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Brandi Maxiell poses in black swimsuit

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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Kylie Jenner attends the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Kylie Jenner Doubles Down On Being Crowned A "Self Made" Billionaire

The premise of "self-made" and its interpretation when it comes to privileged celebrities has been a huge debate. When Kylie Jenner was named Forbes' youngest self-made billionaire, debates were raised due to her timeline in the limelight and her wealthy family. The 21-year-old defended her title, explaining how she doesn't fall into any ofter category.

"There’s really no other word to use other than self-made because that is the truth," she said in Q&A with Interview Magazine's German edition. "That is the category that I fall under," she started.

She acknowledged how her fan base equated to her success but refuted claims that she used her family's money to jump-start her wildly successful Kylie Cosmetics line.

"Although, I am a special case because before I started Kylie Cosmetics, I had a huge platform and lots of fans. I did not get money from my parents past the age of 15. I used 100 percent of my own money to start the company, not a dime in my bank account is inherited… and I am very proud of that."

Earlier this month (March 5) the mother-of-one officially surpassed Mark Zuckerberg as the youngest person to reach billionaire status, when Kylie Cosmetics hit a billion dollars in revenue.

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'Boomerang' Episode 7 Recap: Family Matters And Pride

Bryson and Simone are a thing, like for real for real. They can’t keep their hands (or tongues) off of one another. As the two of them get steamy in the jacuzzi, a sexually riled up Simone tells her new beau that she wants to treat his face like a bean bag. They are in it, y’all. There’s just one problem — they may be half-brother and sister (insert vomit emoji here). The excitement of finally landing the girl of his dreams is shut down when he reveals that his mother, Jacqueline, informed him that Marcus Graham may be his papa. (Wait. Does that mean Marcus cheated on Angela back in the day? Regardless, what a way to ruin a mood.)

As they wait for the DNA test results, Simone and Bryson still try to be business as usual, you know, chillin’ like they used to. Speaking of business, Bryson is all that. Ari may be his boy and all, but when it comes to directing Tia’s music video, Bryson wants an Italian dude to shoot it instead. He just doesn’t believe Ari can execute. All great directors have vision and through Bryson’s eyes, Ari has none. Simone can’t help but agree. It’s obvious that Tia and her bae are not at all pleased with the video production of her single. Bro gotsta go. Tia has never been one to hold back and in a fit of frustration, she does what Simone couldn’t verbalize; she fires Ari.

Like the “big bad boss” he is, Bryson harshly tells Ari that not only will he basically fail at being a producer, but people will notice that he doesn’t belong here. Hold up. Are we sure Bryson and Ari are friends? Tough love is understandable but to completely obliterate the dreams of someone you’ve been rocking with? That’s foul. Unlike Ari, Bryson knows that he was brought up with the keys and basically helped himself to whatever role he wanted in the industry, a luxury he can afford to extend. Why not help your friend out now even with a little guidance knowing his career aspirations?

Bryson may be able to but Simone is not willing to give up on Ari just yet. She lets Ari collaborate Bryson’s pick, Shayan, who is also seemingly having a hard time capturing dope shots. A conversation with Simone about perfecting his craft leaves Ari somewhat disappointed but open to the constructive criticism.

While enjoying the Atlanta Black Pride festivities, an old filing recognizes Ari and waves him down. In catching up, the discussion quickly takes a turn to sexual orientation labels with a judgemental tone and Ari is not having it. Sure, while he was with her, he liked women but sometimes he’d rather be with a man. “Bisexual,” “Gay,” call it whatever, he just likes who he likes, refuses to be put in a box, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What is not about to happen is him being judged by a woman with five kids and three baby favas. Yikes.

That frustration instantly births inspiration. Instead of dryly shooting Tia performing with Pride weekend just happening around her, Ari points out how the world needs to see all black people not caring about what anyone has to say about them, especially when the world includes women rocking $12 jewelry. Sashayers, milly-rockers, and twerkers galore, the video shines on the culture, highlighting Kings and Queens of all shades, ages, genders, and sexualities. It’s a good time. Even Bryson can give up his props and that lead director credit to Ari. You see, Bryson? You gotta have a little faith like David always has.

Speaking of our fave pastor, unlike many Baptist churches, it’s amazing to see that David embraces and participates in the Atlanta Black Pride weekend. With the help of Crystal, David is preaching a message of loving who you are and loving others. His sermon last week no doubt spoke to the soul but if you recall, Crystal did notice that a lovely lady attended the service moreso for David and less so for Jesus. That obviously triggered something. Crystal and David may not have been able to work out their marriage but the attraction is absolutely still there. Could it be one-sided though?

You didn’t think we forgot about Bryson and Simone, did you? It should be noted that for his entire life, all Bryson ever wanted was to be like Marcus Graham, but not like this. David is right: be careful what you pray for. No matter the outcome of the paternity test, Simone and Bryson will undoubtedly be in one another’s life (maybe less like Whitley and Dwayne and more like Denise and Theo).

Well, folks, the results are in (insert Maury voice). In the case of Bryson J. Broyer, Marcus, you are NOT the father! But, you may still have some ‘splaining to do. Now that they are officially not related, Simone can finally go ahead and have that seat. We know, sis has been tired all day. Ow!

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Yvette Nicole Brown and Gabourey Sidibe were some of the actresses who were vocal about the treatment of actors of color when faced with beauticians in Hollywood.
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Celebrities Use #ActingWhileBlack Hashtag To Point Out Pitfalls Of Hollywood's Beauty Scene

While being a working person of color in Hollywood is something to admire, those fortunate enough to be working in these spaces often have difficulties finding the right person to do their hair and makeup with the right amount of diligent care.

Model Olivia Anakwe took to Instagram earlier this month to detail the issues she faced before a runway show, when she was disrespected by haircare professionals who refused to work on her textured hair.

"Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others?” she wrote. “It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class."

The hashtag #ActingWhileBlack began to spread on social media over the weekend, and people of color chimed in to share their stories.

Actress Yvette Nicole Brown shared that she often carries her own hair extensions and clothes for shoots, and that having stylists who are untrained in black beauty often runs the risk of them looking bad later on. Oscar-nominee Gabourey Sidibe shared a similar sentiment.

Insecure’s Natasha Rothwell hit the nail on the head in her tweet about the issue with not hiring the right people to work with ethnic hair.

“If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair,” she wrote on Mar. 11. “Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.”

Check out some tweets from celebs on this issue below.


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This message is to spread awareness & hopefully reach anyone in the hair field to expand their range of skills. Black models are still asking for just one hairstylist on every team no matter where your team is from to care for afro hair. I was asked to get out of an empty chair followed by having hairstylists blatantly turning their backs to me when I would walk up to them, to get my hair done. If I am asked to wear my natural hair to a show, the team should prepare the style just as they practice the look and demo for non-afro hair. I arrived backstage where they planned to do cornrows, but not one person on the team knew how to do them without admitting so. After one lady attempted and pulled my edges relentlessly, I stood up to find a model who could possibly do it. After asking two models and then the lead/only nail stylist, she was then taken away from her job to do my hair. This is not okay. This will never be okay. This needs to change. No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a black hairstylist! Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others? It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class. I was ignored, I was forgotten, and I felt that. Unfortunately I’m not alone, black models with afro texture hair continuously face these similar unfair and disheartening circumstances. It’s 2019, it’s time to do better. || #NaturalHair #ModelsofColor #BlackHairCare #HairCare #Message #Hair #Hairstyling #Backstage #BTS #AfroTexturedHair #Afro #POC #Braids #Message #Spreadtheword #Speak #Awareness #Growth #WorkingTogether #BlackGirlMagic #Melanin

A post shared by Olivia Anakwe (@olivia_anakwe) on Mar 7, 2019 at 9:07am PST

#ActingWhileBlack Makeup & Hair in one bag. The other bags are filled with clothes because some wardrobe stylists don’t know that cute clothes exist in sizes larger than size 10. “Here try on this mumu, I know it’s a little big, we’ll just belt it!” #ActingWhileBlackAndChubby

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya!

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya!

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

If they don’t have the budget to hire a black hairstylist for me, or won’t, I just get the director to agree that my character should have box braids or senegalese twist.

— Gabby Sidibe (@GabbySidibe) March 11, 2019

PSA: If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair. Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.

Congratulations on advancing to the next level of inclusion!

— Natasha Rothwell (@natasharothwell) March 11, 2019

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