Leaf Leaf
VIBE/ Stacy-Ann Ellis

Become Familiar With Leaf, Girl Power's New Face And Sound

By way of Brooklyn New York, Leaf is here to unite women through hip-hop.

Floating into the VIBE Vixen offices with a crown of sunset colored hair, Leaf catches your eye even when she’s not trying. When she smiles and her diamond flanked tooth sparkles in the overhead light, it’s obvious there’s something different about the 21-year-old. With a subtle nod to Aaliyah with Tommy Hilfiger boxers peeking out from her denim, Leaf effortlessly blends the hardcore artist we’ve heard on singles like “Slick” and the nostalgic R&B crooner on her most recent release, “FWM(Lie To Me)” into a dynamic aesthetic.

As the great grand-daughter of jazz artist Jackie McLean, music is buried deep within her bone marrow. The Brooklyn and Lower East Side raised lyricist released her first EP in 2015, Magnetic Bitch, and since signed to Fool’s Gold Records/RPM MSC, A-Trak’s label. With bangers like “Nada” featuring Lil Yatchy--a dare to anyone who try question just how lit her and her friends may be--Leaf has been busy setting up a new wave for girls who want to support their girls. Dropping female empowering anthems like “Money” and working to make sure everyone eats on her single, “Plate”, it’s clear Leaf isn’t the artist only in it to make you dance, although she’d love nothing more than to get you moving.

VIBE Vixen sat down with the queen of the Magnetic B***h Movement to discuss her spring debut album, Trinity, why she’s a rap artist, and the power behind being a woman in 2017.

VIBE: For starters, why the name Leaf?

Leaf: Everyone always asks me this and expects some insane story, like ‘I was in a garden.’ Nah, it's my birth name.

Music is in your blood, but what what made you say, "I'm going to be a rap artist and a singer?"

I think the reason why I chose hip-hop is because I am a girl from an urban world, I'm from Brooklyn and the Lower East Side. I've always been a rocker in an urban world. I think that for me hip-hop has all those influences, it has rock influences, it has R&B influences and I wanted to be in a place that gave me a broad spectrum.
I love being a hip-hop artist, it gives me that freedom.

What made you take the woman empowerment route?

I chose this route because it's really who I am. I've always been that girl that other women have bashed, or the one they think thinks she's better than everybody else, you know what I mean? I've been in both positions. I think women bashing other women is the worst thing you could ever do. What is the point of it? I guess it comes from insecurity. I guess it helps you sleep at night? I don't know, but I'm not for it. You have an issue with her, send her love. Keep being yourself because you're dope and that's all that matters. It doesn't matter if other people are being mean to you, don't lower yourself to their level. That's why I stand for what I stand for, because that's really what I believe.

So how do you feel about this Remy Ma and Nick Minaj beef or female rap beef in general?

I think that if it weren’t females, it would be regular rap beef. The only thing I think is an issue is why does there have to be one queen? I think that as women we have to stray away from that. When it's Meek and Drake, it's not about the king of rap. It's about who's the better rapper, who has the best songs. It becomes a different thing when it's two girls bashing each other based on the fact ‘that no one else could be the queen in hip-hop except for me.’ There's enough space for 20 queens, 30 queens, we can all be queens. Why can't we share our crowns?

That definitely comes across in your work and mantra. So explain MBM, Magnetic B***h Movement.

So magnetic, I believe in the Law of Attraction and that we’re all magnets for what we want and don't want. I tell my girlfriends that you have to be a magnet for what you want by deciding and speaking it into existence. B***h, I love the word b***h because it means that you are a woman with an opinion. I think that all women with opinions need to come together with their opinionated ass. No more silence! There's no reason for us not to have a voice. And movement because anyone can join, everyone is included, no matter what you like or what you don't like, you're included.

Considering the political climate, what do you think feminists could learn from your music and your movement?

Not just feminists, but I think everyone could learn that we're all human and it's about human equality more than anything else. I'm not putting out music to say I'm better than men and they need to bow down to women, and I'm not saying women are less than men, I'm saying we're all equal, no matter what race you come from, no matter what your favorite color is. We're all equal and we all need to come together and spread the message of love and unity.

What are you expecting Trinity to do for people?

I don't think there's a voice for young girls or young men like my last song I just put out. (FWM) I don't think enough girls even think on that basis. I think that there is such a disconnect with girls and boys right now. Guys don't really know what to do with this new generation of women and women don't know what do with this new generation of men. We're in a social media age. Boys are so socially awkward nowadays; they don't even know how to approach women, and women are so powerful nowadays, that they scare the sh*t out these little boys. I'm just trying to give them a little guidance. I think songs nowadays are always "I stole your b***h and you ain't sh*t, you lame". It's like...who wants to listen to that stuff all the time? I want to listen to stuff that makes me feel good about myself and that's the type of music I try to put out into the world.

Why the title Trinity?

The number three is a very important number. It stands for fertility in tarot cards. Basically Trinity is all about creation. The Holy Trinity is about creation, the number three is about creation and I just wanted it to be about what I believe the creator is which is women. We carry these children, we create life, and I wanted it to be about the creation of life and women and represented as a whole. Trinity to me is just an everyday reminder to be a creative, powerful female.

Looking forward, what women artists would you want to work with?

So many women! I love Grimes, Solange, Beyonce, Rihanna, Nicki, obviously. I love Little Dragon so much. Idols of mine like Shakira, Mariah, J.Lo. I don't care what people say about Mariah, I love her. She set a forefront for women that can't be touched to this day. I would love to work with Missy. Missy is deada**...you can't even put her in a category. She’s just awesome, all around, 360 awesomeness. There's so many women that I look up to in so many ways. Janet Jackson? Oh my God. Her life? She's just flawless.

Check out Leaf’s newest video for “FWM(Lie To Me)” below and expect Trinity out in the spring.

 

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Andrea Kelly Says She's Been Attacked For Calling Out R. Kelly's Behavior

Andrea Kelly has found it hard to march for women as they continue to support her polarizing ex-husband, R. Kelly.

The former choreographer shared her sentiments on an upcoming episode of Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta shared on Entertainment Tonight. Speaking with close friend Debra Antney, Kelly tearfully expressed her frustrations with her ex-husband and praised Antey for sticking by her side.

The former couple was previously in a child support battle for their children Joann, 21, Jay, 19, and Robert, 17. During the time of filming, Kelly owed $161,000 in back child support to his ex. In May, it was reportedly paid off by a mysterious donor.

"When I think about the ways that I have been abused by Robert, from being hogtied, having both of my shoulders dislocated, to being slapped, pushed, having things thrown as me, the sexual abuse, the mental abuse, words can't even describe," she said.

In addition to the child support case, Kelly was charged with 11 felony counts of sexual assault. He's pleaded not guilty despite reported evidence of videotapes that reportedly show the entertainer engaging in sexual acts with minors. Andrea tells Antey how difficult the process has been for her since speaking out about Kelly's behavior in the Lifetime docu-series, Surviving R. Kelly. 

"Here I am, putting myself in a position because I want to help women, and they are attacking me," she said. "There's some things that I don't even speak anymore, that I feel like, once you give it to God, you better leave with God, because if I don't leave it with God, I'm definitely going to be somewhere with my hands on the glass, visiting my children every other Sunday."

Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on WEtv.

Watch the clip here.

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Courtesy of Baby Tress

Baby Tress' Edge Styler Ensures Women Of Color Will Always Shake The Beauty Table

"Do you have edge control in here?"

It's an inquiry my niece asked me over the weekend as we got ready for our cousin's graduation. Atlanta's heat is friendly but mixed with nimbus clouds, frizz (and thunderstorms) are on the horizon. Given the circumstances, a high bun seems to be the best choice for me and my niece, a slick-back style with extra attention to our baby hairs. It's typical for either one of us to grab a toothbrush to slick and swoop our edges with pomade or gel, but with The Baby Tress Edge Styler, the process is easier and equally as stylish.

Created by boutique communications agency Mama Tress, the styler is everything baby hair dreams are made of. It's also a testament to the rise of the "style" in popular hair culture. With a dual comb and brush top, its pointed tip elevates a consumer to baby hair connoisseur.

But the styler isn't something created to appropriate black culture or piggyback on what boosts the most likes on social media. The handy styler was created by Mama Tress CEO Hannah Choi and her team consisting of other women of color like public relations coordinator Mariamu "Mimi" Sillah. The New York native tells VIBE Vixen the styler was made as a gift for an event they hosted but its intentions to propel black hair were always present.

"We try to make it clear that this is for women of color. Because we all understand the history of baby hair, we all have connections, we all have stories, we all do it differently, some people swoop it; if you see some of my coworkers they do the swirls," she said. "This is a product that we want everyone to see and think, 'I don't need to be using a toothbrush. I deserve more than a toothbrush.' This is a tool made thoughtfully with women of color in mind and we are women of color who came up with the idea because we know what we need."

Coming in six different colors, the styler's bristles are stronger than a typical toothbrush and give anyone's edges a look all their own. Over the years, styled baby hairs have gotten the white-washed celeb treatment. From the runways of New York Fashion Week to fans of black culture like Kim Kardashian, its recent love affair among popular culture crosses out its rich roots.

Many have attributed the actual rise of baby hairs to the '70s with pioneers like LaToya Jackson and Sylvia Robinson of CEO Sugar Hill Records sporting their luxurious edges with Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas being the all-time queen. Recent entertainers like Ella Mai and FKA twigs have made them fun and creative. There are also the many Latinx and black around the way queens who have kept the culture alive.

 

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A post shared by Ebony Brown (@wildcatebonybrown) on Jun 3, 2019 at 1:31pm PDT

“Our tool is more than a beauty product, it’s a conversation starter," Choi, who is of Korean descent, previously told fashion site Beauty Independent. "There are nuances of someone’s world that you won’t see if you’re not part of that community. And we felt that the conversation around why this market is so underserved should be brought to light and talked about. We are seeing such a big change now in fashion and beauty in terms of representation, and we want to be able to have that conversation without it being heavy. We want it to be approachable. Our brand is very approachable.”

When it comes to moving in the black hair space, Sillah feels empowered at Mama Tress. It also makes it easy to develop black hair tools like the styler. "I feel like my voice is listened to because I am a consumer of all these things. It's empowering to be in a position to have more control," she said. "If we're being honest, a lot of the black hair spaces are not owned by people who look like us. To be in a position where I can say "No, don't create this product, we don't wear things like this,' or 'Actually you should name it this because this resonates with this community,' I'm an advocate for my community. That's part of the reason why Baby Tress was created because it's about a larger conversation, about things not being thoughtfully made for us."

Baby Tress' next steps are to make the styler accessible to consumers and create even more products dedicated to black women.

“We need to be in retail spaces because this is a product you need to see up close and touch it and play with it,” said Shannon Kennard, account executive at Mama Tress tells Glossy. “Everyone who tries it falls in love with it.”

Sillah is more than ready for women of color to elevate their beauty regimen, one creation at a time. The future of Baby Tress includes an array of more products designed with women of color in mind.

"Anything that has to do with baby hair, we can bring to Baby Tress and make it beautifully designed and effective," she said.  "That's what this is about. It's about that step up. Again, we should not be using a toothbrush anymore."

Learn more about Baby Tress here.

 

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Beyonce Readies New Line And Serves As Muse For 'Lion King' Makeup Collection

Beyonce is keeping her fans quite busy this week. Yesterday (June 4), the latest trailer for the forthcoming The Lion King live action film gave the masses a first listen of Beyonce as the voice of Nala. To add on to the Disney film's energy, Beyonce's longtime makeup artist Sir John has revealed a special Lion King makeup partnership.

According to The Cut, Disney's Sir John x Luminess Lion King Limited Edition Collection includes "a 6-shade sculpting palette, a 12-shade eyeshadow palette, two matte lipsticks, two liquid lipsticks, a tinted lip balm, and a highlighter." Neutrals, pinks and shimmer jewel tones are all named after characters and other movie references, with various women (including Beyonce) modeling the new work.

 

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From day to night, statement or muted.. I love that there’s so many different looks you can create with this 8 piece collection 🙌🏽 I’ll be posting a few tutorials this month to show you guys some really cool things you can do with these products. & be sure to check out #TheLionKing in theaters July 19!  #DisneyLionKing #SirJohn #LuminessCosmetics

A post shared by S I R J O H N (@sirjohnofficial) on Jun 2, 2019 at 3:05pm PDT

 

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No filters needed ⚠️ Can’t Wait To Be Queen Eyeshadow Palette working that good light 👑✨ #TheLionKingCollectionbySirJohnXLuminess #SirJohn #LuminessCosmetics

A post shared by S I R J O H N (@sirjohnofficial) on Jun 4, 2019 at 9:18am PDT

While that was happening, Bey also caused a stir amongst the BeyHive with the announcement of her own forthcoming merch line. The "BeyHive" range officially hits her website on June 11, right in time for all the summertime functions.

Beyoncé's new "beyhive" range has been sent to several members of the BeyHive is promotion of her new merch line, launching June 11. https://t.co/zIkzJ9B8Qq pic.twitter.com/Ql9yWXKNDR

— BEYONCÉ HUB (@theyoncehub) June 5, 2019

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