Exclusive Janelle Monae Performance For Samsung Galaxy Owners At Best Buy Theater To Celebrate The Brand New Galaxy S 6 And Galaxy S 6 Edge

Vixen Chat: Janelle Monáe On Wondaland Venture: 'Diddy Told Me To Be Better Than Him'

After tearing down the house at NYC's Best Buy Theater for Samsung, Janelle Monáe sits with Vixen to discuss Wondaland Records and finding balance. 

If Elvis Presley is the king of rock and roll, then Janelle Monáe is certainly the queen – pompadour, red lipstick and trousers included.

On Thursday night (March 26), the Mother Android surprised her fans and Samsung users alike with a free show at New York City's Best Buy Theater in celebration of Samsung's new Galaxy S6 and S6 edge phones as well as her new title of Boss Lady of Wondaland Records.

In true Monáe fashion, she brought the funk and then some with her eclectic and trendsetting sound. After Outkast's "Bombs Over Baghdad" blared through the speakers – a precursor to the turn-up that would commence once she set foot on the stage, Janelle was wheeled out in a metal Frankenstein-like contraption, coming alive as soon as she touched the mic and took the crowd to church.

ALSO SEE: Electric Lady: Janelle Monáe On Starting A Movement

For an hour and a half, the lady of the night pulled off four stylish outfit changes while performing Stan favorites "Q.U.E.E.N.," the upbeat "Electric Lady," the soulful "Primetime" and her debut hit "Tightrope." Janelle kept the crowd jamming and two-stepping all night with her remarkable catalog of hits. With her dope dance moves and unmatched level of energy, she commanded the stage like a true rock star from start to end.

Honestly, there is an aura about Janelle Monae that can't be put into words. In her purest form, Monáe erases the audience's troubles and teleports them to a funky and futuristic planet of love, empowerment and unity. After tearing down the house at the Best Buy Theater, Janelle sat with Vixen for a quick chat about her latest business venture and how she creates her own Wondaland.

VIBE Vixen: What an amazing show you just had tonight. Why did you decide to partner with Samsung for a free concert strictly for Samsung customers?
Janelle Monáe: I'm all about the people, and doing this was a way to give back to my fans and show them love.

On and off stage, you are truly a standout artist who is known to defy labels and stay true to herself. Were you always a confident woman?
I wasn't always so sure of myself. (Laughs) I still have moments where I'm not, but I got tired of that feeling. At the end of the night, I'm the only one that has to deal with me, and I realized that fighting spirit that my grandmother had was in me. I grew up around matriarchs and strong women who stepped up and provided for the family when the men weren't there. They were leaders. Being surrounded by women like that, I knew it was in my blood to be the same way.

Speaking of being a leader, you have launched a joint venture imprint with Epic Records called Wondaland Records, and the collective is set to drop a project this summer. What can people expect?
Yes, on May 19, The Eephus EP will be coming out. It's a compilation CD featuring four amazing artists on Wonderland Records: the swing master of all ceremonies Jidenna (his latest single is Classic Man"), dynamic duo St. Beauty, the son of soul, Roman and the punk prophets, afro punk masters Deep Cotton. Everyone is so unique and brings their own perspective. Wondaland comes as a movement, not just a record label. I had a dream of us swimming to this boat, and no artist being left behind so I'm just thankful that Epic [Records] took all of us. I told them, "You can't just take one, you have to take us all." It's really going to be incredible. The term "eephus" actually means game-changer and that is what we are setting out to do.

This has to be a full circle moment, starting your own imprint, and giving other artists the opportunity to be heard like Puffy and Big Boi did for you. How does this moment feel?
I feel thankful and a great deal of responsibility. I have to continue to do yoga daily to stay balanced. (Laughs) Puffy and Big Boi are both on the board of Wondaland Records so before I did any deal and any business, I talked to them first and got advice. I really love the fact that if I do need to talk the them that they are always there. They've always respected me as a young woman and one of the things Puff told me, I've actually never told anyone this before, but he told me to be better than him. He was like, "Janelle, promise me you're going to be better than me." So I owe that to him because he created an opportunity for me and now I get the opportunity to create platforms for visionary artists. I'm excited. I want to see more women in leadership roles in the music industry and more A&Rs. I feel like we [women] have a very unique way of doing business, a special way because we have the ability to be compassionate and strong.

Earlier, you mentioned yoga keeps you balanced. How does a singer, songwriter, fashion icon, Cover Girl, and the leading lady of Wondaland Records remain so classy and poised at all times? It seems like we never see you break a sweat. Do tell us your secret.
I'm an android, that's it. Seriously, when I call home and I talk to my original tribe, my family, they keep me centered. People ask me all of the time what is the hardest things you've had to do, and it's really leaving my family because I love them so much. You miss birthdays, you miss so much. [My family's] like you're going to do it because you've left us already so you better do it all the way and that really gives me encouragement. My grandmother was a sharecropper in Aberdeen, Mississippi so she turned nothing into something, and I want to continue to make her proud, too.

Which would you rather wear: heels or brogues?
Heels, actually.

Florals or stripes?
Polka dots.

Tuxedo jacket or cape?
Tuxedo jacket with a cape on top and a brooch.

Your hair is yet another piece of the fabulous Janelle Monae experience. With natural hair a huge trend among women of color, what advice would you give to ladies wanting to take a leap of faith and try it out?
Fall in love with it. No matter what, stay married to your natural hair. Ya'll will have bad days, ya'll might get into it, ya'll might argue and fuss and fight, but at the end of the day, remember it's til death do us part. You came here together, you stay here together. That's it.

As a past Vixen cover, in your own words why do Vixen voices matter?
As a black woman, I stand for the rights of all and for everyone's voice to be heard. This year is the year of change and the year of women – us all working together to raise a generation. Let's not believe in hate, let us choose love.

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Andrea Kelly Says She's Been Attacked For Calling Out R. Kelly's Behavior

Andrea Kelly has found it hard to march for women as they continue to support her polarizing ex-husband, R. Kelly.

The former choreographer shared her sentiments on an upcoming episode of Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta shared on Entertainment Tonight. Speaking with close friend Debra Antney, Kelly tearfully expressed her frustrations with her ex-husband and praised Antey for sticking by her side.

The former couple was previously in a child support battle for their children Joann, 21, Jay, 19, and Robert, 17. During the time of filming, Kelly owed $161,000 in back child support to his ex. In May, it was reportedly paid off by a mysterious donor.

"When I think about the ways that I have been abused by Robert, from being hogtied, having both of my shoulders dislocated, to being slapped, pushed, having things thrown as me, the sexual abuse, the mental abuse, words can't even describe," she said.

In addition to the child support case, Kelly was charged with 11 felony counts of sexual assault. He's pleaded not guilty despite reported evidence of videotapes that reportedly show the entertainer engaging in sexual acts with minors. Andrea tells Antey how difficult the process has been for her since speaking out about Kelly's behavior in the Lifetime docu-series, Surviving R. Kelly. 

"Here I am, putting myself in a position because I want to help women, and they are attacking me," she said. "There's some things that I don't even speak anymore, that I feel like, once you give it to God, you better leave with God, because if I don't leave it with God, I'm definitely going to be somewhere with my hands on the glass, visiting my children every other Sunday."

Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on WEtv.

Watch the clip here.

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Courtesy of Baby Tress

Baby Tress' Edge Styler Ensures Women Of Color Will Always Shake The Beauty Table

"Do you have edge control in here?"

It's an inquiry my niece asked me over the weekend as we got ready for our cousin's graduation. Atlanta's heat is friendly but mixed with nimbus clouds, frizz (and thunderstorms) are on the horizon. Given the circumstances, a high bun seems to be the best choice for me and my niece, a slick-back style with extra attention to our baby hairs. It's typical for either one of us to grab a toothbrush to slick and swoop our edges with pomade or gel, but with The Baby Tress Edge Styler, the process is easier and equally as stylish.

Created by boutique communications agency Mama Tress, the styler is everything baby hair dreams are made of. It's also a testament to the rise of the "style" in popular hair culture. With a dual comb and brush top, its pointed tip elevates a consumer to baby hair connoisseur.

But the styler isn't something created to appropriate black culture or piggyback on what boosts the most likes on social media. The handy styler was created by Mama Tress CEO Hannah Choi and her team consisting of other women of color like public relations coordinator Mariamu "Mimi" Sillah. The New York native tells VIBE Vixen the styler was made as a gift for an event they hosted but its intentions to propel black hair were always present.

"We try to make it clear that this is for women of color. Because we all understand the history of baby hair, we all have connections, we all have stories, we all do it differently, some people swoop it; if you see some of my coworkers they do the swirls," she said. "This is a product that we want everyone to see and think, 'I don't need to be using a toothbrush. I deserve more than a toothbrush.' This is a tool made thoughtfully with women of color in mind and we are women of color who came up with the idea because we know what we need."

Coming in six different colors, the styler's bristles are stronger than a typical toothbrush and give anyone's edges a look all their own. Over the years, styled baby hairs have gotten the white-washed celeb treatment. From the runways of New York Fashion Week to fans of black culture like Kim Kardashian, its recent love affair among popular culture crosses out its rich roots.

Many have attributed the actual rise of baby hairs to the '70s with pioneers like LaToya Jackson and Sylvia Robinson of CEO Sugar Hill Records sporting their luxurious edges with Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas being the all-time queen. Recent entertainers like Ella Mai and FKA twigs have made them fun and creative. There are also the many Latinx and black around the way queens who have kept the culture alive.

 

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A post shared by Ebony Brown (@wildcatebonybrown) on Jun 3, 2019 at 1:31pm PDT

“Our tool is more than a beauty product, it’s a conversation starter," Choi, who is of Korean descent, previously told fashion site Beauty Independent. "There are nuances of someone’s world that you won’t see if you’re not part of that community. And we felt that the conversation around why this market is so underserved should be brought to light and talked about. We are seeing such a big change now in fashion and beauty in terms of representation, and we want to be able to have that conversation without it being heavy. We want it to be approachable. Our brand is very approachable.”

When it comes to moving in the black hair space, Sillah feels empowered at Mama Tress. It also makes it easy to develop black hair tools like the styler. "I feel like my voice is listened to because I am a consumer of all these things. It's empowering to be in a position to have more control," she said. "If we're being honest, a lot of the black hair spaces are not owned by people who look like us. To be in a position where I can say "No, don't create this product, we don't wear things like this,' or 'Actually you should name it this because this resonates with this community,' I'm an advocate for my community. That's part of the reason why Baby Tress was created because it's about a larger conversation, about things not being thoughtfully made for us."

Baby Tress' next steps are to make the styler accessible to consumers and create even more products dedicated to black women.

“We need to be in retail spaces because this is a product you need to see up close and touch it and play with it,” said Shannon Kennard, account executive at Mama Tress tells Glossy. “Everyone who tries it falls in love with it.”

Sillah is more than ready for women of color to elevate their beauty regimen, one creation at a time. The future of Baby Tress includes an array of more products designed with women of color in mind.

"Anything that has to do with baby hair, we can bring to Baby Tress and make it beautifully designed and effective," she said.  "That's what this is about. It's about that step up. Again, we should not be using a toothbrush anymore."

Learn more about Baby Tress here.

 

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Beyonce Readies New Line And Serves As Muse For 'Lion King' Makeup Collection

Beyonce is keeping her fans quite busy this week. Yesterday (June 4), the latest trailer for the forthcoming The Lion King live action film gave the masses a first listen of Beyonce as the voice of Nala. To add on to the Disney film's energy, Beyonce's longtime makeup artist Sir John has revealed a special Lion King makeup partnership.

According to The Cut, Disney's Sir John x Luminess Lion King Limited Edition Collection includes "a 6-shade sculpting palette, a 12-shade eyeshadow palette, two matte lipsticks, two liquid lipsticks, a tinted lip balm, and a highlighter." Neutrals, pinks and shimmer jewel tones are all named after characters and other movie references, with various women (including Beyonce) modeling the new work.

 

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From day to night, statement or muted.. I love that there’s so many different looks you can create with this 8 piece collection 🙌🏽 I’ll be posting a few tutorials this month to show you guys some really cool things you can do with these products. & be sure to check out #TheLionKing in theaters July 19!  #DisneyLionKing #SirJohn #LuminessCosmetics

A post shared by S I R J O H N (@sirjohnofficial) on Jun 2, 2019 at 3:05pm PDT

 

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No filters needed ⚠️ Can’t Wait To Be Queen Eyeshadow Palette working that good light 👑✨ #TheLionKingCollectionbySirJohnXLuminess #SirJohn #LuminessCosmetics

A post shared by S I R J O H N (@sirjohnofficial) on Jun 4, 2019 at 9:18am PDT

While that was happening, Bey also caused a stir amongst the BeyHive with the announcement of her own forthcoming merch line. The "BeyHive" range officially hits her website on June 11, right in time for all the summertime functions.

Beyoncé's new "beyhive" range has been sent to several members of the BeyHive is promotion of her new merch line, launching June 11. https://t.co/zIkzJ9B8Qq pic.twitter.com/Ql9yWXKNDR

— BEYONCÉ HUB (@theyoncehub) June 5, 2019

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