Vixen Chat: Meelah Williams Talks Reality TV, 702, and Her New Years Resolution

 

Meelah from 702R&B Diva newbie, Meelah Williams, has proven herself in the music industry. Most of us know her as the leading voice of R&B super group 702. A decade later, Meelah is back and ready to pick up where she left off. We chatted with Ms. Meelah about her new reality endeavor and what makes her an R&B Diva. Take a look!

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Why reality TV?

Well it’s no secret that the industry has definitely changed from when 702 was on the scene. I just feel like there are limited options these days for artists who have been gone for so long. I mean there is definitely social media and other outlets that we didn’t have like Twitter and Instagram. However it seems like reality TV has become more prevalent and more popular than the actual scripted sitcom culture.

Did you have any reservations before you signed on for R&B Divas?

Oh, absolutely. Reality TV doesn’t have the best rap sheet so I definitely had to consider and reconsider. If I felt that comfortable I would’ve signed on to some show a long time ago. I’ve had other opportunities that have crossed my path, but I finally decided that I’d give it a shot. I do think that it’s free promotion, free marketing, free advertising for your brand.

I’m doing it not just to promote myself and my music but to also I have a four year old son with autism. I want to really be a voice and use this [show] as a platform for children that are suffering developmental delays and really really bring that to the forefront. I think that a lot of parents are dealing with special needs kids and a lot of them are afraid or embarrassed and just need that support.  I’m still learning and still need support from other parents that are going through the same thing.

meelah 3

What makes you a R&B diva?

I think just knowing my worth. Knowing that in spite of me being gone for so long, I know that people love 702; people miss my voice. I feel that radio is missing something and I feel that I set the tone for a very distinct sound that became trendy after 702. As an adult, I can look back and not to be cocky, but just really acknowledge that  I really set the tone and I have this sound that I feel like needs to be back on radio. I hear that from the fans all the time and I’m just so grateful that they still are interested after all this time.

What’s the hardest part about filming?

The scheduling is very tedious and just very time consuming. It’s fun but it’s new for me so I’m learning everyday so the hardest part is just kind of adjusting and getting used to the rhythm of the process.

How does your son like the cameras?

He’s oblivious, bless his little heart. He’s good. He’s going to make his debut. He loves singing and dancing and just being in his own little world. He’s a happy boy so I love that. He just loves people and he loves being around people.

Have you gotten closer to anyone while filming? Who’s your BFF while filming?

Right now, LaTavia. We were friends in real life before we started filming so I’m just like super cool with her of course. That’s was my homegirl before the cameras. So far everybody’s been like real cool and I’m really pinching myself. I hope it stays that way ‘cause you know… I love Monifah. Monifah’s got that nurturing thing. Keke does too. Angie, she’s another who has this nurturing spirit about her just anything you need. Syleena is like a big sister too. Everybody’s been real cool. Like I said, I don’t know how long it’s going to last and I hope it’s genuine. 

Photo Credit: Instagram

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We hear  you did a children’s album! What made you want to do that and how is that different from recording a regular R&B album?

Well, I was actually approached by the producer who Kenard Garrett.  He and his wife were new parents and he knew I was a mommy.  I actually sang a song to him that I wrote to Zac while I was still pregnant and a whole year later it was so random he was like ‘hey remember that song you sang for me that you wrote for your son? ‘That was genius, I love it, let’s do a children’s project together’ and I was just like how brilliant.

The project was different because it came so easy. I was surprised. The songs flowed so easily, and I wrote them all so easily. Within five to ten minutes I just created these melodies and  I even exceeded my own expectations and I have to say I think it’s an exceptionally great body of work.

So looking back from Steelo to now, what was your biggest lesson learned?

I’ve learned that timing is everything and God makes no mistakes—as cliché as that sounds. I’ve learned that it’s not my will, it’s not what I think. When we’re younger we don’t see the bigger picture and I’ve learned that everything that happened from all the way back then to now was definitely met and my purpose has yet to be fulfilled. I’m starting over, I’m starting from scratch and it’s okay. I have a second chance to do this again which people don’t always get, so I’m not afraid of failing or anything.  I’m just really overwhelmed with just gratitude.

What’s your New Year’s resolution?

I don’t have one. I noticed that I didn’t stay true to them and so I don’t necessarily make them anymore. My new year’s resolution, if I had to make one, it would just be to become an even better mom. He’s my everything.

Do you have any other future endeavors that you want to take part in?  

I’m using this platform to do ev-er-y-thing. The focus right now is definitely my music. Hopefully I’m going be releasing something once the show premieres. My music is my core front.  I want to release an album, get a record deal and of course yes I would love to do other business ventures. I want to do skin commercials. That’s what I really want to do; create a skincare line and find a cosmetic for like my chocolate complexion.  I’m really interested in doing that. I just want to invest, invest, invest, invest. I want venture after venture after venture.

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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.
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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.”

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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.

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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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