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Sanaa Lathan Talks Importance Of Representation And Support In Hollywood

20 years strong and Sanaa Lathan is still one of the biggest names in Hollywood. Find out how she deals with it all.

Sanaa Lathan is all that.

As one Hollywood’s most prominent and beautiful faces, the actress' career has spanned over an impressive 20 years, proving that the New York native to be a true mainstay on the big screen. From acting as our favorite music editor in Brown Sugar, to the seductive vamp in Blade, and the brown gal down with the swirl in Something New, Sanaa has continued to bring her no-nonsense and straight-forward sense of character to our screens time and time again.

Most recently, she's wrapped up filming her latest film Now You See Me 2 in London that will hit theaters in 2016, in addition to thriller, The Perfect Guy, alongside Hollywood hunks Michael Ealy and Morris Chestnut that is slated for a 2015 release. Aside from continuously scoring big movie roles, the past year has been one big emotional roller coaster for Sanaa but she keeps things cool, calm and collected dishing that meditation, self reflection, and staying focused on living and loving life has brought her to a new place in her life.

Here, Vixen catches up with Sanaa to talk social media, the importance of representation in Hollywood, and how she stays so grounded.


VIBE Vixen: What are your thoughts on the importance of women’s empowerment in Hollywood?
Sanaa Lathan: I think that any industry that’s highly competitive or takes a lot of work to get where you want to be, that you need all the support you can to be successful. I think people underestimate what it takes to succeed as a woman, especially as a black woman. As a black woman in Hollywood, it’s important to remember that only 1% of people who call themselves actors are the ones who actually make a living out of it. For me, I surround myself with people who understand the physical and emotional things that go into being in this industry. The friendships I've maintained over the years were ones that happened naturally; it’s nice to be able to get together with other women and have an organic support coming from true friendships.

What women in your life empower and inspire you?
I have some great girlfriends and an amazing mother. These women are great at being objective and getting me to see things from a different perspective.

What do you do to stay in a positive mindset?
Last year was a life changing year for me. My best friend of 20 years died suddenly, and I also dealt with a stalker. It was probably one of the worst times of my life. With that, I found a specific type of meditation (Transcendental Meditation). I wanted to come out of my sort of depression very naturally without medication, and that did it for me. Now I do it every day for 20 minutes and I never miss a day. It doesn't erase life’s problems but it definitely balances me out. Working out also helps. As an actress, your body is your instrument, so I make sure I work out by hiking, training, and keeping the workouts going.

What kinds of films are you drawn to?
For me, I’m an actress in the true sense of the word. It’s exciting for me to step into the role of the character. There’s no specific genre I’m drawn to. Once people see you in one genre, that’s what they see you as, so that’s probably why people associate me with romantic films. For me, it’s the feeling I get from the script- is it a fresh idea, is it something I want to share with the world, is the character a challenge? It’s usually very clear as soon as I read the script whether it’s a project I’d be interested in doing.

What are your thoughts on the rising influence of black women in Hollywood?
I think it feels great and its about time. I was never on the periphery of society. I am a black woman. I am an American. Our stories are just as important as any other story that gets told. So for me, it’s been a long time coming. I’m glad that we’re finally getting our due. I think we’re here to stay- the progress has slowly been happening and I think it will continue. I think all races and culture should be represented on the screens, and we’re seeing more of that!

Unlike many of your talented peers you're very active on social, why?
As a celebrity I love the idea that social media is a direct line to the fans and audience. I think its an unprecedented medium. I love that you can nip negativity in the bud from your own personal platform. Its really about the individual and how they use it. If you become obsessed with other people by looking at theirs, it can be negative or if you’re using it to cheat. But you can also use it to uplift. It can be a sense of community if you use it for the right reasons.

Do you believe in using your platform for speaking on social issues?
I work closely with organizations- specifically the Medical Corps. They do amazing work around the world. But ultimately I’m really big into news. On my social media feeds I re-post articles I’m interested in. You have to be conscious of what you’re doing every time you post. Once its there its there even after you delete it. I love that I can share news on Facebook. I think its a great tool for change.

What do you say to those who, especially in the digital age, struggle with the idea of perfection?
Nobody is perfect. That’s a danger of the Instagram generation in a way. The most beautiful thing to me is when I meet somebody and they are themselves. What makes me interested in a character I consider playing is their flaws. This journey called life is all about growth, making mistakes, and growing from them. Most of the people I look up to have a lot of flaws. Learn to live and accept your flaws and improve on them. What I know for sure is that some of the most successful, rich, and beautiful people still have problems and challenges. By definition, just by being alive you’re going to have problems. Accept and embrace your flaws.

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Kelly Rowland Says Her Highly-Anticipated Project Is "Definitely Coming"

Six years ago, Kelly Rowland released her fourth studio album titled Talk a Good Game. The project boasted hit singles like "Kisses Down Low" and the transparent "Dirty Laundry." Now, the Houston native is preparing to release a project that'll surely satisfy fans' patient earbuds.

In an interview with Billboard, Rowland shared her hopes for putting out a new body of work and the pressure that she's encountered since she's been in the studio. "This is by far the longest, most pressure-filled process ever, only because I know what it's supposed to be and I have been so hard on myself. I know it," she said. "And it's the first time I've said it out loud. I've been extremely hard on myself. But it's definitely coming, and I'm more so excited about this project than anything else."

The news follows the recent release of Rowland's "Kelly" track, which was met with critical acclaim in November 2018. In addition to preparing the release of new music, the "Motivation" singer discussed fans' wish for a Destiny's Child reunion. The rumors have been fueled by social media photographs of Rowland with either Beyonce or Michelle or all three, especially during Beyonce's past Coachella performance. But Rowland assures readers that it's not what they think.

"It's so funny. I guess every time people see us together, they just see music but I see sisterhood, and that's what we are and that's what me, her, Michelle [Williams] and Solange and I are. People see us all together, they immediately think music. I'm like, no. Just family." As Rowland previously mentioned Solange, she hopes to one day work with her again.

"I'm a huge fan," she said. "I love her writing and how detailed and particular she is. I always wanted to figure out how the heck she has so many different layers of harmonies when she is constructing these vocals, and it's so complex but simple. It's genius. It's the genius in her genius mind that she has in there." One of the last times the pair collaborated was on Rowland's "Simply Deep" track off her debut solo album of the same name. Solange also penned a few songs off the same project. Fast forward to 2016, and Rowland's vocals were featured on Solange's iconic A Seat at the Table.

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Teyana Taylor To Pay Homage To Ballroom Culture In "WTP" Video

Teyana Taylor aims to keep her hot streak of innovative videos coming thanks to this recent announcement. Taking to Instagram on Wednesday (Jan. 9), the "Gonna Love Me" singer will show adoration to ballroom culture in the visual for "WTP."

Directed by Gregory "Beef" Jones, The Aunties Inc., and Taylor herself, the Harlemite takes viewers on her journey to the expression-filled space where she hopes to rack up 10s across the board from a group of judges. The premise of the video also seems to follow a mockumentary format airing on a fictional network named FEMTV. Alongside Taylor, other men and women get ready to display their talents and confidence on the ballroom floor.

"WTP" is featured on the mother-of-one's sophomore album, K.T.S.E., which was released in June 2018. While the rollout's controversy didn't entirely muddle the excitement behind the project's debut, Taylor said she was sold on the idea that her album would be treated as the biggest out of G.O.O.D. Music's string of releases last year.

"I didn't know ahead of time that there wouldn't be any singles or visuals. But I knew that it was going to be the five-album thing," she said during a HOT 97 interview. "[Kanye] wanted [my album] to be last, he wanted mine to be the biggest. That's the way they sauced it up. I was sold."

The video will debut on Jan. 19. Check out the teaser below.


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👀 1.19.19 👀 #WTP Directed by @teyanataylor & @ogbeefjones @theauntiesinc 🙏🏾🙌🏾🙏🏾 The wait is ALMOST over. 😏 @museumofsex

A post shared by Jimmy Neutch- Shumpert (@teyanataylor) on Jan 8, 2019 at 6:32pm PST

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Trina Braxton’s Ex-Husband, Gabe Solis, Dies After Battle With Cancer

Gabe Solis, the ex-husband of Trina Braxton, lost his battle with cancer, Thursday (Dec. 20),  TMZ reports. He was 43.

Solis passed away at his home in Texas, surrounded by friends and family, according to the outlet. No official details have been released about his passing.

Solis had reportedly been keeping his cancer battle private. His death came as a shock to his loved ones. On Friday (Dec. 21), Braxton seemingly mourned the loss of her ex-husband with a cryptic Instagram meme reading, “I need a hug..E bottle of wine.”

The former couple tied the knot in 2003, and appeared together on previous seasons of WEtv’s Braxton Family Values. Despite finalizing their divorce in 2015, Braxton and Solis confronted lingering issues from their marriage during an episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life, earlier in the year.

Braxton has since moved on to a new relationship, but remained friends with Solis.


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A post shared by Trina Braxton (@trinabraxton1) on Dec 21, 2018 at 9:49am PST

READ MORE: Phaedra Parks To Join 'Braxton Family Values' Cast

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