Flashback Friday: That Time Nickelback Crashed VIBE's Crown Royal Tasting

The spirit brand has also released the Crown Royal Artist Collection, in addition to their special Wine Barrel Finished rollout.  

Crown Royal's allure lies in its connection to hip-hop (Big Boi, EPMD) and the ability to kick your tastebuds with a unique whiskey blend.

It's one of the few reasons why we were thrilled have National Brand Ambassador Stephen Wilson swing by VIBE's New York office last month, where we were treated to Crown Royal Wine Barrel Finished, the second expression in the Crown Royal Noble Collection.

To our surprise, we weren't the only ones to be an admire of the whiskey brand.

While learning about the inclusion of Cabernet Sauvignon wine barrels in the finished spirit, we couldn't help but notice the lingering eyes outside of the tasting. With our new home set up at Billboard (read about it here), the combinations of acts that walk through the glass doors are intriguing to say the least. The wanderer turned out to be Ryan Peake of Nickelback, who were performing for Billboard's Facebook Live session just a few feet away.

After a performing their latest single "Song On Fire," the group joined the VIBE staff for a few laughs and of course, shots of Crown.

Crown Royal is used to pleasant surprises. The brand's latest campaign, the Crown Royal Artist Collection, released last week, showcases fun twists on the Crown Royal bag, its signature accessory that remains long after the bottle is finished.

The two new limited edition bags were designed by New York City-based artists Santtu Mustonen and Yoon Hyup and shared at The Explorer's Club on July 6. One of the bags even doubles as a silk scarf.

“Our purple bags are a source of pride and we are honored to be working with Santtu and Yoon to launch the Artist Collection,” said Crown Royal Brand Director Jim Ruane. “They both created bags that add a beautiful touch of sophistication when displayed on Crown Royal Deluxe bottles and we know consumers will enjoy being able to purchase these limited edition works of art.”

The limited edition bags are $50 through ReserveBar.com and sold on a first-come first-served basis. Find out more about Crown Royal's artist campaign here.

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SZA Reveals Sophomore Album Is On the Way

2017 was a monumental year for R&B artist SZA. The sultry and soulful singer dropped her album Ctrl, garnering the most Grammy Award nominations for a female artist in 2018.

In an interview on Kerwin Frost Talks, "The Weekend" songstress alluded that her next studio album is coming "soon as f**k." "Everybody I f**k with and respect never had an issue on sophomore albums. People who make real music, no bullsh*t, have never struggled with a sophomore album," she said. "It is a little bit to dance in your brain like 'What do people want from me?' And then you just gotta make sh*t that feels good."

Following an MTV Video Music Award, a BET Award for Best New Artist, a Billboard Music Award for Top R&B Female Artist, two Soul Train Music Awards, and three NAACP Image Awards, her highly-anticipated project is coming from a place that she compares to cognitive dissonance. The New Jersey native is inspired by the sounds of Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Björk, and Wu-Tang Clan.

With no official release date announced, fans can only wonder if they will have all of the feels that her debut album successfully achieved.

Watch the full interview below.

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Actor Tray Chaney attends "Traffik" Atlanta VIP Screening at Regal Atlantic Station on April 16, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Codeblack Films

'The Wire's' Tray Chaney Shares His Testament In Self-Entitled Documentary Trailer

You may have seen Tray Chaney as Malik "Poot" Carr on the HBO Emmy-nominated drama series The Wire where he starts as a neighborhood drug dealer in the Barksdale organization and slowly moves up in ranks. He has also starred in a list of roles including Bounce TV's  Saints & Sinners as Kendrick Murphy and was nominated in 2019 at the International Christian Film Festival for Best Actor: Short Film in Angels in Rocket Field. 

After being accepted as an "Official Selection" during the Black Continental Independent Movie Awards in Silver Spring, Maryland, Chaney released the documentary trailer for Undeniable: The Tray Chaney Story under his Undeniable (Wired Different) campaign on Thursday (Aug. 15). The potential docuseries will follow the narratives of the journeys of The Wire cast members, how they landed their roles, what happened when the television series ended in 2008, and what they are doing now.

Under the production of Commodore Independent Filmworks and Safe House Films DC. Chaney's 45-minute episode features testimonials from Big Daddy Kane, Clifton Powell, Kenny Lattimore, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Russ Parr, Jd Williams, Keith Robinson, Anwan Big G Glover, and Black Child. His former co-star Idris Elba also shows his support for the documentary.

"Just know how hard he hustles," says Anwan "Big G" Glover.

The less than 2-minute snippet touches on the framework of Chaney, his eagerness and willingness to learn,  even mentioning his journey on Saints & Sinners as "the work of the Gods".

Watch the trailer for Undeniable: The Tray Chaney Story below.

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Tibrina Hobson

Angela Bassett To Receive The Black Girls Rock Icon Award

Angela Bassett has been an inspiration to black women for decades, so it's only fitting the Black Panther actress is being honored with the Icon Award at the 2019 Black Girls Rock ceremonies.

Created by DJ and entrepreneur Beverly Bond, Black Girls Rock is an award ceremony which aims to honor, acknowledge and celebrate the many contributions of black women.

The 61-year-old actress earned an Academy Award nomination for her brilliant portrayal of Tina Turner in the 1993 Brian Gibson film What's Love Got To Do With It. 

Black-Ish actress Tracee Ellis Ross was a previous Black Girls Rock host, however, this year's mistress of ceremony is Claws and When They See Us actress Niecy Nash.

The star power award will go to If Beale Street Could Talk actress Regina King. Ciara will receive the rock star award, Debra Martin Chase will walk away with the shot-caller award and Grammy-award winner H.E.R. will receive the Young Gifted and Black award.

The Community Change Agent Award will go to the mothers of the movement, Sybrina Fulton, Geneva Reed-Veal, Gwen Carr, Lucy McBath, Maria Hamilton and Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley.

The 2019 Black Girls Rock Awards will air on BET September 8.

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