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Darrin Henson Dishes On 'Chocolate City' Set Life And Working With Michael Jackson

Darrin's got his groove back in 'Chocolate City'

Chocolate City star Darrin Henson isn't just delicious eye candy, but a hybrid of talent including actor, choreographer extraordinaire and author. From crafting world-renowned choreography, most notably N'Sync's 2000 "Bye, Bye, Bye" video, to starring in fan favorite flicks such as Stomp the Yard and Soul Food, he has now taken his talents to the stripper pole, for a movie role that is, in one of the sexiest and scrumptious films to hit the big screen.

Vixen caught up with the 43-year-old actor as he talked working and competing with his co-stars Ginuwine, Robert Ri'Chard, Michael Jai White and Tyson Beckford and more.

SEE ALSO: Bae Alert: The New ‘Chocolate City’ Trailer Will Make You Drool

VIXEN: What was it like on the set of Chocolate City?
Darrin Henson: It was a lot of fun. It was a positive challenge between the men to see who could get into the best shape. It was a healthy challenge to make sure we all looked tight and our bodies were as strong as the next person. Practicing the choreography was fun and we had a great captain of our ship. The director Jean-Claude La Marre wrote a great script and made everybody comfortable. It really is a fantastic film.

You may have had an unfair advantage being an established choreographer, but who would you say had the best moves?
Actually, it wasn't an advantage. I was really intimidated because I had never done male exotic dancing before. I always danced and choreographed with clothes on, so it's a completely different feeling, having to stand in front of a room full of women close to being naked. When I walked out on stage, I was scared for a second. But when I started focusing on the music and the women started screaming, the intimidation turned into power really quickly.

How did you get over being outside of your comfort zone?
When the women began screaming and I focused on the music, that lead me in the direction I wanted to go. It excited me and I forgot how uncomfortable I was.

"I always danced and choreographed with clothes on, so it's a completely different feeling, having to stand in front of a room full of women close to being naked."

Many people know you from your dancing days and your work with N'Sync. Do you still talk to Justin Timberlake or members of the group?
I've been inundated with my acting career; I'm on Single Ladies now. Following Chocolate City, I have Choir Director coming out, then Sons 2 the Grave coming out. So I've been so focused and deep into my studies as an actor, I haven't really been out and about much. But I have a great relationship with a lot of the artists I worked with. It's a great love and respect there. We're all tied to each other through our history.

SEE ALSO: Robert Ri’Chard Talks Sexy Stripper Flick ‘Chocolate City’ And His Type Of Woman

What was it like working with Michael Jackson?
Wow, working with Michael Jackson was probably one of the most historical times in my career as you can imagine. It has left me speechless most of the time and it's something I use in terms of energetic memory that still drives me today.

You've been in over a dozen films. Do you have a favorite character?
My next character is my favorite character to play. I don't choose between ones that I've already done. I always say my next character is my favorite.

Do you have any hidden talents?
If I told you, they wouldn't be hidden nut I juggle and I can ride a unicycle.

"Working with Michael Jackson was probably one of the most historical times in my career as you can imagine."

What do you contribute your success to?
Focus, ridiculous focus. I have a book out now titled Ain't That the Truth and the tag line is, "Acknowledge, admit and invite truth into your life." One of the things I talk about is having a really strong focus, following one course until successful. Having a strong passion and focus coupled with action and patience equals success to me. That's the road I'm on, that's how I vibrate and what I have fun doing.

Chocolate City is in theaters now

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Melody Thornton Provides Power Vocals To Stirring Solo Single "Love Will Return"

There's a romantic and mysterious aura that seeps into Melody Thornton's solo single, "Love Will Return." From the big band production to Thornton's riveting vocals, it's almost shocking that a gem so bright was hiding in plain sight.

The recent release is the lead single for her forthcoming EP expected to be released next year. Formerly a member of the pop group The Pussycat Dolls, Thornton has shown off her singing chops over the years through the group's most popular tracks like "Buttons," "I Don't Need A Man" and her 2012 solo project, POYBL. With "Love Will Return," Thornton pays homage to inspirations like Eartha Kitt and her Arizona roots. Co-producing the track with Eric Zayne, the singer shared with VIBE how cinematic the creative process was.

“The entire evolution of the song was magic,” she explained. “There’s just something spiritual about it. It moves me in a way like no other song I’ve written before.” The track is a strong introduction to her vocal abilities that appeared to be gravely overlooked during her PCD days.

Last week, The Pussycat Dolls reunited without Thornton, leaving many wondering why. "What I want for myself and for my bandmates are for them is to really enjoy their lives," she told Chart Show TV in January when rumors began to surface of a possible reunion. "When I was in the group, I was a kid...I'm primarily a vocalist. Nicole had been signed twice so it only made sense for her to sing the majority of the leads. But then, I kept being asked to wait my turn and it never came– and we only released two albums. So it's this mistaken identity that I've kind of had to unravel. For me, there's really nothing to go back to."

The ladies are all on good terms with Thornton as Nicole Sherzinger and the rest of the ladies wished her well wishes on her solo endeavors. "It just didn't align [with] where she is in her life right now," Sherzinger said. "She's doing a lot and doing her own music and we totally respect and understand and support her."

Nonetheless, we're thrilled about Thornton's new journey.

Listen to "Love Will Return" below.

 

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Ashanti Douglas attends "It's a Wonderful Lifetime” first holiday party of the year at STK Los Angeles on October 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California
Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Lifetime

Ashanti Joins Omarion's Millennium Tour

Our prayers for a female presence on Omarion's Millenium Tour have been answered with one of the most talented singers in R&B.

On Thursday (Dec. 5), Omarion announced singer-songwriter Ashanti as a special guest for the upcoming tour. "So excited to announce that Ashanti will be joining The Millennium Tour lineup!" he said in an Instagram post. The singer announced the follow-up show last week to what was perceived as a B2K reunion tour featuring Mario, Lloyd, Pretty Ricky, Chingy, Bobby Valentino and the Ying Yang Twins earlier this year.

Hailed as The "Millenium Tour 2020," the new bill features Soulja Boy and Sammie, with the Ying Yang Twins, Pretty Ricky and Lloyd returning to the mix. The tour will also include Bow Wow, who has several jams (and an album) with Omarion like "Let Me Hold You" and "Girlfriend."

Before joining the tour, Ashanti was a special guest during Lloyd's performances of their 2004 hit, "Southside." With such a large and memorable discography, fans will be thrilled to hear some of the Grammy-winner's biggest hits like "Foolish," "Only U," and recent releases like "Say Less" featuring Ty Dolla $ign and "Pretty Little Thing" featuring Afro B.

This will more than likely be a another big financial boost to the tour. The inaugural Millennium Tour grossed $6.7 million from its first eight reports, according to Billboard and set a career-high for B2K. They also went on to earn $5 million from three additional dates at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. (April 13-14), State Farm Arena in Atlanta (April 4-5), and Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. (April 12).

 

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A post shared by ⚡️Omarion ⚡️ (@omarion) on Dec 5, 2019 at 5:57am PST

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Comedian B.Simone attends day 1 of REVOLT Summit x AT&T Summit on September 12, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Revolt

Boss Goals: B. Simone Earns $100K In Two Months With Beauty Line

Renaissance woman B. Simone is wrapping up her year in a big way. The comedienne, rapper and businesswoman scored a major win after raking up $100K in sales of her beauty line.

B. Simone Beauty was announced over the summer but has been in the making for over a year. Vegan and cruelty-free, her line supplies colorful lip liners, bold lipsticks, makeup bags and accessories. Simone officially launched a site for her products just two months ago with a plan to make $100K. The goal was met ironically on the last day of November, leaving her speechless.

B. Simone shared the moment in an emotional Instagram post Monday (Dec. 2). "This is bigger than me it has NOTHING to do with me," she captioned the video. "It has EVERYTHING to do with God and showing people Him by the way I act and spread LOVE. Even on every tube of lip gloss it says “FAITH OVER FEAR” on the back! I live by that ... God won’t let you down you just have to believe even when you can’t see the outcome. The sky is the limit when it comes to me I swear I’m a monster and I’ll never quit! Manifestation at its finest ... God favors me because he trusts me.

Simone also opened up about her doubts but continued to have faith in meeting her goal. "I had one more day to meet my goal and I started thinking, 'Maybe you aimed too high! Let’s just do a 100k$ goal for December.'  THAT WAS THE ENEMY y’all !!! When I woke up this is what happened... I do none of this alone I keep God-fearing people around me who love me, believe in me and see my vision. Thank you to my manager, my team, all of you and God. None of this is about money it’s all about walking in your purpose and changing the world around you to a more comfortable better place."

 

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A post shared by B. SIMONE (@thebsimone2) on Nov 30, 2019 at 10:49am PST

B. Simone has experienced plenty of other wins with her other talents. As XONecole reports, she hosted Will Smith's birthday party, produced and starred in her own hilarious dating show, provided comedic relief on the VH1 series Girls Cruise with Mya, Lil Kim and Chilli, as well as sharing tips on monetizing in the social media space at the Revolt Summit.

Boss goals indeed. Check out B. Simone's stunning beauty line here.

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