23 Yr Old Brandy Lynn Talks Divas & Wildflowers Non-Profit, Fashion, & Her Plans to Change The Outlook of Black Females [Exclusive]
A lot of you may not be familiar with 23 year old Brandy Lynn, but if you’re in tuned with reality television you soon will be. She’s the adopted daughter of Nicci Gilbert, singer and R&B Diva’s star/producer. Although we were briefly introduced to Brandy Lynn in Season 1 of R&B Divas Atlanta, we will soon see more of her this season (in Season 2 which premiered on May 1 on TV One).
After speaking with Brandy Lynn over the phone, her interview with STACKS Magazine was very professional and kind of surprising. Not many young kids are making the business moves that she’s currently making. So it was great to hear Brandy Lynn discuss her non-profit organization Divas & Wildflowers and the impact it has had on other young women in the Atlanta area. She herself is the product of a drug addicted mother. Through God’s grace, her cousin Nicci came in to save her and raise her as her very own.
With Nicci’s guidance and own life’s experiences in the entertainment industry, Brandy Lynn is thankful. Becoming a full-blown entrepreneur, television show producer, fashion guru, and mentor to young girls are some of Brandy Lynn future goals. It is good to know that she’s currently making huge steps towards those. From the looks of it, the young business woman is ready and eager to take the world by storm.
What will see from Brandy Lynn on Season 2 of R&B Divas?
Brandy Lynn: In Season 2, you guys can follow me through my non-profit organization called Divas & Wallflowers. You all can visit me on www.divasandwallflowers.org. Basically, I came up with my non-profit organization last season. Talking to Monifah’s daughter, Kimmy, I came up with it for young women who need some type of motivation or who have any type of struggles in their life. Also, it is also to bring young women and their mothers closer together.
I have done a couple of events actually. So you guys get to see one event on R&B Divas. I’m so excited that Brownstone performed. That’s just so exciting…and also Keke Wyatt. But, I did a makeover for women who’ve have been through cancer and homelessness, and just different types of things. I did a total makeover for them so they could feel beautiful, outside and in. It was just awesome. It was the bomb girl.
Also, I have an online boutique coming very soon that I am so excited about. It should be out by the first [May 1], no later than the 5th of May. I sell all types of stuff. It’s so cute. A portion of the proceeds go to Divas & Wildflowers.
Being 23 years old and African-American, what are some of the things you believe are plaguing the young black females? Why is it important to have these other positive outlets?
Brandy Lynn: A lot of the young children nowadays look at these videos, listen to this music, and they want to be what they see…which is not good. I just really want to help. I just want to be able to talk to young people to tell them that’s it’s a new generation. You have to work hard. Right now, it is a good thing to work hard and try to get your own business and get mentors to talk to. I had to get a mentor to talk to. I had a lot of people to talk to and it helped me so much. It helped me so much that words can’t even explain. Young people go through a lot. They really don’t know which way to go. So it’s up to our adults right now to really teach us and point us in the right direction. We really need help right now. This generation needs help. I would say that the best thing for us young adults to do is get a good mentor. Be around positive people and listen. Like my mom say, “stop talking and listen.” I just think that it’s a great thing to have a mentor. You can’t do it by yourself. It’s teamwork and teamwork makes the dream work. I’m happy I learned that at a young age.
I also decided to do a charity event for prom makeovers. I picked two young ladies and I custom made their dresses. I totally made them over for prom from top to bottom. I help anybody that needs help.
So, do you design clothes?
Brandy Lynn: Yes, that is my passion. Helping people is my purpose in life and fashion is my passion.
With the new boutique, what exactly will you be selling? Any custom pieces?
Brandy Lynn: I’m definitely going to have some custom pieces with the Wildflower brand. I’m going to have custom scarves. Scarves are coming out first. I’m going to start off small, but work my way up though. I’m going to have lipsticks, lip-glosses, cute little different stuff, Wildflower stuff. I will also have a blog on the website and six different ways you can wear my scarf. I’m going to show everybody how you can wear the scarves. I’m going to do updates of makeup and fashion, and just everything that teens need. I’m going to do inspiration speaking on it. I’ll have poems. I’ll have all different kind of things on there.
Who inspired you to get into fashion and to start the non-profit organization?
Brandy Lynn: I definitely got all of my inspiration from my mom. Every since I was little, growing up and watching her get up and do her makeup and go perform, going shopping and seeing all of the different clothes, I was in love. I am in love with clothes and everything. She inspired so much with my fashion and with my business and doing my non-profit. I don’t know if you know. But last season I mentioned that she [Nikki Gilbert] is not my biological mother. I am actually adopted by Nikki. She is my biological cousin, my real cousin. But that’s my momma because she raised me as a baby. So I came up with the non-profit because I longed for my real mother. I do talk to her from time to time but she has a drug problem. I like to talk to young people to inspire them that no matter where you come from or what you been through, you can still be what you want to be in life. You can grow and bloom into this Wildflower and that you can be beautiful and do whatever you want to do.
As far as your future goals, what do you aspire to do in the next five to ten years?
Brandy Lynn: I plan on having multiple businesses. I plan on having my own TV show. By then, I may be producing. So, I’m learning from miss Nikki Gilbert. I plan on, in the next five to ten years, somewhere being married, having my businesses and being okay and good. Living life and being happy. Maybe open up a couple centers, Wildflower Centers to help the youth.
To stay updated on Brandy Lynn and the Divas & Wildflowers organization, go to www.divasandwildflowers.org. You can also follow her on Twitter @IAMBrandyLynn.
Shout out to Jakeem Smith for making this happen. Thanks!
Event Recap: Q&A Reception for New Cast of Tyler Perry’s “The Have’s and the Have Nots” & “Love Thy Neighbor” On OWN
On Tuesday, May 14, the the 135th Agency hosted a private Q&A reception for the cast of The Have’s and the Have Nots and Love Thy Neighbor. The event held at Peter Thomas’s (of Real Housewives of Atlanta) local restaurant and lounge bar ONE. The event was held to give the local media outlets in Atlanta the opportunity to find out more about Tyler Perry’s two new scripted series. Both series are scheduled to air on May 28 and 29 on the OWN Network. As you know, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey have teamed up to air several new shows written, directed, and produced by Mr. Perry. Although Turner Broadcasting (TBS) continue to show reruns of Mr. Perry’s other shows like House of Payne on their network, Tyler is no longer affiliated with that channel.
Anyway, the atmostphere at bar ONE was quaint and a little steamy. Apparently, there may have been too many people inside because the place was very warm. Luckily, the actresses had their glam squad’s on deck to touch up their make-up. If not, paparrazi shots would have looked a hot sweaty mess. Nevertheless, delicious bite-size pickings were passed around the room and drinks flowed. The DJ did a great job at maintaining the chill vibe in the room. Overall, this was a great event for various media outlets and onlookers to get the opportunity to know more about a few familiar faces and unfamiliar ones.
Cast members who were present to field questions from The Have’s and the Have Nots were John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard), Tika Sumpter (One Life to Live/Gossip Girls), Crystal Fox (In The Heat of the Night). Also, several from the second new show Love Thy Neighbor were in attendance as well like Patricia Lovely (first African-American ring master/UniverSoul Circus and seasoned stage play actress), Kendra C. Johnson (The Game & Empowermen Editor/PLUS Model Magazine), and Palmer Williams Jr. (House of Payne). One interesting moment occured when someone asked the cast how was like to meet Oprah for the first time. Several had stories to share. But, Palmer Williams Jr’s story of meeting Oprah in Chicago and she served him fried chicken was a little funny.
Here are a few pictures from the Q&A event:
Please be sure to catch The Have’s and the Have Nots on OWN, Tuesday, May 28 at 9PM EST and Love Thy Neighbor on Wednesday, May 29 at 9PM EST. If you’re a big fan of Tyler Perry projects, then you will surely enjoy the two new series.
Thanks Saptosa Foster and the 135th Agency for the invite!
Our favorite tough girl is back! It’s been a minute since STACKS Magazine spoke with Bernice [READ HERE]. At the time, she was adjusting to the new fame, her role, and the overwhelming support from her fans. At one point she was released from her duties as a tow truck driver. But the Tremont Towing family welcomed her with open-arms. Since then, she’s been working hard on nights and weekends in the city of Miami and South Beach. Her hard work and dedication is all for the benefit of her lovely mother. Coming from humble beginnings, she’s on a mission to build an empire so that her mom won’t have to work anymore. She truly has a heart of gold. Of course, though, once you piss her off all hell can break loose.
In season 3 and 13 episodes later, the fans can expect to see some interesting conflict from the Miami-native and the Tremont crew. “It’s a lot of drama. It’s a lot going on, man. Definitely, inside house [Tremont] it’s a lot going on. Basically, the dad got hurt last year (Season 2). People who he trying to get to take over to pretty much run the company while he deal with his health issues…so it’s a lot“, says Bernice. With the show premiering tonight on Tru TV, Bernice is somewhat limited in what “tea” she could spill. But she ensures that the fans will get a more in-depth look into the interactions and emotions that flow within the Tremont office. The health issues with Robert Ashenoff, Sr (the Boss) and the newborn of Christie Ashenoff has made way for someone else to manage the day-to-day operations. This new turn of events has caused a huge stir in the office. From Bernice’s point of view, it’s a matter of control. Unfortunately, everyone can’t be the boss.
Basically, it’s the drama. Everybody want to be the boss. Everybody want to be chiefs, but don’t nobody want to be indians. It’s crazy. Christy have had the baby and she was out for a while just dealing with trying to run stuff. But, everybody help each other out. But, it don’t usually work out like that when money is involved. And everybody trying to get a couple dollars. It’s just crazy! Exciting, crazy, and a lot of drama. This year is going to be more drama-filled I would say.
South Beach Tow started off with the crew towing cars and reactions of random individuals who didn’t follow parking instructions. Over the seasons, however, each crew member’s personalities started to shine. The viewers became in love with the characters and not so much with the act of towing a car. Apparently, the producers of the show has recognized this and will continue to push the stories behind the cast. In season 3, this will be evident as more drama with the crew jumps off. While the company is in a management transition, the staff will be more emotional and conflict will arise. According to Bernice, yes there will be “hella” conflict. She says, “You know, depending on who take over and who’s the boss, everybody don’t like everybody. It’s just like a family. Some people can be good as a friend, but can’t be good as a boss. You feel me? It’s just crazy. A lot of bumping heads.”
Drama makes for good television. But fans don’t worry, there will still be a lot of car towing going on. Unfortunately, Bernice couldn’t give any specific situations that will occur this season. But rest to sure that there wil be some wild and crazy stuff going on with the citizens of Miami. And the people of Miami sure do love them some Bernice. After mentiong to her that our first interview garnered a boat load of comments and support from fans, Bernice is still humble. She hasn’t let the fame get to her head and probably never will. Fans see her all the time in the streets of Miami. She humbly stops to take a photo or even sign an autograph. Despite what we all see on television, she’s very nice and a lover of the people. All of this is still a bit overwhelming though. But she’s handling things quite well with her longstanding friendships and support from family.
One thing about it, I’m from Miami so people will definitely recognize you. I love the people. I’m a people’s person. It’s pretty much the same. It’s still overwhelming, like, I communicate with the fans. I try to stay as humble as I can. Before all this, I knew a lot of people. So now, you got a lot of people on your side, backing you, and who want to see you do well. Of course, you got the people who hate. As long as they hate to the point that they are watching (the show) to hate, I’m fine with that sh*t. It’s all the same. It’s the same with everything. It’s just surreal. I have to tell the truth. I’m just thankful that people are really f**king with us like that. It’s good for me.
Stalkers stand back though! LOL. With the popularity, Bernice has encountered a few strange occurences. We tend to hear about strangers showing up a celebrities front door step. Not only this is crazy, but it is also dangerous. And it will be if you show up at Bernice’s house. Luckily she has not received an unwelcomed visitor as of yet. But she says that she has had several strange phone calls. “No, but somebody been calling my damn house. I don’t know how they got my number. They must be paying for that sh*t to get all your information. [laughs] But, I’m about to change it and block it. Listen, I have no clue. My number been the same since I was in middle school. It never been listed“, Bernice explains.
You got to love her. She upfront and don’t take no mess. And she appreciates all her fans. With her filming schedule being as hectic as it is, she does plan to get out and meet some of the fans. So, there could possibly a city-to-city tour on the way. Bernice understands the importance of having a fanbase and would like to reach and touch them and show them some love. One thing is for sure, she never wants to lose touch from where she came from. She states, “they say “you don’t change, people change around you.” That is so true because you know people change around you everyday. But, I still got the same friends. We still hangout. We still love each other. We still have fun. If I f–ks with you, I f–ks with you and if I don’t I don’t.”
Catch Bernice tonight at 9:30PM on Tru TV’s South Beach Tow. Follow her on Twitter @Bernice_SBTow!
On Wednesday evening, Atlanta’s movers and shakers congregated at the Museum Bar in support of TV One’s R&B Divas. Regarded as the “Wednesday Night Social” event, the venue was packed with supporters patiently waiting to get a glimpse of what drama would unfold in Season 2. All though all of the “divas” were not in attendance, Nicci Gilbert and Keke Wyatt held it down as official hostesses. Other industry notables spotted were Chanita Foster (Beyond The Game & Divas & Cocktails), Brandy Lynn (Divas & Wildflowers), Egypt Sherrod (V-103FM), Shay Johnson (Love & Hip Hop Atlanta), DJ Traci Steele (Love & Hip Hop Atlanta), Wanda Smith (Frank Ski Morning Show), Lisa Wu Hartwell (Real Housewives of Atlanta – Season 1), and a host of other celebrities and industry insiders.
Below are a few VIP photos from the event.
In case you missed our exclusive interview with the show’s creator and executive producer, Nicci Gilbert, check it out HERE.
Tune in to R&B Divas ATL each and every Wednesday night at 10PM on TV One!
Exclusive: ‘R&B Divas’ Nicci Gilbert Switches It Up for Season 2; Talks Self-Improvement, Syleena Johnson Beef & Expanding Her Brand
In the heaving world of reality television, one things for sure, the cameras don’t lie. Meaning that, although some trickery may occur with the editing, we visually get to see a person for who they truly are. The almighty lens tends to capture truths about a person. But, it is during the playback that each cast member get the opportunity to see their flaws first-hand. At that point, it is up to that individual to decide if change is needed. This is true for one star of TV One’s hit show R&B Divas, Nichole “Nicci” Gilbert.
Despite the rumors that were swirling around about Nicci’s separation from the show, she confirmed that those rumors weren’t true and will indeed be a part of season two. However, her portrayal in season one led to many negative comments from viewers. This didn’t sit well with Nicci. So much so, she acknowledged her flaws and dedicated herself to making positive changes in her life. Not many women can call themselves out and act on it. This is what makes Nicci a “real” woman.
As creator and executive producer of R&B Divas, her transition from music to television has been a trying one. As one-third member of the 90′s R&B group, Brownstone, over the years her passion for music diminished. This caused a fair share of disagreements amongst her cast members in season one. Some friendships remain while other friendships hit a low blow. But, her new found love for production and clothing design has launched Nicci into another creative space that is just as self-gratifying as music.
STACKS Magazine had the pleasure to talk to Nicci recently to get an exclusive in-depth look into who she is as a celebrity and businesswoman. She went into detail about her involvement as executive producer and the R&B Divas franchise. Also, Nicci spoke candidly about her feelings towards the other cast members, the effects of reality TV on the Black community, empowering full-figured women, and various projects she’s working on.
In the later part of 2012, several rumors were floating around about you being fired from R&B Divas. You then released a statement stating otherwise and that you will indeed be on the show. Well, it’s great to know now that you will appear in Season 2. But what is even better news, to me, is that you are one of the Executive Producers of the show. Is that true? Can you confirm that?
Nicci: You are correct. I’m actually the creator and executive producer of the show. So I actually cast all the women that you see on the show and some of the women in LA as well. It’s a new age in media. So I understand that anybody with a laptop can start a rumor. I just think that all is well is good because it gives us instant access to our fan bases and resources to promote our brand. It also can be a little convoluted and full of s–t. So that’s pretty much what that was.
I definitely have differences with my producer partners. Not with the network. TV One and I have a great relationship. But, I absolutely have differences with my producer partners. You know what it’s like when you are building a business and you have ideas and you get partners. We don’t always see eye to eye. So some of that stuff that you were getting from sources and other producers or whatever, you know where just people leveraging and using their relationship to make official statements. None of those statements were official. As I’ve expressed on numerous occasions, until you hear it from TV One or from me, don’t believe everything that you hear. But yes, unfortunately, I was the victim of some fraudulent recordings by some people who were in a “semi-official” capacity who happen to be partners that Faith and I brought on board to be a part of this as well. I understand now that’s what people want to hear. Most people aren’t interested in the upwardly mobile, empowering stories with black women. So this is something we’re still working to get to.
As Exec. Producer, what was the vision behind the show? Do you think that the show accomplished this?
Nicci: As people get a little bit more comfortable you’ll see the truth. You’ll see a little bit more of the truth come out. You’ll see a little bit more drama. Originally, the idea was that I didn’t see any real representation of the relationships with other women that I knew (i.e. my girlfriends, people I worked with). As far as us representing truth, us being honest and forthright, us all being singers, what makes us tick and what make some of that great soul music come out our spirit and out of our voices. That part of it, I think, is amazing. I hope that it continues to grow and evolve from there. I didn’t know that when you are playing the TV game sometimes you got to have a little extra drama. Sometimes you got to plant a couple seeds of B.S.. I hope that doesn’t overshadow and I hope that we don’t feel the need to compete. Because of course, when you have somebody blowing their brains out on TV, there’s going to be a million people that will want to see that. I hope that we can continue to be the example of a positive show. The truth is that we all have a little bit of ratchet in us. That’s nothing surprising. Everybody knows somebody like somebody on Love & Hip Hop or whatever. But typically, when you don’t like somebody you don’t want to be around them. You don’t have to sit up and be friends with them. You don’t have to sit and have cocktails with them. Unfortunately, that’s the formula for a successful show. Get a bunch of people who don’t like each other. Create reasons for people not to like each other. BOOM! There it is…two or three million [viewers]. My goal was to have a group of people that were friends and that like each other, empower, and uplift each other. Hopefully, we’ll stay that.
Bels: In the media you caught flack for being bossy and rude…
Nicci: You know, anything you say can and will be held against you in the editing room, right out. You know what I’m saying. I said everything that came out of my mouth. One of the things I wanted to encourage us to do as a people, just in general, is we hear something and we see something and we believe that sound bite. We believe the 15 sentences that come out of a person’s mouth on the television. None of these women are weak. None of these women are going to let me disrespect them and be rude.
Based on these things and how the audience itself put you in this box as being this type of person, did you find yourself having to change anything in this upcoming season as far as how you interact and communicate with other cast members?
Nicci: Absolutely! Last season, which people would never believe because again, we believe the sound bite. But last season, I spent a lot of time because I was executive producer and creator. I was a boss. We were literally trying to make sure that some of the things that were happening behind the scenes that people didn’t see [some of the cursing out and flipping out and all that stuff when the cameras were not rolling]. When the cameras were rolling, it was my objective to be kind of like, “yall let’s not do this.”
This season, I’m nobody’s momma. We’re all grown. Going into this, the ladies agreed to do this because they were like we’re your friends. We love each other and as long as you’re involved and it’s not going to damage our careers. So I was holding on my chest the responsibility of making sure that it didn’t turn into that show. Clearly with this particular group of people it could turn into that in a heartbeat. And it did behind the scenes. This season, I came into the situation and said “aye look, we’re going to just put it all on the table. I’m not going to look crazy by my damn self. I’m going to say exactly what it is. I’m not trying to protect anybody. I’m not trying to mother hen anybody. I’m going to handle my business and do what it that I need to do for me. But I am going to let you know that on camera that I’m not going for that this time. This flipping out behind the scenes and when the cameras are rolling “ooh no… NO.” We’re going to just keep it real and if this is what this is.”
I learn to just be more honest. I learned to be more honest and not try to control grown women. And that’s exactly what I was trying to do last season. Not because I wanted to control someone’s career, but because I wanted to prevent us from going down that road, which you’ll see this season. There is definitely a lot more drama. Some people are going to love it. Some people are going to not care one way or the other. Some people are going to definitely see that some of this is definitely drama….A LOT of drama.
Bels: Yeah a lot of times in any situation when there’s a group of women, especially strong minded women…
Nicci: Right! Like, I’m on the only strong minded one in the group. News flash! That ain’t the case. Yo, do y’all really think I could just flip out on them and they just sit there looking at me. Half the time, I was talking to the producers off camera. But because it came out of my mouth, it made for good TV.
Who would you say is the person(s) whose personality you just can’t seem to mesh with? On the flipside of that, who do you consider a “friend” or someone that you enjoy their company and spirit?
Nicci: Syleena Johnson. And as plain as simple as this…I don’t do “putting hands on folk” in any capacity. I don’t do because I’ve have a couple cocktails and flipped out. I don’t do any of that. I’m grown. Not only am I grown, I’m the person who brought you into the situation. For that reason alone, I think I should be respected a little bit more. I just don’t get down with people that don’t accept the truth. If you can’t handle the truth, you don’t need to be friends with me.
Well I mean… I think all of the ladies on some level have a good spirit about them. But, Faith (Evans) and I have been friends for the longest time. She is hands down. I’m older than her by a year or two. But, she is my counselor. She is such a resource for me because she’s been affected by this industry a lot longer than I have and in a lot more serious situations. Faith is definitely my friend, my sister. We go back 20 or so years. Anything I need, she’s there for me. Our children know each other. That is genuinely my friend.
Keke (Wyatt) is one the most honest women I’ve met in my life. I love her so much for her honesty and her truth and her vulnerability. I learned so much from her about not caring what everybody else thinks as long as you can get to a place of healing. I think Keke is a star. I think she is the star of this franchise.
And Monifah is obviously “Iyanla” to everyone. [laughs] Mo’ and I go back 10 years.
Angie (Stone) and I have known each other for a while. But, it’s different when cameras start rolling. When you see people like NeNe Leakes, Evelyn Lozada, and Tami Roman, who all of which are “go-get’em” girls. I’m not mad at anybody getting their checks. Especially NeNe, you put the work in for this money that you’re getting. But, when you have this kind of success and you see that as the blueprint, you’re going to get all kinds of characters that feel like “I can scream and curse and fight better than all of them.” And it’s just not that important to me.
Speaking of NeNe Leakes of Real Housewives of Atlanta, do you think there are too many shows? Plus, do you think African-American women are tarnishing the culture?
Nicci: Yes. I think it is unfortunate. But, I think it used to be where we were really concerned about the black man. I come from the age of crack. If they weren’t smoking it, they were dealing it. I’m from Detroit. Unfortunately, all of my cousins are locked up. Now, “they” figure because we had to learn from a lot of our mothers who were single mothers and had to learn that male/female hustle. Unfortunately, they realize “oh it’s not the black man we have to deal the degradation and all that stuff that need to happen. Damn, they’re over there. Those [women] are the ones that are going to empower the black man.” Not to get too deep, but it’s really unfortunate. It’s like crabs in a barrel. It’s the only thing you can get…is drama and ratchet-ry. If that’s the only thing that’s going to pay your bills and feed your kids, what are you going to do?
So the problem isn’t the African-American woman because we have African-American women who are not ratchet. I love the Gossip Game. Love that show. I love Mary Mary. I love Kim Whitley’s show. I don’t think there are too many reality shows. I think that they are not going anywhere. They are cheap to make. I think people having a platform, is amazing. I hope that R&B Divas becomes the franchise for TV One that ‘Housewives’ is for Bravo. I hope that people come to realize that all that is left in our community is the black woman. I mean…not ALL that is left. Unfortunately, the women who are holding the community down; the people that are holding the families down are black women. Now, these kids are flipping out. Girls walking up to people doors beating them down like, “you said something to me on Twitter.” It’s ridiculous. I think yeah, you can show that. We all want to see that ratchet-ry. Everybody, when they were a kid ran to see the fight. I didn’t. But, a lot of people did run to see the fight in the circle. But, where are the shows that help to inspire and empower. I looked up to Patti Labelle. I looked up to Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin and we could see them in their gowns singing on stage. We respected them as icons and legends. We can’t allow this to happen with this franchise. And if and when it does, I’ll be building another one because I’m not going to do it.
Bels: and it starts with the producers….
Nicci: You know what’s really crazy. This is what I definitely want to get out.
This was Faith and I first TV experience. So, yes we are partners in the franchise. We are executive producers of any spin-off, any extension of the brand or any franchises or whatever. But, we do not make the final call on edit. That is Think Factory Media. Think Factory Media does not consist of black women. They are great. They are amazing. But, they are not us. TV One is the network. We brought Think Factory Media on board and introduced them to TV One to do this. We created it. We spent our own money shooting the pilot and flying everybody down. We cast the show and everything. But from there, we kind of washed our hands of it. It wouldn’t be fair for us to be on camera and have the ability to edit ourselves any ole kind of way.
Let’s say… we look like angels and the other ladies looked horrible. To level the playing field, we had to have a neutral party during the edits. But, what I didn’t expect is the disrespect that I experienced as a new producer. So now, I can empathize with Shaunie O’Neal. I can empathize with Mona Scott (Young). Because I understand that at the end of the day, I mean I don’t know what their deals are but, I would assume that Shaunie is not sitting in the editing base saying don’t do that. It may not be difficult for Mona because she’s not on the show. But it is difficult for someone on the show to be unbiased in the editing room. I’d be worried about myself. I’m not even going to hold you up. [laughs] I’d be worried about my brand. So, we do not.
However, I do agree that we still have to be accountable. My way of being accountable when it comes to that – I’m still going to get my check and I’m still going to get my credit. But, I will not be on the camera doing that.
In season 1, you made it clear that singing was no longer a priority for you and that you were diving into ventures outside of music. One of those ventures was Curvato Clothing Line. How’s the clothing line going?
Nicci: It’s going really well. We are about to launch our 2013 collection at “Full-Figured Fashion Week 2013” in New York City. I’m really excited about that. It is going to be sexy. It’s going to be confident. I’m a new designer so I’m learning. Our business will be a year old in August. So I’m definitely learning how to be better. The beauty of the whole Curvato movement is that it was born of me being subconscious and insecure about my body. I’m a big girl. So you know back in the day it wasn’t as accessible as it is now. It is a lot more accessible to be curvy and larger. You can be empowered. So, I really want the clothing line to represent that more than anything. I’m not trying to beat out Versace or Donna Karan or anyone. I’m just trying to create options for plus-size women. More important than anything, empower and inspire little girls who may need to see a reflection of who they are, looking fly. Know what I mean? And not like a mumu. So, the clothing line is a brand and a lifestyle for me. We are expanding the brand.
We’re launching a new online destination called AllThingsNicci.com, which houses all of the different brands. Along with that, we are re-launching Curvato Lifestyle this year. It will include a Facebook-like community for big women, curvy women and girls. So you’ll be able to set up a profile. You’ll be able to interact. I’m excited about that. In addition to our boutique, we are going to be updating it much more often. I finally got a styling team together. We’re excited. I think the clothing line is here to stay. We are going to reach for big box retailers in a minute. I kind of wanted to be in business and learn things and have an understanding of what it was before we started really reaching out to some of those larger retailers and trying to get things in stores. I just wanted to live in it for a minute. Now we’re ready to take it to the next level. I’m going to do a curvy pageant next year in 2014. Which I’m super excited about. So, Curvato is here to stay. You’ll see us…I lost some weight like Jakeem (Smith), Nicci’s executive assistant and a PR contact. He has lost some weight. We’ve been on our fitness grind. It’s been a long process. But we are getting there. So, I’m really excited about sharing that which is something I’ll be sharing on Curvato as well.
Are there any other business ventures in the works? Checking out J. Smith’s website, I noticed an announcement that you were in search of comedic script writers. Is this something you can talk about?
Nicci: Yes. In addition to that, we have Divas and Wildflowers, which is my daughters’ Brandy charity. I’m super excited about that. She’s using her love of fashion and makeup and all things girly to help inspire young girls. So, I’m helping her put together a series of events and fundraisers for that. R&B Divas L.A. will air this summer. I’m really excited about that. Faith and I are working. In our little prayer basket, we have R&B Divas New York, hopefully coming soon. Hopefully, TV One will be pleased with the whole franchise and the momentum to give us that. Of course, there’s my baby which is called Divas & Cocktails. Divas & Cocktails, in short, a fun little late night show. It’s kind of like “Watch What Happens” meets “Wendy Williams with a little bit of “SNL”. So it’s sketch comedy, standup, live musical performances, lip service, the talk, the tea, and celebrity interviews. It is coming every Wednesday night, at 11pm, right after R&B Divas online at DivasandCocktails.com. I’m definitely very excited about the possibility of that being picked up by a major network. It is in the hands of some cool people as we speak. So, I just want to continue to build my brand as a producer and content provider. That’s sort of it.
Throughout this process, what have you taken away? Are there any life lessons or food-for-thoughts that you can share with our readers?
Nicci: Yes absolutely. I learned a lot of things about myself that I’d probably would not. Anytime you see a mirror of yourself in any capacity, you’re like “ole Lord Jesus I need to lose some weight. I need to stop talking so loud.” I learned a lot of little things about Nicci that I didn’t really realize. I mean it is one thing to be loud. It’s another thing to be doing it on TV with a microphone. So, I learned that I could fall back a little bit and evaluate a little more, which is always good in any career. As a human being, if we’re not growing, you know what the alternative is. I definitely see that I’ve influenced and inspired a lot of young people, which has been a passion for me. I want to continue to do that and continue to build. I’m actually developing a show around Jakeem and Brandy and some of the other kids. They are grown, but, young people that I work with.
So you know…just seeing what works, what is effective and what’s not; understanding the business of television a little more; understanding what it is I need to stand for and represent. I’m very pleased with the fact that in spite of all the horrible “she’s terrible, she’s a bitch, she’s mean, she’s awful.” In spite of all of that, as hard as it is, any human being waking up to negative press every week, eventually, it’s going to break you and you’re going to be like “what the hell did I do? This isn’t what this was supposed to be.” But, then you realize who it’s coming from. Then you realize who the comments are coming from. You really sit back and think it’s ridiculous for me to have such an ego that I would think that that stuff really mattered and defined who I was. Faith and Mo’, these women are still (most of them) my friends. My husband and I are still happily married. The people in my life who matter and know me they understand it.
Now, it’s the real hard thing for me too. It really affected my mother in a negative way. My mother is like “you are the nicest person ever and you’re my child and I know you better than anybody else.” You know what I’m saying. So, it’s hard for her to see all of that. “Oh my God they fired you and you created it.” And I’m like, “Ma!” So, that’s tough. The affect that it has on my family is very very tough. And that’s when I will…you’ll get that “Detroit coming from Chicago-Mansfield” Nicci. And I have to remember that at the end of the day we’re here, we are breathing. For the most part, we are successful. To live in the moment that it’s real and to not allow the moment that is reality TV to define who I am in my real life as a woman.
Tune in tonight and watch the Season 2 premiere of R&B Divas, at 10PM on TV One!
You can follow Nicci Gilbert on Twitter @niccigilbert and stay connected 24/7 at www.allthingsnicci.com.
Special thanks to Jakeem Smith of J.Productions!
Super-producer, MikeWillMadeIt, hit the Atlanta streets in celebration of another blessed year of life. What’s Goin On? TV was on deck to capture all the behind-the-scenes footage of Mike Will’s birthday party hosted by DJ Holiday (Streetz 94.5FM) at Harlem Nights nightclub.
Check out the footage below:
On Monday, April 15, STACKS Magazine had the pleasure to attend the premiere of VH1′s hit reality show Love & Hip Hop Atlanta: Season 2. The event was held at Cream Ultra Lounge and sponsored by VH1, Monami Entertainment, and NFGTV. Invitees (i.e. various media outlets and industry insiders) were treated to catered finger foods and Mona Scott-Young’s new Moscato wine, Myx Fusions, mingled and waited for an exclusive peek of the season’s first episode.
In comparison to the New York franchise, Atlanta’s cast proved last season that their drama is plentiful enough to draw in millions of viewers. Well, after watching the premiere episode, we can assure fans that this season will be no different. More fights, more friendships ruined, more baby mama drama, and everything in between. The entire cast will return in season 2 (Stevie J, Joseline, Mimi, K. Michelle, Erica, Momma Dee, Lil Scrappy, Shay, Benzino, Karlie Redd, Rasheeda, Kirk, and Ariane). However, a few new faces will appear this season. Like, Che Mack, a female rap artist who comes between Stevie J and Joseline’s working relationship. Also, radio/DJ personality Traci Steele and her child’s father, DJ Baby Drew. Viewers can expect to be glued to the tube. This season is going to be a real hoot.
The overall evening was cool. K. Michelle was a no show for unknown reasons. Karlie Redd wasn’t present, as well, because she missed a flight supposedly. And, Lil Scrappy was M.I.A.. Some speculate it was because of probation issues or embarrassment from news that has surfaced of him having money problems. Whatever the case, we wish they all could have been there.
Below are a few photos from the red carpet. Unfortunately, our cameraman was unavailable so we had to make it do what it do. So don’t judge us on the shots. The remaining photos will be located on our Facebook page and/or Instagram (@Stacksmag).
The night ended with a Q&A session with several of the cast members. Things popped off when it was ensued that Mimi was still in love with Stevie J…and his “unmentionables”. Mimi spazzed out claiming she wants no part of Stevie’s private area and that Joseline can have him. Strangely, it almost seemed as though Mimi was drunk or trippy off of something. She used to keep her cool. But, on Monday night, Mimi was turned all the way up. SMH. It was almost sad to see. On the other hand, Erica maintained her dignity when confronted about her and Scrappy’s “existing” or “non-existing” relationship. She wasn’t wearing her engagement ring that’s for sure. But Shay definitely made it clear that she and Scrappy will “always be friends” and will always have love for him. She also told Erica that Scrappy will NEVER marry her. Damn.
Several cast members were visibly absent from the Q&A session, most notably, Rasheeda and her husband Kirk. We aren’t sure if they avoided it on purpose because of her pregnancy or if they left the event early. Nevertheless, we can confirm that she IS pregnant. Congrats to Rasheeda!
We would like to thank Saptosa Foster of the 135th Street Agency for the invite. ‘Preciate it.
Everyone be sure to tune in Monday, April 22 to Love & Hip Hop Atlanta Season 2 on VH1!
In case you’re wondering if all up-and-coming artists are here to duplicate what’s currently hip in music, guess again. As far as R&B goes, there’s a lack of originality, especially with male singers. Well, there’s a new crooner on the scene who’s ready to change the game.
Hailing from Virginia (by way of Texas), JStavo is prepping his first EP that he contends will be eclectic, refreshing, and something you can feel. He’s calling his sound Pop Soul. Well, STACKS Magazine recently got the opportunity to find out more about JStavo and this Pop Soul he ‘s bringing to the industry. Several interesting tidbits were learned during our conversation with JStavo. Check it out…
Tell our readers who you are, how long you’ve been singing, what was the inspiration for you to want to become an artist.
My name is JStavo. I’m from VA by way of Texas, just moved to Atlanta a year and a half ago trying to pursue the whole music thing. My inspiration for music ever since I was two, I always wanted to sing. I would always get caught dancing in my room. My mom would play music to sit me down and shut me up. Anything with music I would be a good person. Other than that, it wouldn’t happen. So basically, from two years old I knew what I wanted to do.
Where does the name come from?
My first name is Josh. And then it was sort of a middle name/nickname that my family, my cousins we’re all crazy so they used to call me Gustavo. Because…don’t ask me because I still don’t know. So at that point, when I knew I wanted to pursue music full time, once I got a little older. I just put the first letter of my first name which is Josh “J” plus “Gustavo”. Plus it sounds dope. Not Italian, but it sounds dope.
How would you describe your style of music?
I actually put myself in my own genre, Pop Soul. It’s basically, if you take popular music (whether it be Dance music, whether it be R&B, whether it be Alternative) and then you always add soul to it. That’s kind of where I’m at. ‘Cause I can kind of get on any type of track period. I’m very eclectic when it comes to music. I just make sure I add soul to it and Pop Soul.
What was your reason for moving to Atlanta?
A lot of producers and songwriters usually come here. When I first moved here, I know for a fact, it’s like anybody you meet their either doing music, acting or modeling, or they have their own company. I just needed a change. I definitely needed change to where I could grow and network better around music. So, Atlanta was the next best step.
Who were your influences growing up?
Well, my favorite singer of all time is Donnie Hathaway. Point blank period, it’s Donnie Hathaway all day. From him to Genuwine to Babyface to Gladys Knight. It ranges from old school to the 90’s ‘cause that’s the era I grew up in.
Have you worked with anyone yet? Any collaborations?
Well I’ve done…that’s really all I like to do is a bunch of collaborations with independent artists and artists that are up and coming. I truly believe in everybody coming up together. So, instead of going for the big names and this that and the other, you know just try to make sure my name gets out there. I’d rather do a collaboration with somebody that I believe in as an artist and believe in their artistry. Then kind of come up with them and everybody helps everybody.
Do you think male singers get enough shine? Do you think there is something lacking?
I really think currently a lot of the new artists that are coming out, and even some of the old artists that are come back out, they are getting stuck in a box. It’s kind of like the whole thing where they see what’s hot right now and their going for it, but it’s consistently not refreshing. It’s not refreshing. Where back in the day you had your Marvin Gaye’s, you had your O’Jays, everybody in the same genre, but you knew who everybody was. Everybody was unique. I think the reason why the make industry, as far as R&B artists or singers period, I really think that we are lacking in creativity and pushing the envelope. I remember Bobby Brown was always pushing the envelope. Like and it wasn’t that long ago when other artists were pushing the envelope. I just think now we’re stuck in just trying to either make money or be a sex symbol because that’s what sells right now. When in reality, you don’t have to do all of that.
How do you plan on competing with the others (artists)?
I actually feel that like people are waiting for something new. I think we’re so content with what we have right now. That we’re just like “oh ok, that’s fine.” But I really think people are waiting for new artists. Like Miguel came, and he’s like the new age Prince. Frank Ocean came out. None of them are doing what a lot of artists that are out right now are doing. They’re doing what they want to do, being creative. So I think what’s going to set me apart is my uniqueness and my sound. However, making sure that it’s refreshing and people can actually understand it (or it brings them back somewhere to a feeling). I think at the end of the day, nobody is really looking at the content. They’re really, like, looking for that feeling…and that’s what I’m trying to give them. Bump the content, bump what I’m saying if you can’t understand it, that’s cool. But, if you can feel it, then I’ve done my job.
Do you have a 5 year plan?
I used to have 5 year plans and 10 year plans. For some reason, plans never work out. I do, however, set goals for myself as big as getting a Grammy or performing at Madison Square Garden. I make sure I do big goals like that and speak it into existence and I just let God do the rest. Whatever comes in between that, then I’ll take it.
But, I don’t really believe in the 5 year plan because you really don’t know.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
I would really like to collaborate with Kanye just because he’s controversial. I don’t even know what we can create. But, just on his PR…just as a business move. Jay-Z. I would love to do a song with Jo Jo. Ciara. I love soft voices. So, Ciara would be one. I would love to do a song with Sting. He is crazy incredible. I think that would be it. As far as collaboration goes, for like my EP that’s coming out, I made it adamant that I was not going to have a lot of collaborations. I feel like that puts you in that “you can’t have a hit song” or “you can’t stand on your own feet.” So I want people to grasp my music. You know how rappers do with mixtapes. If they want to remix it, they can flip it around. Oh and A$AP Rocky also.
When can we expect the EP?
Actually, what we’re doing right now, we’re setting it up formally because there’s not an actual release date, because we actually do not have the single out yet (the official single). Right now, we’re just worried about pushing the buzz single to network and get a fan base and let people know I’m out there. So, as soon as we get the single out, then we can figure out exactly what’s the next step for the EP.
Any thoughts on the content on your EP?
For one, I’m not crying on any of my tracks. [laughs] As far as the EP, its’ going to be very eclectic. It’s really going to bring all ages back. When I say back, I don’t mean it’s going to be old school. I’m just that feeling you get when you hear a song. I’m going to bring that back. So, you’ll get dance tracks, smooth tracks, everything will be smooth though, I’ll say that.
What do you want the readers to know?
I have a website called www.jstavoworld.com. You can get any type of information from there. Twitter, Instagram, etc @ JStavo.
I just want the readers to get ready. If they want something refreshing, something new, but something they can feel…JStavo is the route to go.
If you’d like to hear JStavo’s music or see him perform, he’s scheduled for several upcoming shows.
2nd Annual Rip The Runway – Birmingham, Alabama (April 2013)
Sweet Auburn Festival – Atlanta, Georgia (May 11, 2013)
Underground Atlanta – Atlanta, Georgia (May 12, 2013)
9to5 40th Anniversary (September 2013)
Today, the good folks over at Atlanta’s DTLR sports store held a private VIP reception for BadBoy/MMG artist, French Montana. The Cocaine City Records CEO was in tow to meet and greet several media outlets and fans. As you know, French Montana is set to release his debut album Excuse My French on May 21. After garnering recent success with tracks like “Pop That” (featuring Rick Ross, Drake & Lil Wayne) and “Ocho Cinco” (feat. Diddy, MGK, Red Cafe, & Los), French is finally gaining the real attention he needs.
With drinks flowing and free soul food on deck, the VIP reception was pretty chill. I’m sure he needed the brief down time due to video shoots, radio appearances, and scheduled performances he was said to be in town for. Luckily, STACKS Magazine was on hand to get a few snapshots for the French Montana fans. Check them out below…
In case you missed French Montana’s latest video “Freaks” feat. Nicki Minaj, click here!
Photo Credit: Dnice Photos
Many have wondered where the hell “Mr. Look Like Money” been. Well, back from a brief hiatus, Yung Ralph has returned with a pretty decent mixtape. Juugin Round The City is his newest project and three Atlanta’s notable DJs has co-signed on (Greg Street, DJ Pretty Boy Tank, & DJ Holiday). The JTRC project feature production credits from Zaytoven, Mills, Showstoppa Beats, Hot Sauce, and the Beat Junkies. Ca$h Out, Rich Homie Quan, Scrap, Young Scooter, Young Thug, and London Jae all lend bars in support of the Juug Man.
Yesterday, Yung Ralph hosted a mixtape listening session at Atlanta’s Hot Beats Studio. After playing varous cuts off the project, several of them were immediate standouts (i.e. ”Focus On The Money”, “Cinderella”, “All We Do”, “Designer”, “Dead And Gone”). There’s always been something special about Yung Ralph. His voice and ability to ride the beat becomes infectious after listening to a few tracks. “Juugin Round The City is a mixtape worth downloading if you’re a real ATLien or can appreciate the swag that comes with city’s music scene.
Check out the official tracklist:
02. Focus On The Money [Prod. By Mills]
03. Work [Prod. By Zaytoven]
04. All We Do (Feat. Young Scooter) [Prod. By Zaytoven]
05. Cinderella (Feat. Young Thug) [Prod. By Zaytoven]
06. On You (Feat. Rich Homie Quan And London Jae) [Prod. By Beat Junkies]
07. Take It Off [Prod. By Mills]
08. Make A Juug [Prod. By Zaytoven]
09. Juugin’ Round The City (Feat. Rich Homie Quan) [Prod. By Zaytoven]
10. Ask Bout Me (Feat. Ca$h Out) [Prod. By Zaytoven]
11. DJ’s Speak
12. Designer [Prod. By Zaytoven]
13. Bad Bitch’s (Feat. Scrap of Travis Porter) [Prod. By Showstoppa Beats]
14. No Where (Feat. London Jae)
15. Haters [Prod. By Mills]
16. Dead And Gone [Prod. By Hot Sauce]
17. Shining And Grinding (Feat. K-Major) [Prod. By K-Major]
18. Back At It (Feat. Young Zoo)
19. Down (Feat. London Jae)
Juugin Round The City is out now. Download your free copy at livemixtapes.com!
Whats Goin On TV recently followed Atlanta rapper Rich Homie Quan in the streets of the A. The city came out, to Hush Lounge, in support of Atlanta’s rising star. In this exclusive video, Rich Homie Quan performs a new joint “Investments” and ”Differences”, and “You Can’t Judge Her”.
Check out the footage below…
After witnessing the second inauguration for President Barack Obama (and celebrating Martin Luther King Jrs birthday), the excitement continued on Tuesday night (Jan. 22) at the Atrium. Located on the east side of Atlanta, hundreds of DJs, artists, and music notables packed the club in honor of DJs. Salute The DJs Awards, founded by Lady Shack, honors the men and women who rock the clubs, break records, and keep the streets bubbling with new music. This year marked the fourth year for this event. For it being STACKS Magazine’s first year attending, I can say it was a real cool experience.
The official emcee for the evening was local funny man Crum.com. Also, in the building were many Atlanta notables such as Ms Debra Atney (Mizay Ent), Shawty Lo, Bone Crusher, Drumma Boy, DJ T-Roc, DJ Bigga Rankin, DJ Demp, P. Brown (Streettalk), Wingo (Jagged Edged), DJ Unk, DJ Kutt Throat, Travis Porter, Jack Thriller (ThisIs50.com), Tex James, DG Yola, Mykko Montana, Suga Shane, Rich Homie Quan, Tight and even a surprise visit from Trinidad James.
As part of the show, independent artists/groups had the opportunity to perform. Some included a childrens group called The Hard Team, YNV, Jewlz, Deacon Uly, Deja Vu, and DDS (pardon me if these names are spelled incorrectly). There were also a couple of very special performances by Shawty Lo, Rich Homie Quan, and Tight. The actual DJ awards were given out later in the evening. Some of the categories and winners included:
DJ To Take Most Risks – DJ Blue
Best Show DJ – DJ Prime Time
Most Overlooked In The World – DJ Such-N-Such
Hottest Female DJ – DJ Nina9
DJ Of The Year - DJ Demp
Here are a few pics and videos from the event…
Shawty Lo’s “Petition”
Rich Homie Quan’s “Difference”
Exclusive: Super Producer Cheeze Speaks On Wale, French Montana, His Grind, & Reason To “Never Quit”
When it comes to music production, Atlanta houses some of the hottest and most notable producers in the game. You can safely say, there isn’t one artist who hasn’t traveled to the city for beats. Well, in 2013, there’s one super producer in the A that will get his fair share of artists seeking his services. Like, the Maybach Music Group. Yes, Cheeze recently pinned down production credits on Wale’s Folarin mixtape with “Back 2 Ballin”, which features French Montana.
The grind will continue in 2013 for Cheeze, though. After producing cuts for Yung Joc for many years, the Swagg Team affiliate plans to work with Rick Ross, Wale, Meek Mill, and others. Tronzai Media and Windsor Jones recently caught up with Cheeze to talk about his grind, present/future projects, and his advice to young producers trying to make in the game.
Check out the exclusive interview below:
Follow Cheeze on Twitter @ CheezeBeatz, Instagram @ IAm_Cheeze !!!
Exclusive: DG Yola Says He Originated “Broke Da Knob” + Speaks On His Past ‘Grand Hustle’ Affiliation, The Fans & Haters [Part 2]
In Part 1 [Exclusive: DG Yola Explains Why He Won't Let Up After Attempted Murder & Jail Time] of our exlcusive interview with the Atlanta rapper, DG Yola spoke on the moments when his life changed from good to bad. From once being one of the hottest new rappers out of the ATL to his unfortunate shooting incident then jail time, Yola’s life has truly been a rollercoaster. Nevertheless, he’s prevailing. Soon to be released from the halfway house, Yola has big plans for his future in music. But, first he has some shit to get off his chest.
In this second part of our sit down, Yola explains where “broke da knob” originated. He clears up any speculation about his former affiliation with Grand Hustle and if he prefers to be signed to a major label or stay independent. Lastly, Yola shares some words for all of his loyal fans and haters.
Check out Part 2 below…
So you just had a recent mixtape, ‘Mr. Broke da Knob’…what is “broke da knob”?
DG Yola: (Laughs) You know when I was in prison right this how I came about that right there. When I was in prison you know a nigga tuned in to what was going out in the streets or whatever and everybody turn up, turn up, turn up, turn up, turn up’ so boom
And that ish came out of nowhere
DG Yola: It came out of nowhere right! So I analyzed that and you know y’all couldn’t hear me ‘cause I’m confined. But I got my campaign going down in chain gang. So I come up with the “Mr. Broke da Knob” situation cause everybody turning up and to speak on that situation… why these niggas talking bout they breaking knobs now? What happened to turning up? What happened to going hard? You know that Kanye…”I go hard, go ham”…whatever they was doing. But now they wanna “break some knobs”. They be biting the swank. You feel what I’m saying, these niggas be biting my swag and stealing my bars and all that shit. Man, you know what I’m saying. But I commend y’all niggas though. ‘Cause one thing about it, I got so much of this shit. It’s so much of this swank it don’t even matter. I’m talking about for real you can bite that shit, whatever…keep it! I’ma come out with something else on your ass. Yeah all these niggas wanna break da knob now. Yeah.
So as far as that particular mixtape [Mr Broke Da Knob] with it being your most recent one, what was your thought process behind it? What story did you want to tell?
DG Yola: I really just wanted these folks to know that Yo ain’t went nowhere. Yo went and did that time, bossed all the way up, came all the way back even harder than how he left. That Yo don’t really care to much about nothing cause my patna Alfred and my patna Jesse and my patna Logan gone. I ain’t got no regard for y’all niggas or whatever. I want these folks to know that yeah you can do your thang but I’ma do my thang. ‘Cause I ain’t got no deal. Y’all niggas got these majors behind you and you hiding behind this cash and you hiding behind all this shit here but I’m doing this shit out my pocket, in the streets with it and I want these folks to respect this shit and they gon respect it regardless of the situation. So that’s what Mr. Broke da Knob doing. That’s why the first song on there say ‘fuck niggas I don’t fuck wit’em…live real die real’. So at the end of the day, that’s what it is and they respect it and that what it is. Yo ain’t went nowhere. Yo way harder than he used to be. I ain’t the same nigga I used to be. So that’s what this CD was about. We dropped that in July (July 25th) and I got in trouble for that. I had did some shit on YouTube. I did a whole bunch of shit that I wasn’t supposed to do and word got back to the warden and he sat me down for like 40 something days. I could’ve actually came back out if I would’ve been listening to what he was saying but I wasn’t paying attention cause I thought I was going to get shipped or something. But he sat me down and now I’m back out. I’m bout to drop ‘Mr. Shine Wit No Lights On’.
So that’s your next mixtape [Mr Shine Wit No Lights On]?
DG Yola: Yeah…that’s with DJ Holiday .
As far as you catching that next big hit, because you will, so we’re just going to put that in the atmosphere…
DG Yola: You know I got a whole lot of hits. It’s just that I don’t think the world, I don’t think my fans and my associates and my peers give my music time to grow on them. ‘Cause I think they be stuck at that one hit hang…the “Ain’t Gon Let Up”. You know what I’m saying cause if you go back to “7 grams”, “14 grams”, “Never Gon Stop”, “Still Standing”, “Been in the Streets”…it’s so many songs that I’ve put out that got potential to be hits. But they just won’t let’em be hits. They just stuck on “Ain’t Gon Let Up” and I feel like really that song been riding since 05’ right. If that’s what y’all want…I’ma give y’all that. I swear to God…I’ma just keep putting music out and we can keep riding to “Ain’t Gon Let Up”. It don’t matter…however y’all wanna do it. You feel what I’m saying, but I got so many other songs. You just got to give’em time to grow…give’em time to grow on you. But folks so caught up on that to where…that’s what it is..we ain’t gon let up. That what it is!
At one point you were affiliated with Grand Hustle, were you signed to Grand Hustle?
DG Yola: Nah, I wasn’t never signed to Grand Hustle. I was signed to Atlantic Records. I signed my record label Power Hitters Entertainment to Atlantic Records and from my understanding they didn’t know how to market me. So they put me with T.I. so he could market me ‘cause he was like the closest thing they had to the streets, Grand Hustle or whatever. And really I wasn’t feeling that ‘cause I didn’t want to go up under T.I., no disrespect to T.I. I just saw Tip the other day…no disrespect to Tip. But I didn’t want to go up under homes ‘cause I was looking at his track record with other artists. And I did this at a young age. I saw what happened with all his other artists where they didn’t never really fully do what they needed to do…nobody but Dro. And I just didn’t wanna get caught up in that. But I respect Grand Hustle. I respect the whole Grand Hustle movement, but I just didn’t want get caught with that. I didn’t want to be locked in with something to where I can’t branch off and do my thang. He the King, I’m the Great you know what I’m saying so I bucked the whole situation.
So, do you have any plans with any major labels or are you going to try to stay independent?
DG Yola: Man really man, I’m open for opportunities. I open for opportunities. Whoever feels like they wanna work with me, I’m willing to work. I ain’t the same person I used to be…not the lil hard head snot nose running around. I’m more business minded right now…on my grown man shit. So I’m willing to work with whoever wanna work with me. But from what I see it’s like they scared of me or something. It’s like they don’t wanna touch me. They got so much bad shit to say about me.
You’re a liability, they don’t know if you’re going to stay out of trouble.
DG Yola: I guess my bad outweighing my good. But I’m not going to do that no more. I’m not going to get in trouble no more. So it’s just a chance. Life’s about risk. You got to take chances you know what I’m saying and I’m the best thang smoking round’ here straight up. I’m the best thang smoking…the solidest thing you finna get to really being in the streets. So if you ain’t fucking with me, you really ain’t fucking with nothing. You watered down to death. Ya’ll folks really watered down man. You ain’t fucking with nothing. I’m the realest thing going. I can go in any hood right now. Any hood, it’s all respect from the Westside of Atlanta, Martin Luther King, all to Panola Rd. in Decatur, all the way to Buckhead and Chamblee, Dunwoody…all up through there them folks know Yo and Yo get plenty respect. Cause I’m out here and they see it. The streets see it! I live by this shit…I’ma die by it. It’s real…100!
So as far as last words…anything you want to say to your fans, to people that’s been down and/or to the haters?
DG Yola: Yeah. I wanna say rest in peace to Alfred Person, Jesse James, Big Logan, Big Meat, Kenny, Cheese, Mike Mike, Alvin, Head, Keon…all my fallen Allen Temple soldiers. I got so many to name. I could just go on and on. To all my fans, I wanna tell y’all I appreciate y’all for staying down with me at the hardest of moments and for staying down with me at the best of moments. I love y’all the same way y’all love me. As far as my hood, Allen Temple, Reed Circle til the death of me, y’all already know I got this here. Westside bound, Martin Luther King you understand, Eastland Dr, Middleton Rd., all that…one hundred Allen Temple. And all my haters…y’all can lick the bottom of these Gucci’s. Y’all can suck my toes. Y’all can do everything y’all wanna do…just hate me. ‘Cause without y’all I wouldn’t be a motherfucking thang. ‘Cause if y’all wasn’t hating that mean I wouldn’t be doing shit. And the crazy part about the haters right…I ain’t getting too much hate ‘cause they know I’m dead serious. They know I’m dead serious. So I ain’t getting too much hate. But for those of you who do hate me…Fuck you straight up! And at the end of the day I wanna say I appreciate y’all for coming through sharing this time with me and giving me the opportunity to do this. I appreciate y’all so much. Thank You! It’s Power Hitters…Lady B what’s happening…Midnight Black ‘preciate you for giving me the opportunity. Straight Up!
To stay updated on DG Yola and his music, go to www.DGYolaonline.com. Follow him on Twitter @DGYola, Instagram @dagreatyola and Facebook @BrokedaKnob and his FB fan page is DGYola.
Special thanks to DG Yola, Lady B, & Power Hittas Entertainment!
In the early 2000’s, a young gunner stepped on the southern rap scene who personified what the real Atlanta streets were about. Anybody who’s familiar with the Westside of Atlanta, and the infamous Allen Temple Apartments, understands the tough nature of its youth and the environment that raised them. Da Great Yola aka DG Yola is a product of this environment. You can hear it in his rhymes bar after bar. You can trace it in his years of unfortunate circumstances (i.e. being shot in the face in 2005). You can even feel the passion and discord when he speaks about his long hiatus from music due to being incarcerated.
Despite his misfortunes, DG Yola is a household name amongst his southern rap counterparts. His classic banger “Ain’t Gone Let Up” became a staple in DJ rotations and signified his spot in rap. Yola’s incomparable voice can’t be duplicated. This is why no one has really captured his essence while he’s been gone. But, the question is “is he ready to return and pick up where he left off?”
Well, DG Yola says YES. After all the trials, tribulations, and deaths he’s dealt with in the last 7 years, he has more to prove to himself and the critics. This is why he released the mixtape “Mr Broke Da Knob” in the summer of 2012. The project dropped to good reviews. For Yola, this was the motivation he needed to keep pushing. Although, he is currently spending days in a half-way house, Yola is using his nights and weekends to his full advantage. As such, STACKS Magazine was lucky enough to get the opportunity to sit down for an exclusive. When we say “exclusive”, we mean EXCLUSIVE!
Check out what DG Yola had to say regarding his start in the game, the shooting incident, jail time, and how he feels about the haters and fake niggaz in the rap game.
Tell us where your name comes from and little bit of background about yourself and what made you start rapping.
DG Yola: Well first all of grew up in Allen Temple…It’s on my birth certificate originally. About the name, first I had Yola da Great. That came from Rudy Ramone, but once I got signed to Atlantic or whatever, somebody in China already had the name. So I changed Yola da Great to DG Yola. DG stands for Da Great. So it’s Da Great Yola, you know what I’m saying. That’s how I came about the name or whatever cause I used to sell crack on Martin Luther King and all the Mario’s in the hood, they call’em lil Yo. So they called me lil Yo and I just put the ‘la’ on it. That’s how I came up with Yola.
So you chasing the dream…05’ you come with this hit ‘Ain’t Gon Let Up’. How did that song come about? Who produced the track?
DG Yola: My patna Wynn produced it. Big shout out to Wynn…ATM. The song actually came about…I was mad at one of my best patnas Alfred Person rest in peace. I was mad at him and I went to writing and that’s how the song came about. We didn’t think it was no hit or nothing. We thought it was another song. But once I did it and we put it in the club or whatever…it just blew up! Yeah that was like was of my first little songs to blow up.
So the song itself, it’s a classic now. Like you know if they play the song now everybody knows it word for word. So at that moment when you realized like “damn this song is about to take me to another level” how did that moment feel for you? Was it like “I’m there”?
DG Yola: That moment was crazy. ‘Cause during the process of that song taking me to where I was, I was geeked up all the time. So shit, that process there was crazy. Because when the song took flight, I was high as a muthafucka and I stayed high. We stayed high so it was like…it was just crazy. I didn’t wanna listen to nobody. I didn’t wanna do shit. I just wanted to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it and how I wanted to do it. And that resulted to me getting shot in the face you know what I’m saying shooting people, going to prison ‘cause I didn’t listen. I wasn’t nothing but 19…20.
So yeah that shit…and then the money really drove me crazy…that shit really drove me crazy. I was buying everything then when I went broke it was just like…I sold everything. Shit I had to start from ground zero. But now that I don’t get high, I appreciate life and I appreciate everything a whole lot more than I did back then. So it was crazy…that whole lil thang. ‘Cause you know you got everybody in your ear. Everybody wanna hang around you. They got they’re hand out. That shit drove me crazy!
They say when that fame and fortune come…
DG Yola: Hell yeah…it drove me psycho
…you got to be tough to be able to handle it and maintain.
DG Yola: Yeah and I stayed in the hood a lot too. I didn’t branch out…I didn’t ever leave the hood. I stayed in the hood at all times. That was my base. That’s where I was…right there in Allen Temple. I didn’t never leave…still ain’t left.
So you talked about kind of the misfortune of you getting shot during the moment you was about to probably become one of the hottest rappers on the scene. Since that occurrence, I don’t know if you can speak on your current situation…
DG Yola: I can speak on anything!
As far as being in the halfway house at this point…can you speak on that?
DG Yola: Yeah…Hell yeah. Imma give you the raw. As far as the halfway house, that’s a part of my prison sentence. I got sentenced 12 years, serve 5 and I did like 4 of the 5…well 3 ½. So really the halfway house, I had just put in for it not knowing I would get accepted to go you know what I’m saying. I’m still fucking up right now cause at the end of the day I got to do my music. They want me to work…go to work every day but I ain’t never had a job. This is what I do so shit when they see this, if y’all see this…this what it is. I told y’all!
So shit with that situation right there, it’s a blessing ‘cause I’m not in prison and I’m able to be around you all, my family and everything like that. But I gotta take advantage of the moment. I got to seize the moment. So with the halfway house… shit they don’t want me to do this. They don’t want me to do no interviews, no music, no none of that shit and if I do it, they want me to be on the low key about the shit you know what I’m saying. But how can you be low key? How can you halfway do something? In this profession anyway, you can’t halfway do this shit. You got to go at it. So if they was to catch a whiff of what I was doing, 9 times out of 10, they’ll probably just move me out of Atlanta. They’ll probably just take me to LaGrange or some country town like that or whatever and let me do the rest of my time there. But it really wouldn’t matter ‘cause I’ll still work my shit out there. But I should be getting out that shit in a minute though. Like if it ain’t this month, next month, it’ll be some time next year or whatever. It’s just trials and tribulations.
Will you have any restrictions when you get out like as far as traveling out of state?
DG Yola: Naw, I don’t think so cause for parole, this a job too. Then like with my current situation with manager and them, I got a job in their eyes. That’s how I’m able to do this. So I don’t think it’ll be a problem. I think I’ll be able to travel or whatever. I just got to get that understanding with my parole officer.
With that situation and not to dwell on it, but as far as for advice for the guys that’s out there rapping or that’s in music but still like you said are heavily connected to the streets because we so much about rappers going to jail, doing this or getting in fights, shooting or whatever the case may be. What kind of advice can you give to the young adults to try to help them maintain and focus on their career if they’re really trying to be successful?
DG Yola: Well I can tell them the same thing I told one of my lil patnas. You can’t do both of’em. It ain’t no way in the world you can do both of’em. You can’t sell dope and rap so one of’em gotta go. You’re going to either be a drug lord in the streets or you’re going to be a successful rapper. I had to make that transition too when I used to sell drugs. I couldn’t sell both of’em. Rap outweighed the dope game so that’s the route I chose.
So if you out there and you doing your thang and you doing both of’em at the same time something gon have to eventually give. You gon have to give one of’em up and I say go with the one that’s making you the most money. Rap made me the most money so that’s the one I went with. You feel what I’m saying? But you can’t do both of’em. Hell nawl cause if you selling dope and catching cases you ain’t gon be successful cause ain’t nobody gonna wanna touch you. That’s just like me and my situation. I wasn’t supposed to go to prison how I feel. I know what I did was wrong . I shot my people… I shot my cousin two times over some bullshit or whatever. But he ain’t the only one I done shot, but I shot him. So I had to do what I had to do and that shit put a strain on my shit. It stopped a whole bunch of stuff so it was like really…I won’t do that again. I’ll think before I do it again.
Do you think there’s that fine line when it comes to what rappers talk about in music and like you said at some point when you start selling music, albums and getting this money in…they aren’t really in the streets?
DG Yola: You know man I think all these rappers fake. I think all of’em fake, all of’em putting up these images, all of’em putting up these smoke screens… to fool their fans. Cause I’m out here every day straight up and if you don’t see these niggas in the club or whatever, you ain’t gon see these niggas out here interacting in these hoods. You ain’t finna see these niggas out here on these corners. You ain’t finna see these folks fucking with these real dope boys out here. I’m out here so I don’t see’em. You hear a whole bunch of shit about niggas in space, niggas doing this, niggas balling and all that…I don’t see that shit brah and I don’t fuck with it. You know what I’m saying…like I made that song “Live Real, Die Real” dog you know what I mean. So the thing about that…man I don’t see these niggas. These niggas fake to me straight up. I push up on niggas, niggas act funny cause they got that money. It don’t even matter. It don’t matter to me ‘cause I’ma do me regardless. I’ma keep it all the way 100 regardless of what the situation is. I’ma keep it 100, keep it street not industry…keep it in the streets. Ya feel what I’m saying.
Stay tuned for Part 2 with DG Yola…
Demonstration (dem-on-stra-tion) n. – the act or process of showing the existence or truth of something by giving proof or evidence.
When you think of a person who “demonstrates”, first thing that comes to mind is a person who has something to prove. In music, proving that you are the best can be quite the task if you lack real talent. For rappers, it’s even harder if you lack swag too. But, the city of Atlanta is known to breed the best when it comes to emcees with the total package: swag, charisma, and talent. Well, the city may have just bred their next demonstrator. Meet CTE World’s signee, Scrilla.
Hailing from Zone 4, Scrilla cleverly emodies all of those charactertistics mentioned above. After listening to his debut mixtape, The Demonstration, I could tell he was out to prove something. Not only to the cats he grew up with off Campbellton Road, but also to his boss Young Jeezy, his label mates, and any other doubter out there. His rap style and content clearly signifies that he wants this [fame & fortune] real bad. Ask any rapper who’s been spitting rhymes since the age of 11 and just now receiving his chance at the spotlight. Oh, he’s definitely ready to “demonstrate”.
On Saturday, STACKS Magazine got the opportunity to chat it up with him during a pre-show interview at Vinyl. That evening, Scrilla was headlining his own show. Before he ripped the stage, we touched on his start in rap, his respect for Young Jeezy, The Demonstration mixtape series Part I and II, and why he feels he represents the real Atlanta.
Interview + Performance of “Everythang” (10:00 mark)
For our readers, who don’t know who Scrilla is, can you give a brief history of where you come from, how long you been rapping, etc…
I’m from Atlanta, GA. Campbellton Road [Zone 4]…signed with Young Jeezy. CTE (the label) and No Line Gang Ent. You already know what it is. I started writing my own lyrics when I was around 11 or 12 years old. I’ve been interested in music all my life. But, I started writing my own music around 11 or 12 years old. Dreams do come true. If you work hard, dreams do come true.
Did you have it set out to join CTE? I read that you were performing in a club and Jeezy saw you and heard a song (and that’s how the link came about). But, I’m assuming that you had already seen the movement with CTE. It’s apparent, since you’re on CTE, that you said, “OK I can be down with this clique.”
You know I always respected his music. I’ve always been a Jeezy fan. When a person makes good music, I want to be a part of that too. I want to be what he is right now, a legend. I’m not trying to be here for one hit and then gone. But, when a person makes good music and you can vibe to it, you want to be a part of something or you gone venture off and try to be bigger than that sometimes. Basically, he gave me a chance. So I’m here to take my chance right now and show the world what I got.
That’s my first mixtape on CTE. I put a lot of work in there. ‘The Demonstration’ was really easy because it was so much hype built around it, with me just being signed and all that. Like when I did ‘The Demonstration’, I was recording in my own basement. I had my own studio. So, I finished that whole mixtape on my own. Freestyling…not even writing nothing or anything. It came out to be really big, minus a setback, it came out really big for my first debut mixtape on CTE. I got a lot of features from CTE World.
The most recent song/video is “Movie On”. That’s a hot song. As far as any other songs on the mixtape, ‘The Demonstration’, what are the ones that are special to you? Or ones you feel as though will really penetrate the streets?
When you talking about streets, like club joints, we going to go with “Ask About Me”. That’s a joint with me and Jeezy on there. The songs that mean the most to me on the mixtape, they’re not street bangers. It’s something that I’m really talking about my life. “Like See What The Fame Do” and “No More”…and “My Life”, those are the songs. I can make club music all day because I be in the clubs. That’s easy to make that. But when you’re sitting down and you’re talking about your life, you have to take the time and tell the people who you really are. So those are the tracks that mean something to me. Those three tracks “See What The Fame Do”, “My Life”, and “No More” …yeah I got to say them are my favorite tracks.
One thing you speak about is storytelling. I know that Young Jeezy is good at storytelling. When it comes to storytelling, were there any other rappers like Nas (who has perfected the art of storytelling) that you look up to?
Well, all of them did (i.e. Outkast, Jay-Z) all of them. I really couldn’t see where some of them were coming from because I’m not from there. What Jeezy was talking about, he was talking the streets where we come from, the South. We had Outkast do it. They perfected the art of storytelling (if you want to say) talking about stuff. But, at a street level, it was him [Jeezy] that put that whole movement behind the whole streets in the “A”. Him, Tip and a couple of other artists (i.e. Rocko) that talk about stuff I can relate to…everyday, because I see it and I’m around it and live it.
So the next project is part II [‘The Demonstration’], is it like a continuation? Is it something new? Will you be speaking on new topics? Or diving more into more personal things?
‘The Demonstration II’ is really showing you more talent from me from all levels. Demonstration I was street, club,… tell you the story. Now, you about to see the talent of what I really can do behind these beats. Even though it’s finish, I got 86 songs I can pick from. So, I will take time and pick out the right ones and give the fans what they want. Now, you got the right production. Now everybody wants to mess with you. You have other big producers that want to come in and give you tracks. Or you get more features on the Demonstration II. On the Demonstration I, which is a couple dudes I knew from the streets and my CTE family.
Bels – Now they know what you can do!
But, now we about to touch a whole other crowd. We’re trying to take all this F-k shit that folks be talking about. We don’t want to hear that shit. We want to know what’s really going on out there and that’s what I’m about to give you. People have seen what we did in the club. I don’t know about everybody else. People know what No Line Gang is. I can’t speak on nobody else because I haven’t seen it. I’m sorry. When it comes down, I’m about to give you the street side and I’m about to be more business minded about the whole situation. I’m bringing out everything. I’m hitting them with everything.
Any major features that will be on there?
Ain’t going to speak too soon. I got Jeezy back on there. I got Cap. I got Freddie Gibbs. I got Quan Rich (a new artist out there). I’m not even gone tell who all I got on there yet because it ain’t been official. But I got some surprises for y’all. I got Jackie Chan on there. Linking up with Don Trip. I ain’t even gone… [laughs]
So when do you plan on releasing that project?
Soon. We ain’t really put a date on it. It’s going to come by the end of this year or the first of the year. I’m not gone keep people waiting.
What do want your fans and our readers of STACKS Magazine to know about Scrilla? What does Scrilla represent?
I represent keeping it real (being real with yourself and never falling for bullshit). I stand for something. I stand for my hood Zone 4. I stand for Atlanta. I don’t know what other people thought Atlanta was. I don’t do all that other bullshit that other people be kicking. But, I just want them to know I stand for myself. I speak for my clique. I speak for CTE World, It’s the World. So that’s what I stand for. I stand for the world: a young average nigga that make money and talk about it and be free. I’m just a cool ass nigga. See me out I’ll say what’s up. I’m not arrogant. I might be arrogant sometimes. Catch me on a bad day I might flip. I’m a Gemini. But, I’m not going take it out on everybody. I take it on that certain person. If it’s that m-f, I’m talking to your m-f ass. But, just me, I’m just cool ask anybody in Atlanta. Other people got their opinions, f-k ‘em. At the end of the day, I stand for Atlanta. I stand for the world. It’s the world, CTE World. Zone 4 Campbellton Rd.
To stay updated on Scrilla’s world, check out his website at www.scrillaworld.com. Also follow him on Twitter @Scrilla !!
Last week, at a small yet intimate place called the Koo Koo Room, media/press were invited to meet former member of Xscape, LaTocha Scott. The meet-n-greet is one of several promotional tools LaTocha’s team will use to help re-boost her once budding singing career. To many, LaTocha is known as the former lead singer of the group Xscape. Her vocal abilities are powerful and deep rooted in soul and gospel. This voice is something fans all over have been waiting on. So what has she been doing all this time? She’s recorded a few songs throughout the years which garnered some decent airplay. But for artists from the 90′s, it’s the season of the “comeback“. And it is apparent that LaTocha is set to do just that…reclaim her spot in R&B.
So as fans of the group Xscape, the STACKS Magazine team was elated to meet LaTocha and find out why she’s been away from the spotlight so long and the happenings with her new music.
What have you been doing lately?
I’ve been doing a lot. I’ve been writing and mentoring women. I started my foundation called Golden Girl. Writing music for my mixtape and my album right after. So, I’ve been doing a lot…working behind the scenes.
So, your mixtape that’s coming out, T.N.T.B., what does the acronym stand for?
Truth In The Booth. We were in the studio one day and my management team came in and said, “Girl, you’re the truth in the booth!”. So I was like, we can call the album “truth in the booth”. It’s a nice title. So it just stuck.
Will you have any collabs on the album with your former group members (Xscape)?
My sister and I was talking about this the other day. And I really want to do something with the girls. Everybody’s kind of busy right now. But if we don’t do something as a group, then it’ll be just the two of us. But, I do have some collaborations with other artists that are out now. I don’t like to throw names out there. But it’s going to be a nice album. A real nice album.
The new mixtape T.N.T.B. is coming soon. Everyone who digs good ole sangin’ should check it out. In case you are wondering if she’s going to stick to R&B, she says yes! But she’ll also, “… add little bits of hip-hop, pop, gospel…something that we’ve always done. I never got away from that [gospel]. That’s where my whole roots come from…church. “
To stay connected to LaTocha Scott, go to www.latochaonline.com. Also, follow her on Twitter @IamLaTocha.
“Bad Timing” by LaTocha Scott (Official Single)
Special thanks to Aleesha Carter, PR/KAC Images and U LLC for the invite!
Rashan Ali spent many years entertaining us via the radio. As a former radio personality, on both V-103 FM and Hot 107.9, it has been her love of sports that has fueled most things the Atlanta native participates in.
Growing up as a swimmer, she decided to start a non-profit organization that empowered African-American girls through various sports fields. Her organization is called Sporty Girls, Inc.
Recently, I caught up with Rashan at the Pretty Girls Rock event to find out little more about Sporty Girls. We chatted about their overall mission and 2012 calendar of events. She also expressed her feelings on women in the industry and the importance of coming together.
Sporty Girls Incorporated is my non-profit, in which we encourage African-American girls to swim, play golf, tennis and soccer. Coming up June 3-7, we have our tennis and golf camp. June 5-11, we have our swimming and soccer camp. We have 40 girls and we’re really excited about that. Throughout the rest of the year, we put out free clinics for girls who are interested in these sports as well. Our goal is to get these girls at a level so that they can go to college and receive collegiate scholarships, whether in sports or academics. I went to college on a swimming scholarship. So, that’s why I am so passionate about swimming and other sports and that when we do them we do them well. We just don’t do them a lot.
What type of benefit does this type of event gives women in this industry?
I think the main part about it is, that the growth that has happen from Pretty Girls Rock 1 to this year, has just been phenomenal. It shows you that women want to come together for a worthy cause. They want to come together to network. And want to come together just to have fun. You know what people say about women, we can’t do anything together. But, this shows otherwise. I’m just happy to see so many gorgeous women out here tonight just to see fashion, to see artists and see performances, and just to be amongst each other.
Since her departure from radio, all of her supporters wondered what it is that she’s doing now. Here’s what Rashan had to say about her current career moves:
Well, I am the social media correspondent for NBA TV. So check me out on NBA TV during the playoffs. And I’m really enjoying the television life.
BERNICE: Miami’s REAL Baddest B*tch Talks South Beach Tow, Female Drivers, and Crazy Sh*t She Can’t Live Without
Each week, thousands of viewers are glued to the tube watching the crazy shenanigans of Miami’s truck drivers. As one of Tru TV’s top-rated reality shows, South Beach Tow dives into the daily operations of an established family-owned tow trucking business. Based on the work lives of the Ashenoff’s, Tremont Towing’s main goals are to catch drivers who park their cars illegally, track down repossessions, and make money.
Now in its second season, South Beach Tow (SBT) has gained great momentum from fans across the U.S. Who would’ve ever thought a show about towing cars would be exciting to watch??!! Many can attest that the day-to-day operations of the Ashenoff’s, and the crazy sh*t the employees go through, make tuning in every Wednesday night well worth the 30-minutes. And amongst SBT’s most memorable situations (i.e. Season 1’s man gets slapped for calling employee a b***h) there’s one truck driver that stands out from the crew. Her name is Bernice.
After being expelled in SBT’s Season 1, Bernice’s down for the cause attitude, infectious personality, and no holds-barred state of mind were keys to her reappearance in Season 2. The Ashenoff’s and the fans just couldn’t get enough of the Miami-native and her “I Don’t Take No Sh-t” ways. But, what most don’t know is that this tough sista can be a softy at times. She’s not as hard as the television projects. She’s actually very down-to-earth and intellectual (despite her excessive use of profanity on the show…lol).
STACKS Magazine recently sat down with Bernice to discuss the show, her new found fame, and female recognition in the towing industry. Also, there are a few unknowns that the general public will find surprisingly revealing. Check out our interview below:
- What is South Beach Tow about?
Bernice: Basically, the show is about a family owned business which is the Ashenoff’s. They own Tremont towing. We out there doing work. They show the crazy stuff that happens doing tows on a day-to-day basis. How people don’t like to get their cars towed and the drama we go through.
- What’s your job?
Bernice: That’s like a gig I do. Who don’t watch the show, I don’t play. Really I don’t play that sh*t with them. I want my money. That’s first thing first. No, really I want my money by any means necessary. If I get you on a hook, it ain’t no coming down unless I really got to feel sorry for you. But, other than that, that’s how I eat.
- What can towers make $$ on a good day?
Bernice: On a good day, its unlimited depending on your hours. If it’s a holiday, you can make up to 5,000 maybe. On a slow day, it’s no less than $100 – $200. But on holidays and good days, when you’re moving and towing, you can get as much as you can possibly get within your hours of work.
- What is one of the craziest situations you’ve ever been in?
Bernice: A lot of stuff. It’s just been crazy. Nobody really wants to pay. I had a guy basically come out from a spa. He was really big and his towel fell off. I saw all his business. I mean, it’s throwing the lady in the trash. I mean, you can’t really touch them unless they touch you. So, it’s delicate. But once they do that, we go hood on them. Because you got to protect yourself and you’re not armed, so you got to think fast.
- What set’s Bernice off?
Bernice: Disrespecting me or putting your hands on me. That’s number one. I’m there for one thing only…tow the cars and get the money. It would be a walk in the park if people just do what they supposed to do. But, it’s not.
- Do drivers have words for you when they see you out and about?
B – All the time. But, they already know as long as you don’t touch me, we good. You can say whatever you want to say. It’s not too much that get to me. Just don’t call me out my name. You can call me too much, but my momma ain’t raise no bitch. Bitch, that’s something totally different.
-What is it about you that you believe caused people to fall in love with Bernice?
Bernice: Well, it’s not too many women tow truck drivers that actually get highlighted. Being that we got the show, when you meet the other ones, it’s a lot of women tow truck drivers out there. You always see men and men doing it. You never really see the woman aspect of it. So, I think everybody seeing my point of view of what I have to go through (same thing the guys go through). And I can handle my own. Everybody wants a down as bitch who can handle their own. Somebody who can do what they got to do just like the guys. It helps the fan base. And plus, me getting my ass fired last season and getting rehired helped too. I guess the fans like to see what I go through.
- Being an openly gay woman, do you think this give you more edge?
Bernice: My sexuality isn’t really broadcasted on the show. People may assume and anything like that. I’m just a person. I do what I do. It doesn’t matter what I like or however. But hey, if I have to be the person to help the gay society rise or whatever, then that’s what it be. But, I’m just out there trying to do my job.
- How does it feel to be recognized on the street by fans? [ I was a witness of that on Saturday night as we hung on South Beach]
B – It’s great. Without the fans, there would not be a South Beach Tow. No me no nothing. It shows that a lot of people are watching. For that, I’m happy. So keep watching. I’m easy. [laughs]
- Will you be participating on any future seasons of the show?
Bernice: Most of the times, with shows or reality shows, you play it by ear. We’re just finishing…in the middle of season 2 right now. So, it’s the people voice. If the people love it, Tru TV hear them speak.
ME – We need a spin-off Tru TV!!!
Bernice: We will just keep on making it happen. If the numbers are right, nine times out of ten, we’ll be in it for the long run.
- Jennifer Lopez is the executive producer of the show, have you ever met her?
Bernice: And I can’t wait ‘til I do! No. We be on the street. When she comes in or however, you know execs you really don’t see them. That’s just like the CEOs or whatever. We are the down and dirty people. I cannot wait. When I do, you guys will probably know. I might faint or something. [laughs]
- What advice can you give to drivers?
Bernice: Keep your head on a swivel. No body likes to come out and their car is missing. It’s a tough game out there. Its dirty.
- Would you like to say something to your fans?
Bernice: As far as my fans, keep watching. Keep representing. I love y’all. That’s it.
For all of Bernice’s fans out there, we wanted to also dig a little deeper into her pschye. So, here’s 5 Things You Should Know About Bernice that you might find quite interesting:
1. Favorite pair of shades? Ray Bans or Marc Jacobs. Depending on what color I got on and the shade I want to wear.
2. “Softy” for what? Kids…like’em…hate’em. Puppies. I’m pretty much laid back. Just don’t get me wrong.
3. Dream car? Old school vintage…Chevy. A “donk” with the rag off. Right now, I’ll take a Cadillac CTS coupe. I’m simple.
4. Dating? Ideal mate? I’m not dating. My ideal mate is somebody that doesn’t fuss at all. Who’s laid back like me, smart, sense of humor, and has to have their thing going. Everybody got to get it…can’t just sit back and relax. I will continue to say funny because I like to crack jokes. If you don’t have a sense of humor, that’s it for us.
5. If stranded on an island, what 3 things you couldn’t live without? iPad. Vibrator. I drink a lot of water. I drink maybe 10 bottles of water a day. So that would be my next thing.
Catch Bernice on Tru TV’s South Beach Tow every Wednesday at 10PM EST. Also, you can follow her on Twitter @Bernice_SBTow!
DJ Traci Steele, of Hot 107.9FM, hosted her 2nd annual Pretty Girls Rock: Art, Music, and Fashion event last night. Over 500 people attended the event, held at Justin’s restaurant in Atlanta, to support Traci and help benefit The Love Offering Foundation.
This year, Traci Steele was accompanied by several notable women in Atlanta: Ebony Steele (of the Rickey Smiley Morning Show), Rashan Ali (former radio personality and correspondent on NBA TV), and Nina Brown (radio producer). The women collaboratively shined the spotlight on other women who are making their marks in the field of art, music, and fashion. Athletes, fashion designers, artists, music industry artists, and others all were in attendance to show support.
The evening was not only filled with fellowship and plenty of networking. But, there were also performances by D. Woods (formerly of Danity Kane) and Latocha Scott (of Xscape), Mika Means. Although, I wasn’t able to stay for the performances, I hear that each of the ladies are currently working on independant projects. So I will definitely be checking for the new music in the future. In addition to the music, art was represented by abstract paintings. Also, several fashion designers were there showcasing their newest creations.
Honestly, my main focus was to finally catch up with DJ Traci Steele. Luckily, I was able to sift through the crowd and catch up with her to find out the purpose behind the Pretty Girls Rock event.
This is the 2nd annual Pretty Girls Rock: Art, Music, and Fashion. It’s all about women, women, women. Women fashion designers, female DJs, female artists, female everything. I want women to come out and support each other and what we do in this art. If you have a talent, you come out and support each other. Women need to uplift each other and stop bringing each other down. And that’s why I did this.
Not being an avid radio listener, I also asked Traci when can people catch her on the air.
On the weekends, Saturday and Sunday, Hot 107.9FM. Log on to www.tracisteele.com to find out where I am.
If you weren’t there last night, you missed out on a great event. For women to celebrate other women is spectacular. Hopefully, more events such as this will occur in the future.
Aaaaannnddd the award goes to….DRAKE! Yep that’s right, BMI crowned the rapper/singer as “Songwriter of the Year” during their urban awards ceremony in Hollywood this past weekend. Looks like Drake’s bragging rights are in order considering he was also honored with the Hal David Starlight Award at the 42nd annual Songwriters Hall of Fame gala of earlier this year. Check out his acceptance below and the “special” shout out he gave to Universal Motown’s Sylvia Rhone.
Congratulations to Drake who’s definitely making major moves early in his career!
Lloyd, aka Young Goldie, is back and got hearts pumping. He even made my heart flutter after singing me my own personal song. It was on that phone conversation that I knew Lloyd was definitely smooth when it came to the ladies. With a new album out, the “King Of Hearts” singer is determined to make good music no matter how long the process took.
His renewal of self is evident in his attitude and talent. And as one of the industry’s youngest vets, the 25 yr old singer has been featured on numerous hits [such as YMCMB's "Bedrock"]. But, it’s been a second since we’ve experienced Lloyd by himself. So I was given the pleasant opportunity to chat it up with Lloyd and discuss his entry into the business, his musical inspirations, Lil Wayne and Young Money, maintaining financial freedom, and much more. Check out the interview:
What is the biggest difference between the Lloyd we met on the first album and the Lloyd on “King Of Hearts”?
Lloyd: A lot more self assured and a lot more clever than I used to be. I think that with age comes not only knowledge but just access to information. It’s not that I’m different. I still feel like the same young G. It’s just that I’m way more efficient in the way that I record my music. It’s just much more efficient and effective.
How did you come up with the concept and title for the new album “King of Hearts” ?
Lloyd: It comes from the confidence that you feel after a really great night of sex with the girl who you with and you put it down like nobody else can put it down. You really put it on her and that feeling that comes after that. You feel like you’re the king. You feel like there ain’t nothing you can’t do. You just feel unstoppable. It comes from that confidence. It also just comes from, kinda like an ode to all the hearts all over the world that could use a little bit of love.
What are some other features on the album, what other producers are you working with?
Lloyd: I’m still working, still recording so I don’t know everything that will be on the album; I actually haven’t put the album all the way together. So far I have collaborated with Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Young Jeezy, R. Kelly, Patty LaBelle, B.O.B, Lil Weezy, just to name a few. Um, Keri Hilson. Man, we’ve had a lot of fun so far.
Who have been your musical inspirations, people you look up to?
Lloyd: Dallas Austin for his versatility. Gerald Brunsby, who used to be the head of Motown. Barry Gordy, he really had an infinite passion for anything that was just beautiful in the form of black artistic expression. He was one of the most knowledgeable people that I have met, when I first met him when I was a kid. I always had a lot of respect and admiration for him. Also, really, anyone who ever really influenced me growing up ‘cause I‘m the biggest fan of music – first and foremost.
Have there been any significant lessons that stand out during your time in the industry?
Lloyd: I’ve learned that there is a very thin line between genius and crazy and you can’t be afraid to have people call you crazy, if you are trying to do something that’s a bit ingenious. I think crazy is what normal people call genius anyway. So, a lot of it is really about just believing in stuff you can’t see. Believing in things that you can feel, but that other people can’t see. You know, it exist but you have to prove it to people. What is it that you’re talking about, why is your music so great? Why is this song so special? Why are you so special? And time and time again it’s about having to reiterate that to people over and over again no matter how successful you are or how many records you’ve sold. You constantly reinvent yourself, you constantly push yourself, and you constantly try to prove yourself.
With most of our exclusive interviews, we make it a point to reach out to our Facebook and Twitter followers for questions. Here are a few we received from our readers:
How did you get into the business?
Lloyd: I attended a performing arts school in Atlanta and during my 4th grade year Joyce Irby of the All Female Agency and Climax did a talent search where she looks for kids between the ages of 10 and 13 to be part of a black kids band, which was something that was really rare at the time. There weren’t a lot of kid acts really at all. She came to my school and signed me. Actually, she called the school first and one of the music directors told her that they had this kid who was incredible and the he thought that this kid was the perfect kid for the job. So she came and watched me practice for a show one day and approached me after and offered me dinner at Red Lobster. I went to Red Lobster and then that’s when she unveiled her plan of putting together the first all black kids group in a long time. There hadn’t been an all black kids band since ABC, I believe. A lot of the first gigs we had were through like Disney and Nickelodeon. I remember, I wanted to be on BET Uncut when I was 12, you know. (laughs) I wanted to hang out with the grownups. But, you know , when you’re so young you can only talk about so much. That was my beginning…
How would you describe your style of dress?
Lloyd: It’s like the type of cars I like to drive…it’s what you call luxury sport. I still like to wear my Jordans. Hell, I might not even wear a shirt, ‘cause you know I like to show off my tattoos and stuff. My tattoos are like my t-shirt. I like to incorporate the aggressive rebel that you get from rock music, that kinda just rebelliousness where you might just wear something that’ll make somebody say “what the hell?!” But you’re doing it because you just feel like bucking the system. There is a little bit of that in there. You now, 25, 30 is in a couple years, so I’m trying to embrace maturity. You know, that’s supposed to come with being 25. You know, being not as smart as 30, but now as dumb as 21. But, I still feel like 21 was yesterday, which it kinda was. So, I just try to find a happy medium between maturity and spirit, you know, my youth.
What was the decision to go to a different label when there were talks of signing with Young Money?
Lloyd: I’m very cool with that camp [YMCMB]. I think there’s a lot of thoughts about that just because of how good we worked together. It kinda felt like a no brainer. Being so exclusive, or being in a partnership with Universal/Motown and that being the same place that I was just coming from, I wanted some new energy …some new space. I wanted to work with some new people. I wasn’t able to bring Young Money over to Interscope.
What advice would you give up and coming artists?
Lloyd: The coolest ideas happen in the basement. The most innovative and influential movements start in the backyard, in the basement, in the garage, you know, in very humble places. As you get older and start to acquire success, I think it is very good to hold on to those places, those garages, those basements, those humble beginnings so that you can always go back to them and come up with something else that’s influential. It’s all about how creative you can be. It’s really not as hard as people think. It’s just about being able to express yourself. Sometimes it’s those places like the basement, the garage back home, you know, those quiet rooms or those dark corners; that is the only place that we can go at the time to express ourselves. That’s why is so genuine and I think innocent. I think when you get older the business starts to attack you. It starts to attack your inspiration. As an artist it is so important to stay in an inspiring place, amongst other people who are creative. And be in a place where you can grow. You have to be able to grow as an artist. That’s why I say just always keep those humble beginnings close because they come in handy even after the records are sold and the award’s been won.
How are you able to maintain yourself financially, help out family when you need to and still keep yourself afloat…what advice would you give someone in a similar situation?
Lloyd: The smartest thing is to not invest in something that’s going to lose its value. A lot of cars lose their value, a lot of jewelry, a lot women (laughs). Define something that appreciates with time [like a classic car], so that you can have your fun. But, you are still are being smart about it. I think that’s the hardest thing…is to be smart. And to still wisefully evolve. A lot of things that seem important right now aren’t. It’s important to invest your time and the money into things that will help you grow 5 years from now. Keep a 5 year plan and not live check to check.
I credit my business manager. I’ve worked with a business manager and accountant since I was 15. So,, I’ve always had my taxes in order. I’ve always had access to information like about investing, mutual funds, retirement funds, or just whatever. Like my parents, it’s not that we don’t want to, we [blacks] just don’t know a lot. A lot of the tricks that other people use and have been using for years and years. The most important has been my access to information through my business manager.
It’s also about breaking a lot of bad habits. If you want to grow, you have to get away from bad habits as soon as possible. My biggest bad habit of impulse buying. You know being somewhere and seeing something and really want it. And saying , “I got to have that.” Or those are the best I’ve ever seen.” When really it’s just another pair. I would credit financial discipline and compare it to the same discipline you experience in a marriage.
Thanks Lloyd for the interview! For more information on Lloyd and/or to purchase his new album “King of Hearts”, go to www.lloydmusic.com. Follow him on Twitter @Lloyd_YG.
In commemoration of 25 successful years of “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, which aired its final episode last week, O, The Oprah Magazine will publish a special collector’s edition bookazine. Oprah’s Farewell Celebration: Inside 25 Extraordinary Years of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” will recount several of Oprah and her team’s most memorable moments from the shows early days and throughout. The 148 pages bookazine which hit shelves June 28 will sell for $11.99.
Highlights of the issue include:
* Oprah’s selection of her 25 most unforgettable show moments, from give-aways and adventures to stories of courage and generosity.
* Interviews with Oprah’s Ultimate Viewers who were inspired to change their lives, and the lives of others, for the better.
* The founding team of The Oprah Winfrey Show reveals never-before-heard stories on the show’s launch and their most treasured moments with Oprah.
* A peek into Oprah’s private diary, with an entry written exactly eight hours before the show’s live national debut on September 8, 1986.
* Oprah’s reflections on a quarter-century of hair and fashion hits and misses, with details on her prep process from the dressing room to the stage.
* Oprah’s Farewell Message to viewers.
If you must have one, be sure to mark your calendars
We don’t have to tell you that “exposure is everything”! So come get exposed at STACKS Magazine.
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While shows like Project Runway were looking for its next daring designer and Tyra was on the hunt for America’s Next Top Model, STACKS Magazine stumbled upon some fashion fabulousness of our own. While it’s not the first time we’ve done so, you may remember an article we recently did here in which we featured fashion blogger Charee Lenee’, but this time we’ve got even more. Not only are we bringing Charee back, we’ve got four other fashionably fabulous ladies coming along with her. Now before we introduce you to them, let us give you a little insight as to what they have going on and exactly what is bringing them all together.
We’ve already mentioned that they’re all fashionably fabulous, but they’re also fashion bloggers of their own personal sites in which they detail their personal style and any and everything else fashion. And we must say that they’ve all taken fashion to another level. From their pops of color, hot shoes, color blocking, skinny belts and outfit remixes, these ladies have really taken the term “FASHIONISTA” head on and owned it in their own way. With that being said, these ladies have teamed up for a challenge in which they’ll put their style to the test. Deeming it the “Rock It & Roll It Style Challenge”, each participant has been charged with “rocking” a particular item(s) and then “rolling” it on to the next participant to “rock”. Originally the host of the challenge had decided that a single item from each participant’s wardrobe would be selected, rocked and rolled. But as the fashions Gods would have it, MiMi Boutique decided to sponsor the challenge and donated not one but two items to be used in the challenge. Not to mention that along with the challenge, there’s also a chance for YOU to win a shopping spree at the boutique, but we’ll give you more details on that later. Let’s go ahead and check out the items and meet the ladies.
The Items to be “Rocked & Rolled”
First up in the challenge, is Charee of Chareelenee.com who has let it be known not just by saying it but mainly by showing it, that “fashion” is her “passion”. From showing us the power of the skinny belt, the many ways to style cargo pants and the magic of turning a dress into a skirt, we must say that her passion is on point.
Next up is Eboni, better known as, The Fashionista Next Door. As a personal style blogger, she’s all about “affordable, accessible, easy, style”. While she believes that “every woman has the potential to have fabulous style”, through her own display of a style that is fashion forward she has definitely proven to be THAT woman.
Lexy, the third participant in the challenge has a “love for all things Beauty and Fashion”, hence the name of her site, BeautyFash.com. With that being said, she’s taken to the blogging world to showcase her “curvy style” in hopes of lending you a little inspiration.
Prissy, of RushOurFashion.com, is the fourth participant of the challenge and when it comes to fashion she travels in a lane all her own. From her magical mixes of color to her precise position of patterns, when it comes to style…Prissy keeps it popping!
Last, but definitely not least, is the final participant and host of the challenge Leslie, of Fashiondujourdaily.com. She is simply put, “a lover of FASHION”. As well as inspiring trends of her own, she’s also inspirational. Her outlook on life embodies a style that’s not only about looking good but also encompasses becoming a better you.
Be sure to keep checking in as we feature each participant’s version of how they “Rocked It”. Oh and about that shopping spree giveaway we mentioned, click here to find out how to enter. Also, don’t forget to check out the fabulous finds at MiMi Boutique and visit each of the ladies’ respective sites to see how and what they rock on the daily.
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In the world of fashion where trends are forever evolving, history repeats itself and almost anything goes, there is always that something or someone that stands out and speaks for itself. Meet Charee Lenee’! Charee Lenee’ is one of Atlanta’s own up and coming fashionista/fashion bloggers. According to her fashion is her passion. STACKS Magazine caught up with Charee Lenee’ to find out exactly what about fashion makes her world turn, exactly how she makes her style her own and to get a little more in-depth with her as to what www.ChareeLenee.com is all about.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion to me means to be yourself. You, pretty much, are fashion. It’s not about what trends are or anything like that. It’s what you want it to be.
What kinds of things foster or inspire your creativity when it comes to style?
Nothing really inspires me. If I like it I’m going to buy it. I don’t care if it is last season, season before, or whatever…if I like it I’m going to buy it. So nothing really inspires me.
If you had a way to describe it, how would you define your personal style?
My personal style is modern, fierce…trendy.
What are 3 of your fashion must haves?
Black pumps. Every girl must have a pair of black pumps. A chunky watch…you can throw it on like a bracelet and it’s an immediate accessory. Right now I am loving skinny cargos. I have like seven or eight pair. So I would say those 3 things are musts.
Ok, let’s get into a little bit about chareelenee.com…what inspired you to become a fashion blogger?
Well, I always liked blogging and before I had a blog that was all about celebrity fashion. And then, I kinda wanted to get away from that because, I’m like, OK, I’m marketing all of these celebs and I’m not reaping any benefits from it. So I said “well I’ll just do a blog about me”. I love fashion and I am always shopping…a shopaholic. So I said let me just start a blog all about me and what I do…daily outfits. It will help people if they don’t know how to put things together; sort of help them put their pieces together and not have to spend so much money. You know, just something on a budget.
Yeah, you know I notice too with the celebs at times they’ll have something, but we can’t wear that to work or wear that color hair or those shoes; so that’s good.
Right, right, exactly!
Tell us about the efforts you have made thus far to brand chareelenee.com.
I use social networking a lot. Twitter, Facebook and as you know, my husband, he is a marketer so he helps me a lot, he has all these different softwares. And I just, if I’m out in a store or something and somebody says “oh your shoes are cute”, I will giv’em my card and say “hey check out my blog, I have a fashion blog!” You know, just simple right now. I’m not doing anything major. It’s real easy.
What makes you different from the several other fashion bloggers out there?
My blog is just about me. So, I don’t think I am like everybody else because it’s just me. I just wear what I wear and I describe what I’m wearing and where you can buy it.
What current fashion trends interest you the most?
The skinny cargos of course and for spring I like the wedge…that’s like totally awesome to me. Those two I think are the best trends right now.
You’ve said that you can do what you want, when you want, just be yourself…what are a few of your fashions do’s and don’ts?
A don’t would be…do not wear legging or tights with just a t-shirt. Don’t do that, please don’t do that! (laughs). To me that’s the ultimate don’t. Also, if you’re going to wear red lips, you know red lipsticks are hot now, if you are gonna do red lips then make all your other makeup kinda subtle since your red is the pop. So don’t put a red lip with all this bright makeup. I think those are the only ones…but definitely the legging with a t-shirt…that is a definite no-no!
Do’s…skinny cargos! With a pump. You can dress’em up, down, you can put them with some combat boots, you can put your flip flops, flats, anything…you can dress skinny cargos any kind of way.
Beside the chunky watch, what other accessories?
Bracelets or a bunch of bangles, hoop earrings, studs, and leopard. Leopard print. Anything leopard.
Who are some of your favorite designers and style icons?
My favorite designer is Michael Kors. Just because I like all of his stuff, it’s just the bomb. His stuff is expensive but you can go to TJ Maxx or Marshalls. I found a Micheal Kors glitter top at TJ Maxx and it was only $24.99 and originally it’s like $89.99. I like his designs and you can find them in those stores.
Style icon is Rihanna. I love her. Her style is just the bomb to me. I mean of course some things she wears you can’t wear out because she is a celeb so she can wear whatever she wants to wear but I love her. She is like my number one style icon.
What are some of your favorite clothing stores or websites?
TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Online would be asos.com. For shoes I like urbanog.com, it’s a really good shoe store. I was a member of justfab.com, which is good. It’s a shoe club sort of like shoedazzle, you pay $39.95 and every month they’ll send you a selection of shoes. But I found a new one, it’s called solesociety.com. It’s just like justfab and shoedazzle but it’s by Haute Look. They have fabulous shoes. It’s 100% leather shoes and it’s only $49.95. So they have higher end shoes and it’s only ten dollars more but their shoes are awesome.
What are your picks for this upcoming spring’s must haves?
The wedges, the stacked wedges; canvas, the canvas shoes; and bright colors like oranges, greens, you know, all of your summer-y type colors.
I’ve been following your blog and I’ve gotta know, gotta ask…belts…you love skinny belts.
Give readers a little bit of insight on that.
It just adds more to your outfit. Even if you do a before and after…put your outfit on with a cardigan or a regular shirt it just looks normal, but soon as you put that skinny belt on it kinda gives it more of a pop and sorta completes your look.
When spending money on clothing and accessories, what advice would you give to a savvy shopper who likes to save a dime?
I would say definitely shop thrift stores. Thrift stores, goodwill, anything like that, they always have good stuff…most of my stuff I find are at thrift stores. You only spend two dollars, four dollars. My latest find was a leather skirt, it was only $9.99 and it was a 100% leather mini. Normally it would probably cost me two hundred to three hundred dollars and I only spent ten dollars.
Can you tell us what the future holds for Charee Lenee’, as far as the website and any plans you have?
Well, the ultimate goal that I have is to open a boutique. That’s my dream. The whole reason why I started the blog was to get my name out there so once I do launch my boutique people will say “oh, that’s Charee Lenee, I read her blog!” So my ultimate future goal is to have a boutique.
Tell our readers where they can find you.
You can find me at www.chareelenee.com
Is there anything else that you want our readers to know about the site, like maybe how they can get involved?
Yeah, definitely! If you have a picture or you want to showcase a daily outfit just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll feature you on the blog. It’s as easy as that. You don’t have to do anything else, just take a picture, email it to me and I’ll post it, and I’ll send you an email once I’ve posted it and…you’ll be featured!
Check out the vid below to hear what Charee Lenee’ had to say about the one thing she would change about the fashion industry.
Also, ladies, if you have a piece that you don’t know what to do with, you can also email that to Charee Lenee and she’ll help you make an outfit out of it.
This Sunday, March 6 at 8pm, the BET network will premiere the second season of The Family Crews. Actor and comedian, Terry Crews along with his lovely wife Rebecca and their five kids will take on more of life’s struggles as the family makes their next move cross country. As Rebecca grows eager to start her own career finally, Terry’s new project in another town casts an unwanting hault to wifey’s plans. Rebecca is not to happy with the new plans. But with faith and their primary focus on family, the new season with the Crews will give viewers enough twist and turns to keep everyone tuning in week after week.
Here’s a sneak peek of season two:
Check out STACKS Magazine’s Top 5 of 2010:
BREAK OUT ARTISTS
[Artists who showed up and showed out this year.]
- Nicki Minaj
- Willow Smith
- Justin Bieber
- Waka Flocka Flame
[Celebrities who continue to suffer legal troubles.]
- Lil Wayne
- Gucci Mane
- Suge Knight
MOST SHOCKING HAPPENINGS
[Events we didn't see coming.]
- The Haiti Earthquake
- Lebron Leaves Cleveland
- Eddie Long Scandal
- T.I. & Tiny’s Arrest
- The Firing of Shirley Sherrod
The Studio – BEST COMEBACKS
[People who have made a major comeback in their careers after a hiatus.]
- Michael Vick…ballllinnn!!!
- Chris Brown
- El DeBarge
The Script – HIGHLY ANTICIPATED FILMS/SHOWS
[What everyone and their mommas was waiting to see.]
- For Colored Girls
- The Social Network
- Jersey Shore
The Receipt – BEST POWER MOVES
[People in the industry that have made major moves this year.]
- The Kardashians (all over the map with new shows, stores, etc!)
- Jay-Z (Forbes cover, breaking bread with the likes of Warren Buffet)
- Monique (wins Oscar)
- Baby (stock in oil business, launching oil company, Bronald Oil & Gas)
- Desiree Rogers (left Obama administration, lands CEO job at Johnson Publishing)
The Game – TOP FOUL ON THE PLAYS
[Athletes who committed embarassing acts this year. Bottom line...they should be ashamed.]
- Tiki Barber (leaves wife for mistress)
- Gilbert Arenas (gun charges)
- Plaxico Burress (sentenced to 2 years for shooting self)
- Braylon Edwards (DWI)
- Floyd Mayweather (DV)
[Trends, some old some new, that rose to the top this year.]
- Skinny Belts
- Faux Fur
- Ray Ban Shades
- Military Gear
- Erykah Badu fined for public indecency
- Nas & Kelis Divorce Settlement
- Wesley Snipes finally goes to jail
- Toni Braxton Files Bankruptcy…Again
- Mike Tyson announces he’s totally broke
NOT SO GOOD
[People who need to get some better business ‘bout themself.]
- Dream/Christina Milian quickie marriage
- Fantasia’s Affair & Suicide Attempt
- Montana Fishburne’s XXX Debut
- Kat Stacks and her antics
- Lil Kim & Nicki Minaj Hip-Hop Beef
Note: The choices are based on the personal views of the publishers and are not based on specific ratings, numbers, etc. The choices are in no certain order.