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Orange is the New Black: On The Run


Photography: Geoff Barrenger  |  Design: Sammie Lin

When Piper Kerman entered a low-security Connecticut prison in 2009, she had no idea that millions of people would volunteer to share her sentence with her—from couches and bedsides across the globe. Alongside Netflix, this New York memoirist is redefining the viewer experience (and girl power) with an estrogen-fueled collective armed with guts, color and unmatched talent.

Few things are certain as we reflect on a year that will soon pass. Kanye continues to rant, Beyonce is still invincible, Olivia Pope gets it “handled,” and the term “watching television” will never be the same.  For products of a post-Millennium generation, this seemingly normal activity looks archaic, even to the biggest boob tube addict. For those of us born before the birth of Internet TV, childhood memories are punctuated by the images we grew up with—our proverbial social slideshows. Furthermore, those memories are partially, if not completely, inspired by the characters we watched week to week. Whether it be Saturday nights on Nickelodeon, Friday nights with the WB or Saturday morning cartoons, 90’s babies are the last to know what it means to run home after school, eat dinner and do our homework—all for the sake of not missing our weekly dose of entertainment. Back then, we catered to television; today, it caters to us.

While shows like Breaking Bad, Modern Family and anything spawned by Shonda Rhimes, continue to thrive in traditional form (ads included), others are born, revived or syndicated in cyberspace. Needless to say, Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings were light-years ahead of the curve when they created Netflix in 1997. Inspired by a Blockbuster late fee, the DVD subscription service would take the idea of a video rental and up the ante by going to the World Wide Web and offering more than a physical store. Just a few short years later, they would adopt its current model of charging a static monthly fee in exchange for hundreds of titles available for your repeated viewing pleasure. Today, it demolishes similar video streaming sites with over 40 million subscribers, a quarterly net income of over $30 million and an Emmy nominated series (House of Cards). Next year, armed with a new interface that will spread content across multiple platforms with supplemental information typically offered by standard television, Netflix will take shape as a network similar, if not better, than giants like HBO and Showtime.



The thin line between “old school” TV and online streaming is blurred as both compete on an even playing field with both A-list talent and game-changing programming. Enter our November cover girls: the charismatic cast of Orange is the New Black. When showrunner Jenji Kohan brought the show to several networks, it was Netflix that ordered 13 episodes before its pilot even aired. Led by blonde bombshell Taylor Schilling, Orange tells the true story of Piper Kerman (Chapman), a writer whose life is forever changed by a prison stint stemming from a money-laundering scheme with ex-girlfriend Alex Vause. Somewhat naïve, straight-laced and engaged to a fellow WASP, Piper’s interactions with her fellow inmates not only awaken a part of her that she didn’t know existed, but make for binge-worthy indulgence.

Alongside Schilling is an overwhelming pool of talent, from newcomers to seasoned vets. They all wear orange, but their complexities are wide ranged. From a drug-addicted Jesus freak to an undercover lover and wide-eyed “Crazy Eyes,” the women of Orange is the New Black are some of the most progressive female characters to hit the small screen and a flawed prison system where women are separated by race and hierarchies. Somehow, OITNB writers have created a “so wrong it’s right” formula that makes the series worthy of its dramedy label.


Photo Credit: Nicholas Nichols

Those who have marathoned alongside us have grown attached to the actresses who make up this collective—our sassy sorority of misfits. We get a taste of what it feels like to be part of this close-knit clique as we come together on a crisp October morning. Armed with coffee, couture and conversation, four of the ten castmates—Dascha Polanco, Laverne Cox, Vicky Jeudy, and Jessica Pimentel—seem unphased by our early Saturday morning call time as we pile into the Brooklyn-bound SUV. Sandwiched between Laverne, who sits shotgun (“My legs are too long, honey,” she quips before climbing in) and the rest in the rear, a dizzying series of pow wows pop off as our caravan dissects the latest Hollywood gossip. From Miley Cyrus’ VMA twerk heard ‘round the world to Rihanna’s GIF-worthy “Pour It Up” visuals, no stone is left unturned as the OITNB crew continue their witty water cooler convo (which somehow turns into a hilarious exchange about blood types and who could donate to who within their crew.)

By the time we hit the set, we’re joined by Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Yael Stone, Selenis Leyva, Taryn Manning and Elizabeth Rodriguez. It feels like a family reunion as the team embraces as if more than just an evening had passed and everyone darts to the racks of designer duds and accessories. A far cry from their usual jumpsuits and minimal set make-up, these women emerge from captivity a set of stunners, primped to perfection and coiffed for close-ups. Photographed together for the first time since their meteoric rise to television elite, Vixen is poised to not only honor this groundbreaking series, but the incomparable women who help shape its staggering success.

Stay tuned as we profile each and every cover gal to give you an insider’s look at life for TV’s most wanted (and beloved) convicts.

Watch what happened behind-the-scenes after the jump!


Behind-The-Scenes of VIBE Vixen's November cover shoot with the cast of Orange Is The New Black.

Cast and crew indulge in an animated game of Heads' Up, one of our favorite apps c/o Ellen DeGeneres.



Styling: Karin Elgai for ABTP
Hair: Dominick Pucciarello for ABTP
Makeup: Mari Shten for ABTP

On Yael Stone (Lorna Morello):
Navy Gown with Lace Shoulders and Embellishments
On Elizabeth Rodriguez (Aleida Diaz):
Black Chiffon Gown with Geometric Detailing
Gold Mirrored Hoop Earrings
On Vicky Jeudy (Janae Watson):
Borgundy Lace Sequin Strapless Evening Gown
Rolex Link Ultra Stud & Swarovski Necklace
On Jessica Pimentel (Maria Ruiz):
Navy Ruched Jersey Evening Gown with Gold Metal Collar
On Danielle Brooks (Tasha 'Taystee' Jefferson):
Black Jersey Long Sleeve Evening Gown
Black and Gold Tetric Necklace
Tooth and Emerald Swarovski Slim Cuff
Skull and Stud Gold Delicate Cuff
On Uzo Aduba (Suzanne 'Crazy Eyes' Warren):
Black Evening Gown with Silver Beading
Gunmetal and Vintage Swarovski Earrings
On Selenis Leyva (Gloria Mendoza):
Black Cap Sleeve Lace Cut Out Gown
Gunmetal Large Hoop Earrings
On Laverne Cox (Sophia Burset):
Red Marilyn Long Convertible Dress
Brass Fringe Necklace with Red Fused Stones
On Dascha Polanco (Dayanara Diaz):
Black Marilyn Long Convertible Dress
Gold Plated Zig Zag Bib Necklace
Gold & Silver Bracelet with a Mix of Chains
Gold & Silver Necklace with a Mix of Chains
On Taryn Manning (Tiffany 'Pennsatucky' Doggett):
Black Maxi Dress with Leather & Lace Detailing
Black Leather Fingerless Driving Gloves

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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"I think the reason why—no I know the reason why—I've been doing this for such a long time is that I fight," Fox said. "When we did Two Can Play That Game, I fought for the way we talked, walked, the way we loved each other." The Set It Off actress continued to state that she consistently declined Two Can Play That Game before signing on to play the lead role. "Because the script, when I first got it, I turned it down three times because it just wasn't a good representation of African-Americans, so I fought them on everything," she noted. "I want to make sure that the images of African-Americans are as positive and as true as they can possibly be."

In 2001, the romantic comedy debuted to fanfare, boasting an all-star cast of Morris Chestnut, Mo'Nique, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and more. Directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop, Iverson, How To Be A Player), Fox plays a career driven person named Shante Smith who navigates a curveball when her boyfriend Keith Fenton (Chestnut) cheats on her with a co-worker.

After its release, Two Can Play That Game raked in over $22 million at the box office.

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Actress Gabrielle Union attends the Being Mary Jane premiere, screening, and party on January 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
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BET To Unveil Edible Billboard For 'Being Mary Jane' Wedding Finale

As Being Mary Jane comes to an end, BET is willing to offer fans a taste of what's to come in the series finale.

The network has enlisted the help of Ayesha Curry, celebrity cook and cookbook author, to create an edible billboard that also doubles as a wedding cake. The sweet treat will commemorate Mary Jane's (played by Gabrielle Union) nuptials in the two-hour series finale.

On April 20 from 1:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal in New York, fans will be presented with the edible billboard. At the intersection of Ashland Place and Hanson Place, the closer Being Mary Jane enthusiasts get to the billboard the quicker they'll notice that the four-tiered wedding cake is created from individual boxes, each containing a slice of Curry's prized wedding cake.

All fans have to do is pull a box from the billboard, snap a picture for the 'Gram, take a bite and enjoy. Although lovers of the show won't be able to celebrate with Mary Jane herself, biting into a slice of her wedding cake, for free, is the next best thing.

Don't forget to tune into the series finale of Being Mary Jane on Tues. (April 23) at 8/7 c.

Also, check out what's to come on the series of Being Mary Jane below.

Save the date! 👰🏾It'll be worth the wait. Join us for the series finale of #BeingMaryJane TUES APR 23 8/7c only on @BET!

— #BeingMaryJane (@beingmaryjane) March 29, 2019

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