T.J. Maxx Launches "The Maxx You Project" in NYC T.J. Maxx Launches "The Maxx You Project" in NYC
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Laila Ali And TJ Maxx Introduce 'The Maxx You Project' To Encourage Women To Overcome Stereotypes

The four-time undefested boxing world champion sat down with VIBE to discuss the upcoming workshop and her own expeience with "traditonal" gender roles

Laila Ali is the epitome of a bada** woman. She is not only a world-renowned, undefeated boxing champion, but also a mother, wellness expert, TV host, author and so much more. This wife and mother of two is no stranger to adversity, and the ever-changing landscape of her career is a testament to her perseverance. It is no wonder that TJ Maxx invited her to spearhead their latest endeavor: The Maxx You Project.

After surveying nearly 500 women in their stores across the country, TJ Maxx found that 80 percent of women feel held back by the stereotypes that society places on them. The Maxx You Project was created to provide a learning environment for women to shatter stereotypes and traditional gender molds so that they can achieve their unique aspirations.

The “main event” of The Maxx You Project will occur in the form of a workshop led by Laila Ali and Barbara Corcoran in Los Angeles this summer. The project launched Tuesday morning (April 25), and women are encouraged to share their life goals and answer the question “How will you Maxx you?” online or in select stores until May 21 at noon. Eighty women will be selected to join Ali and Corcoran for the workshop.

“We’re going to mentor these young women and share our stories with them and really connect with them,” Ali tells VIBE. The curriculum of the workshop won’t be developed until the women are selected to ensure that they receive a truly customized experience.

A majority of the women who participated in the department store’s survey -- 94 percent to be exact -- felt that the stories of everyday women deserve more spotlight, as opposed to the over-saturation of celebrities in the media. Ali agrees and admits that she has personally always been inspired by the strength of “regular, working moms.”

“Single moms who worked hard jobs, but they still picked their kids up from school, were there for them, put food on the table—those are the women that I really appreciate and look up to because I saw them as being so strong and that’s the kind of mother that I want to be,” Ali says. “I want to be able to work. I want to be able to go after my dreams and my goals, but still be hands on with my children.”

On the topic of her little ones Sydney and Curtis Jr., the daughter of global boxing icon Muhammad Ali shared with us how she confronts “traditional” gender roles in her home. Specifically, in reference to a photo she posted on Instagram of her young son and daughter getting pedicures, Ali expressed that exposing her children to things at a young age is key to making sure they don’t fall victim to gender-based stereotyping. She also notes that her son loves a good massage, so the pedicure was right up his ally.

Treating my kids to pedi's! Keeping our feet right and pampering ourselves! #FirstPedicure 👣 #healthylifestyle

A post shared by Laila Ali (@thereallailaali) on

“It’s really about self care, and not caring about what other people think,” she says. “If you don’t want to get a pedicure, fine. But, I don’t think you should not do it because you’re afraid or embarrassed about what people think. That’s what I don’t like. I want everyone to do what’s in their heart to do, and it may not be the same thing that’s in my heart to do, but don’t let other people’s opinions and their thoughts stop you. Otherwise you’re never going to get to where you wanna get in life.”

And this lifestyle brand CEO is no stranger to tuning out naysayers. Especially as an outspoken woman of color, Ali has been forced to break down barriers not only as an athlete, but also as a businesswoman.

“I’m always a black woman, no matter where I go,” she says. “I don’t have my ‘Corporate Laila’ and my ‘With My Friends Laila.’ I don’t. I’m just the same. So you’re gonna have to accept me as I am…I know what works for me, I know what doesn’t, and sometimes what happens is people will paint you as someone who’s hard to deal with because they can’t get you to do the things that they want you to do. A man can do it, and it’s not a problem. But I do it, and it turns into something else.”

Although the women who are selected to participate in The Maxx You Project will be strangers to each other, they will share a common plight. Each woman feels that she is not reaching her potential in life because of the box or label society has assigned her. Through the mentorship of Ali and Corcoran, this program aims to provide them with the support and guidance they’ve been seeking.

“Sometimes when you get the door slammed in your face, you feel down, there’s other women in my life that kind of given me strength to keep going and kept me positive, so I believe in the power of us [women] connecting and kind of being there for one another for the good and the bad times.”

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Bryson Tiller Announces Deluxe Edition Of ‘Trapsoul’ Debut

Ahead of the release of his highly anticipated new album, Bryson Tiller is giving fans another chance to fall deeper in love with Trapsoul. The Grammy-nominated singer announced that he will be releasing a deluxe version of his debut album to streaming service this Friday (Sept. 25).

The deluxe edition will feature fan favorites “Just Another Interlude” and “Self Righteous,” Tiller tweeted on Tuesday (Sept. 22). “Before we get into my new album, I wanna celebrate with this special edition of my debut album, 'Trapsoul.' Featuring a few songs that didn’t quite make the cut.”

before we get into my new album, I wanna celebrate with this special edition of my debut album, Trapsoul. Featuring a few songs that didn’t quite make the cut. Y’all asked for these on All Platforms and they’ll finally be yours this Friday. thank you! pic.twitter.com/8MJ5rC5jYB

— tiller (@brysontiller) September 23, 2020

Released in 2015, Tiller’s debut album put him on the map, and earned a Billboard Music Awards nomination for Top R&B Album. The triple platinum release, lead single “Don’t” cracked the Top 20 on the Billboard singles charts becoming his highest charting solo effort to date.

Earlier in the month, Tiller released the music video for his song “Inhale” which samples Mary J. Blige’s “Not Gon' Cry.” The end of the video reveals that Tiller’s new album will drop sometime this fall.

Watch “Inhale” below.

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Da Brat Talks Coming Out, Going To Prison, Dating Allen Iverson And More

Da Brat sat down with Kandi Burruss for an episode of Speak On It where she reflected on her career, opened up about coming out as a lesbian, and more.

The Chicago native, who recently went public with girlfriend, Jessica Dupart, explained that while her sexuality may have been an open secret, she was scared to go public early in her career out of fear of disappointing her family, namely her grandmothers who have since passed on.

“I was nervous but I was like ‘f*ck it.’ I’m happy, I don’t care,’” she recalled of coming out. “I’m in love with this woman, she completes me, she makes me feel like I’ve never felt before.

“I got nothing but good responses,” continued Brat. “It made me feel so good that I did it. First of all, it was a weight lifted but I got nothing but positive responses then you got your troll motherf*ckers talking bout ‘we been knew.’”

After Brat got out of prison in 2010, Kandi approached her to be in a TV show about lesbians. “I thought about it but I just wasn’t ready [to come out],” she admitted.“I was still scared. I was like I’m not [about to] get on here with these gay b*tches and be looking all crazy. How can I pull it off and participate and not look gay? Now I don’t give a f*ck. This is my life. I’m happy, living in my truth, if anybody don’t like it oh well.”

As a youngster, Brat had several boyfriends. She says she didn’t realize that she was attracted to the opposite sex until she fell in love with woman at age 18. Throughout the year, she dated both women and men, one of whom was Allen Iverson. Dating the NBA star at the height of his career proved to be a struggle for Brat. The “last straw” was one of the women that Iverson was apparently sleeping with approaching them at a hotel.

“I’m like b*tch I know you see me sitting here with n*gga, you still gon’ say you’re looking for him? I must’ve mollywhopped that b*tch down the hallway,” she recalled. “I said ‘you know what? I can’t do this with you [Iverson],’ and I kind of like faded out answering the calls and just had to pull back, and then it eventually fizzled out.”

Further in the interview, Brat spoke about being revered by fellow inmates in prison while guards purposely mistreated her because she was a celebrity, and Mariah Carey coming to visit. During her three-year prison stint, Brat started penning an autobiography with the help of an inmate serving life but hasn’t been able to get the work back. The 46-year-old rapper and Dish Nation host hopes to release a biopic one day.

“I would love to like do a movie or docuseries, so people could see what the f*ck I been through, how I became the best of both girls: one side of the family was sanctified, the other side I got to wild out. So that’s how I’m like a tomboy on one side and a Christian on the other side.”

Watch the full interview below.

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Dr. Dre’s Estranged Wife Accused Of Embezzlement Amid Divorce

Dr. Dre and his estranged wife, Nicole Young, are embroiled in a contentious divorce battle, with both sides hurling allegations at each other. The latest round of accusations revolved around Nicole allegedly embezzling money from Record One, a company founded by Dre and Larry Chatman in 2015.

According to TMZ, the company was founded under an LLC of which Nicole is a trustee and signatory on the LLC’s checking account, and therefore had access to the company money. Chatman claims Nicole wrote herself a check for $353,571.85 last month,  plus an additional $30,000. Dre, whose birth name is Andre Young, and his business partner are giving Nicole a week to return the money or face a lawsuit.

In legal documents filed on Friday (Sept. 18), Nicole accuses her ex of hiding assets, kicking her out of their home, and years of physical, emotional, and financial abuse.

“Andre’s history with women provides context for the blatant disregard he had for the legal rights of Nicole, his wife and mother of their three children,” the complaint states before referencing Dre’s ex, Michel’le, and the Lifetime biopic that revealed the abuse she suffered. “Andre’s documented past is riddled with tales of dominating and physically abusing women, which he was forced to admit when a movie of his life was being released.”

Nicole alleges that she co-owns the trademark to Dre’s stage name. She also claims that he created an assets holding company to secretly transfer “valuable trademarks” that they allegedly co-owned. The documents allege that Dre threatened to file for divorce in late June leaving Nicole “no choice” but to “initiate divorce proceedings” two days later.

The mother of three was previously married to NBA player Sedale Threatt before marrying Dre in 1996. Dre and Nicole raised three children together, including her son from a previous relationship. Dre also fathered three children from previous relationships.

Nicole, who claims that she was coerced into signing a prenup, demanded a reported $2 million per month in temporary spousal support.

She is requesting a jury trial.

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