VIBE-Vixen-AshleyEverett

Vixen Chat: Beyonce’s Dancer Ashley Everett Breaks Down 'Secretive' Process Behind Visual Album

VIBE-Vixen-AshleyEverettBeyoncé reconfirmed her baddie status when she dropped her self-titled album on iTunes and it went platinum in less than a week. Leaving us wondering how she was able to go full throttle with video production without anyone accidentally spilling the beans.

We caught up with one of our favorite dancers Ashley Everett to get the insider scoop on how operation “change the music industry” succeeded without a problem. “It was very secretive and of course everybody in the camp we knew that, we just had to keep our word not to share with anyone,” she says.

Ashley has been with Beyoncé for 8 years and her loyalty and admiration for the mega superstar is ever growing. However this project is something special to the red-headed phenom dancer as it’s the first time she would become the subject of Bey’s most touching song and video, “Heaven”. “She wrote the treatment and she chose me to be in it, which is an honor and is so special to say the least,” she says.

With only a month since her history changing power move, we still have beehive fever as we fiddle through her songs and replay her videos (over and over) at our leisure. Ashley dished on how intensive the months leading up to the surprise album were, working on “Heaven”, and having a relationship while traveling the world for almost a year. She also rectifies the biggest misconception people have towards Beyoncé dancers.

All Photo Credits: Gianna Dorsey

Ashley Everett

Did you guys know she was working on an album when you were shooting?

Yeah we did.

How secretive was it?

It was very secretive and it was known in the camp that it was secretive. Every time we would do a video too and there would be extras in it like “Blow” or “XO”, even “Heaven”, they wouldn’t even play the whole song. They’d do an instrumental version or play a different song because they didn’t want random people to record it. They would take our phones so nobody would tweet it or Instagram. It was very secretive and of course everybody in the camp we knew that, we just had to keep our word not to share with anyone.

When it dropped was the reaction exactly how you thought it would be?

It was shocking how fast it sold but it actually wasn’t—people love her. Anything she does, everybody supports and wants to buy and it’s a really big deal with not having any promo, any singles, or anything. That was a huge deal. We didn’t know when the album was coming out so when she dropped the album, we had just finished a show and when we got on our tour bus at midnight we were like ‘what’s going on, what’s happening right now, my Instagram is going crazy, people are blowing my phone up’.

VIBE-Vixen-AshleyEverett

Because you guys were on tour when you were filming how crazy was your schedule?

Oh my gosh, that is a very good question because people just don’t get it. People think we are just chilling and doing shows. Our schedule was insane for months. There was a point where when I was shooting the “Heaven” video with her we were shooting a lot of it in Puerto Rico but we had shows in Venezuela, Columbia, and in Puerto Rico also. We were flying in and out of different cities everyday and days that would be a travel day we would fly right after the show and get up early and shoot all day long, then shoot before a show and fly straight to a show and walk straight on stage. It was nuts, same with a lot of the videos, we were shooting them all on days off. There was a minute when we were shooting “Blow “and we had shows in Mexico but we would fly on days off to Houston and shoot, and then fly back the morning of the show, do the show, and fly back out and shoot in Houston again, it was nuts. It was crazy!

Did you guys ever have complications with travel?

We have been running late before, we had to push the shows back and start late. But luckily it never was too crazy complications like a layover where we had to cancel a show or anything like that. We just had normal complications like being late to flights and traffic holds us up.

How did you stay healthy?

We tried to take vitamins and eat well. Anytime one person gets sick on tour we all will get sick because we are all together all the time. We share a tour bus together; we travel together on the plane. So we all tried to stay really healthy. In catering we have those juicers and I’m not a big juicer when I’m not on tour but on tour since it’s there and available, I try to juice like every day just to be healthy. If I start feeling sick, I OD on Emergen-C and Echinacea.

Ashley Everett

Now I want to touch on Heaven because that was her most emotional song. How did it come about that you were the subject of the entire video?

She wrote a treatment and we were rehearsing for another video, for “Blow”. It was just me, her, and one of the other choreographers and we were teaching her some of the steps. She was like “Ashley you don’t know this yet but I wrote a treatment for a video and it’s starring you” and I was like “what are you talking about?” She said, “I want you to be in it”. She told me the whole rundown of the video and how it’s about her best friend and how she wants me to play her best friend in the video and I was like “wow, thanks B, that’s really sweet!” She wrote the treatment and she chose me to be in it, which is an honor and is so special to say the least.

The song, everyone says is about her miscarriage, is that correct?

Everybody does think that.

Is that not true?

Not from my understanding. Unless that’s like an underlying emotion and feeling that she’s keeping to herself but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about two best friends who want to do everything on our bucket list before we die. We want to do all these things: like skinny dipping, have a bonfire, pop bottles, get matching tattoos, get married, and have a baby. It’s about two best friends trying to live our life to the fullest and check everything off of our bucket list so that we know we lived a happy and exciting life before we die. The scene were we’re praying in the church implies that I am either sick or some way I know that I’m going to go. So it’s me that dies, her best friend; that’s why she’s in the cemetery.

The tattoos were they real or drawn on?

We got a cross in between our boobs [but] we didn’t get real tattoos. When we were shooting it we thought about it and we were both like, “I kind of want it”, but we didn’t have a lot time. We shot there for literally like 20 minutes and then we had to go.

Out of all of the videos, which one is your favorite?

I really liked the way “Haunted” turned out, it was just weird and different. I like it.

How many videos exactly are you in?

I’m in 6. “Haunted”, “Blow”, “Grown Woman", “Mine”, “Heaven”, and "Superpower". We shot "Grown Woman" so long ago. I forgot it was apart of this album; we shot that in April before we even went on tour.

Which one was the hardest to shoot?

I would probably say “Blow” because of those roller skates. Elements are always hard.

Ashley Everett

You’re starting back on tour in Europe, when her tour is over what do you expect to do?

Well I really want to explore more into acting now that “Heaven” is out more people are like “Ashley you need to act, you’re really great in that video”. But besides hearing those reviews, I’ve definitely wanted to explore that world anyway. That’s my plan when I have more time off and more time in LA and at home, I want to play around with acting, get an acting agent, take some classes, go on more auditions, and try and go in that world.

You did Hit The Floor, have you been keeping in touch with the producers?

I’m still in touch with them, we still have a good relationship. I would love to do season 2 but it conflicts with the tour and if we could figure out a way for me to come in for one or two episodes that would be ideal. But as of now, I don’t know if that’ll work out.

Do you want to always play the dancer characters?

I would like to have a whole different character eventually but realistically what would help transition me in there is a dancing role. That’s just more realistic because that’s what I’m known for and do as my profession right now. But I really want to do a comedy. I would love to be in a Kevin Hart movie and doing something dumb and funny.

In a year if Beyoncé wanted to go on tour again, could you see yourself doing it again?

I don’t know, it’s so hard to say yes or no. I love working with Beyoncé. She’s like my home team, I’m going on my 8th year with her. She’s like family so it’s always hard to say no to her. I guess it really depends on where I’m at in my career and in my life at the time. I can see her extending tour because she just came out with an album, why would she stop touring?

Ashley Everett

As far as the romance, are you still with your boyfriend?

Yes.

How’s that going because I know you were M.I.A. working for a good couple of months?

I know for like the whole year I was barely home but we do well with it. It’s not too much of a struggle, it only get’s difficult when we hit a month and a half and haven’t seen each other. But I make sure if I’m really busy, he’ll come out to wherever I am if I can’t come home. Or if I’m coming home and he’s gone somewhere, I make sure I go to wherever he is. We make it work and we talk everyday.

So you just need someone that understands your lifestyle?

Yeah, I just need them to be able to understand and get it. He gets it also because he’s come out on the road with me and seen how crazy it is and all over our schedule is and how it changes at the drop of a dime and we have rehearsals here and there. I’ve been on tour with him too and I see his schedule and life, I get it too.

What’s the biggest misconception do you think people have about Beyoncé’s dancers?

I think people think that a lot of us, or all of us are really snotty and bitches. And we’re not. We’re not even the biggest of girly girls, a lot of us are tomboys and don’t take life to serious, we have fun with everything. People always realize that when they hangout with us, talk with us, or meet us for the first time. We like to do workshops when we’re on tour and every time we do workshops people are always like “you guys are so sweet and so nice!” Maybe it’s because they see us on TV or in videos with a celebrity that they think we’re going to act like the best thing out there or like we’re celebrities. Even Beyoncé doesn’t act like she’s a big celebrity or she’s too good for anyone. I think that also plays a part on keeping us humble because she’s humble. If our boss doesn’t act like that, why the hell would we [laughs].

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'Boomerang' Episode 7 Recap: Family Matters And Pride

Bryson and Simone are a thing, like for real for real. They can’t keep their hands (or tongues) off of one another. As the two of them get steamy in the jacuzzi, a sexually riled up Simone tells her new beau that she wants to treat his face like a bean bag. They are in it, y’all. There’s just one problem — they may be half-brother and sister (insert vomit emoji here). The excitement of finally landing the girl of his dreams is shut down when he reveals that his mother, Jacqueline, informed him that Marcus Graham may be his papa. (Wait. Does that mean Marcus cheated on Angela back in the day? Regardless, what a way to ruin a mood.)

As they wait for the DNA test results, Simone and Bryson still try to be business as usual, you know, chillin’ like they used to. Speaking of business, Bryson is all that. Ari may be his boy and all, but when it comes to directing Tia’s music video, Bryson wants an Italian dude to shoot it instead. He just doesn’t believe Ari can execute. All great directors have vision and through Bryson’s eyes, Ari has none. Simone can’t help but agree. It’s obvious that Tia and her bae are not at all pleased with the video production of her single. Bro gotsta go. Tia has never been one to hold back and in a fit of frustration, she does what Simone couldn’t verbalize; she fires Ari.

Like the “big bad boss” he is, Bryson harshly tells Ari that not only will he basically fail at being a producer, but people will notice that he doesn’t belong here. Hold up. Are we sure Bryson and Ari are friends? Tough love is understandable but to completely obliterate the dreams of someone you’ve been rocking with? That’s foul. Unlike Ari, Bryson knows that he was brought up with the keys and basically helped himself to whatever role he wanted in the industry, a luxury he can afford to extend. Why not help your friend out now even with a little guidance knowing his career aspirations?

Bryson may be able to but Simone is not willing to give up on Ari just yet. She lets Ari collaborate Bryson’s pick, Shayan, who is also seemingly having a hard time capturing dope shots. A conversation with Simone about perfecting his craft leaves Ari somewhat disappointed but open to the constructive criticism.

While enjoying the Atlanta Black Pride festivities, an old filing recognizes Ari and waves him down. In catching up, the discussion quickly takes a turn to sexual orientation labels with a judgemental tone and Ari is not having it. Sure, while he was with her, he liked women but sometimes he’d rather be with a man. “Bisexual,” “Gay,” call it whatever, he just likes who he likes, refuses to be put in a box, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What is not about to happen is him being judged by a woman with five kids and three baby favas. Yikes.

That frustration instantly births inspiration. Instead of dryly shooting Tia performing with Pride weekend just happening around her, Ari points out how the world needs to see all black people not caring about what anyone has to say about them, especially when the world includes women rocking $12 jewelry. Sashayers, milly-rockers, and twerkers galore, the video shines on the culture, highlighting Kings and Queens of all shades, ages, genders, and sexualities. It’s a good time. Even Bryson can give up his props and that lead director credit to Ari. You see, Bryson? You gotta have a little faith like David always has.

Speaking of our fave pastor, unlike many Baptist churches, it’s amazing to see that David embraces and participates in the Atlanta Black Pride weekend. With the help of Crystal, David is preaching a message of loving who you are and loving others. His sermon last week no doubt spoke to the soul but if you recall, Crystal did notice that a lovely lady attended the service moreso for David and less so for Jesus. That obviously triggered something. Crystal and David may not have been able to work out their marriage but the attraction is absolutely still there. Could it be one-sided though?

You didn’t think we forgot about Bryson and Simone, did you? It should be noted that for his entire life, all Bryson ever wanted was to be like Marcus Graham, but not like this. David is right: be careful what you pray for. No matter the outcome of the paternity test, Simone and Bryson will undoubtedly be in one another’s life (maybe less like Whitley and Dwayne and more like Denise and Theo).

Well, folks, the results are in (insert Maury voice). In the case of Bryson J. Broyer, Marcus, you are NOT the father! But, you may still have some ‘splaining to do. Now that they are officially not related, Simone can finally go ahead and have that seat. We know, sis has been tired all day. Ow!

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Yvette Nicole Brown and Gabourey Sidibe were some of the actresses who were vocal about the treatment of actors of color when faced with beauticians in Hollywood.
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Celebrities Use #ActingWhileBlack Hashtag To Point Out Pitfalls Of Hollywood's Beauty Scene

While being a working person of color in Hollywood is something to admire, those fortunate enough to be working in these spaces often have difficulties finding the right person to do their hair and makeup with the right amount of diligent care.

Model Olivia Anakwe took to Instagram earlier this month to detail the issues she faced before a runway show, when she was disrespected by haircare professionals who refused to work on her textured hair.

"Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others?” she wrote. “It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class."

The hashtag #ActingWhileBlack began to spread on social media over the weekend, and people of color chimed in to share their stories.

Actress Yvette Nicole Brown shared that she often carries her own hair extensions and clothes for shoots, and that having stylists who are untrained in black beauty often runs the risk of them looking bad later on. Oscar-nominee Gabourey Sidibe shared a similar sentiment.

Insecure’s Natasha Rothwell hit the nail on the head in her tweet about the issue with not hiring the right people to work with ethnic hair.

“If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair,” she wrote on Mar. 11. “Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.”

Check out some tweets from celebs on this issue below.

 

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This message is to spread awareness & hopefully reach anyone in the hair field to expand their range of skills. Black models are still asking for just one hairstylist on every team no matter where your team is from to care for afro hair. I was asked to get out of an empty chair followed by having hairstylists blatantly turning their backs to me when I would walk up to them, to get my hair done. If I am asked to wear my natural hair to a show, the team should prepare the style just as they practice the look and demo for non-afro hair. I arrived backstage where they planned to do cornrows, but not one person on the team knew how to do them without admitting so. After one lady attempted and pulled my edges relentlessly, I stood up to find a model who could possibly do it. After asking two models and then the lead/only nail stylist, she was then taken away from her job to do my hair. This is not okay. This will never be okay. This needs to change. No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a black hairstylist! Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others? It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class. I was ignored, I was forgotten, and I felt that. Unfortunately I’m not alone, black models with afro texture hair continuously face these similar unfair and disheartening circumstances. It’s 2019, it’s time to do better. || #NaturalHair #ModelsofColor #BlackHairCare #HairCare #Message #Hair #Hairstyling #Backstage #BTS #AfroTexturedHair #Afro #POC #Braids #Message #Spreadtheword #Speak #Awareness #Growth #WorkingTogether #BlackGirlMagic #Melanin

A post shared by Olivia Anakwe (@olivia_anakwe) on Mar 7, 2019 at 9:07am PST

#ActingWhileBlack Makeup & Hair in one bag. The other bags are filled with clothes because some wardrobe stylists don’t know that cute clothes exist in sizes larger than size 10. “Here try on this mumu, I know it’s a little big, we’ll just belt it!” #ActingWhileBlackAndChubby https://t.co/gl3b64Omtj

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya! https://t.co/mGAzpuoKtb

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya! https://t.co/mGAzpuoKtb

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

If they don’t have the budget to hire a black hairstylist for me, or won’t, I just get the director to agree that my character should have box braids or senegalese twist.

— Gabby Sidibe (@GabbySidibe) March 11, 2019

PSA: If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair. Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.

Congratulations on advancing to the next level of inclusion! https://t.co/A1Q9ZpvXmH

— Natasha Rothwell (@natasharothwell) March 11, 2019

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Kim Kardashian is seen on February 7, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)

Kim Kardashian Credited For Making Crimped Hair Cool Like Beyonce, Janet Jackson And Naomi Campbell Don't Exist

Spring is nothing without doses of cultural appropriation from those out of touch with black culture.

Insert Vogue, who decided to give props to Kim Kardashian for bringing back crimped hair on Friday (March 15). The businesswoman has been on the move lately, rocking a mix of kanekalon and yaki ponytails during fashion month, Chance The Rapper's wedding and other Kardashian-related events.

“What makes this look so modern is that the front is sleek,” explained her stylist Justine Marjan. “This gives a cool contrast to the texture.”

The texture? 

With many trends from the aughts coming back to the mainstream, this is one that hasn't really gone anywhere. But black beauty markers (layered gold chains, perfect baby hairs, name chains) paired with media ignorance and the Kardashian's own fascination with black culture has made it okay for her to receive all the props.

But we can't forget those who have slayed kanekalon, yaki and crimped styles like...

Janet Jackson

The singer's look for her comeback has been a uniform-like one, with Ms. Jackson rocking all black and her now signature ponytail.

Beyoncé

This. was. last. year. How could anyone forget this? The entertainer rocked various styles of kanekalon hair for Beychella.

There was also this amazing look at Serena Williams' wedding.

 

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A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Nov 19, 2017 at 9:01am PST

Ruth E. Carter

The Oscar-winning designer made the look all her own while on the red carpet for Black Panther. 

Nicki Minaj

Fans of the rapper are aware her early looks included fun crimped and wavy styles. When she made to move to ditch her color wigs in 2014, she's kept the crimped styles close to her heart.

And we cannot forget about our queen, Naomi Campbell

She's owned the look her whole career, from the runway to the red carpet, Ms. Campbell has always been on the forefront of casual beautiful looks.

Social media also got wind of Vogue's post, including actor O'Shea Jackson who like many of us, is just over it.

Maaaaaaan come on now. Come ooooon now. Bringing it back? Vogue stop this https://t.co/FEGSw3GM9V

— Stone Cold Shea Jackson (@OsheaJacksonJr) March 15, 2019

https://twitter.com/SassySouthpaw20/status/1106642402448732160

https://twitter.com/riridotxo/status/1106924628851728384

Perhaps there's a bit of truth of the theories of fashion outlets trolling readers but this just deserves a permanent eye roll.

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