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Janelle Monae Discusses Creative Freedom, Her Relationship With Diddy In New 'Billboard' Interview

The Wondaland artist will receive the "Trailblazer Award" at tonight's Billboard Women In Music ceremony.

In a new interview with Billboard in anticipation for the publication's Women In Music ceremony, Janelle Monae sat down to discuss her beginnings as a musician and her transition into the ground-breaking, unapologetic artist we see today. The Wondaland artist will receive the "Trailblazer Award" at tonight's ceremony (Dec. 6).

When discussing her critically-acclaimed album Dirty Computer, Monae divulged that her intention when making the project was to ensure that many groups felt seen and heard. Two of the groups highlighted in the body of work were the LGBT community and black women, both of which Monae is a part of.

"I felt a big responsibility to create a community with this album, my concerts and my film [the “emotion picture” paired with the album]," she explained. "It felt like people I care about and groups I’m in — from the LGBT community to being a black woman to being from working-class parents — were being pushed to the margins of society. With songs like 'Django Jane' and 'Make Me Feel' and 'PYNK,' I wanted to be as bold as possible in making statements around agency, around women’s bodies and rights — us taking back the mic and letting you know that you don’t own us and we won’t be controlled."

Monae also explains that her desire to maintain "imagination in a world full of cynics"  is one of the keys to her success, stating that she never compromised her creativity to sell records.

"Even when I was an independent artist selling CDs out of my trunk and working for my cousin doing taxes or at Office Depot and Sam’s Club, I was still saying 'no,'" she details. "There were opportunities that even some of my closest family members and friends would look at me like, 'Girl, you are crazy. You need to get in that music video. Be an extra in this film. You need to become famous.' But I have always kept at my core the ability to have creative control."

Her creative freedom and independence have gained her fans and admirers the world over, including Diddy. Monae explains that the mogul was an early supporter, and although she could have been one of his protégées, she said he was respectful of her creative vision, and allowed her to fly on her own.

"I was scared to be partnering with a major label after a few years of being independent," she notes. "I met Puff at a time I had decided to live frugally. Like a lot of people, I thought, 'OK, he’s going to have a conversation around how he can groom me into being another sort of artist.' But when I spoke to him, his words were, 'I love what you and Wondaland are doing. I don’t want to be creatively involved. I just want people to know who you are and what you guys are doing. You guys are down here in this basement in Atlanta, and the rest of the world deserves to hear you.' It was so humbling and beautiful. We’re still close."

Read the entire feature here.

READ MORE: Janelle Monae To Be Honored With Trailblazer Award At Billboard's Women In Music

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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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