"Selma" And The Legends Who Paved The Way Gala "Selma" And The Legends Who Paved The Way Gala
GOLETA, CA - DECEMBER 06: Director Ava DuVernay attends the "Selma" and the Legends Who Paved the Way gala at Bacara Resort on December 6, 2014 in Goleta, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Top Black Female Directors You Need to Know

"Selma" And The Legends Who Paved The Way Gala
All hail the heroines of cinema! No, we're not talking about the Hollywood starlets. Though we still love them, we're saluting the game-changers behind the camera, calling the shots and taking names.

Although Hollywood isn't the first to jump at supporting minority fueled films—with a handful of exclusions like TV powerhouse Shonda Rhimes, who's relentless primetime domination continues in unapologetic—some ladies are still making ripples in Tinsel Town.

Who was the first black female director nominated for a Golden Globe? Who directed Beyoncé in Cadillac Records? If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions, read on. We're celebrating black female directors who don't always get recognition from Hollywood.

Photo Credits: Getty Images

JULIE DASH

"Daughters Of The Dust" Screening And Q&A - 2012 Sundance Film Festival
The living legend Julie Dash broke new ground in 1991 when her film Daughters of the Dust was picked up for theatrical distribution in the U.S., an unprecedented movement. She went on to direct films including The Rosa Parks Story starring Angela Bassett, which won Dash an a nomination from the Director’s Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television.

AVA DUVERNAY
"Selma" And The Legends Who Paved The Way Gala

The first black woman in history to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director. After taking Hollywood by storm with the critically-acclaimed film Selma, the biopic about Martin Luther King, Jr., DuVernay continues to raise the bar for Hollywood directors.

GINA PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD
40th NAACP Image Awards - Press Room

You may not know her name, but we bet her first directed feature film is one of your favorites. Prince-Bythewood broke into mainstream after directing the 2000 romantic drama Love and Basketball. Since then, the writer directed two more films, including the 2014 drama, Beyond the Lights.

AMMA ASANTE
"Belle" New York Premiere

British director Amma Asante achieved critical success after writing and directing her debut film, A Way of Life in 2004. She directed her sophomore flick, Belle, about a mixed race girl raised in 18th century England in 2013.

KASI LEMMONS
86th Annual Academy Awards East Coast Viewing Party
Debuting in Hollywood with the southern-voodoo film Eve's Bayou—starring a young Jurnee Smollet and Megan Good—Kasi Lemmons effortlessly became one to watch.  She went on to direct the drama The Caveman's Valentine with Samuel L. Jackson, and Talk to Me, starring Don Cheadle. In 2013, she wrote and directed the star-studded musical, Black Nativity.

DARNELL MARTIN
"Cadillac Records" New York Premiere - Inside Arrivals
Few female directors can boast of directing the one and only Beyoncé, and Martin is one of them. From Grey's Anatomy to Oz to ER, Martin has found her niche in both TV and feature film directing, showing no signs of slowing down. In 2008, she jumped back into film, writing and directing Cadillac Records (based on Chess Records), where Queen Bey played Etta James.

DEE REES
The 66th Annual Writers Guild Awards East Coast Ceremony
When Spike Lee backs you, you know you're an amazing talent. Rees, who studied at NYU's Film School, went from interning for Lee to directing her own movie, Pariah, which eventually became a feature film in 2011. The 27-year-old's current project includes Queen Latifah in the HBO biopic about Bessie Smith.

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VIBE Vixen's Boss Talk Podcast: Meet Peppermint, The Boss Using Her Gifts For Good

VIBE Vixen's Boss Talk podcast amplifies the voices of women and she/her-identifying individuals in their respective industries as they discuss their journeys toward becoming the bosses we know today. From their demeanor and confidence and persevering through life’s pitfalls to make a name for themselves in their own way, being a boss is much more than 'just running sh*t.'

Miss Peppermint started as a staple in the New York nightlife scene, and after appearing as a contestant on the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, she’s continued to make a name for herself.

Outside of the show, she's traveled the world and is hoping to release her third album, which she hints will be influenced by the '90s, R&B, and neo-soul. She's also planning on re-releasing her debut album, Hardcore Glamour, for its 10-year anniversary.

"I'll be doing a lot in New York this year for World Pride," she explains to Boss Talk's host, J'na Jefferson. Pride takes place throughout June. "The last album I dropped was 2017... I'm excited about that, I'm writing it now. It's just poems, but I'm excited."

Peppermint, who was the first openly transgender contestant on the Emmy Award-winning show, was also the first transgender woman to originate a principal role on Broadway for her role as Pythio in Head Over Heels. 

 

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"On paper, it shouldn't make sense... it's hard to explain what it is," she says of the musical, which combined a loose adaptation of 16th-century piece The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia with the music of the new wave group, The Go-Go's. It closed in late-2018.

"The better way to explain it now that it's over and closed is 'a revolutionary show about dismantling the patriarchy...'" she says about Head Over Heels. "I knew that they wanted to cast a trans actor... I wanted to put as much as I could into it, and try to do our non-binary siblings well and proud... [the show] became something I really believed in."

Peppermint continues to share her love of performing all over the world and is also an activist, who aims to promote the importance of LGBTQIA representation and advancement. She has worked and supported organizations such as The Point Foundation, which aims to help LGBTQIA students attend college. 

"People are just starting to catch on that having queer voices is essential and inevitable," she says of further representation of LGBTQIA individuals in media and entertainment. She praises Pose creator Ryan Murphy for showcasing trans people of color both in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes.

"Giving [trans people] the power to speak for themselves, rather than slapping the community with stereotypes or archetypes... we're past that," she continues. "We're not in the phase where they're feeling comfortable to be who they are, but I think we're getting close."

Listen to the full episode below.

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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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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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