Ledisi performs at BGR Ledisi performs at BGR

Vixen Chat: Ledisi Talks Revamping Her Image, Working with Lauryn Hill and Dancing in 6-Inch Heels

Ledisi performs at Black Girls Rock

For years, Ledisi’s claim to fame has been her powerhouse voice and signature locs, but who knew the songbird could shake her tailfeather, too?! At this year’s Black Girls Rock! Awards, attendees were in for a treat when the usually reserved R&B chanteuse took to the stage in a snatched Alexander McQueen catsuit and belted out her latest single “I Blame You” without missing a beat. Surrounded by a bevy of dancers in equally tantalizing wardrobe, Ledisi emerged a new woman, not only ready to be heard, but seen as well.

Like many R&B singers, Ledisi is pretty much synonymous with underrated. Armed with a voice that many women dream of having, she’s usually the (Grammy-nominated) voice you know, but the face you can’t remember. Lucky for us, the New Orleans native has reinvented her image, giving the traditional R&B world a burst of energy and musical facelift.

Keep reading for an inside scoop on Ledisi’s upcoming LP, what inspired her BGR performance and her favorite “honest” artist.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for BET


You looked amazing at the Black Girls Rock! Awards. What inspired the Alexander McQueen catsuit?

We had already had it for my video and I said, “Well, why don’t we just keep going with this and use it for the show? I’m fully clothed, so it’ll be fine (laughs).”  It’s hard to dance in a dress, so I have to wear something that I can move in. He’s my favorite designer and I never thought I’d be able to wear any of his clothing.  That’s not something I would wear around and about town (laughs), but it is definitely a part of me.

This is the most dancing we’ve ever seen from you.  What made you want to switch things up?

I just started in the summer. I’ve been influenced by dancing since I was a little kid and I did it on the last two tours that I was on, but never took a full class. So I took a Hip Hop in Heels class with Brandi Evans, just to build up my confidence. I’ve always danced in 6/7 inch heels, but now to really dance in them is amazing. We took private lessons as well as classes with all the other women who were curvy and beautiful and supportive.

What artists do you enjoy watching dance onstage?

I love Tina Turner. Of course Beyonce is incredible. And I love Liza Minnelli as far as Broadway stuff.  I love Broadway and the old Vaudeville variety shows.

How do you feel about being labeled as “underrated?”

First of all, it’s a compliment because people are still loving the boxes that they place me in and they are listening to who I am. I’m sort of the person that’s always heard, but never seen. You may remember my hair, but you don’t remember who I am or what I look like. Now, all of that is coming together with the marketing thing because I don’t think I’ve been marketed properly. And it’s changing because I’m changing and demanding a certain imagery out there for myself.

You’ve described your upcoming album, The Truth, as your most personal project yet. What will listeners be most surprised by?

The honesty and love of self. They’re gonna go wild because it’s so honest. It’s still Ledisi because she’s still singin her face off (laughs). The whole thing as a body of work is personal, but the title track and another song- I don’t want to give it away- are the deepest. But, when you hear it, you’ll go, “Woah, this is real honest” (laughs).

What is the most honest album you’ve heard as a fan?

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. She’s herself. It wasn’t something that was planned. Bob Marley would be the other. All of his stuff is honest, open and personal. When you are yourself, you can tell it’s not planned. You can tell it’s that person being themselves; no stylist put it together and said, “This is who you’re going to be.” They are being who they are in that stage of their life. What I found about Lauryn Hill and what I love about her still is that she’s being who she is in that moment. You can put her in a box of how you want her to be, but she’s always going to be herself. I love that about honest people; if you love them- love them all the way. I’ll always be a fan no matter what. I had the pleasure of working with her briefly and she was herself just like she was on the album.

When will we see a video for “I Blame You?”

The album comes out February of next year, but as far as the video, I do not have a clue. But I can’t wait for you to see it. It’s directed by Derek Blanks and we worked on the concept together because it’s my life (laughs). It’s funny, fabulous  and fashion forward.

Check out Ledisi’s much-talked about BGR performance below.

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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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