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Amber Rose Wants Men To Know When A Woman Says No, It Doesn't Mean Convince Her

"I'm the Michael Jordan of thots."

The mother, author and activist talks to VIBE about her fourth-annual Slutwalk and how she teaches her son consent

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Captain Save A Ho! At least, so says Amber Rose.

During the day, Rose is just your mild-mannered mother to a cutie patootie 5-year-old. But at night she dons her highest heels, figure-flattering jeans (maybe Fendi, probably Fashionnova) and a cleavage-bearing top to walk the streets of Los Angeles, saving those besmirched with distasteful names thrown at a woman with the sexual appetite of a man. As the self-described "Michael Jordan of thots," the 34-year-old has made it her mission to help women reclaim their sexual narratives regardless of the names spewed at her in the process.

For three years, Rose and her Rosebuds have gathered in Downtown L.A. for her annual SlutWalk. The festival, which started with 2,500 people, has grown to about 20,000 and is billed as a day of empowerment, education, and awareness about sexism and rape culture in America.

And while Rose's efforts are valiant and well-intentioned, there are many who don't deem her a "proper" representative for feminism or women's rights. Maybe it's her stripper past, her love of twerking, or her shameless parading of her voluptuous body. Either way, Amber has been called everything but her name in her quest to even the gender playing field, and you know what? She doesn't give a f**k!

Sebastian's mama dialed into a call with VIBE—where she greeted me with the warmest, "Hey babe!"—to discuss her annual SlutWalk and how she handles all the unsavory comments she receives. Being Captain Save A Ho isn't easy, but somebody's gotta do it, right?

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VIBE: What will be different about this SlutWalk that hasn’t taken place in previous years?
Amber Rose: I would say that every year it grows. The first year, 2,500 people attended. The second year it was 11,000 people and the third year there were more than 20,000 people. This year it’s bigger. It’s more awareness. It’s more people understanding the narrative. It’s more inclusive. It’s not just for women. It’s for the LGBTQ community as well. It’s for straight men and for people from all walks of life. I love that we do the initial walk in the morning and then we have a full festival for the rest of the day from like 11 o’clock in the morning to like 5 o’clock in the afternoon. No matter who you are, you’re coming into a very safe place. You can wear what you want. You can talk to people who’ve been through things that you’ve been through. You’re gonna cry. You’re gonna laugh. You’re gonna dance. You’re going to have a very emotional day in such an amazing way and you’re going to realize that you’re not alone in the world. It’s a no judgment zone. We have zero tolerance for bullying. We have counseling and it’s really just a positive amazing day for everyone.

You proudly call yourself “Captain Save A Ho,” yet in the 'hood that phrase is associated with men who adorn women who are “unworthy.” You’ve reclaimed that phrase. What does it mean to you now?
That’s the thing. I’m a woman. I took the power away. Now I’m saving the h*’s. [Laughs] H*. Slut. Skank. Whore. Those are all derogatory labels just thrown at women. It’s never thrown at a man.

"I’ve been associated with so many men I’ve never slept with." —Amber Rose

And men can very well be whores, sluts, h**s. I know quite a few.
Yeah! And guess what? For a man, it’s almost a word of affirmation. It’s like they poke their chest out with pride if they’re a h* and they get b***hes. It’s a cool thing. But for us, if we take control of our sexuality, and even if we don’t. And that’s the crazy thing about it. It really doesn’t matter what we do—it’s the projection of negativity they just put on you. I’ve been associated with so many men I’ve never slept with. I’ve been branded as a h* when I’ve been in long-term monogamous committed relationships. They’re like ‘Ugh! Another boyfriend.’ I was just with someone for a whole year. I literally cried for five months. And I’ve moved on with my life. What do you mean? I’m not supposed to ever date again ever? I’m not supposed to find love? It’s just people being uncomfortable with the confidence we have as women or other women being uncomfortable with women saying, ‘Hey, this is what I want to do. This doesn’t have to be your thing but it’s my thing.’

Does it bother you when women perpetuate sexist ideas? 
Oh my God, babe. It drives me f**king nuts! I also at the same time try to have patience and understand that these women have been raised their entire lives to think certain behavior is OK. And so I can’t really get mad, I just have to educate. And that’s what happened when I did the show with Tyrese and Rev Run. It was like, ‘Look, guys, I’m not mad at you because this is really all you know. But I’m here to tell you, you're wrong.' So I’m not going to scream at you. I’m not going to call you ignorant or a derogatory word. I’m just going to say that you’re wrong. And this is what’s right. I’m going to let you know what right is.

It is unfortunate to see women like that but it only comes from their own insecurities and it also comes from the fact that celebrity men are looked at as higher level human being because they have talent. And it’s like ‘He’s so talented. Why would he rape someone?’ or ‘He could have sex with anyone. Why would he do it to her?’ It’s not about sex, it’s about power and they don’t understand that. And that what the SlutWalk brings, which is the awareness to what’s happening. Saying 'no' doesn’t mean convince me.

Right.
It’s f**king sad and it really boils down to the men being like, ‘You know what. It’s okay that you don’t want to do this right now. I’ve no problem calling you an Uber or taking you home.’ This is where the awareness and the education come in because no one is obligated to f**k you. I’m sorry.

 "Saying 'no' doesn’t mean convince me." —Amber Rose

No one. Slut-shaming. Victim-shaming. It’s all an indoctrination that affects everyone. Can you provide some examples of men who attended your SlutWalk and learned something?
Oh my, God! Babe. I know the girls are going to show up and I love my girls. But when I have the straight guys show up, and they have sayings written on their chests in pink because they have daughters and they have mothers and they f**king get it! Last year I was walking. We were doing the walk in the morning and it was an older white man—I want to say late '60s—and he came up to me with a camera in my face and I’m not going to lie. I judged him. I thought he was probably some bible-thumping old man. He’s about to get on my a** so fast. And he came up to me with a camera and he said, ‘Amber. Please say hello to my daughter in Seattle. She absolutely loves you so much. She couldn’t be here this year but I came on her behalf. We love you. We love everything you’re doing for feminism.’ And I gave him a hug after that and I was like ‘I really judged you, dude.’ That’s when I realized that my SlutWalk is so inclusive that its people from all walks of life who f**king get it. And I know I’m making a difference every single year. Even though there are thousands and thousands of people that don’t get it. We are changing more minds every single year and we’re making a difference and that’s the most important thing.

How does Sebastian feel about your SlutWalk?
He doesn’t get it yet. He’s still very young and he doesn’t fully understand it yet. But I will say that I do teach my son consent at a very young age.

How do you teach him consent?
Culturally, I grew up Italian. I’m black, Italian and Irish. As Italians in our family, we kiss everybody on the cheek when we greet each other. Also, Wiz and I, and also all of Sebastian’s grandparents were very loving towards Sebastian. We kiss him. We hug him. We love him up all day. So when he goes to school, he kisses all the boys on the cheek when he greets them because that’s what he’s seeing in our house and all the girls he kisses them on the lips. This was actually last year when he started going to pre-school. I dropped him off at school one day and I saw that he went up and kissed a little girl, Natalie on her lips and he went to go kiss Stella on her lips and she said, ‘No Sebastian. I don’t wanna kiss.’ And he was almost forcing himself on her to kiss her. And I said ‘Baby, I know you want to kiss Stella. I know that's your friend but when she says no, that means no, honey. And you’re not allowed to kiss her when she says no, okay?’ And he says ‘Oh, okay mommy.’ And then I said, ‘Well listen. If she says yes, then you give her a kiss and if she says no, then you say "Okay Stella."' It’s starting already at four or 5-years-old where I have to teach him that when somebody says no, that means no. You have to fall back from that. I feel like as parents, especially with our sons, we have to teach them consent at such an early age because I don’t want him being a teenager forcing himself on a girl.

Do you think men don’t know consent or they choose when they don’t know consent?
I think that some don’t know. I’ll say that, and I think some do know and they use their power to get a yes when it’s not a hard yes.

You mean when it’s not a hard no.
Right, but also when it’s not a hard yes. Like, ‘Ah, okay.’ You know what I mean? It’s kind of like I feel obligated to do this because you are a powerful man. And women feel like I put myself in this situation and now I feel obligated to have sex with him because I pushed him too far. And I’ve been in those situations before where I’ve literally had sex with someone and I went home and I was like ‘Why the f**k did I do that?’ I did not want to do that. I should’ve just been like, ‘No, I said no I want to go home right now.’ But then I felt bad because we made out for a long time and I pushed him to the limit where he was ready to go and I was like ‘Ugh! God! I don’t want to do this. So I feel obligated now.’ But now that I’m older. It’s like no! F**k no! Don’t f**king convince me! Like, no means no. I’m not trying to do this. We hung out. It was cool. I don’t want to have sex with you bro.' But you get to that point with just being fed up of being convinced. I don’t want to be convinced. I said no.

Why do you think there are so many people who don’t think you’re a “proper” advocate for gender equality?
I think that goes back to people being judgmental. Women being judgmental against me. It’s like, ‘She’s a stripper. She doesn’t know anything about feminism. It’s so ignorant that I just can’t take it. 'She can’t keep a man.' Is it I can’t keep a man or I just don’t settle? You can go and determine what the f**k that is. And what is keeping a man? You can’t keep a man that doesn’t want to be kept.

Correct.
I feel like that’s the thing a lot of women put on me, unfortunately. Some of the things I’ve heard is ‘She makes excuses to be a whore.’ Or ‘She’s the Michael Jordan of THOTS’ I see that one a lot.

[Laughs] What?
Yeah. It’s hilarious. And I get a lot of those things, babe. I laugh at those things and then I apply it to my Instagram captions. So I’ll post a picture and say “I’m the Michael Jordan of thots," and I take the power away. They can’t hurt me anymore. It doesn’t work like that. I let it roll off my shoulders very easily and I take the power away because all they can say in the comments is ‘Well at least you know you are’ It’s like bro, I already said it. Shut up. [Laughs]

READ MORE: Amber Rose's Slutwalk Aims To Unite All In Divided Times

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Kobe Bryant sits alone on the bench before a basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs at the Staples Center on Sunday, April 4, 2010 in Los Angeles.
Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG

Where Have You Gone, Kobe Bean Bryant?

I am in shock and I am traumatized. Any death hurts you, if you have any sense of humanity, and especially if it is not expected, out of the blue, and clocks you with a ferocious uppercut, between the eyes, in such a way that the tempo of your day, month, year, is completely concussed, knowing that you will never—never—forget this particular passing of a life. It was the Brooklyn rapper The Notorious B.I.G. who said, like the prophet he was, “Sometimes I hear death knockin’ at my front door.” It was the English poet John Donne who said, like the church cleric he was, “death diminishes me...therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Well, as we used to say in hip-hop, let the poppers pop and let the breakers break and, my Lord, let the grievers swoon and let the choirs sing sad spirituals because the bell is tolling for Kobe Bean Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and the seven other passengers aboard the helicopter that crashed in Calabasas, California, into hilly, rough terrain, after trying to steer its way through a syrupy fog on a West Coast Sunday morning. When I awoke home in New York, I did what I normally do: I scanned both my cell phone and my laptop for news of the day. It was amazing to see that LeBron James had just passed Kobe to become the third-highest scorer in the history of the National Basketball Association—after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at number one and Karl Malone at number two. It was doubly amazing to note that the top four scorers in NBA history had all played, at some point, with the Los Angeles Lakers, with Kobe’s the longest tenure, at 20 years, from his debut in 1996 to his retirement in 2016. I next read Kobe Bryant’s tweet congratulating LBJ publicly for surpassing him. Little did I know, little did any of us know, that that would be his last tweet ever. I assumed it would be just another mundane Sunday until the evening when I was set to watch Lizzo and Billie Eilish and others at the Grammys.

But then I got an urgent text from a trusted friend and fellow journalist, asking me if I had heard about Kobe. I gasped; I was speechless; the tears came, and I wanted to shove them back into my eye sockets. I did not dare believe Kobe Bryant, born on August 23, 1978, was dead, at the still tender age of 41. My first social media post could not utter the words; I simply said I had heard distressing news about him. Then I texted back and forth with several others, hoping, praying, for some sort of miracle. It is not that I am celebrity-obsessed. I am not. But the reality is that stars, be they entertainers or athletes or politicians or “The Royals,” take up space in our collective mental, in our collective soul—if they are around long enough—like blood relatives, like a father, a mother, a sister, a brother, an uncle, an aunt, a cousin. They become parts of us, and we are a part of them. Be they James Dean or Marilyn Monroe or Dr. King or John Lennon or Natalie Wood or Princess Diana or Aaliyah or Amy Winehouse or Kobe Bean Bryant, when they go, pieces of us go with them. We rise and fall with them, we laugh and cry with them, we win and lose with them. So when a person with the level of global recognition of a Kobe Bryant dies and dies so tragically, we feel as if we have lost a beloved family member. We are immediately in mourning, as everything about us has faded to black, as black as the lethal Black Mamba snake Kobe channeled as his alter-ego on the court. We are there at the funeral or memorial service, a-hootin' and a-hollerin’, as parts of our being attempt to climb into the coffin, the way Kobe climbed into the heads and over the outstretched hands of helpless opponents. We double over in pain as our bodies slump to the floor, the way Kobe’s did when he shredded his Achilles near the end of his career.

And what a career it was. I first learned of Kobe Bryant when he was a high school phenomenon in a suburb of Philadelphia in 1995, 1996. I learned that his father was former NBA player Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, a journeyman athlete who once played with the legendary Dr. J and the Philadelphia 76ers in the mid-1970s. I learned that Joe never became a star player, so he bounced around a lot, in Philly, where Kobe was born, to places like Italy, where the only boy of three Bryant children would pick up Italian and other languages along the way. I learned that he was named after the famous beef in Kobe, Japan, and his middle name, a cosmic chopping of his Dad’s nickname. I learned that Kobe worshipped NBA superstar Michael Jordan, who was then in the middle of his six championships with the Chicago Bulls. Indeed, Kobe fanned out on MJ so much that he would stick out his tongue in a similar manner when going for a shot, and also wore a wrist band high up on a bicep just like Mike, too.

It was hard to say what Kobe Bryant would become in those first years, particularly since he was only 17 and straight outta high school when drafted. Kobe took soul-pop princess Brandy to his senior prom and even made a hip-hop record that did not do much. He was a teen idol project of Mr. NBA logo himself, Jerry West, acquired in a trade with the Charlotte Hornets on draft day, pairing Kobe with the league’s reigning big man, Shaquille O’Neal, and eventually Michael Jordan’s Bulls coach, Phil Jackson.

As Kobe morphed from close-cropped hair to a wild and angled afro to nearly bald during his 20-year career, I cannot say that I always understood or appreciated him, at least not in the beginning. It was obvious he was a gifted natural scorer, but there were also his nasty feuds with Shaq and Coach Jackson, and allegations that he was a selfish, just-give-me-the-damn-ball player in a team sport. No matter, because first came three straight championships with Shaq, then two more with Pau Gasol, proving the point that Kobe, the most dominant alpha male hoopster of his times, could win without O’Neal. Wedged in there are two Olympic gold medals with Lebron and company in 2008 and 2012; a regular-season MVP; two scoring titles; the second-most points in an NBA game ever (81); four All-Star game MVP awards; a slam dunk contest title; 18 All-star game appearances in his 20 years; and the dizzying epilogue to it all: 60 points in his very last game.

Indeed, there is an ancestral baton-passing from Dr. J, to Michael Jordan, to Kobe Bryant, to LeBron James. Unbelievable and unapologetic work ethic, stunningly fearless leadership, and a charisma coupled with a killer instinct that defined each of their eras. While Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player ever, fact is Kobe Bryant is the bridge from MJ to LeBron, a top-3 to top-5 player, easily, and also the player most like Mike that NBA players of recent times have seen, as many were too young to have witnessed Jordan, and regard MJ as an unreachable and mythical God. While Larry Bird and Magic Johnson retrieved basketball from the trash-bin of late-night tv reruns, and Michael Jordan made it crazy, sexy, and cool and an international religion in that Jesus sort of way, I would argue that Kobe Bryant took the sport to the promised land of becoming the national past-time that baseball once was, paralleling the sped-up society America was becoming because of the tech revolution. Put another way, Michael Jordan was crisp, after-work R&B with massive pop appeal while Kobe was defiantly hip-hop, a Negro with an attitude and a gigantic boulder on his shoulder.

He came into the league the same year as Allen Iverson, who was selected number one overall, and of the twelve picks ahead of Kobe at number thirteen, it’s only Iverson and Ray Allen that are Hall of Fame level, like Kobe. Kobe Bean Bryant simply outworked and out-hustled every single player of his class, stretching his mandate from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, from Tupac and Biggie to Drake and Meek Mill, from SkyPagers to iPhones, from CDs to Spotify, from MTV to Netflix.

Scrape and strip away all of that, and there Kobe Bryant was, the Black Mamba I saw play in person on more than a few occasions: a six-foot-six specimen of a humanoid who came into the NBA as a teenager, tall and lanky and wide-eyed, and left it muscled and statesman-like, having willed his frame from every manner of finger and hand and shoulders injuries, including his miraculous return from that torn Achilles. He had the encyclopedic IQ of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, the Cirque du Soleil flexibility of Michael Jordan and Dr. J, and the insatiable appetite to win of Bill Russell and Jerry West. Watching Kobe Bryant play basketball was like watching The Nicholas Brothers tap and contort and leap through the most brilliant dance routine in film history in “Stormy Weather,” defying gravity and common sense in spite of the many ways Black men had been told to stay in their place. No, watching Kobe Bryant play basketball was like being there when Langston Hughes spit blood poetry from his Harlem veins, putting to words what the eyes and heart done seen, carrying the dreams of an entire people across rivers, with no shame. No, watching Kobe Bryant play basketball was like James Brown live on stage singing, scatting, screaming, dancing, splitting, freestyling his Blackness in mid-movement as if he were an ordained Yoruba priest refusing to be stuck at the bottom of a slave ship. No, watching Kobe Bryant play basketball was like watching African ballet, except with a basketball and baggy shorts, where Black male minds and Black male bodies like Kobe Bryant’s acted as if they, not a White man, had invented this game, cutting, slashing, hanging on rims, up on their toes, back on the heels of their feet, basketball representing a freedom for Kobe that could not even be explained by a Langston Hughes poem.

I saw Kobe drive past people for lay-ups. I saw Kobe dunk. I saw Kobe shoot mid-range jumpers. I saw Kobe hit three-point daggers. No matter what you, I, anyone thought of Kobe’s way of playing basketball, you simply could never take your eyes from him. He whipped his chiseled body, the way we colored folks were whipped on those steamy Southern plantations, except he had full control of his brain, and his body, and understood that he was going to be a different kind of man, a different kind of Black man, one where sports was merely a means to the prize, not the prize itself. And the big prize for Kobe Bryant was to be his own boss for the rest of his life—

But, if there is one major blemish on his public record, it is the sexual assault allegation by a young woman who worked at a resort in Eagle, Colorado in the summer of 2003. Kobe had at this point been married a few years to Vanessa and was the father of a daughter. The case damaged his reputation at the time badly, ended several corporate endorsement deals, soured many from him, and foreshadowed the #MeToo movement. But, interestingly enough, Kobe Bryant remains one of the only famous accused men to say words like these in the aftermath of such an allegation, and after the accuser had refused to testify:

"Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter."

The accuser filed a separate civil lawsuit against Bryant, which the two sides settled privately, and Kobe apologized, something which is rare for most men to do, particularly with that kind of allegation. But I thought of the incident when, two years after he had retired, his movie, “Dear Basketball,” was both nominated for and won the 2018 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Was Kobe Bryant given a pass because of his celebrity and status and long allegiance to the Los Angeles community, which included Hollywood? Or did someone take note of that admission and apology made around the sexual assault case and believed Kobe had learned from that horrible mistake?

I do not know, I am not here to judge, and I think about the fact that Gianna and two other daughters would be born to Vanessa and Kobe after that incident. I think about the ultimate alpha male living in a female-centered household and what that must have done for him, for his growth as a man, as a father, as a husband. And I think about the many photos I have seen of Gianna and Kobe at basketball games, the obviously beautiful and effortless love between father and daughter, and what it must have meant to Kobe to be able to mentor Gianna’s clear passion for the sport that had made her Dad a world-wide superstar, a filmmaker, an author, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, a millionaire several times over, an ex-athlete who was sprinting full speed ahead into the second act of his life. A mentorship that led to their being on that helicopter together when it crashed.

I ache for this loss, for our loss, for Kobe, for Gianna, for the seven other human beings on that ill-fated copter ride. Ash is to ash and dust is to dust, and the physical being of Kobe Bryant has been snatched from us, forever. I ache for his wife, Vanessa, I ache for his three remaining daughters, Natalia, age 17, Bianka, age 3, and Capri, not yet 1, and whose middle name happens to be Kobe. Forget what Kobe Bean Bryant means to us as a champion athlete. I cannot imagine what it is like to lose a partner, a parent, a sibling, in such a cruel and barbaric way. There is just something very perverted about experiencing this in real-time. There is just something very maddening about the fact that there is nothing we can do to bring him, her, them, back.

View this post on Instagram

Merry Christmas 🙏🏾🎄🎁

A post shared by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on Dec 25, 2019 at 11:20am PST

Finally, I think of a song Simon & Garfunkel wrote long ago called “Mrs. Robinson,” where they ask whatever happened to a once-great athlete who represented the spirit of an entire people. As America and the planet mourns the passing of Kobe, as we cry tears for a person who was trying to do the right thing in a time of many doing wrong, I reimagine those lyrics for the Black Mamba and I end it here because I have no other words—

Where have you gone, Kobe Bean Bryant

A nation turns its lonely eyes to you

Woo, woo, woo

What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson

Kobe Bean has left and gone away

Hey, hey, hey 

Hey, hey, hey

 

Kevin Powell is a poet, journalist, civil and human rights activist, public speaker, and author of 14 books, including his autobiography, 'The Education of Kevin Powell.'

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Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks for an open man during Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on June 4, 2000 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Tom Hauck

NEXT: Kobe Bryant

This story appeared in the April 2000 issue of VIBE, months before he won his first of five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. Written by Isaac Paris

Okay, Sherlock, we know Kobe Bryant is way past the verge of stardom. As an all-star shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, he gets thousands of fans screaming with excitement every other night. Bryant's baseline drives are as smooth as Nate Dogg's vocals, and his slam dunks bump like a gritty bass line from a DJ Premier track.

Now, with his debut rap album, Visions (Columbia), due in March, the 21-year-old is poised to follow in the footsteps of teammate Shaquille O'Neal (who he occasionally exchanges verses with in the locker room) and prove that his skills aren't limited to flying above the rim. Although Bryant realizes that being the man on the hardwood is no guarantee that you can actually hold it down in the studio (NBA stars/inept MCs like Gary Payton and Jason Kidd can attest to that), Visions proves his wordsmith capabilities are ample enough to allow him to play with the big dogs.

"People are gonna be surprised," Bryant says self-assuredly. "Toward the latter stages [of recording], I was real comfortable. I was like, 'I got this sh*t!'" In fact, tonight in his Milwaukee hotel room––on the eve of a game against the Bucks––Bryant's more pressed with defending the unproven mike skills of his homegirl that he is his own.

"Tyra can sing," he says of supermodel Tyra Banks, who makes her singing debut on Visions' first single, the buoyant "K.O.B.E." Destiny's Child, the Roots' Black Thought, 50 Cent, and Beanie Sigel also support the hoopster on the CD.

"The album is pretty hard. People expect me to come a little more commercial than I did," says Bryant. "At first it was all battle raps, but I really wanted to give the total picture of what was going on around me, like money, jewelry, women, and trust issues."

Nevertheless, money, hoes, and clothes aren't the only things this player knows. He also knows how to win. The following night, after No. 8 scores 22 points as the Lakers thrash the Bucks, he's convinced he'll be just as successful rapping as he is playing on his championship-contending team. "[On the mic] you want respect. If I want something I'm gonna get it. Just buy the album and see for yourself."

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Tyler the Creator attends the 62nd annual GRAMMY Awards on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

11 Takeaways From The 2020 Grammys

There are many factors that go into winning a Grammy, the most coveted music prize of the industry. It’s more than “is the song good?” Sometimes it’s based on campaigning, other times it’s based on what voters feel should be the industry standard. However, the fun doesn’t come until after the ceremony, where all the winners have been revealed and it’s time to process what it all means for the larger picture and the future of recording.

The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards was met with controversy this year thanks to a lawsuit against the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences from ousted CEO, Deborah Dugan. Through her explosive claims and allegations, the voting process has gotten even less transparent— and we’re left with more questions and mysteries than answers. Still, artists and media moved forward, and the focus has temporarily shifted back to the music and the awards.

Here are 11 takeaways from VIBE that capture the essence of key wins (and snubs) at the Grammy Awards.

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