this is hot 97 this is hot 97

Vixen Exclusive: 'This is Hot 97' Cast Talk Jumping From Radio to TV

For New York City natives, Hot 97 is a hip hop staple and its crew-- Ebro, Angie Martinez, Funk Flex, Peter Rosenberg, Cipha Sounds, Miss Info and Laura Stylez--set the highest standard for urban radio.

It took over a year, but producer Mona Scott Young finally convinced Ebro and the team to share their lives with the world in their new, unscripted comedy series on  Vh1.  Instead of focusing on their respective shows, the series will instead document their daily interactions with each other.

On Monday (Mar. 24), NYC's Gotham Comedy Club hosted the official premiere party that included an intro from Scott-Young, standup by comedian Brooklyn Mike and an exclusive look at the premiere episode. Before the night ended, fans were also given the opportunity to participate in an open Q&A with the entire cast.

The momentous occassion also included celebrity guests like Tahiry Jose, Jennifer Williams, Mack Wilds.

Keep reading for Q&A highlights and a photo recap.
mona scoot and jennifer williams

Mona Scott Young and Jennifer Williams

Vixen: How long have you been trying to convince the Hot 97 crew to do a show?

Mona Scott Young: Probably a little over a year and a half. You see how I kind of did it through the back door. I had Ebro coming on Love and Hip Hop and then he did his own thing on Gossip Game because I was warming him up, kind of winning him over little by little. He was dead set against it; they were all dead set against it because they had this idea in their heads of what the show would be like, at least they thought they knew what people would want to see. They were like, "that's not what we're about, that's not what we want to project, that's not who we want to be, so we're probably no cut out for this." I felt that people need to see this dynamic. I told them—you guys are funny, you're crazy, you're a family, you're like siblings the way you rip each other and people need to see that because they don't know that. All they know is who you are within your respective time slots on the radio. It was an opportunity to do something fresh and different.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

angie martinez this is hot 97

Angie Martinez

Vixen: What are the your feelings about being on camera as opposed to just being heard on the radio?

Angie Martinez: Well, the radio is different. For most of our radio shows, a part of the personality is there, but it's mostly about the artist and music. This I think is a different vibe. It's more of the family, the team, the behind the scenes stuff. It's a little weird. I mean, when you don't have to worry about hair and make up and shit like that, being on the radio is kind of cool. None of us are used to having to come in knowing we're going to be on camera. If we're shooting that day, we'll put our make up on and do our hair. I'm so not a girly girl, so I hate that process. But other than that, we know each other so well and it's such a comfortable vibe that it's really not a big deal.

Vixen: Do you think that This is Hot 97 is a better representation of Hip Hop reality culture than other shows?

Angie Martinez: I think there's a place for everybody. If Love and Hip Hop is successful, I think the danger comes when everybody's doing it. When everybody's doing it, that's wack. We wanted to bring something new and different. Everybody's like anti-negative and anti-drama—I'm not really thinking about that. I watch some of those shows and I laugh and then I go on about my life. I think more importantly—if we did a show like that—it would be fraudulent because it's not who we are and we'd just be trying to copy somebody else's blue print for success.

miss info and laura styles


Miss Info and Laura Stylez

Vixen: What was your favorite experience on the show?

Laura Stylez: Mine was getting to work with Miss Info and Angie. We all have our shifts. I work on the morning show; sometimes I don't even get to see them. Just being able to really connect and challenge each other, make ourselves better and being able to work with each other. I get to see Flex and I never see Flex. I'm at work at 5 a.m, I leave by like 12. It's cool being able to have a better connection with the rest of the cast.

Miss Info: I would say the best part is us being able to make fun of each other and know that that's what we were expected to do because that's what we're doing anyway. Once those cameras come on, we start jabbing at each other because we know it's show time. One thing that probably won't air on VH1 is how raunchy we are. We do sensitivity training, but we definitely need weekly sensitivity training. We're very liberal when it comes to each other. We make a lot of dirty jokes.

Vixen: What are some similarities and differences between being on TV and the radio?

Laura Stylez: When we're on the air, we have a purpose. I'm delivering entertainment news, I'm talking about a specific topic or I'm trying to shut the guys up. On camera, it's kind of different because we improvise a lot of the stuff. Everyone's saying that it's scripted, but there's no script. We play exaggerated version's of ourselves and we recreate things that really did happen, so we kind of just go. You get to see a different side of us. Ebro makes me do dumb shit and I'm like, "why do I have to do this?" I thought my interning days were over.

Miss Info: I would say that what comes out in the show is very different than what my role on air is because we have a purpose—we have a job. I'm like a bulldog that has to focus on the job. In the show, you'll see that I'm borderline insane, wildly insecure, kind of nervous and also, softer than I appear on the air. You see our frustration on television and on the mic you don't see that. I don't think that people can really know you or love you unless they see both sides.

cipha sounds

Cipha Sounds

Vixen: Why did it take so long for you guys to finally agree to do the show?

Cipha Sounds: Ebro knew about it before we did. It still took us long because we don't have drama. Like, sleeping with somebody else's man and talking shit behind your back—we don't have that kind of drama. We are really a family. We have little family drama, but that's natural with all families. Sometimes we make fun of reality people and it seems like they'll do anything to get on TV—we didn't want to look like that. We all have respect for ourselves and pride. We want to make sure we look good and we've got to make sure our family looks good. We heard about how some producers of reality shows put you against each other and we didn't want to be in that zone and let the public think we got drama between us. So we weren't really with it, but they found a way to do it, which is amazing and groundbreaking.

Vixen: Who was the funniest celebrity guest that you had on the TV show?

Cipha Sounds: I don't know. Kanye was pretty funny. Mike Tyson's mad funny. One time he was on the radio show and he laughed at a joke that I said and punched me 3 times because it was so funny to him—it hurt. We brought that up on the TV show. Iron Mike Tyson is real. Macklemore was funny too though, but Maino is my favorite. Maino is the realest person. He's just himself, and when you're real, it's hilarious.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Ursula Stephen Debunks Natural Hair Myths With Dove's DermaCare Line

Ursula Stephen is a master of all trades. For this season of New York Fashion Week, the celebrity hairstylist was booked and busy thanks to versatile clients like TRESemmé and Zendaya. She also had time to engage in her co-hosting duties for BET Her's The Hair Show and support her famous client Rihanna's Fenty x Savage show. There's also her longstanding relationship with Dove's DermaCare line which caters to the current natural hair movement.

Setting up shop in her Brooklyn salon, Stephen is hard at work. Dove's latest product Clean & Fresh Anti-Dandruff 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner ($5.49) is a hit with guests as they flip their hydrated tresses. Formulated with Pyrithione Zinc, Stephen tells VIBE Vixen it's the perfect product for those searching for a solid solution to a dry scalp.

"When you think of dry scalp or shampoo for dry hair, they're always very stripping, that's why I'm very proud of Dove's DermaCare line because when you think of Dove and their skin focus technology, they're very natural," she said. "The products include zinc which is great because it helps minimize dry and itchy scalp. And the shampoo really cleans, but the conditioner brings the PH balance back."

Most of the guests who were treated to a salon day were natural, Stephen noted. As she consulted every guest, she shared how important the natural hair movement is and just how much myths lie beneath the surface.

Check out Stephen's breakdown of what myths are Fenty facts and others we have to break (before they break your hair) below.


Myth 1: Black Women Have Naturally Dry Hair  True!

What Ursula Says: 

Our hair is naturally dry and the reason is because of the way it grows out. Our [hair] follicle compared to a straight-haired person's is a lot tighter and smaller. It's why our hair grows out curly. When you have a bigger hair follicle (like those with naturally straight hair), it grows out straight. It doesn't have that type of issue because it grows out easier from the follicle. But as we continue in the natural hair movement, we want to have healthy hair. We have to concentrate on our scalp as much as our hair.

Myth 2: Coconut Oil Will Refresh Natural Hair False! (But Lizzo's "Coconut Oil" is good for the soul)

What Ursula Says:

I do feel like one of the more forgotten oils is jojoba oil and it's actually better than coconut oil. Jojoba oil is better for us because of the molecular size of the oil, it's very similar to our natural sebum. With it being so naturally close to what we produce, it plays well with our hair. A lot of people who hopped on the coconut oil wave are complaining about it and that's because it has a lot of protein in it and our hair already has a lot of protein so it causes breakage.

If you're a natural girl and your hair is all strong and you put in coconut oil in your shit, it's gonna break. You have to be conscious and knowledgeable about your hair type and be reasonable about the expectations. If you have strong hair, you can't tell everyone about how coconut oil is bad, it was just bad for you because you used too much.

Myth 3: Your Hair's Curl Pattern Is More Important Than Your Scalp's Health False!

What Ursula Says: 

Girls are so concerned about figuring out their curl, pattern but they haven't been focused on their scalp. That's a bad thing for black women because at the end of the day, our hair is naturally dry, and the reason why our hair is naturally dry is because of the way it grows out.

I get frustrated because people ask me, "What's the next hair trend?" or "What do you do to make your hair grow?" It's the same shit. It's hydration, moisture and trimming your hair. Those are the things that make your hair flourish, period.

Myth 4: Dove's DermaCare Is Perfect For Natural Hair True!

What Ursula Says:

For a long time, girls have asked me to recommend them a dandruff shampoo and I really felt stumped because everything I could think of would be so harsh. When you think of dry scalp or shampoo for dry hair, they're always very stripping. That's why I'm very proud of Dove's DermaCare line because when you think of Dove and their skin focus technology, they're very natural. The products include zinc which is great because it helps minimize dry and itchy scalp. And the shampoo really cleans, but the conditioner brings the PH balance back.

Myth 5: Rihanna's Iconic Black Short-Do Is One Of Ursula's Top 5 Style Moments False!

What Ursula Says: 

Rihanna's Elle Magazine cover from 2012 with the blonde hair is one of my all-time favorites. Everyone knows she changes her hair so much but that was one hairstyle I really wanted her to keep for one more week.


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Next is Laverne Cox. I recently styled her for the premiere for the Orange Is the New Black. That was iconic because I worked with a lot but not so much since she lives in LA now. But when she comes to New York, I'm always one of the people she books so I knew whatever we were going to do, it was going to be it.

She likes to have fun and she trusts me so when she gave me the reference, I was on it. I was very happy with how it came out and everybody loved it. It was actually a Beyonce reference, B-Day. And everyone caught it, and she showed me that album cover and a photo from the '60s.

So I combined it and made it my own but I'm happy people connected it to Beyonce cause it says that you nailed it.

I like Rihanna's short black hair I did for the Teen Choice Awards. That's one of my favorites from the short black hair era. It was just really disheveled and second-day hair. We washed it and did everything before and then the next day, it was just so perfect.

There's also Zendaya for Met Ball when she had the bowl cut. I wasn't actually booked for her that day. I spoke to my agent the night before and shared how funny it was that I didn't have anyone for Met Ball that year and the next day I was running around Brooklyn and her stylist texted me saying, "Where are you at?" and I replied saying, "Where do you need to be?" and he said, "I need to come up here because we have got to do this look. It didn't work out."

I shot up there in sweatpants. I looked nuts and went in there and just killed her hair. We ended up working together consistently after that.

Myth 6: Hair Stylists Should Learn From Their Peers



What Ursula Says: 

I like when I get inspired by other hairstylists. I didn't do this, but I think Beyonce's hair for The Lion King premiere was iconic. It was braids that looked like finger waves that curled in pieces.

I thought that was amazing. It was genius, it really inspired me. When work like that sticks out to me because it makes me do something. That made me want to do some hair. I like when I get inspired by other hairstylists, because I'm very competitive, like, "Oh, you curled it like that? Okay, but watch this."

It's innocent. I like when other hairstylists, especially those on my level, inspire me. Sometimes you get in a rut and get tired and it's like, "Okay girl, get to work, shit is still happening."

Learn more about Dove's DermaCare line here.

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Cara Stricker

Alicia Keys Brings Love To Cryptic Visions With New Single "Show Me Love"

"I’m loving that we’re doing this together it’s been a minute," Alicia Keys said to a packed crowd at the Dolby Soho studio in New York Monday night (Sept. 16). Adoring fans and close friends were invited to a visual sonic installation for her new single, "Show Me Love" featuring Miguel. Soft but sensual, Keys keeps the desires of love fresh and melodic. "I’m not sure what was taking so long but the wait is over."

The artistic visual for "Show Me Love" includes three parties exuding variations of love. Actress Zoë Saldana and husband Marco Perego Saldana represent love's ups and downs. Next is Michael B. Jordan, who pushes through hard rainfall, a comparison to the journey to self-love. Finally, we have Alicia and Miguel, who showcase elements of love absorbed through art and collaboration. Directed by Cara Stricker, all moments (which were only shot for seven seconds) hold the message of Keys' demand to well, show love.

At Dolby Soho, fans got to view the video on wall to wall projections as well as curved canvases that offered a 360 vision of the music video. They were also treated to an intimate performance by Keys and Miguel. Keys also performed some of her biggest hits like "Diary," "Sleeping With A Broken Heart," "NY State of Mind," with Miguel performing "Skywalker."

With the singer releasing her seventh studio album soon, Keys is thinking in, out, and around the box when it comes to her new music.

“I have been on this journey to be more vulnerable; in my life, in my music; and this new visual experience reflects this time," Keys said in a statement to VIBE. "Show Me Love" displays different expressions of love, the journey of it, the push and pull, the struggle and the eventual joy and peace."

Written and produced by Keys, the single also credits Tory Lanez and Morgan Matthews as producers. 

The installation is located at 477 Broadway and will be open to the public from Wednesday, Sept.18-Sunday, Sept 22.

Keys will perform the song next during her headlining set at this year’s iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas on Saturday, September 21 and then a set at New York’s Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on Saturday, September 28.

Watch "Show Me Love" below.

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Rico Nasty And Kali Uchis Join Bad Bunny As Performers For 2nd Annual Pornhub Awards

Pornhub has turned things up a notch for their second annual awards show with performances from Bad Bunny, Kali Uchis, Rico Nasty and Tommy Genesis.

The celebration of the adult film industry will also welcome Benny Blanco as Musical Director and British Art Director and graphic designer Peter Savill for the redesign of the show's statue. Last year's inaugural show proved to be a learning lesson for the company. Kanye West's presence attracted most the attention, with everything else including the show's presentation falling to the wayside. The rapper/producer performed last year with Teyana Taylor and also performed his single "I Like It" without Lil Pump (he was arrested at the time for violating his probation).

But with creative daring acts like Rico, Bad Bunny and Kali, the show might be visually stimulating for fans–musically speaking. Benito was previously announced as a performer last month. “Last year, we made history and we’re building on that momentum,” Pornhub's vice president Corey Price told Forbes. “No other awards show has ever even attempted to do what we do.”

The show will compete with the Adult Video News Awards — or AVNs — which honor stars in the adult film industry. Price is hoping to reach its very diverse audience with their selection of performers.

“We’re very excited to announce the additions of several creatives to the 2nd Annual Pornhub Awards Show. Peter Saville is absolutely legendary, having had some prolific output that has gone on to inspire entire generations of creatives,” Price tells VIBE. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Ian Isiah, Kali Uchis, Rico Nasty and Tommy Genesis take the stage with Bad Bunny on October 11th. We are so lucky to have such complementary talents entertaining for us on our big night. ”

The show will take place at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. Categories include: Most Popular Female Performer, Most Popular Male Performer, Most Popular Verified Amateur, Top Channel, Top BBW Performer (c' mon diversity), Top Fetish Performer, Most Popular Gay Performer, Most Popular Network and Top Celebrity, among others.

Fans are encouraged to vote for their faves here.

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