Posts Tagged ‘Beyonce’

Black Love On Top Pt. II: And Blue Ivy Makes Three

January 10, 2012

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Congratulations to the Carters! BeyonJay are the proud parents of a healthy, happy baby girl, Blue Ivy Carter, born Saturday January 7th, 2012 at Lenox Hill Hospital under heavy security, complete with a secret getaway to evade the papps!

I like their steez on this one. Sure, they are both public figures, but this is a very private moment for their family and it is also their to keep private where possible. The two were very generous to reveal the name so soon, and to disclose how Beyoncé delivered her daughter in a joint statement. Honestly, how a woman delivers her child is as personal as it gets. Her birth story is really none of our business.

And who can blame them for choosing to shut us out? The moment the world knew King B was expecting, the hate began on eveything from the baby’s name and likeness to whether there was even a pregnancy at all. New lows for the Internets; thankfully the well wishes are drowning all that out. 

Papa Hov released a dedication to the baby entitled “Glory” and it’s sweet and raw as fresh cut sugarcane. Call it our generation’s “Isn’t She Lovely”. I’m willing to bet he’ll still call her Brooklyn Carter…

Click the link to the song.

Here’s to Blue Ivy’s greatness. 

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Hi…My Name Is Taylor Swift

February 3, 2010

So the Grammys happened this past Sunday. In keeping with my theory that 2010 is the Year of the Woman in Entertainment, the ladies represented. It was wonderful to see Roberta Flack duet with Maxwell and to see Stevie Nicks, even if she was relegated to tambourine and backing vocals with Taylor Swift. Lady Gaga served a brilliant performance, holding more than her own solo and with Elton John. Sasha Fierce and her all-woman band delivered a frenetic display of Sasha’s incomparable vocal skill and unmatched movement capability in 5-inch stilettos as she took “If I Were A Boy” to new places.

Sasha even gave Beyonce’ a purely normal, human moment: upon accepting the award for Best Female Vocal Performance (her 6th of the night and a new Grammy® record for any female artist in one year-not that you heard that part after the Taylor win), she thanked her husband with an “I love you”. Pink got the crowd wet (visibly) with an amazing aerial rendition of  “Glitter In The Air” high above the crowd with no net. Pink is fearless.

Speaking of Fearless, Taylor Swift was awarded the Album of the Year Grammy® for her CD of the same name. Now look, I was just as horrified as the rest of the world when Kanye bum-rushed her at the VMAs. But it was on Grammy Night that I realized Beyonce’s attempt to give her a do-over by ceding her VMA acceptance speech time to the ingénue from Nashville was apparently not enough for the Recording Academy.

Every Awards show gives de facto do-over awards for people they’ve wrongfully overlooked or outright snubbed in years past. But this usually happens to right a wrong of their own doing, not of another artist—during another award show! Last Sunday, I witnessed this for the first time. I say this not to take anything away from Taylor Swift. I don’t think she’s the best singer; but she’s a solid songwriter, is actually a musician, and has the total package of country-girl-next door looks. Ordinarily, I’d be elated that a woman—especially one so young, copped 4 Grammys including Album of the Year. But that feeling of elation I had when Lauryn Hill won the same Award was nowhere to be found. I was in complete shock.

My first thought? “Kanye West is responsible for this.” His star power is so potent, he put this girl who was known primarily in country and tween pop circles on the map with his interruption. Taylor really shoulda given dude a shout-out. The media fallout banished him and caused a tsunami of sympathy for Swift; a wave she rode from Saturday Night Live clear up to the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.

My next thought? How does Taylor Swift win over Lady Gaga, who sold 8 million units in an abysmal market within months, AND had 4 #1 singles on the Billboard Top 200 from one album? Over Beyonce’, who had everyone from babies to drag queens doing the ‘Single Ladies’ video choreography and raked in $36M in tour receipts in a recession? Over The Black Eyed Peas, who topped the charts for 6 months, held the top two slots of the Billboard Top 200 with “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling” this summer–with much of Chicago dancing to the latter smash hit on Oprah? And over The Dave Matthews Band, who are…well, The Dave Matthews Band???

Here’s Taylor by the numbers: at the end of 2008, both her albums amounted to 4 million sold. As of 2010, she IS the world’s top-selling digital artist at 24M downloads. No shots, but this makes her the country version of Souljaboy Tellem; a strong singles artist. Album of the Year I’m not buying. For Taylor Swift to win Album of the Year, the most coveted Grammy of the night—against Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce’ and The Dave Matthews Band was truly a gift; I am not sure Taylor will fully understand how much NARAS has her back.

What appeared to me as I examined this year’s Album of the Year nominees more closely was this: this was the most urban-leaning group of nominees I’ve seen in years. The usual shoo-ins, U2, weren’t even nominated for New Line On the Horizon. Kanye aside, I am not surprised that the Recording Academy went country in an ocean of hip-hop, R&B, dance and pop. It shows me we need more young members of diverse backgrounds, so voting will be balanced and wins will reflect a greater respect for the genres we represent.

I now have enough writing and production credits to become a voting member. This year’s telecast was my wake-up call. I will be signing up in plenty pf time to vote in 2011. I challenge all urban/dance/hip-hop/gospel/soul/black rock artists, writers, producers, packaging artists, and liner note writers to join me on the Voting Academy. For more on becoming a member, visit www.grammy.com

Thembisa on Thisis50.com

January 20, 2010

Thembisa speaks to Thisis50.com

Thembisa talks to Thisis50.com about her new book in stores now.

SISTER SWANS: Natasha Eubanks

June 24, 2009

Natasha Eubanks
Founder,
TheYBF.com

The YBF

Sister Swan

Name one professional thing you do that you make look easy despite its difficulty.
I would say running the entire site. Most people think it is very easy. However, because I am the only person who writes on my site, I have to be the eyes, ears, and writer. I also handle some technology issues as well.

In the tradition of the Ugly Duckling who emerges victorious—and gorgeous, who do you wish could see you now that you’ve reached this place in your life? 
Despite the success people see, I am still striving to accomplish so much! I don’t feel like I have reached a point where I can stop and look back. There is so much more to accomplish. However, people still doubt me ALL the time (smile).

Many underestimate the stamina of the swan. How have you been second-guessed with respect to what you do or something you’ve created?
People second guess me all the time. Whenever I break a story, I have not been proven wrong!  A great example of this is when I break and/or report an exclusive story. People are not use to black sites breaking news first. We, for some reason, have to be secondary sources. So when I break a story, people tend not to believe me, until a “mainstream” site breaks the same story. Who would be the best source to talk about “our celebrities” other than a site such as TheYBF.com?

Do you hold on to a bird in the hand, or let it go to take a risk?
I am a calculated and analytical risk-taker.

What health or beauty product is your saving grace?
What health or beauty product isn’t my saving grace. I love anything that makes my skin as perfect as possible. I love La Mer Body Products, any kind of mascara, bronzers, and any kind of lip gloss ranging from Chapstick, Chanel, or a $500 Custom Lip Color. I love it ALL! I am a very much a lip gloss and mascara girl! I religiously get spa treatments every 21 days!

What’s the most dangerous aspect of the waters you navigate?
Anytime you speak about people’s professions or character, you run the risk of legal drama. I definitely have a GREAT legal team to keep me straight!

What do you wear that makes you feel sexy?
When I wear… Confidence!  Lingerie and six-inch heels don’t hurt!

Who are your influences?
My mother and my grandmother! I admire anyone who is fearless, carefree, happy and full of life. Being carefree is the direct opposite of me but something I try to tap into too often!

How do you maintain your sanity?
I love TV! I love escaping my reality into other realities such as TV, movies, music, and good entertainment…and a couple of shots with my friends helps too!

Who do you have on repeat in your ipod?
BEYONCE, Jill Scott, Drake, Maxwell, Kanye, Dave Matthews Band, Lil Wayne, and so many others.

What is your favorite creative food?     
I am really a simple girl when it comes to food…which is why I love Italian! It is so simple yet rich and yummy! The most creative food probably is New Orleans because it is a whole lot of seafood and sauces rolled up into one dish!

Where did you get your start?
I did not “get” a start…
I took a risk and just did it. TheYBF.com was my first attempt at blogging and it took off! I hadn’t done anything in the entertainment industry beforehand and my focus was law school.

What location feels most like home to you?
Louisiana or wherever my mom is located.

What song is your guilty pleasure?
Anything by Britney Spears

What album would you recommend to HY[e]B Readers?
The Dream’s latest album is pure HOTNESS!

What book are you reading right now?
A novel entitled Trading Up by Candace Bushnell and any tabloid that’s on the stands at the moment! However, don’t get it twisted: I do keep up with world news!

By Thembisa S. Mshaka, Author of Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [entertainment] Business in stores now.

Get Ahead In Business Without Giving It-ON HELLO Beautiful April 20, 2009

April 20, 2009

putyourdreamsfirst_finalmshakaauthor1_color10Thembisa Mshaka, as a creative executive at Sony Music, helped launch the careers of Beyoncé and 50 Cent. Now an executive at BET, Mshaka has gathered her experience and those of almost 100 other women in the entertainment business in her new book, “Put Your Dreams First,” available as a FREE DOWNLOAD until April 22, 2009 exclusively on HelloBeautiful. The book is an instant mentorship in all aspects of the business: Movies. Music. Radio & TV. New Media. Advertising & Publicity. Style & Design. Management & Representation.

We sat down with Mshaka recently to discuss how she turned the idea of this book into reality, and got some juicy details on how she got Vanessa Williams to write the forward for “Put Your Dreams First.”

What was your inspiration for the book?

There was really no one incident, more like a recurring series of the same incident in different settings. At the magazine where I was an editor, I was the only Black female to ever hold the position, and was appointed to it at the age of 21. I would moderate panels and be the only female on the dais. I would participate in panels and be the only woman of color who worked in entertainment.

At the end of many panels and events, women of all ages and backgrounds would literally bum-rush the table and ask me to mentor them, or help them with a specific situation, or ask me how I got started. I kept in touch with some, but inevitably I could not give them the mentorship they deserved. Which got me to thinking: What if I created “mentorship in a bottle” for these women, and anyone else who wanted the real story on the business? The idea lit me up, and I started researching to create what would become “Put Your Dreams First.”

What’s the most important thing you want women to come away with from this book?

Can I be honest at the risk of being a bit crude? The one thing I want women to get from “Put Your Dreams First” is that you do not need to get ahead by giving head. Unless you’re a soccer player, put away your knee pads! There are many more successful women in the business than they realize who got there with their clothes on and their integrity intact. I say this not to judge those who may not have; I believe God is the only and final judge. I believe even these women may need that affirmation so they can work in the business with dignity. If this book can give them that, I’ve accomplished my goal.

I’ve been in this industry for 17 years, and am disheartened by the predominant representation of women in our business as eye candy, gold diggers, human accessories in videos. Sure these women exist. These archetypes predate the entertainment industry as we know it. And they aren’t going anywhere. But that said, it’s 2009, and the time for balanced representation has come. We are finally at a point where the prospect of equal pay for equal work can become a legislative reality.

What was the most interesting interview you conducted and why?

If I had to choose standouts, I would mention Tina Davis, who speaks in detail about becoming a heavyweight in the A&R field and developing stars, including her own client, Chris Brown; Mo’Nique, who spoke about how to fire a manager; Lisa Cortes, who shared her triumphant story of rising from a painful lawsuit to become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after film producers; Cathy Hughes, who talked about why she refused to choose between her son and her education; and Tylibah, an emerging lyricist and self-published poet who refused to sleep with prominent men in the music world in exchange for opportunities. All of these women are courageous and inspiring.

What was the most surprising finding you encountered in your research and interviews?

That 80% of my respondents cited the absence of mentorship as the greatest barrier to their advancement in entertainment. As someone who had the benefit of multiple mentors, I realized how blessed I was to have those sounding boards and pillars of support.

How did you get Vanessa Williams to write the foreword?

This is a GREAT story. Vanessa and I are both clients of a wonderful salon called the J Sisters in New York City. Jane, one of the founders, was talking with me during a service. I lamented that I had a very strong short list of women for my foreword, but that I felt like it would be no easy task to secure one of them. I explained to her that this woman would have to have been successful across many areas of the business: music, film, television, stage, fashion, radio, or some combination of at least three. So you can imagine the list: Vanessa Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Janet Jackson, Nona Hendryx, Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna.

Jane says, “Vanessa! She’s the one. She’s a client here too. I will call you the next time she’s here for her manicure, pedicure and hair appointment. You MUST rush over as soon as I call, okay?! I agreed, with my heart doing backflips inside. Vanessa was truly my first choice, especially because of what she endured to maintain her career post-Miss America. One day, Jane called. I rushed over. And sure enough, Vanessa was a captive audience of one soaking her feet and unable to move. So I spoke to her about the project (it helped that I had interviewed Lisa Cortes, whom she knew form her days as an artist with Wing/Mercury Records). She loved the idea and asked me to send her a few chapters to read while she was on the set of “Hannah Montana: The Movie.” She literally read them all from her Blackberry “from a cornfield in Tennessee” as she put it in an email. And within a couple weeks, I had an email containing her foreword, written 100% by her. Vanessa Williams is a woman’s woman; the real deal. Gorgeous inside and out. She didn’t have to even talk to me at the salon, let alone contribute the foreword. But she understood my mission. I am forever grateful to her for lending her name and part of her story to the book. I cannot wait to read to her memoir, which she’s working on now.

How do you balance your own career and personal life?

I don’t. I can no more balance the personal and career aspects of my life than I can divide them. They are inexplicably tied to one another, because I only have one life. So I choose to make my one life work. Teetering on the verge of falling between extremes is not living; that’s what I think of when I hear work-life balance. I strive for work-life function so I can be fully present in the moment as often as possible. I involve my very crucial village of family and friends when I need to, and take care of myself with solo vacations and spa days. Women should not be made to feel guilty for wanting careers, families, and relationships.

Have you ever had to deal with sexual harassment? Pay inequity? Bigotry?

Yes, yes, and yes. But you’ll have to read the book for the details.

What was the hardest lesson you ever learned in your career?

Actually, two tie for first place: That crying while on duty is a no-no, and that incompetent men fail up entirely too often to the detriment of very capable women.

This book in an amazing assembly of a virtual mentorship dream team. Who were your mentors?

It is important to have at least one for every major life transition you make. I am blessed to have had many. First and foremost, my mother, Fulani Mshaka, who I lost to cancer in October of 2007. The book is dedicated to her; she fed my love of words with books and movies. She was a social worker and therapist, my model for the importance of service to others in need. When I moved to Oakland, artist developer and beauty consultant Kelly Armstrong, who was a role model of success in the Bay Area entertainment scene took me under her wing. I met author Terrie M. Williams, at a Learning Annex event in San Francisco. When I moved to New York, I contacted her and she always made time to set me straight or invite me to events where I could learn and network. Industry giants Sharon Heyward and Dyana Williams have been a great source of wisdom for me. SO much so, that I included them both in the book. Last but not least I have to acknowledge Johnnie Walker, whose leadership through NABFEME has been invaluable. Remember: you don’t have to talk to mentors every day for them to serve in that capacity; you can be mentored by their actions and their legacies as well.