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Interview: Naturi Naughton Talks ‘Power,’ Influences and Stepping Outside Her Comfort Zone

Naturi Naughton is no stranger to the entertainment business. Ever since stepping into the limelight as one-third of the popular girl group 3LW, Naturi has been making moves in music, television and film, including taking on the role of Lil Kim in Notorious. Fast forward to present day and she now has a lead role (alongside Omari Hardwick) in the Starz network series, Power.

VIBE Vixen caught up with Naturi to get her take on life, media and what we can look forward to this season in ‘Power’.

Vixen: You and Omari Hardwick (who plays the character of Ghost), are seen as a power couple in the show. Who are some real-life power couples you admire?
Naturi: I truly admire President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Also, Denzel and Pauletta Washington, Will & Jada Pinkett-Smith, Reggie Rock Bythewood & Gina Prince Bythewood, the late couple Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee. Last but not least, my parents: Ezra & Brenda Naughton, who've been married for 43 years! They have taught me what lasting love is all about.

You’re the leading lady on Power. How do you feel about black women taking on more leading and prominent roles in mainstream television?
I feel truly blessed to be one of the many Black women who are leading ladies on television. I think there is an influx of Black people on TV and Film in general and thankfully, more of our stories are being told. But I am specifically proud to see more Black women gracing the screen. It's encouraging to see our complexities and depth through these characters as opposed to painting the stereotypical picture that we are all one dimensional or spoof-like. So I say, 'It's about time! Black women ROCK and regardless of if Hollywood continues to validate that or not, we will still be colorful, unique and beautifully complicated!'

As someone who’s had their hands in all areas of entertainment (music, film, and TV), what motivates you to try new avenues and step outside of your comfort zone?
I love to push myself! Stepping outside of my comfort zone is what will make me a better artist. I'm very fortunate to have had a successful career in the music business and now in TV and film, but nothing comes easy. I stay motivated by having family and friends who constantly encourage me and tell me "anything is possible". So this is only the beginning! One day, I will write a script, direct my first film, release a solo album...it's all scary but exciting territory to conquer!

What advice do you have for women who feel like they aren’t represented well in the media (either because of reality television or in music, etc.)?
My advice would be to live the example you'd like to see. You may not be on TV or in a music video, but you can represent a positive image through your daily life. Try not to be discouraged because even though you may not see it enough, there are a lot of powerful, inspiring women out there.

What kinds of things help you to reflect and recharge? Are you into yoga, hiking, taking social media breaks?
I hike quite a bit when I'm in L.A., so that helps me clear my head. But usually I recharge by going to church, having family dinners, girls night out, or just simply relaxing at home watching one of my favorite movies.(which is Love Jones! I also love to write poetry as a way to express my feelings.

What’s your favorite?
Song: "Home" from "The Wiz" by Stephanie Mills
Food: BBQ Chicken
Hobby: Writing
Book: "The Color of Water" by James McBride
Designer: Forever Unique

We know Power starts it’s second season in June! What are you looking forward to this year?
I can't wait for Power to air this summer. The audience is going to flip out this season! This year you will get to see a little more of the gangsta side to my character Tasha, which is a lot of fun. I think the drama that goes down this season will keep everyone on the edge of their seats. So get ready!

Photo Credit: Ira Black

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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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