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Ulysses King

So Fresh, So Clean: Nas Partners With Bevel For Company's Newest Trimmer

The timeless rapper is a brand ambassador for the latest in the cutting-edge grooming system's product lineup.

Calling all fellas: Bevel, the revolutionary shaving system designed specifically for men of color, is introducing a product recently added to their flourishing grooming collection that promises to change the way you shape up. The Bevel Trimmer is the latest product from the winners of the 2015 GQ Grooming Award. It is designed to aid in the reduction of irritation and shaving bumps, something that typically affects those with coarse, curly hair during shaving.

Founder and CEO of Walker & Co. Tristan Walker believes that what sets the Bevel Trimmer apart from similar products on the market is its top-grade functionality.

“We wanted to build a trimmer that we fundamentally believe is the most advanced trimmer on the planet,” he says over the phone. “We’ve innovated it in three ways: power, blade innovation and form.”

The National Sanitary Foundation-approved trimmer provides users with the same amount of power it would take to use a comparably-powered trimmer. When fully charged, the trimmer can last for 4+ hours, and on standby mode, it can last up to 60 days. Men on-the-go will have the opportunity to use the product—which can work at 6,000 cutting strokes per minute—whenever and wherever it's convenient for them.

The trimmer’s snap-on/snap-off blades repel both dirt and water and can be wiped clean of hair and buildup, thanks to its National Sanitary Foundation-approved, hypoallergenic coating. This reduces the lingering worry of product cleanliness both at home and at the barbershop.

Lastly, the patent-pending "Bevel Dial," touch grip, temperature control and custom-faceted body are included for blade adjustment, line precision, 360-degree handling and superior control—all to keep that face forever fresh.

“In terms of design, we researched a whole bunch of master barbers, videotaped them and understood all of their needs,” Walker explains. “We knew that it [the trimmer] had to be precise enough and soft enough for it to hold in their hands.”

Walker was more than thrilled to announce that Nas would join forces with the company as a brand ambassador for the product. Calling on the legendary MC seemed like the obvious choice, Walker said, since he's a major supporter of the business and one of the freshest guys out there.

“Nas is one of the most authentic entertainers out there,” he said. “He’s the same today as he was 20 years ago. But, when you think about Nas—outside of his lyrical ability—you think about haircuts. The affluent part that he rocks all the time? He always comes correct, comes sharp.”

Nas, who is featured in the introductory video with his barber Marcus Harvey, said that the Trimmer is revolutionary and beneficial for both the common man and barbers alike.

“This product is needed. It’s kind of crazy that there hasn’t been any real innovation in this space. We deserve better," Nas said. "When Tristan first showed the Trimmer to me and my barber, we knew it was a game-changer because it has what barbers and consumers want. It cuts precise and clean lines, it’s powerful, clean and well-designed.”

Walker noted that Bevel prides itself on partnering with influencers who keep it real, both literally and figuratively.

“We only want to work with folks who can tell an authentic story who can help us tell ours,” he said.

In 2015, the company raised $24 million in a Series B round of funding led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), which included investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures and Melo7 Tech Partners. Individual investors included Magic Johnson, John Legend and King Bach. Not to mention, Bevel has received major cosigns from media giants like Forbes and The New York Times.

The trimmer will go for $179.95 and can be pre-ordered now at www.GetBevel.com/Trimmer. Orders will begin shipping this spring.

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Celebrate Apollo 11's Historic Moon Landing With Grand Marnier's "Moonwalk" Cocktail

It's been five decades since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to land on the moon. To mark the historic moment that occurred on July 20, 1969, global French liqueur brand Grand Marnier is celebrating the historic "Moonwalk" cocktail inspired by Amstrong and Aldrin's lunar journey.

In 1969, Joe Gilmore, head barman of the Savoy Hotel's American Bar, invented the drink to commemorate the astronauts' return from their successful mission. The classic cocktail — made of Marnier's cognac and bitter orange-flavored liqueur, champagne and more — is said to have been the first beverage they sipped upon their homecoming.

“The cocktail was a mix of grapefruit juice, Grand Marnier, champagne and rose water,” he explained to Wonderland in 2008. “The Savoy sent it off in a flask and I received a letter back from Neil Armstrong thanking us and saying it was the first drink they had when they came out of quarantine.”

In honor of the 50th anniversary, we're sharing the classic "Moonwalk" recipe for you to enjoy from the comfort of your home today and for years to come. Scroll down for more details and relive the historic moment in the video below.

Bonus: We've added four more Grand Marnier cocktail recipes for the French holiday, Bastille Day (July 14). À votre santé (Cheers)!

 

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Scotch Porter Taps VIBE Editor-In-Chief Datwon Thomas For 'Dare To Care' Campaign

Grooming brand Scotch Porter has selected VIBE editor-in-chief Datwon Thomas as one of several men to participate in its "Dare To Care" wellness initiative launching on Father's Day weekend.

"Dare To Care," according to a press release from Scotch Porter, aims to "evolve the perception of manhood." The project will highlight men who use philanthropy, media, education, fashion, music, and advocacy to "aggressively push boundaries to reveal the multiple internal and external layers of themselves to inspire others."

Along with Thomas, other notable participants include Akbar Cook, principal at Westside High School; Carl Banks, two-time Super Bowl Champion and founder of Gil Sports; Emil Wilbekin, founder of Native Son (and former VIBE editor-in-chief); hip-hop artist Grafh; Travis Simons, pastor and life coach; and Iquan Worthington, founder of The Artoholiks.

“For so long you’re taught ‘you can’t cry, you know you play ball... that’s a hard foul’, it’s all these different things,” Thomas said. “It’s about understanding when you need to step up into a position and when you to need to be empathetic to others and yourself.”

The "Dare To Care" campaign will open Father's Day weekend with a multi-city digital billboard review, and across multiple platforms.

Scotch Porter customers can also visit ScotchPorter.com/DareToCare to submit their own videos about how they're driving change around the mindset of being a man. More information about the company and the "Dare to Care" mission are available on Instagram and Twitter (@ScotchPorter), Facebook (ScotchPorter), and join the conversation with the #ScotchPorter hashtag.

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Courtesy of STRONG by Zumba

Zumba, But Make It Slap: Grammy-Nominated Producer Sevn Thomas On Creating 'STRONG By Zumba' Music

As New York residents anticipate the summer sun, the dancefloor of popular hotspot Copacabana was transformed into a full-blown STRONG by Zumba session.

With a high-intensity exercise led by Ai Lee Syarief, one beat, in particular, riled up attendees. It's the aptly titled "Knock 'Em Down," created by Grammy-nominated producer Sevn Thomas. Fast and slightly akin to his many hits (turn up Travis Scott's "WAKE UP" and Drake's "Pop Style"), the Toronto native gave the crowd another bop to add to the workout playlist.

Scoring a workout isn't easy, but the pairing seemed ideal for Thomas. "It's the perfect merge between music and exercise," he tells VIBE before the big workout. "They go hand in hand with each other, they complement each other. A lot of people listen to music when they work out to get in their zone and channel that energy. I thought it made perfect sense."

Thomas' collaboration with the STRONG by Zumba brand falls in line with the non-dance workout and incentive to challenge traditional fitness regimens. Past collaborators include Timbaland, Steve Aoki, and Krewella. While Thomas isn't the first hip-hop based producer, his take twists the brand's sound with an arena-like quality and a high tempo beat.

"["Knock 'Em Down"] is energetic, intense—a driving force," he said. "It's the perfect pulse for an intense workout. I tried my best to represent that in the beat as best as I can." 

Thomas' beat was used during the middle of the workout when legs were giving out and water breaks lasted a little longer than intended. As Syarief set up the next set of crossovers and squats intervals, guests like Chanel Iman were moving to Thomas' beat with ease. Thomas also joined in on the fun, STRONG by Zumba gear and all.

"Sevn's innovative sounds, blending of multiple genres with hip-hop beats and wrapped with a hint of his signature Caribbean-inspired bounce syncs perfectly with STRONG by Zumba," said Zumba CEO, Alberto Perlman. "By working with world-renowned producers, we are able to provide the best, most motivating and unique beats in every class that drive the ultimate afterburn."

For Sevn's personal STRONG by Zumba playlist, the producer is all about trap beats and artists like Young Thug's YSL Records signee Lil Keed.

"I really like trap music. That's my type of stuff [to workout to]," he said. "I've been listening to a lot of Travis Scott. I'm not sure if you're familiar with an artist named Lil Keed. I love Lil Keed right now, he's one of my favorites. His brother, his name is Lil Gotit. I love Lil Gotit's stuff too. I've been rotating that stuff when I'm in the gym doing my thing, I kind of zone out to that."

But STRONG by Zumba's workout not only came from a little inspiration from trap music but martial arts as well. Lead instructor and developer Syarief found her way to the brand in 2010 and has been the face of their many workouts like Zumba, Zumba Toning, Aqua Zumba, Zumba Sentao, Zumba Gold, Zumba Gold Toning, Zumba Kids/Kids Jr. and Zumba Step. Syarief says the latest Zumba workouts are less about perfecting reps and more about moving to the beat.

"There are so many fun movements. You're going to sweat, you'll go to your limit, it's going to be hard. But the music is always there to push you," she said. "Even though you feel like, 'Can I still go?' The music will push you and we don't count reps. You won't even think of the reps, just to move to the beats. That's what makes it different than any other workout. We're going to start a bit slow and then it's going to increase the intensity until we really push your limits. You always have small, active recovery bouts in between so you can really catch your breath and then go full high intense, work hard. So that you have the afterburn effect and then you have the active recovery."

When Thomas isn't on the boards, he's trying his hand at developing artists. Currently, he's working with Long Beach native Gibby, a partnership that fits his organic approach, not molding them into a carbon copy of what's trending.

"I think he's going to be super special. He is super special but for the world not to see how super special he is[...] That's one of the things I have on my agenda right now," he said. "It's super cool and interesting to work with a new artist because you see how chemistry and synergy work as well as working with somebody that gets it. An artist such as Gibby, he gets it, it makes it so much easier for me. It's not as much heavy lifting, but it's super dope to see how people are on the same wave and how they can exchange ideas with each other. The end result is always the best when you guys have the finished product, it's kinda like 'Look what we created together.' That's the fun part."  

Thomas also has a few major productions on the way, noting how he's very booked and busy. "I've been getting in the studio with everyone right now," he said. "So I'm super excited to see how that unfolds."

Learn more about STRONG by Zumba fitness here.

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