up considering past experiences with Dream Team parties was for the most part a major win. However, catching the clubs let out was more fun than the 4 hours at Essence of Elegance. As I crossed the street from Park to see what all the ruckus was, the streets turned into complete party mode. Freezing but still cute (keep it cute ladies!) I partied with the crowd of wide awake-turnt-partygoers like this was an actual party. Next year I'll be ready with my ticket to actually enjoy the inside of this must-attend party.

1000 Bottles

#1000 Bottles

Grade = A++

#1000 Bottles is a must party spot during Howard Homecoming. A sea of men and women dressed in their black excellence is the first thing you see upon entering this event. Held at the Howard theatre by BE LLC and The Gifted Life, the venue alone gives you an immediate feel of prestige. Fast forward too free premium liquor drinks and the best music from DJ Chubb E Swagg—the turn up was unimaginable. This Ciroc, Crown Royal, and Heineken sponsored  event lives up to the hype, the cost, and the actual experience.

Lance Gross and Taraji

Tailgate

Grade = B+

We know this isn't an actual party but if you've ever attended then you know it qualifies. For an unofficial event during Howard Homecoming, even the celebs know this is the must go-to-spot before, during, and after the football game. It's a daytime reunion with your past friends and first time meet and greet with outside visitors. Plus with celebs like Mack Wilds, Lance Gross, and Yandy Smith in the vicinity, this your best chance to make small talk with your favorite celebrity.  This spontaneous social gathering made up for the many fails of Yardfest.

HennyPalooza

#Hennypalooza

Grade = C

Unfortunately the hype of Hennypalooza is more accurate in NY than in DC. Being on the outside of a should've attended event I was bummed until our friends lucky enough to be inside hit my phone several times unimpressed with an event that didn't live up to it's liquor-endorsed name. Proceeding to my twitter timeline (your official second source) my mood was quickly turned from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) to excitement for move number 2. 

BE House Party HU Homecoming

HUHouseparty

Grade = B+

Houseparty is the perfect name for this event. Hosted again by BE LLC and The Gifted Life, this duo group proves they know how to throw a successful turn up. Unlike their #1000 bottles cocktail attire the dress requirement is less critical. This come-as-you-are event is the closest to an actual house party you'll get to in today's era. The event space was a bit small and no one respects the VIP area but if you're trying to party and bullshit in a ground shaking (literally) atmosphere, this is the event that will supersede all expectations.

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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.
KMazur/WireImage

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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