Monica Calhoun Monica Calhoun

Vixen on DVD: Monica Calhoun Talks 'Best Man Holiday' DVD Release

"The Best Man Holiday" - Los Angeles Premiere

Fans of The Best Man (original and sequel) films often find themselves gravitating towards Monica Calhoun's character, Mia.

Whether you felt personally attached or knew someone like her, Mia was the glue that kept everyone together. We were heartbroken to learn that the crew has to go on without her for the next installment of Malcolm D. Lee's trilogy, or do they?

With the holiday movie now available on DVD, we caught up with the actress that left tears streaming down our faces long after the credits concluded. During our exclusive Vixen Chat,  Monica told us how similar or different she was from Mia, what it was like on set and  if she'll be making an appearance in the next film.

Flip the page to learn more about Ms. Calhoun's character and get the just-released DVD today!

Photo Credit: Getty

Monica Calhoun

VIBE Vixen: What was your initial reaction once the movie was done?

Monica Calhoun: I was a bit nervous, excited, and during one of the press days that we had, I was overwhelmed with how excited everyone was about the reunion aspect of it. But I was pleasantly surprised by the support in the theater. I was talking to somebody the other day about the first time The Best Man was released in 1999. What we did in terms of numbers over the weekend; we did that in one day when The Best Man Holiday was released the second time.

How much are you like Mia?

I have some elements of Mia that are definitely a part of my character, who I am, but not everything. To define that, I am the type of person that looks out for everyone and wants everyone to get along. That aspect is very much me, but I don’t know if I am as sweet as Mia.

Really?!

Some people say that I am. I don’t know; have my mom tell it [laughs].

What scene was the hardest to film?

To be honest with you, none of them were hard; it was a walk in the park. But in terms of not wanting to be what some people call a “selfish actor," like there’s certain circumstances that my cast mates had to go or places that they had to go; not wanting to intrude or interfere with what they were in their mindset during the filming process.

Like one day, someone invited me to a game and I didn’t look at the schedule--they were filming the funeral scene--and I sent out this random text like, "hey, let’s go to a basketball game." Nobody responded. [Then] they responded a little later on, and then I realized, Oh yeah, we were filming the scene, and I was like, "oh crap!"

That was not cool! [laughs]

You know what I mean; so I realized I had to be sort of be sensitive to the process in some respects, so that was sort of the hard part. But getting into the work; we’re all friends. We grew up in the business together. We’ve seen each other go on auditions and supported each other in various ways and so [there] was the chemistry.


Monica Calhoun

How critical were you of yourself after watching the film?

Initially I saw it twice, actually more than that. The first two times that I saw it, it was a private screening and I was in love with everything that I saw. And then the second time that I saw it, I am super critical of myself and everything. I saw certain things that I wished that I could of approached in different way, I was like “oh, they took that edit?," or “they took that take?” It was different things. The first time I was just in love, and loved how everything felt and how it took me through all of the emotions that I sort of look for in projects to be a part of.  It made me laugh, it made me cry and I was able to divorce myself from the idea that this is something I am part of.

How hard was that?

It is not hard at all and in the second time I watched it,  I was able to just sort of self-critique myself in order to better myself.

Which scene was your favorite to film?

My favorite scene as Mia is the bedroom one; watching the football game with the kids and Nia Long. My other favorite scene with Morris Chestnut in the football game. The guys are on the sidelines crowding around him and to support him to play a better game and he gets the phone call and makes that win. The scene when Lance and Mia are in the bedroom embracing each other. Favorite scene where Sanaa Lathan who plays Robin and Melissa De Sousa who plays Shelby; they are in the kitchen preparing the meal and Melissa is on the phone with her producers for her reality show and she just can’t handle the news about her best friend. The scene with Terrence Howard and Taye Diggs when they’re in the church they are having that conversation--“Call me Daddy,” [laughs] There are so many more favorite scenes!

So it seems that you like the scenes that were more emotional.

 Yes, but my all-time favorite scene is when the guys were performing New Edition’s "Can You Stand the Rain" on air band. Somehow the girls lost out on doing their version but that’s okay maybe in the next one.

I know you passed away but, is there any talk of doing a flashback scene with you?

I don’t know, that’s sort of up to [them], I don’t know what the story would be, but I’m there.

Who is the funniest on set?

Oh my god, are you kidding? They’re all funny [laughs]. No seriously, everyone had their moment If it wasn’t Harold, it was Regina. If it wasn’t Sanaa, it was Taye. If it wasn’t Terrence, it was Nia. I think Morris was the only one who was sort of laid back.

 

Monica Calhoun

What was the dynamic like working with the same cast?

It was awesome, are you kidding me?  The original crew set it off from the beginning! Very powerful ensemble. A cast of lead actors not just supporting actors--we all supported the story line--but everyone in the film, they are all lead actors.

If you can work with the cast one more time, what kind of film would you like everyone to do?

Of course! I would work with this cast again from The Best Man Holiday; each and every one of them! There are so many ranges of opportunity to work with them on. Different capacities of ensemble: romantic,  centered around two person comedy, drama or biopic. The story of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott--it would be great if Morris and I did that.

How do you think you've grown as an actor and as Mia?

There’s a little more maturity to me , I think I could still mature a lot more. Mia is extremely mature; she’s the female head of household, she keeps her family tight and maintains the relationship and balances family life in keeping and holding everything together. I’m still maturing; I got a long ways to go. As an artist, as a human being, I haven’t learned all the life lessons yet; I mean there’s some things that I’ve stumbled through, some things I walked through very gracefully  like I was on the red carpet, I am still stumbling through, I am human.

What do you want the audience to take from the movie?

I would love for the audience to just live, laugh, and love; and never take a moment, never miss a moment to say to someone how much you appreciate them whether they piss you off or not.

 

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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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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

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Ella Mai On The North Face's 'Explore Mode' Campaign, New Music And Living In The Moment

Ella Mai is in her own age of exploration. Her eponymous debut album scored her a platinum plaque with her breakout hit, "Boo'd Up" earning her a Grammy for Best R&B Song. But the accolades aren't driving her creative path. The arc in her compass is all about the places she's traveled, the people she's met and the lessons learned along the way.

"To be honest, personally, exploration is like growth. I feel like if you don't explore new things, whether it's going outside, meeting people or trying new food, you won't ever grow because you're just stuck in your little comfort zone which can be super scary to come out of," she tells VIBE at The North Face's Explore Mode event in New York on Monday (April 15). The singer is one of three women (including model-activist Gabrielle Richardson and chef Angela Dimayuga) who teamed up with the brand to share a message of enjoying the outside world without digital confinement and the global initiative to make Earth Day a national holiday.

The London native's urge to explore came in handy over the weekend when she performed in the brisk desert of Coachella. Inspired by artists like Rihanna and Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mai helped fans enjoy the hazy sunset as she performed hits like "Trip" and her latest No. 1 song, "Shot Clock."

"It's such a good feeling, especially when it comes to radio," she shared about her track reaching No. 1 on the airplay chart. "I wasn't even sure if people listened to the radio because people have so much access to streaming platforms, but obviously having all three of my singles from my debut album, go number one on urban radio is incredible."

That energy was brought to the Coachella stage with the festival being her biggest artistic exploration so far.

"My favorite part of the performance would have to be when I performed "Naked" and because it was dark, and I performed when the sun went down, I couldn't see how far the crowd actually went back. But during "Naked," it was such an intimate moment I asked everyone to put their lights up (phones) and when I saw how far it went back I was like, "Woah." That moment sealed it for me."

"Even there were two people in the audience, I still would've done my best," she added. "But just to see the crowd be so engaged, even if they didn't know the music, was a really good feeling. I had so much fun."

As the festival energy in Indio, Calif. continued to thrive, another rested on the streets of Los Angeles following the loss of Nipsey Hussle. With the singer having ties to those close to the rapper like DJ Mustard, she says the shift in the city was hard to ignore.

"As weird as it sounds, you felt it," she said. "Even in the weather, it was super hot and then everyone got the news and it started raining. Just a weird energy shift." As a new L.A. resident, the singer says Nipsey's influence cannot be denied.

"I feel like the energy shift went both ways; everyone was really sad, grieving and mourning but everyone feels more inspired by what he was doing that they want to go out and do something and change in their community. It's still a very touchy subject in L.A., especially the people that I'm around since they were very close to him. I think everyone is super inspired to do better and try to be more like him, which is great to see. YG's whole set at Coachella was dedicated to him, I know Khalid had a dedication to Mac Miller. Everyone is super aware of what Nipsey was trying to do and how he wanted to change the world."

Engaging in The North Face's mission to explore seemed to be in the cards for Mai. Like many of us, Mai was familiar with the brand's effective coolness factor. "I remember running home and telling my mom that I needed a Jester Backpack because my cousin had one as well, and it's similar to the other stories, I wanted to be like my older cousin (laughs) so my mom ended up getting me one." But there's also the incentive to showcase the importance of stepping away from the phone screens and into leafy green forests.

"I'm such a live-in-the-moment person," she says of her lack of identity on social media. While she might share a thought or two on social media, Mai is interested in appreciating the world around her. "I feel like everyone is so consumed about documenting the day, you don't really get to live the day. You just watch it back but I like to have the memories in my head. Of course, sometimes, I'll take out my phone but I try to live in the moment as much as possible."

Part of that mission is ensuring Earth Day is celebrated the right way. With the support of Mai, Richardson, and Dimayuga, The North Face officially launched a petition to make Earth Day a national holiday.

“The North Face is no stranger to exploration and this Earth Day we are proud to join our partners and fellow explorers in a global effort to make Earth Day a national holiday,” said Global General Manager of Lifestyle at The North Face, Tim Bantle. “We believe that when people take time to appreciate the Earth, they feel more connected to it and are more likely to protect it. Explore Mode urges us to unplug from our digital lives to connect in real life to the world, each other, and ourselves in the effort to move the world forward.”

Mai hasn't hit her all of her exploration goals just yet. "I really want to go to Indonesia or Bali," she said. "That's one of my Bucket List places I really, really, really wanna go." For her essentials, the singer knows she has to bring along a windbreaker set and of course, a jester backpack. "I think the backpack is the most important thing."

In addition to a few trips around the globe, one destination includes the studio for new music. While she hasn't had time to lock down a moment to record, the inspiration is sizzling.

"When I work in the studio, I like to be like there for a good amount of time," she explains. "I like to block off two to three weeks at a time, I don't like to go to different studios and different places, it's just a comfort thing but I'm very excited to get back cause I have a lot of talk about. I've seen so many different places and met so many new people and a lot that I didn't get to experience last year."

Learn more about The North Face's petition for Earth Day here.

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