Vixen Chat: Kyla Pratt on Maturing, Motherhood, and Managing Hollywood

Kyla Pratt

Kyla Pratt has made the tricky transition from childhood star to business-savvy actress—a rarity in hallowed Hollywood Hills. In addition to starring on BET hit Let's Stay Together, the former Proud Family star is also a proud mommy and loving girlfriend hoping to propel her career to new heights.

The brown-eyed bombshell recently took a break from watching her little one to talk to us about being Hollywood's baby-faced sweetheart, conquering with confidence and not getting caught up in labels.

Photo Credits: Getty Images 

Kyla Pratt

VIBE Vixen: What should the fans expect from the new season of Let’s Stay Together?

Kyla Pratt: I’m really excited about it. I think this season for Let’s Stay Together has gotten a little more risqué and a just lot of fun. My character is still crazy, but she switches things up a little bit. She’s still young and doing whatever she wants to do. She has a lot of crazy things going on this season. Ms. Kyla goes blonde. That was actually my first time really dying my hair.

Does traveling for the job affect your family?

Not really. I’m a mom, so traveling with children is kind of crazy, but I’ve gotten used to it now. I’m ready for the craziness.

How do you juggle acting and Hollywood?

It’s not really difficult for me to juggle. Don’t get me wrong, it is difficult, but I have to maintain a positive attitude. I always wanted to be a mother. I love being a mother. It’s the best thing that I’ve ever done in my life and I also enjoy my career, so if I want to do both, I got to make it happen. Me wanting to do both, of course, I have my complaints because I have my days, but I want to do it all, so if that means that I have to get four hours of sleep a night then that’s what happens.

Are you still working towards your psychology degree and where do you want it to take you?

I am not in school right now, but whenever I’m not working I take the time out to take a couple of classes. I have to remind people that I have a full time job and I am a mom. I can’t just drop all my classes when a job shows up, so I take semesters off. I’m slowly working towards a degree. I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but I guarantee it’s going to happen one day.

I’m one of those people that want to do everything. I’m like, “Oh, I want to do nursing because I want to be able to help people.” I’m not going to say what my major is because I keep changing it. I think that going to school is never a bad thing. I feel like you can never learn too much. And I even try to incorporate something that I learned in class in like a role or something. I like to write as well, so if I can incorporate something into writing a character or writing a story then I’m doing something that’s good and productive in my life. I don’t’ know if it (the degree) will necessarily lead me to being a teacher, or a psychologist, or psychiatrist or a nurse, but I know that I will have the knowledge of these different professions or these different people in the world. That’s what keeps me going back; you can never learn too much and it’s not bad to do something hands on. It’s exciting for me because I was homeschooled for the majority of my high school years, so it’s fun for me to walk into a class and learn something new and to be able to understand it and if I don’t understand it; to get pissed off to the point where I make myself understand it. It’s a challenge and I love to constantly challenge myself.

Why did you want to be an actress?

Growing up, my mother was an actress. She did a lot of theater when I was younger, so I used to watch her do a lot of shows. And when opportunity came about, I figured “why not?” I want to be like mommy. I started in the business when I was 7-years-old, so to me it was a hobby. It was like my afterschool thing that I got to do. Everybody else did like cheerleading or drill team or playing an instrument and I got to go on auditions. It wasn’t a job. It was fun. As I got older, I started looking at it differently. But I guess ever since then, I just knew that this is what I wanted to do. I just fell in love with it.

Are you more comfortable doing shows like One on One and Let’s Stay Together? Do you see yourself trying to take on more serious roles in the future?

I am comfortable doing things like that, but I’m always up for a challenge. I like the roles and I know the roles are somewhat similar. I grew up acting in sitcoms and being that somewhat goofy, funny girl that’s always saying something crazy, but I like to be challenged, I like to do other things as well. For me, this is what’s going on right now, this is what I’m enjoying right now, so hopefully in the future I can do other things as well.

What was your favorite role?

That’s hard, what stuck out for me in my childhood, I would have to say, I did an episode of Walker Texas Ranger when I was 10-years-old and I got to do karate. It was my first time doing my own stunt, so I think that’s probably sticks out the most right now.

I like to do crazy stuff that I’ve never done before and being able to do my own stunts and getting shot in the episode and stuff like that, that was fun. I’ve been very fortunate to work with great actors who are also great people, so I have a lot of great experiences from movies like Dr. Dolittle, Fat Albert, Proud Family and One on One. Luckily, I didn’t deal with a lot of crazy people at a young age. I think I remember the fun that I was having on set rather then actually shooting.

Kyla Pratt

What is the child to adult actress transition like?

I feel like I’m still in that transition. Like they say “black don’t crack,” I just ran into somebody today and they asked me “how old are you?” and when I told them, they were like “What?” The years go by and I guess everybody still looks at me like I’m between the ages of 20 and 22. There’s nothing wrong with that because my momma looks good, so I think that’s going to be me.

I think I’m still transitioning and still reaching out for those adult roles and to be believable as an adult because everybody still sees me as what they grew up watching, but I’m so much more than that. We've got some things peeking out and slowly coming through for y’all in some new projects.

Have you done any stage acting or theater acting?

I have not and that’s one thing that I can’t wait to do because that’s what my mom did. For me to do that would be like the greatest accomplishment. I like to be challenged. I think Taraji P. Henson posted something recently saying, “Theater is an actors’ boot camp.” I just can’t wait to be a part of something like that. Hopefully the right project comes along and I can make it happen. I’m never opposed to it because that’s what my momma used to do.

What would you say is you ultimate professional goal?

My ultimate goal would be to raise my babies successfully and have a successful relationship while maintaining my professional career. For me to be able to do it all and be wonder woman and make it happen, because I want to do a little bit of everything. For me not to give up on one part of my life and strive in every part. I want to be a great mother, a great wife, a great actress and I feel like I should be able to do it all. I shouldn’t have to give one thing up for the other. That’s my goal, in theory.

What is a normal day for you like?

It really depends on the day. I’m always moving because I’m a mom and no matter what, we don’t have days off. Even when my babies are with my mom, I can’t get anything done because I’m always calling and making sure they have this and that.

A typical day for me would be getting up early, making sure my babies are good. I might have an audition here or there. If I’m working, making sure I’m up before dawn and making sure I’m out of the house and making sure my babies are taken care of. Every day is different. I kind of create my schedule myself. I try to take care of the kids, and work out and audition and once a week acting class. That’s my crazy life—something exciting and new everyday.

Ever get attacked by stans?

It’s funny because a lot of people ask me that, but I be chilling. Don’t nobody bother me. I go wherever I feel, especially at home in LA because there’s so many different people out her who are in the industry, so it’ s not really that exciting when you run into somebody. Every once in a while I’ll get stopped for a picture or someone just talking to me about enjoying my work and I really appreciate it. When I’m in a small town, I tend to get a lot more attention.

Working in Atlanta is kind of crazy. Like out here in L.A. nobody cares but in Atlanta people are like “Oh! Oh!” and I’m like “Oh, danm.” I’m not one of those people who are good at camouflaging because if I put on glasses or something people will look over me, but as soon as I start talking, it’s a rap. People recognize my voice and I don’t even realize how recognizable my voice is. And I don’t know how to shut up, so yeah I’m not a good hider, but most of the time people don’t bother me. It depends on the day and where I am.

Do you have childhood friends that you’ve had for years?

Of course. I have a friend and my mom was her second grade teacher. I have a friend that I went to middle school with. Most of us have kids now, so it’s like I’ll see you when I see you, but I’ll try to plan a girls day or we’ll do girls night out. We do regular things. I let people know that I’m a normal person with an extraordinary job. I love what I do. When I get a sitter I’m like “Let’s go get drinks,” you know? Or we can just chill in the house and watch a movie or get together and watch Scandal.

What would you say is a fact about you that is un-googleable?

I don’t know, I’m pretty open. I would just say that I’m a cool person. Just don't mess with me and we cool.

Kyla Pratt

 

If you're a fan of the Let's Stay Together, stay tuned as Kyla Pratt takes over our Twitter on Tuesday April 1 at 10:30pm EST.

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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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