wendy-raquel-robinson wendy-raquel-robinson

Wendy Raquel Robinson Talks Career, Relationships And Life Changing Advice For Women

You'll know the second Wendy Raquel Robinson enters a room. From her infectious smile and ability to light up a room, to her charming personality and quick wit, Robinson is definitely one of a kind. The versatile ball of fire, whose resume is highlighted with fan favorite roles, including the feisty, mom-ager Tasha Mack on BET's "The Game," to Regina Grier on the long running 90's breakout sitcom, "The Steve Harvey Show," reigns as one of viewer's favorites, thanks to her down-to-earth and no-holds-barred demeanor.

Hailing from Los Angeles, California, the cum laude Howard University alumna is no stranger to unapologetically grabbing life by the horns. Balancing career and family with ease, to tackling national stage plays and out-of-the-box characters, the gorgeous 47-year-old continues to shine with pizzazz and talent.

Vixen caught up with the superstar as she dished on her favorite role, advice for women looking for love and what she'd tell her younger self.

VIXEN: You recently toured with "Things Your Man Won't Do" stage-play, how did you get involved?

Wendy Raquel Robinson: This is actually my third production with Je'Caryous Johnson. The first was Cheaters with Vivica A. Foxx and then I did Cheaper to Keep Her with Brian McKnight and this is the newest installment. He's a wonderful playwright who really knows how to fuse relationships, black love and the antics that surround it. And we have a really good time.

The play is based on faith, relationships and being celibate until marriage. Could you relate to anything in the play in your personal life?

No. (laughs)

I'm kidding, I'm kidding! What's funny is I didn't get married until I was 37. I've gone through a whole lot of courting but when I did decide to get married, I was at a wonderful place in my life where I accepted me for who I was. I was comfortable with that. When I met my husband, we were both at the same place in terms of knowing who we were, what we wanted and what we didn't want. So neither one of us were trying to change the other person. Marriage is nothing you do fleetingly. It's a wonderful thing, but it does take work. The same things you did to get that man you got to do to keep him. But you need to be ready for it as well.

You're a wife and a successful career woman, what would you say to the woman who says you can't have it all, specifically love and career?

I would say why can't you? It's been a sacrifice, especially with this tour. I've been on the road for five weeks then I go home and try to balance, but everything works together for good. It's great because it gives us a chance to miss each other. He also comes down to spend time with me as well, but everything is doable. Before we started doing long distance and traveling, we heard from some celebrity couple that said they didn't let two weeks go by without seeing other, even though they're divorced- this works for us. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, it's like we're still dating when we see each other.

But you can have it all and the career. I can't speak for everybody but I can speak for me and I want someone who has dreams, passion and purpose. So don't give up your dreams to get that man because that's what he fell in love with, and what he wanted and chased. But don't surrender yourself.

You sound very wise!

I don't have it all together!

What's something you know now you wish you would've known when you were younger?

That you can't do it all by yourself. As I get older, I'm learning how to delegate and empower people to work around me and with me and to not be so much of a control freak in order to have longevity and sustainability. Don't be afraid to share the knowledge and wealth and don't be threatened by that.

What has been your favorite role to play from Tasha Mack from "The Game" to Regina Grier from "The Steve Harvey Show" to Karen from Two Can Play That Game?

I don't think I have a favorite! They all bring out something different in me and I enjoy myself while I'm sitting in those shoes. I can't put one above the other because Regina was straight laced and corny and working with Steve, Cedric and Terry, that elevated me to a whole another level. And Tasha [Mack] and her being a little bit of everything with the writers and that whole production team and the cast.

But it's neck and neck with Tasha and Regina, probably because I sat with those characters for a long time and were able to break those characters in. I was able to Improv with them and have freedom especially in TV, which is a rarity.

What's one thing every woman should try at least once?

I got to be careful with this one! (laughs)

There's a lot of things ladies! I play with hair as an accessory and I think every woman at least once should change their look completely; from long to short, short to long, curly to straight, light to dark. I love the whole transformation process and maybe that helps me as an actress going from external to internal. So change the hair, be bold and be a risk taker with that.

Now I sound shallow. (Laughs)

Not at all changing your look can help with the inside, too...

It really does! It makes you feel a certain way and you can always change it back.

I also suggest living in another city. I was born and raised in Los Angeles and I'm in D.C. now and I'm going down memory lane because it changed my whole landscape and how I look at life and who I am as a person. I feel so much more evolved moving from one coast to the next, understanding different people, the climates, seasons and appreciating God and I think every woman owes it to herself.

Do you have any regrets?

I got a lot of boyfriends I dated that were a waste of time. But I don't have regrets because I don't want to become bitter, so I look at my regrets as teachable moments. Do I have those teachable moments that made me the woman I am today? Plenty. I guess a lot of it is, I undervalued who I was as a person and not rewarding myself because I work so hard. A teachable moment is it's OK to treat myself and not feel remorseful. I don't do much for Wendy, I'm such a giver.

What can we expect from Wendy this year?

Expect the unexpected! I'm really excited because I played the first black Cruella De Vil for Disney. It's a huge musical coming out July 31. I just did some post production work on it and it really looks amazing. The possibilities of where that's going to take me are endless.

Photo credit: It Is Done Communications

From the Web

More on Vibe

Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.
KMazur/WireImage

Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.

 

Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/LxZfxcqRgF

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/BHlANZjCGZ

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/vLqLTVxqO9

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/ALDcT0ZQxR

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/zwk0AWMCoE

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/mM2GWEg1pe

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!pic.twitter.com/GfxBeJxUY1

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...

#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/iXNwssD3sY

— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/cGl269tuTr

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

Continue Reading
Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG

Kiely Williams Explains Fallout With Adrienne Bailon Houghton And Alleged Fight With Raven-Symonè

Our current isolated way of life has given some plenty of time for reflection like Kiely Williams of the former girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls (ask your kids). The tales of both successful groups have been told time after time by fans in YouTube documentaries and members of each collective but Williams has decided to share her side of the story.

Williams hopped on Live Monday (March 30) where she discussed her former friendship with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon Houghton and the infamous chicken throwing fight with actress/singer Naturi Naughton. The mother of one didn't pinpoint exactly why she fell out with Houghton but did point out how she wouldn't be interested in appearing on her talk show.

"I don't think Adrienne wants to have live TV with me," Williams said. "'Cause she's gon' have to say, 'Yes Kiely, I did pretend to be your best friend. Now, I am not.' You were either lying then or you're lying now. You either were my best friend and now you're just not claiming me or you were pretending [to be my best friend."

The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

On a lighter note, Symonè, Houghton and Naughton have kept in contact with Naughton and Houghton putting their differences aside during an appearance on The Real. 

Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

Continue Reading
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

Kelis is taking her chef talents to Netflix. The musician will host a food competition show titled Cooked With Cannabis that’ll premiere on the very-fitting April 20 (4/20). According to NME, the show will span six episodes and be co-hosted by chef Leather Storrs.

Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

Each episode will place three chefs against each other as they craft three-course meals with cannabis as the central ingredient. Each episode’s winner takes home $10,000. Guests will play an integral role in who takes home the cash prize. Too $hort, and El-P are just a few of this season's guests.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

“Food is revolutionary because it is the one and only international language. It’s the most human thing you can partake in,” she said in an interview with Bon Appetit. “We are the only species that cooks.”

This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

Continue Reading

Top Stories