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Empire's Grace Gealey Talks Relationships, Fashion And Empowerment

Grace Gealey has been gracing our Wednesday nights with her beauty and brains by portraying the fierce fiancé of Luscious Lion on FOX’s Empire. Her character, Anika Calhoun (also known as Boo Boo Kitty), deals with the many perils that come from dealing with a man who has a family and a multi-million dollar empire.

While Anika seems to struggle with finding a balance, Grace Gealey knows exactly what she wants for her real life and real relationships.

VIBE Vixen chatted with the actress about her take on life, relationships, and some of her biggest inspirations.

Vixen: Describe what life was like for you as a young girl growing up in the Cayman Islands?
Grace: Amazing. I have a sensational family so I am happily laden with memories of close-knit bonds and island fun. My cousins, sister and I played sports in the backyard, went exploring in the bushes, stained our clothes with mangoes, created treasure hunt maps in the sand, swung in hammocks, climbed trees, had countless beach birthday parties, sold fruit on the side of the street and thanks to my phenomenal grandparents, learned the importance of a good education. I had a ball.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from an influential woman in your life?
My mother is a rock star. She always told me to focus on God. It was so annoying to hear growing up because she said it all the time and I'm like: "Yeah I know, Ma. Geez." As the years went on, I learned just how important that was and how everything aligns once you do that. My spiritual foundation fortifies and carries me through every single situation in my life. So, yup. Ma's pretty dope.

In the show, we see Anika having to deal with an “ex” wife. What’s your take on dating a man who keeps in contact with his “exes” (because of children or business)?
Men have to take the responsibility of establishing the kind of environment that is conducive to everyone's well-being. Compromises must be made on all parts in a fair and mature manner. Once the male backs away from that and you let the power struggle occur between the two women, it can become messy. The same, of course, goes for females if ever in this situation as well.

Anika has some great fashion choices too (along with Cookie). Who are your real-life fashion inspirations?
I love all kinds of styles and I can appreciate anyone who expresses themselves in their own splendor. Every day I dress differently. Sometimes sporty, sometimes edgy, sometimes funky, sometimes boyish. Sometimes glam! Just depends on my mood.

You, along with Keke Palmer and Shanola Hampton, are a part of the “Saving Our Cinderella’s” initiative. What do you hope others can take away from it?
Bullying is so destructive; both for the one doing it and the one being subjected to it. To highlight that is a top objective. But more than that, empowering our young women is vital. Once empowered, it is a tool that will continue to sharpen you for years to come - which is not only irreplaceable but necessary in this world.

What’s your favorite:
Song? "Nothing Can Change This Love I Have For You" by Sam Cooke
Food? Cayman stewed beef
Hobby? Ballroom dancing
Book? The Shack by William P. Young
Designer? Gucci

With all your recent success, what are your plans for the future? Any upcoming projects or events?
I'll keep you updated!

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

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SZA Calls For Peace While Receiving 'Rule Breaker' Award At Billboard Women In Music

SZA called for peace and understanding at Billboard's Women In Music event Thursday (Dec. 6).

During her speech for the Rule Breaker award, singer-songwriter recalled today's climate, asking her peers and those watching at home for a little bit of peace.

"I'm sorry for the state of the world honestly, for everybody in this room and I pray that all of us just get through it a little bit easier and just try not to lash out at each other," she said.

The recurring theme of unity among women was also heard on the carpet from artists like Tierra Whack. In addition to her message of love, the "Broken Clocks" singer also thanked her TDE family for rocking with her creative process.

"I'm just so thankful for everybody having patience with me, " she said. Shouting out the key members of her family in attendance, the TDE affiliate gave praise to her mother, father, and grandma. In this brief speech centered around the artist's growth Solána Imani Rowe, known more commonly as her stage name, Rowe everyone for their trust in her.

"I'm grateful for everybody taking the time to have the patience to watch someone grow, it is painful and sometimes exciting but mostly boring. And I am thankful for Top (Top Dawg Entertainment's Anthony Tiffith) for not dropping me from that label. For Peter, who I change my ideas every day and he be like okay I like this," she continued.

Thanking the likes of musical powerhouses like Alicia Keys and Whack, "The Weekend" singer offered her appreciation and condolences to Ariana Grande.

Watch SZA accept the Rule Breaker award above.

READ MORE: Anderson .Paak, Tierra Whack And More Praise Female Artists At 2018 Billboard Women In Music

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Beyoncé, Rihanna, And J. Lo Make Forbes’ Highest-Paid Women In Music List

As November comes to a close, many publications will be crafting their year-end lists for all things pop culture. Forbes released a ranking of the world's highest-paid women in music on Monday (Nov. 19), with Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Rihanna holding it down for women of color.

Beyoncé comes in at No. 3 on the list with an earning of $60 million as she made most of her money through her historical Coachella performance, the joint album with husband JAY-Z, Everything is Love, and the Carters' On The Run II Tour in support of its release.

Jennifer Lopez made No. 6 for earnings tallying of over $47 million thanks to her lucrative Las Vegas residency, endorsements, and shows including World of Dance where she serves as a judge.

Rihanna follows behind the "Love Don't Cost A Thing" diva at No. 7 with earnings of over $37.5 million. Although she hasn't toured since 2016—thanks to her cosmetics and lingerie lines, Fenty Beauty and Savage Lingerie—the Bajan pop star has been keeping herself busy.

Forbes' annual list (which factors in pretax earnings from June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018) has placed Katy Perry at the top with over $83 million in profits due to her gig as an American Idol judge and her 80-date Witness: The Tour that brought in an estimated $1 million per night.

Scroll down to see Forbes' full list below.

Katy Perry ($83 million) Taylor Swift ($80 million) Beyoncé ($60 million) P!nk ($52 million) Lady Gaga ($50 million) Jennifer Lopez ($47 million) Rihanna ($37.5 million) Helene Fischer ($32 million) Celine Dion ($31 million) Britney Spears ($30 million)

 

READ MORE: Nas Makes Forbes’ List Of ‘Hip-Hop Cash Kings’ For The First Time

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Kelly Rowland Hops In Her Bag With New Single "Kelly"

Kelly Rowland has it all and isn't afraid to brag about it on her new single, "Kelly."

Released Thursday (Nov. 22), the singer goes the clubby, confident route while rightfully dropping her attributes like her relationship with God, smoldering looks (a.k.a the drip) among other things. With "Kelly" being the first single since her 2013's Talk a Good Game, the singer comes out swinging, reminding everyone of her power in the game.

The mother of one has promised that her new tunes will be edgier and most honest than her past work that included vulnerable tracks like "Dirty Laundry" and massive hits like "Motivation" and "Commander." Speaking with Vogue over the summer, Ms. Kelly disclosed a few details behind the album.

“It’s about love, loss, and gain and whether it’s professional or with family or whatever, it’s just honest," she said. "I had no choice but to be honest and authentic with this record: it’s about friendship and marriage.”

She also explained a drop in confidence caused her hiatus. “I was thinking about pulling back from recording, but I couldn’t help myself: I still wanted to record. I still felt like I was missing something. The third year just came and left so fast. The fourth year I said: ‘I have to get to work’ and now I’m ready to release some music! I felt like I wasted so much time, and it was my husband who actually called me out on it. He said: ‘Babe, as great as those records were, I think you were nervous, you got gun-shy’, and when he said that it was like boom, a gong went off.”

Glad to have you back, Ms. Kelly. Listen to the eponymous record up top.

READ MORE: Kelly Rowland Debuts Smoke x Mirrors Eyewear Collection At Barneys New York

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