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Basketball Wives LA's Brandi Maxiell Gets Deep About Marriage, Black Women On TV And Not Playing The Victim

Brandi Maxiell talks being a victim and stepping up her gangster in the upcoming season of 'Basketball Wives LA.'

Newbie to the Basketball Wives franchise, Brandi Maxiell came with a storyline unlike any of her cast mates last year. Now, she wants to set things straight before the start of her second BBWLA season.

Here, she talks about her union to NBA baller, Jason Maxiell, briefly and yet, openly shares the same sentiments as Kelly Rowland, who recently received a bit of backlash on her views discussing the art of balancing marriage and motherhood. "I feel like it’s first God, then your husband, then your child. I stand by that and it’s not to say that I neglect my son," Brandi says. "But you got to understand, in order for a unit to be good, the household has to be right–the husband and the wife. I got to get that back in order."

Maxiell has been known to "keep it cute" for most of her inaugural season on the L.A. show, but with new faces on the scene and a recurring struggle (more on this later), the survivor and reality TV starlet admits she turns it up a notch this go-round just before season four makes its grand debut on Sunday, July 12. – Erica Nichole

VIBE: Let’s talk about your start on BBWLA. How did that come about and what were your expectations for the show?
I was actually asked to do Basketball Wives, the second season of Miami. I was in a different place in my life and I kind of didn’t want to do it. I didn’t think it was right and I was a newlywed. Then they wanted me to do it in 2011 for the first season of Basketball Wives L.A. and I was pregnant. It was bad timing. I remember being on the phone with my girlfriend, Malaysia, and we talking and I was like, you know what, I think I’m going to just do it this year. Just tell my story so she can have a friend on the show. I came on and that’s how it happened.

A lot of people gravitated towards you because of your honesty and the story you brought to the show. How important was it for you to share your truths about your health?
I felt like there was no reason for me to be on a major platform without helping other women. At that time, I was five, six years out from ovarian cancer and I felt like it was the time. It was right. It was hard and very difficult 'cause I think that was the second time I've ever been open enough to talk about my story. I didn’t know how I was going to be viewed, how they were going to edit it, or make it to be. I’m so thankful that VH1 did a great job with that because I saved a lot of lives, I helped a lot of women, and that’s the main thing that I wanted–women to be able to just relate. When you watch, you like a character or a person based on who you can relate to and that’s important for me. This year’s a little different. I’m a little nervous but VH1 loves me so much. I hope everything is the way it was. I watch it when you guys watch it.

SEE ALSO: Vixen Chat: Basketball Wives LA’s Brandi Maxiell Dishes on Meeting Her Husband and Beating Cancer

Since its inception in Miami, the show has brought about a lot of dialogue on the portrayal of black women on TV. What do you hope you’ve shown, personally, since being on the show?
I’m a strong woman. I’m a Southern girl. We’re real, we’re honest, we’re open, and we’re lovers. I just hope that by me telling my story people don’t get it twisted with being a victim. That’s why I was a little nervous of even telling my story because I didn’t want people to be like, 'Poor Brandi,' and that’s what I got a lot. That’s not what I want. I want somebody to look up my story to uplift them or help them if they’re going through the same thing or if they know someone. I don’t want, 'Oh, I feel bad for you, girl.' I personally battle with trying my best to not be that girl and I feel like this season, in one or two episodes, I’m going to get that core situation again like I did last year. I’m going to be so angry because I’m not that "victim girl."

You’ve mentioned how emotional you get speaking about ovarian cancer and the challenge in wanting to have another child. Where are you now mentally, seven years later as a survivor and after publicizing your journey about expanding your family?
As far as expanding my family, I kind of put that on hold a little bit. I’m trying to focus on what’s going on in my life now. I talk about this on the show so it’s no secret, but after having a baby, me and my husband forget a lot of things along the way when it comes to things in your marriage. We’re trying to get that back in tact. We’re trying to get back that "what it was" before we jump on to another baby. I neglected him a lot and it kind of caused little problems so we’re back trying to figure that out and get us together. We’re probably going to have another baby in the next year.

My 💞!

A photo posted by Brandi Maxiell (@brandimaxiell) on

Are you currently involved in projects involving ovarian cancer awareness?
Yes, I put it on pause for a little bit because I was filming but before I was filming, I was going on tour. I was doing different things and telling my story. I used to have like a sip-and-tea situation. I would go to different cities and talk about my story and let other women talk about their stories and what they’re going through. We’d share, cry, laugh, everything. It was a small, intimate group and we would just girl talk. I’m picking that back up now. It’s a lot of people dealing with cancer. It doesn’t have to be ovarian cancer that we’re talking about. It’s a lot of people going through cancer. It’s everywhere. Me and my husband want to do an organization together and we didn’t know what we wanted to call it but that’s a lot of work.

SEE ALSO: Draya Calls it Quits with Basketball Wives LA

What can we expect to see from you this season of Basketball Wives L.A.?
I’m very vocal. I took a lot of sh*t and this year, I don’t take any sh*t. It’s just like, I’m done. I stop letting people disrespect me, I stop letting people use me, and some people took the nice girl card from me too far and they took advantage of me. I start calling shots this season. I’m going through a situation with my husband and you got these random b**ches talking sh*t. It’s a good season. I’m excited for it.

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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

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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.

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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.

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