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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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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"I think the reason why—no I know the reason why—I've been doing this for such a long time is that I fight," Fox said. "When we did Two Can Play That Game, I fought for the way we talked, walked, the way we loved each other." The Set It Off actress continued to state that she consistently declined Two Can Play That Game before signing on to play the lead role. "Because the script, when I first got it, I turned it down three times because it just wasn't a good representation of African-Americans, so I fought them on everything," she noted. "I want to make sure that the images of African-Americans are as positive and as true as they can possibly be."

In 2001, the romantic comedy debuted to fanfare, boasting an all-star cast of Morris Chestnut, Mo'Nique, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and more. Directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop, Iverson, How To Be A Player), Fox plays a career driven person named Shante Smith who navigates a curveball when her boyfriend Keith Fenton (Chestnut) cheats on her with a co-worker.

After its release, Two Can Play That Game raked in over $22 million at the box office.

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Actress Gabrielle Union attends the Being Mary Jane premiere, screening, and party on January 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
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BET To Unveil Edible Billboard For 'Being Mary Jane' Wedding Finale

As Being Mary Jane comes to an end, BET is willing to offer fans a taste of what's to come in the series finale.

The network has enlisted the help of Ayesha Curry, celebrity cook and cookbook author, to create an edible billboard that also doubles as a wedding cake. The sweet treat will commemorate Mary Jane's (played by Gabrielle Union) nuptials in the two-hour series finale.

On April 20 from 1:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal in New York, fans will be presented with the edible billboard. At the intersection of Ashland Place and Hanson Place, the closer Being Mary Jane enthusiasts get to the billboard the quicker they'll notice that the four-tiered wedding cake is created from individual boxes, each containing a slice of Curry's prized wedding cake.

All fans have to do is pull a box from the billboard, snap a picture for the 'Gram, take a bite and enjoy. Although lovers of the show won't be able to celebrate with Mary Jane herself, biting into a slice of her wedding cake, for free, is the next best thing.

Don't forget to tune into the series finale of Being Mary Jane on Tues. (April 23) at 8/7 c.

Also, check out what's to come on the series of Being Mary Jane below.

Save the date! 👰🏾It'll be worth the wait. Join us for the series finale of #BeingMaryJane TUES APR 23 8/7c only on @BET! pic.twitter.com/jEwkbC71OW

— #BeingMaryJane (@beingmaryjane) March 29, 2019

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