Miss USA Deshauna Barber Miss USA Deshauna Barber
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Confidently Beautiful: Newly Crowned Miss USA Deshauna Barber Makes History

Black Girl Magic at its finest.

On Sunday night (June 5), Miss District of Columbia Deshauna Barber earned the Miss USA title and etched her name in the history books all in one. As the first-ever military member to win the crown, Barber plans to take a break from the Army Reserves but isn't neglecting her duty to veteran causes.

"As a woman in the United States Army, I think we are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I'm powerful, I am dedicated," the 26-year-old lieutenant expressed in one of the best answers of the night. "Gender does not limit us in the United States."

Surpassing Miss Georgia Emanii Jovan Davis and Miss Hawaii Chelsea Hardin, the newly crowned Miss USA plans to use her influence and pageant queen glory to expand the dialogue on veteran's issues such as suicide and post-traumatic stress.

Congratulations to the 2016 #MissUSA, Deshauna Barber of Washington, District of Columbia.

A video posted by Deshauna Barber (@missusa) on

Any reservations about her ability to get the job done? Barber had an answer for that. In her following speech, she downplayed the notion that her beauty takes away from her strength.

"Serving in the military has taught me that being confidently beautiful is about being able to earn respect from people regardless of what you look like. As a woman in the military, people associate beauty with weakness and they learn very quickly that I’m extremely strong, and though I’m small, I’m powerful."

The queen has spoken.

Now presenting: The class of 2016 with our new #MissUSA, Deshauna Barber. #💙

A photo posted by Deshauna Barber (@missusa) on

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Teyana Taylor Hints At Music Retirement, Says She Feels Underappreciated

Teyana Taylor is feeling underappreciated. Taylor hinted a possibly retiring from music in an Instagram post thanking fans for her music Spotify end-of-the year numbers.

The “Bare Wit Me” singer wracked up over 167 million Spotify streams, from 15.2 million listeners, across 92 countries. “I ain’t gone [sic] front in times of feeling super [underappreciated] as [an] artist, receiving little to no real push from the ‘machine,’ constantly getting the shorter end of the stick, being overlooked, I mean the list [goes] on and on lol,” she wrote on Friday (Dec. 4).

Taylor added that she’s “retiring this chapter of my story” with the comfort of knowing that she’s walking away with “peace of mind seeing that all the hard work & passion put in was indeed loved & supported somewhere in the world!”

She went on to thank her day one supporters and new fans. “I love you and I thank you for everything & don’t worry y’all know all hustlers have the understanding that when one door closes another will open.”

This isn’t the first time that Taylor has aired out her frustrations with the music industry. She put the Grammys on blast last month for snubbing female R&B singers, and previously spoke out about the mishandling of the rollout of her debut album, K.T.S.E.

Taylor’s last studio project, The Album, was released in June.

Read her full Instagram post below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jimmy Neutch- Shumpert (@teyanataylor)

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Letitia Wright Responds To Backlash After Post Questioning COVID-19 Vaccine

After catching backlash for tweeting a YouTube video questioning the ingredients of a COVID-19 vaccine, Letitia Wright went back to social media on Friday (Dec. 4) to explain her reasoning.

“My intention was not to hurt anyone, my ONLY intension of posting this video was it raised my concerns with what the vaccine contains and what we are putting in our bodies. Nothing else,” wrote the Black Panther star.

my intention was not to hurt anyone, my ONLY intention of posting the video was it raised my concerns with what the vaccine contains and what we are putting in our bodies.

Nothing else.

— Letitia Wright (@letitiawright) December 4, 2020

if you don’t conform to popular opinions. but ask questions and think for yourself....you get cancelled 😂

— Letitia Wright (@letitiawright) December 4, 2020

The criticism started after Wright shared a video titled, COVID-19 Vaccine Should We Take It?, on Thursday (Dec. 3). As the post began circulating social media Wright tweeted, “If you don’t conform to popular opinions but ask questions and think for yourself…you get cancelled.”

Wright also liked a tweet reading “Cancel Black Panther 2 immediately,” and another tweet calling for her character to be recast.

Wright, 27,  isn’t alone in being skeptical of COVID-19 vaccines. According to a Pew Research survey conducted in September, only 32% of Black Americans surveyed said that they would take the vaccine. Some of the distrust dates stems from the 1932 Tuskegee Experiment where hundreds of Black men were unknowingly infected with syphilis.

The U.K. is expected to become one of the first countries to get Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine. The region has received 800,000 doses and will begin mass vaccinations next week. A U.S. vaccine could be released by the end of  December.

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Ashanti And Keyshia Cole Sign On For Verzuz Battle

Season 2 of Verzuz is already off to a good start. Ashanti and Keyshia Cole are next in line for a Verzuz battle, it was confirmed on Friday (Dec. 4).

The R&B stars will go up against each other for a “celebration of women empowerment” next Saturday, Dec. 12. The “Legendary Ladies Night” will be streamed on IG Live and Apple Music.

Yeah, it’s official! The paperwork is IN 🚨🚨 It’s a legendary Ladies Night on Saturday, December 12th with @Ashanti and @KeyshiaCole.

Which Libra you got?!

Saturday, December 12th, 5PM PT / 8PM ET. Watch on our IG or in HD on @AppleMusic.

Drinks by @Ciroc Merch by @NTWRKLIVE pic.twitter.com/UCWJvaEl0y

— Verzuz (@verzuzonline) December 4, 2020

Both multi-platinum selling singers have impressive stats. Ashanti’s catalog of solo hits include “Foolish,” “Rock wit U,” “Rain On Me,” “Happy,” and “Baby.” On the collaborative tip, the Grammy winner joined Ja Rule on singles like, “What’s Love?” and “Always on Time.”

She was also featured on Lloyd’s debut single “Southside,” “Into You” by Fabolous, and “Body on Me” with Nelly. And she of course wrote songs for Jennifer Lopez and more.

Cole’s breakout single, “I Changed My Mind,” dropped in 2004 and her career took off from there. The Oakland native boasts a slew of classic R&B singles like “(I Just Want It) To Be Over,” “I Should Have Cheated,” “Let It Go,” “I Remember,” “Heaven Sent,” “Love,” and “Trust.” As a featured artist, Cole appeared on Sean Paul’s “(When You Gonna) Give It Up to Me,” Young Jeezy’s “Dreaming,” and Diddy’s 2006 single “Last Night,” to name a few.

Although they’re technically going up against each other for Verzuz, there’s no beef between the two artists who previously collaborated for the title track off Cole’s 2012 album, Woman to Woman.

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