Gentlemen's Corner: Laz Alonso Talks "Try It and Love It" Campaign and Holiday Plans

Laz Alonso is a a man about his up keep. He keeps a nice, clean, masculine shaved face and owes much of that to the Proctor & Gamble products. The actor stands behind the brands that he grew up on and the new ones he's a fan of, which is why he joined the 'Try It and Love It" campaign.

"I was in shock that they’re products I either grew up with and have been using my whole life or they’re products I authentically use on a day to day basis," said the DC-native on why he happily came on-board with the company.

With the Christmas holiday a week away, Laz  is preparing to spend the gift-giving day with his loved ones. He understands the ratio between wants and needs and is revealing his secrets to giving the best presents with his favorite Vixens.

Flip the the page to learn more about the campaign, Alonso's holiday favorites, and his gift guide for your significant other.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Cooper Photography

PG Try it and love it

Can you explain Proctor and Gamble’s “Try It and Love It” campaign?

Proctor and Gamble has products all throughout your home that people aren’t even aware that they’re all the same company. When P&G and I sat down and met about a year ago, I was in shock that they’re products I either grew up with and have been using my whole life. For me it was a very easy decision to work with P&G on this program because all of the products that they have I’m a fan of, like Gillette Fusion ProGlide. It glides on your skin, for me it hasn’t created any razor bumps. It’s just something I’ve gone to trust, same thing with Febreze stick and refresher kit. My buddy’s come over on Sunday and we smoke cigars. When they leave I want the smoke to leave with them and that’s where the Febreze stick comes in. When we sat down and they told me what they represent, I was like “okay this is a no brainer because I use these already.”

Cascade Complete

What 5 P&G stocking stuffers would you recommend for this holiday season?

If you have a dishwasher, cascade has these little dishwashing detergent packets called Cascade Complete. You just take the premixed package–it has the cascade and the dawn in there already–and stick the little pill in the dishwashing part for the soap, it has everything already and you’re good to go. Especially for the holidays, everybody’s entertaining and having tons of people over, you’re going to have a lot of dishes, this simplifies everything so you don’t have to spend all your time washing dishes, you can enjoy your company.

Photo Credit: P&G Website

VIBE-Vixen-Old Spice Pure Sport

For men. I work out at least 5 times a week, I just picked up this new hobby and I come out there sweating like buckets so Old Spice Pure Sport bar soap is the soap that I use. It last eight hours. I come out, even though I’m sweaty, I’m not funky and I’m sure the people in my spin class appreciate me because when I sweat I smell like Old Spice. Men will get good use out of that.

Photo Credit: P&G Website

Old Spice

Head and Shoulders, Old Spice 2-in-1s. It’s just a new one they came out with, you have Old Spice and Head and Shoulders in one.

Photo Credit: P&G Website


Bounce Dryer Bars. You will love it, anyone who gets those in their stocking, when they use it, they’re going to be happy about it.  Thank me later.

Photo Credit: P&G Website

The Febreze without a doubt, the Febreze sticks and refresh starter kits. You stick them around and they keep your area smelling good.

Photo Credit: P&G Website
 

What are your holiday plans?

Well I live on the west coast and my family lives on the east coast so I’m going to go home and visit them for the holidays. I usually wait until I get home to do my shopping so I don’t have to travel with a lot of bags so I’ll get home a little early, hang out with my friends, do some holiday shopping and at the same time catch up with relatives.

Do you cook?

I do. But when I go home I don’t cook because I don’t get my family’s home cooked meals very often so I let them spoil me rotten.

What’s you favorite dish?

My grandmother used to make this soup, it’s like a latin gumbo. It has beef, chicken, every kind of potato, onion, garlic, and it’s the kind of soup you literally throw everything in whole, you don’t even chop it up. You’ll throw whole onions in there, whole garlic cloves, you chop up pumpkin and throw it in there, all kinds of yams. You have to cook it in a big pot and you cook it slow, really, really slow. So by the time it’s finished cooking, you have this very thick, it’s almost like oatmeal as far as how thick it is. It’s probably the most comforting things in the winter. It’s like getting a big, warm hug. I only crave this in the winter. Every year, I ask for the same thing, that Cuban soup.

Do you have a favorite song and or movie?

Movie would have to be This Christmas, for obvious reasons. I also like to watch movies that take me back to my childhood like Charlie Brown Christmas, and Rudolph The Red-Nose Reindeer—those always take you back to your special place in your childhood. So I don’t mind being a kid during Christmas.

Music, I love the Boys II Men Christmas album, I think that’s a classic. I was just in Starbucks the other day  and I saw Mary [J. Blige] had an album and I’m a huge Mary fan, she can do no wrong so I’m going to probably buy the Mary Christmas album as well. There’s some Christmas tunes that make you reminisce; Nat King Cole; Mariah has a dope Christmas album.

Are you in a relationship right now?

I’m not in a relationship right now so I’m going to have a very profitable Christmas.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten from a female?

That’s a tough one, The best gift really depends on the person that gave it to you. The effort and the thought that took to give you that gift is what makes it that great gift. I’ve gotten good material gifts but when a person really has to bust their butts to figure out or they notice something you said 6 months ago and even you forgot that you wanted that and they give it to you. Or if it’s somebody that really, really sacrificed to get you something you like. It means a lot more than a standard gift.

What’s something affordable a guy can get a girl for the holidays.

It really depends on what she needs and wants. I tried to do a combination of needs and wants. Because I try to get something that not only are you going to like but that you can use. There’s no generic gift that a guy can get his girl, he should know his girl well enough to know what she needs and what would authentically put a smile on her face. What’s going to put a smile on her face isn’t what’s going to put a smile on another girl's face. If she has Pinterest or Facebook, go on and look to see what she kind of identified as products that she likes or stuff she has her eyes on and loves. Then try to preorder it because this time of year, things sell out fast. My main advice to a guy would be, don’t wait a week before Christmas to buy it.

What are 5 gifts any girl can’t go wrong with getting her man?

Some shoes, we’re very quick to buy some cool new sneakers, but shoes or boots, we definitely sleep on those. Boots of her choice, what she would like to see her man wearing. Also belts, a lot of times men will have the same belt they wear with every outfit. So a belt that won’t just work with jeans but a suit too. A nice pair of shades. With men it’s mostly accessories, I think more than anything. Depending on a guy, sometimes a guy gets stuck with the fashion that they thought they were the hottest in. So if that’s the case maybe try to update his wardrobe. So maybe a nice pair of jeans. [Lastly] A nice men’s grooming kit, maybe a nice Gillette Fusion Pro Glide, silver touch manuel razor with a Gillette Fusion sensitive shave gel. Make sure a brother is nice and clean and has his grooming right.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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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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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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