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Clues We Missed on Beyonce's Album & How She Kept it All Under Wraps

Beyonce

Beyonce shocked the nation when we woke up Friday morning (December 13) to find a whole new album by Queen Bee. If we had been paying a little more attention though, we could have and should have seen that something was in the works. Beyonce gave us clues in the form of Instagram posts, talk of possible future work and even recording videos right before our very eyes (Coney Island, anyone?). So let us break it down for you and show you the clues that we failed to notice (and you probably did too) and give you a glimpse into how Mrs. Carter kept this album on the DL.

Beyonce

It all started in January when Beyonce told GQ magazine that she had already recorded 50 (that's right, f-i-f-t-y) songs for the follow up to her 2011 album 4 and was working with the likes of Pharrell, Timbaland and The Dream.

Photo Credit: Instagram.com

Then in March, we heard the Beyonce theme song, "Bow Down/I Been On" which was followed by "Grown Woman" and featured in her Pepsi commercial.

Video Credit: YouTube

Beyonce

Ne-Yo didn't help to put the hype or rumors to rest when he admitted in June that he was "putting stuff together for Beyonce's album".

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Beyonce

In August, we saw Beyonce filming a music video in Coney Island but no one knew what it was for. We now know that was filmed for her song (and video for) "XO"

Photo Credit: Instagram.com

In addition to all this, Beyonce dropped some subtle hints on social media.

There was this photo that she posted on Instagram that appeared in the video for "Blue":

Beyonce

Photo Credit: Instagram.com

And who could forget this adorable shot of Beyonce and her baby girl that she posted on Instagram which also appeared in the video for "Blue":

Beyonce and Blue Ivy

Photo Credit: Instagram.com

BeyonceJust a few weeks before her "surprise album" came out, Beyonce was spotted leaving an LA studio and sporting a Louis Vuitton ski mask with make-up that resembles her look for the "Superpower" video.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Beyonce

Lastly, on December 9, Rob Stringer, the chairman of Beyonce's record label, told Hits Daily Double, "At some point, Beyoncé will put a record out, and when she does, it will be monumental." That it was!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

 Beyonce

If you're wondering just how exactly she was able to pull this whole thing off, a source recently explained to Us Weekly that "Beyonce decided several months ago to release her album in this way but she didn't decide on this date until very recently, just a little bit ago," adding that the "XO" singer had been contemplating a surprise January release date. "Now just felt right, especially on Friday the 13." Everyone was sworn to secrecy as well. "Everyone agreed not to breathe a word or the plan would be ruined . . . One person leaking it would have destroyed the whole project. She wanted to reinvent the way we listened to albums. . . there was already so much interest in this project that it all built up perfectly. The few people involved that knew had to lie a little so it didn't blow the whole thing. It was worth it." It was definitely worth it as we find ourselves listening to this album on repeat and singing to every song. Looks like 2014 will be Beyonce's year as well and we just can't get enough.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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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 thebomb.com 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! pic.twitter.com/jEwkbC71OW

— #BeingMaryJane (@beingmaryjane) March 29, 2019

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