A WORLD TORN APART...
ARE YOU YOUR SISTER’S KEEPER? DAPHNE KEENAN
Foster CHILD turned Style QUEEN
The first time I laid eyes on Ms. Hampton was probably the first time most of America did when she turned out to be one of the outspoken stars of The Real Housewives of Atlanta and I Dream of NeNe. Her personality was fun, witty and charming however, if you said something that was a little shady, she would let you know in a firm way not to travel down that road. She definitely brought a little spice to the show and should have been a permanent fixture. When it comes to reality shows politics, no one wants to say who has the power to prevent someone from being on or off the show. In this exclusive interview Marlo reveals the projects she has been working on after Atlanta Housewives and what she thinks about being on reality television. “I thank God for Bravo”, began Marlo. “At the time I wasn’t thinking that I want to a housewife; I was just excited to be on the show. I was excited to get bookings and see how much I would get paid to go somewhere for an hour. So for me it was a blessing and all the doors that opened helped me to be able to speak about my Glam It Up project and other projects that I’m doing; so it was an amazing thing. We know that a lot of people didn’t want me to become one [a housewife] and some people went through a lot of trouble for me not to be on the show so I just feel that if it was meant to be, it would’ve been, but I don’t have any regrets.” Before The Real Housewives of Atlanta and I Dream of NeNe Marlo owned a boutique called The Red Carpet. The Bravo network actually recruited Marlo from her boutique. “They taped at my boutique before and I even styled NeNe for season 3 or 4”, remembers Marlo. The boutique closed shortly afterwards when she joined the Housewives of Atlanta. After her seasoned ended, she continued to get bookings and is doing very well. For some the experience of doing a reality show either hurt or helps ones career, family life or relationships with friends. Marlo said her friends think she is crazy if she decides to do it again. Would she….? “Absolutely”, says Marlo. “I would definitely do it again. I know some people look at me and think I’m crazy, but it was just a great platform, awesome money and you can do so many good things with people. I just learned so much. I would be more aware the next time because I would not be so gullible to think its all fake and we’re all buddy buddies. I felt like wow, it’s a lot of drama and these girls are really crazy.” Among her many projects Marlo hosts The Art Of Style seminars which is a fun-filled day of getting up close and personal with Marlo to chat about fashion and beauty. Marlo loved doing these types of events for her guests because she promised them that they can ask her anything. “Honestly since I’ve been on the show everyone loves me for my fashions, so after I wasn’t on the show my numbers kept going up,” says Marlo. “I have ½ million followers between my social media… twitter and Instagram and one day out the blue the Bailey agency called and said, “Hey Marlo can you come and speak to my class of young girls on fashion; so I said, ‘Sure, no problem’. I’m thinking its going to be little girls however, Cynthia said that women between the ages of 28-30 are booking the class and I said, ‘Oh Lord these are going to be grown ups. I better get up there and know what I’m talking about.’ I went to the class and about 25 girls showed up and it was awesome. I thought if you can do this for the Bailey agency, then you can do this for yourself. So I started my fashion tour and the first one is in the fashion capital, New York. I said lets get on it and go. I’m really excited, I’m nervous and I’m scared, but I’m also looking forward to it.” The excitement behind Marlo’s style event is because fans will realize how much knowledge Marlo has when it comes to fashion and learn everything she knows first hand. “The reason fans should be excited is because it’s going to be a day with Marlo. It’s just going to be girl talk; not like your typical seminar,” says Marlo. We’re going to talk fashion and they can ask me anything they want. We are going to have a DJ, cocktails and just have fun.” Marlo is not claiming to be the queen that knows everything, but what she does know she will share them with her fans. “I want to give them ideas I use when I get dressed and tips for their body types,” says Marlo. “We’re giving away awesome gift bags, we’re raffling off a $200 Neiman Marcus gift card and it’s going to be fun… great gifts… and fun…. I want it to be like you and I are just talking; not sit down boring, but just a day with Marlo.”
If you didn’t know, Marlo has been in retail and fashion for years. “I don’t feel you have to go to school to know what I’m talking about,” says Marlo. “I’m sharing my tips; Marlo’s tips. I’m sharing Marlo’s vision, but my background has been retail my entire life. My first job was McDonalds, but from my second job I was at Tyrone Mall then Wakefield Mall, Birdine, Saks, Neiman Marcus, Harold Pener … so my background is retail and I definitely know fashion not only from working at those places but, I know it because it’s in my blood; I really feel it’s in my DNA. I learned it from my mother. We were the best dressed in the projects”, laughs Marlo. “Now I will not dare get up there and act like I’m Anna Wintour and I know about fabrics and textures…No… but I can definitely get up there and tell you what works.” Since Marlo already experienced having a boutique, maybe some sort of style boutique is next on the agenda. “What I’m thinking about now is something where people can pull clothes for all the movies that are taping in Atlanta now,” says Marlo. “I’m going to do something, but right now I have a lot of things on the table so maybe that or a consignment shop. Definitely something with fashion. I’ll see how this tour goes and then go from there.” At one time Marlo did have an online store called, Marlo’s Closet. She is thinking about putting it back up online for fans. “People could go to the site to purchase some things that I’ve worn wore once or twice on the red carpet or purchase new things as well. I may be interested in doing that again,” says Marlo. Besides her style tour Marlo is very active in her Glam It Up project for young girls who are in the foster care system. “That is something that is so close to my heart. It’s no TV cameras, radio… no platform,” reveals Marlo. “That’s something I will always do. I was a ward of the state as a child and I was in 4-5 different foster homes so it’s just from the love that I know I lacked that I wanted as a little girl… the hugs, kisses and talks with mom. I remember being picked on in school for having to wear the little cheap K-mart clothes, Gerri curl and medicade glasses. I just want the little girls self esteem to be high and I want them to know that no matter what your current situation is you can excel. Who cares if they see you walking to the foster home or you’re not looking right; you’re still special. I just want to do things with them. I try to do things with them at least once a month like take them to a movie or a concert. Once a year I have a huge event where I have people come in to do their hair, makeup and speak to them about credit and its just something I have to do. Me being a foster child I know what I lacked so how can I not give back and spend time with these girls and try to help them out.” Marlo also has time to squeeze in another project that is close to her heart called the Simply Giving Initiative. “I just feel you have to give back,” states Marlo. “When I have a little extra on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I just give back and I even try to do something on Mother’s Day or just anytime it’s a holiday. I will go to radio stations to make five mothers happy. On Thanksgiving I team up with Publix and give out full meals… desserts…everything and I mean it’s just awesome. So when you see these families come in and you see how happy and appreciative they are, it makes you want to do more. They are so excited about a meal. Some have family members who are so ungrateful and feel you owe them something so that’s just one time of the year where I’m really excited. Here in America we take things for granted and here we have people who are excited for food and we’re out here fussin’ and complaining about crazy stuff.” With everything that Marlo has been through, I just know the next chapter has to be a book to document her journey. “I’m going to tell you that a book is on the way, yes,” states Marlo. “I definitely have to do a book. I’ve been talking about that so I’ve been writing and now I have to sit down and make it happen.” Fans can follow Marlo on her social network sites or visit her website at www.MarloHampton.com to find out about her upcoming projects.
CHOOSE LIFE By Letrise Carter
Bobbi Kristina will be missed by her family, friends and fans. We will never know why Bobbi Kristina’ s life ended so tragically. If given the choice, seek the help of others and always choose life. In life there will be many obstacles and emotions to overcome. Some of the emotions people go through when dealing with a loss or life itself is depression. Depression is serious and should not be taken lightly. We can define this as a feeling of sadness, anger, frustration, and feeling lost. We all have experienced being depressed or sad one time or another in our lives. However, how we handle depression is what matters the most. Sometimes life will throw obstacles, hurtles, and a few storms you way that are unbearable while you are in pursuit of your dreams, your career, or starting a new business. You should always have someone to talk to about what you are feeling. You may feel overwhelmed and lost in a dark place with no one to talk to which can overcome you. Keeping pain inside is not healthy for you spiritually, physically, or emotionally. It’s so easy to put on a smile and be hurting on the inside. When you realize that the crying does not stop, you’re constantly spending time alone, and you have a loss of appetite, then it’s time to talk to someone. If you find yourself coping with the loss of a loved one and just walking around with that empty feeling inside you, then it’s time to talk with someone.
can personally relate to being depressed, I felt lost in a very dark place after a relationship ended. You donâ€™t realize the time you have stayed in this place until your mind starts playing tricks on you. The rationalization begins to explore options in your mind that are not coherent to solve your problems. I had to find my way out of that dark place because it was time for the crying to stop, end feeling lost in the valley, and to stop being alone. It was time to be found and gain control of my life back. It starts with you taking control of your thoughts and realizing you need to talk with someone. Given the opportunity to talk to someone gave me the clarity on what I needed to do to make me better. Having a spiritual foundation, trusting in Godâ€™s love for me, and a support of close family and friends helped me to come out of that dark and depressed state of mind. I was able to come out of that darkness through prayer and counseling. Many times, we close ourselves off to the world in fear of being judge. You have to come to the conclusion that what people say about you does not dictate how your life should be, nor does it make you the person they perceive you to become. Take the step to make you better. Take the step and choose life. Take the step to talk with someone about how you are feeling. Your life is precious.
JACKIE CHRISTIE JACKIE CHRISTIE MAKING THIS LIFE COUNT By Belinda Trotter- James
Jackie Christie grew up in Seattle Washington with nine brothers and sisters and today she is a media mogul. “Oh my God living in Seattle, Washington was the best”, remembers Jackie. “Summers were filled with water hydrants squirting up in the air and kids eating ices. Seattle had a sense of nostalgia about it. Growing up there seemed like one big family even though it is a huge city with lots of neighborhoods and many people. We just knew everybody and everybody knew us. We had so many friends and we did a lot of community things. My mom always made our house the community house where all the kids in the neighborhood could come to play. Even the stray kids from other neighborhoods would come to my house to eat and play. It rained a lot, but it was okay because we made up all kinds of fun games to play in the rain. We could still do pretty much what we wanted to do. We went to the park, the movies and all types of stuff. I have to say we were so blessed, Doug and I, to have grown up there.” I’m sure you’re wondering how did Jackie leave such a wonderful place and end up in LA... “I had a friend who lived in LA that I had met while living in Seattle”, remembers Jackie. “I had never been to LA, but I have visited California to go to Disneyland. I met her at a Doug E Fresh concert and she invited me to come down to visit her. I had to ask my mom if I could go and she said, ‘Sure’. I came down one weekend about three months after I met her and I fell in love with the city. I knew that LA is the mecca for modeling, fashion and entertainment. I grew up in theater so I knew that one day I would go back to LA. Doug and Jackie were not a young power couple when they started dating. “He was still in college attending Pepperdine University when we met”, says Jackie. “He was not in the NBA either; then eventually he was drafted by the Seattle Sonics, but he moved to LA because the LA Lakers are the ones who traded for him right away. That’s when I just started coming to LA a lot to work and see Doug. The rest is history.” When Wendy Williams talks about celebrities who are in love she always says, “I love their love.” That’s exactly what you think when you see how Doug and Jackie interact with each other. Their love is so strong that they renew their wedding vows every year. Doug seems so peaceful and calm and Jackie seems to be the adventurous one. It truly is a perfect match. Jackie has her hands full with numerous business ventures and sometimes you can find Doug right in the middle of it all. “Sometimes I have to talk him into doing projects”, says Jackie, “but most of the time he is excited because he is adventurous as well. We believe that you only live once. Since we are from Seattle, we are very creative people. I think that whole city is like that because we are very artsy. Doug is a very artistic person as well. When it comes to everything from fashions to TV shows, we create it together; we are best friends.” As best friends Jackie says they stay up late at night eating popcorn, drinking champagne, watching movies or just talking about all kinds of things like girlfriends do. Does she talk him into things to do? Yes! Does he have to convince her to do stuff on occasion? Of course! That’s what best friends do. Jackie and Doug renew their wedding vows every year and if you are a fan of the show Bridezillas you would think that idea would be crazy. However, if you think about it, some people celebrate their birthday every year with a party. Renewing your vows does not have to be a major event every year; it could be something sweet and simple. “About 60 to 80% of people did not understand it at first and now they do”, says Jackie.
“Doug proposed to me on a Friday and by that next Tuesday we were getting married. Some of our family and friends were away or in another city and could not make it out that quick on such short notice. We decided to have another wedding the next year on our anniversary and once we realize that everybody was together who had not seen each other in years, we decided to celebrate our anniversary every year. We had so much fun and would talk about old times with our family and friends. It was just so amazing that we made it a family tradition. So that’s how it started. We just love it.” Every year on their wedding anniversary they get married with a different theme with all their family or friends. Jackie says sometimes its just her and Doug or maybe they’ll take the kids with them. “Every year is different and it’s just a way for us to have fun with our marriage and keep it fresh. If you are always planning a wedding, you never have time to plan a divorcé”, advises Jackie. It was definitely meant for Jackie to be on Basketball Wives. The show fits her like a glove. “Doug and I were approached by another company some years ago to do our own show called, “The Christies Committed” and we did it for two seasons on BET. I was approached by Basketball Wives almost 4 years ago to join their franchise. I had heard about the show and saw one or two episodes of Miami Basketball Wives and was told that there would be a spinoff which will be in LA and would love to have me on board for LA”, says Jackie. The producers knew that Jackie lived in LA and was always doing stuff around the community plus everyone knows she’s in the NBA. “I thought about it and I figured well it’s five other women or six and we are all going to show our lives so it’s an ensemble cast,” states Jackie. “We are all going to bring something different to the table. It would be a lot of fun like a sisterhood. So I spoke with my husband and decided okay I’ll go forward. After the production meeting I signed on and I’m glad I did.” Did you know Jackie has written six books about relationships? The books are so delicious that they need more than just a paragraph to talk about them. The books Jackie and her husband have written together are so intoxicating that their advice is priceless. “Sexual Relations”, Jackie’s latest book was written because she would get a lot a questions from women about intimacy and marriage. Since she has been married to Doug for over 18 years, she is considered an expert. We will talk about all of Jackie’s books in part two of this interview. The next thing we talked about in Jackie’s empire is her signature blend Cognac. “While growing up I always took a liking to Hennessey and it had a stronger taste”, says Jackie. “When creating this Cognac, I wanted something smoother that women could also enjoy and I wanted to do my own. Luckily the show chronicled it on Basketball Wives LA last season and followed us to France where I was able to create my own Cognac with Bossard Cognac. Everyone really loves the taste. It has a vanilla mocha almond flavor to it and is very smooth. It’s my baby and I love it. I am very happy to bring it to the forefront.” Jackie also has a makeup line, Christie Collection which was released in June . “It’s doing very well across the country”, says Jackie. “The Cognac and Christie collection are in shops across the country.” Jackie says they will have a 17 city tour planned where everyone will be invited to the events to see both products so that people can sample the Cognac and purchase the makeup products. “Half of the proceeds for both of my products go to my charity which is the “Infinite Love” foundation. It’s an all around win-win for everyone.” Along with the books, Cognac and makeup line Jackie added shoes to her empire as well. “My shoe line is through Shiekh shoes which has 140 stores and my first shoe has already been released” says Jackie. “It is doing very well and I have four more that will be coming out next year.” Well you can’t have shoes without having something to wear. When Jackie was little she used to go into her mom’s closet and put on her clothes and shoes. Jackie said that seem to instilled an innate sense of fashion in her as a child. She has the ability to know how something should look and can sketch enough to get her idea across to her master sewer and patternmaker from Greece. Jackie’s 2013 Black collection was featured on Basketball Wives LA and at New York Fashion Week. “It was amazing and definitely a dream of mine. One thing I have to say about VH1, the show and my producers is that I just love them,” states Jackie. “They have helped me to realize so many dreams. A lot of people always ask, ‘What is it like to be on reality TV?
They make you look so bad.’ I have to tell them no, they really don’t. They have let me show the world my collection. The show is in 153 countries as well as all the channels here in the United States. People can see that I have a love of fashion and I was invited to come out and they actually covered it. There was a standing ovation and people realized that I have a real strong fashion sense. Now I am working on the 2015 summer collection. http://jackiechristiecosmetics.com/With all her business ventures taking up most of her time, the summer collection is coming along a little slower than expected. “It’s better to be a little slow and a little more methodical with it verses releasing it just because... I now have a built-in audience of fashion buyers and stores who are waiting for my collection so I am excited.” Jackie’s collection comes in sizes 2-24. Jackie didn’t start stop with her fashion line. How can you have beautiful clothes and not smell fabulous. Her fragrance is still in production and hopefully it will be out for the holidays. “People have been asking me for years to do one. They wanted Doug and I to do one together, but I decided to release the first one with just myself,”explains Jackie. A few charities have been blessed with Jackie’s generosity through Coloredgirl which is an eco-friendly clothing line of T-shirts, caps and bags. “I donate the proceeds from that to different organizations that helps battered women, shelters and families who need clothing and food. The millionaires club is a place in Seattle that a lot of us grew up around. Even if you didn’t have a lot, it was the type of place that helped families”, says Jackie. “I grew up with nine brothers and sisters and it was just our mother raising us. Sometimes we would go to these places and they would offer work solutions or food when we were young. That’s why I give back to them every year.” Jackie and her husband have been giving back to organizations like those for about 15 years. Jackie Christie definitely deserves a spot in our phenomenal women category. Her work ethics inspires all women to be all that they can be. Fans can keep up with her on social media outlets like twitter @JackieChristie.
When I first sat down to speak with Vivica, I didn’t want to start out by talking about her fabulous A-list life. She has had a very long and highly successful acting career. Her fans can tell you that she has been seen in a combination of over 50 movie, television and stage productions. She is considered the elite among African-American Hollywood actresses. I have a movie list of fan favorites to talk about however, the only thing I wanted to talk about first was her amazing line of wigs! We laughed and then she said, “It is so amazing to me because I started the trend and now everyone has caught on and I’m starting to see a lot of celebrities starting their own hair line too”, says Vivica. “I’ll never forget that when I first started doing this, I took over for Beverly Johnson because she decided she didn’t want to do it anymore. So, of course Amekok Industries, Inc. that carried her hair line were looking for a new face. My manager said, ‘Hey what about Vivica Fox?’ and at the time I was just coming off of the huge success of “Kill Bill”. “They said, ‘Oh my God do you think we can get Vivica Fox?’ My manager said, ‘Let me reach out to her.’ When she let me know, I said, ‘As much money as I spend on wigs and weaves, yes let me get a piece of that pie back.’ So I had a lot of motivation.” Vivica has been featuring some of the best styles in wigs for over five years. At one point people were saying that her career was over and the checks would stop coming in. However, Vivica realized that this was the beginning of her starting to brand Vivica A Fox. “With all the many looks I have had over the years now people can have the same looks as well”, explains Vivica. “I have had so many women come up to me to say they are rocking my hair pieces right now and I would say, ‘Alright girl!’ Vivica is very involved in selecting the wigs and being photographed in them. Every year she does a new photo shoot for Amekor Industries, Inc who always make it a point to run things by her to see what she thinks about the new hair designs. It takes two days for her to shoot a new line of wigs. The company is very good about staying on top of things to keep the looks new and current. “At the photo shoot I have to model 70 different wigs”, reveals Vivica. “I am really happy that we have a style designer by the name of Kia McKinsey. She’s a sister from Philadelphia whose life was changed when they asked her to come onboard. They took her out of a beauty shop to create the latest styles and colors for the hair line.” Vivica is not hands-on when it comes to creating the wigs however, she definitely gives her advice when they ask her what she thinks of certain styles. She also promotes the wigs by selecting her favorite look of the week. Things have really changed in hair care since my day as a hair magazine editor. Today the hair is very versatile, inexpensive and so natural looking. Vivica adds, “It’s great because it used to be so taboo back in the day to say you’re wearing a wig or weave. However, today girls want to know where you get your hair. What’s beautiful about my hair line is that its lightweight, curling iron safe, affordable, not super expensive, stylish with the latest colors and the latest looks plus we use bio cap technology.” I’ve always wanted to dye my hair a different color, but was always afraid to because of the damage it may cause to my hair. Now that Vivica has her hair line we can all rock various styles and colors in an instant. Never again will you be at the mercy of a hairdresser who doesn’t show up or can’t figure out what to do with your hair. Actually that did happen to Vivica on an episode of “LA Hair”. The hairstylist appeared to not know what to do with Vivica’s hair or the hair pieces that were given beforehand. It was a very unprofessional situation and you can tell Vivica was not a happy camper. Instead of screaming at the stylist she calmly went into the bathroom, lock the door and called a real stylist, Dr. Boogie to do her hair. She was too pissed to laugh then, but she laughed and said regarding that entire incident, “I felt like I was in the twilight zone or getting punked.” Some people who have only had a short time of the success may feel a sense of entitlement over a veteran. Early in her career Vivica revealed a good friend said to her, ‘Know your place, play your position and stay in your lane’. Those words of wisdom ended up being the keys to Vivica’s strong work ethic. For those of you who don’t know the place she gives credit for having a wonderful upbringing, it goes to Indianapolis, Indiana. “It gets all the credit. I had a wonderful childhood,” says Vivica. “It was definitely before the days of social media, bullying and all the craziness.” She graduated from Alrington high school in Indianapolis, Indiana. While pursuing her career goals after high school, she still had to go to collage first. “I received an AA in social science and I was also trying to model and get into show business. My mom was not letting me get out of her house without first having an education”, remembers Vivica. She kept her part of the deal with her mom and went on to fulfill a dream and be able to live out her wildest expectations.
Ms. Fox has appeared in or starred in many films and television shows. Fan favorites are “Independence Day”, “Set It Off ”, “Kill Bill”, “Juwanna Mann”, “Booty Call” and “Two Can Play That Game” just to name a few. How does one go about selecting which project to work on. Her mentor gave her some very sound advice. “Samuel L Jackson is my role model. He said a lot of people always get caught up selecting which roles to play. I asked him how does he get in so many movies and he said, ‘Vivica, you’re an actress; do the work. Make sure that you do things that you want to do and don’t do the same character over and over.’ So I’ve always made sure that versatility has been the key to my longevity. I can do drama, comedy, stage, TV and I can do movies. When you do so much of the same character, people become bored with you.” Selecting a role is one thing however, preparing for a role is a totally different beast. She has played in so many films that I had to narrow it down to my one favorite film which is “Kill Bill”. Vivica’s fight scene was so intense that I know she had to be in serious pain weeks after the scene was over. “We filmed that fight scene over four days and basically destroyed this little house in Pasadena”, explains Vivica. “Each day we destroyed a different part of the house with fight scenes. I had to train for six long months for that fight scene. I went from a size 10 to a size 2 training for that film. People were looking at me and saying, ‘Girl are you eating?’ Quentin Tarantino had us learning taekwondo, stunts, how to fall and how to do the choreography; it was intense. I was also sent to Beijing, China for a month to train. We were training eight hours a day five days a week for the first three months and then I came back to the states to train for another month before we finally shot the scene,” explains Vivica. “All I did for months was work out.” For those of you who are fans of Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” Vivica gave me an insiders peek into a part of her scene that you may have missed. She reveals that Quentin made sure to highlighted her booty in the fight scenes. So the next time you watch “Kill Bill” you will know to look for the cameo appearance of Vivica’s booty. I had to confess to Vivica that I had not seen her movie Sharknado 2 and asked for her forgiveness for the question I was about to ask. I wanted to know if she got eaten or killed in the first scene. “Oh hell no!,”exclaims Vivica. “I was the sister that made it all the way to the end and I got a chance to kiss a white boy”, she laughs. It’s funny that she would say that she got a chance to kiss someone because I don’t see her in many love scenes because she’s always kicking somebody’s ass. I asked if she selected those non-love roles on purpose? She thought for a moment and replied, “Not really. I have had some great kiss scenes, but not many love scenes.” She may not of had many love scenes, but she sho’ nuf had a chance to put her lips on Will Smith, Morris Chestnut and Larenz Tate. “I have definitely played some strong characters”, says Vivica, “but I guess that’s because I was an athlete. Growing up I played basketball, volleyball, track and I was a cheerleader. So for me to be physical was very easy.” That explains why she was so good in Juwanna Mann. Her character played on a girls basketball team. “Oh yeah, my team won the 1981 championship in Indianapolis, Indiana for Arlington high school, yes ma’am”, says Vivica. She did win an MTV award for best kiss with Will Smith. I guess that definitely proves that she not only can act, but she has kissing skills as well. Vivica is not one to shy way from the stage and will be appearing in a Mike Matthews production in Detroit.”Stranger At My Door” is a gospel production where I’m going to play a detective. We start rehearsals in two weeks and then we are going to do a weekend run. I love the theater and don’t want to forget to do stage performances so that I can add more versatility to my resume”, explains Vivica. “I love, love doing stage. I produced two stage plays with Je’Caryous Johnson of I’m Ready Productions called, “Cheaper To Keep Her” with Brian McKnight and “Whatever She Wants” with Boris Kodjoe and Richard Roundtree. Her latest stage production is perfect because she will be close to her home in Indiana. All her family and friends will be able to come see her in action.
Many actresses are now going into producing many film projects themselves. They are not doing it because they are retiring from acting. It could be something as simple as having a curiosity for what goes on behind the camera. Vivica adds, “I really love being in control of the product that I present to my audience and when you’re producing it allows you to have more creative input”, says Vivica. “I remember when I was in “Two Can Play That Game”. Sometimes it’s so difficult for some people in the entertainment industry to direct us. They always like to tell us how we are, how we dress, how we walk, how we talk from their perspective. Therefore, when you become a producer you can say, ‘We don’t talk like that and actually we don’t dress like that either’. You’re in total control of what images will be seen by your audience. I was so proud of Beyoncé when she produced her own videos. She didn’t rely on a record label to tell her this is what we think you should do next. She just knew this is what I’m doing next. I like that; I think that’s when you get better results. That’s one of the main reasons why I decided to become a producer. I wanted to make sure I had a say in my productions.” Sometimes fans may think that all the actors and actresses know each other. This is not always true. Sometimes they never get a chance to cross paths. However, Vanessa Bell Callaway’s web series, “In The Company Of Friends” allows you to get a glimpse at what it is like to sit down and have dinner with Hollywood’s African American finest. You can see Vivica having dinner with Vanessa and friends in season two, episode nine where everyone revealed what would be their tailor-made life. “It’s so funny that you mentioned that because I just had dinner last night with Vanessa Bell Calloway”, reveals Vivica. “She had a nice dinner party for Simone, LL Cool J’s wife.” Sometimes fans may think that all the actors and actresses know each other. This is not always true. Sometimes they never get a chance to cross paths. However, Vanessa Bell Callaway’s web series, “In The Company Of Friends” allows you to get a glimpse at what it is like to sit down and have dinner with Hollywood’s African American finest. You can see Vivica having dinner with Vanessa and friends in season two, episode nine where everyone revealed what would be their tailor-made life. “It’s so funny that you mentioned that because I just had dinner last night with Vanessa Bell Calloway”, reveals Vivica. “She had a nice dinner party for Simone, LL Cool J’s wife.” Vivica does have a group of friends from the industry that she hangs out with including Regina King, Tichina Arnold and Tisha Campbell performed at her birthday party. “We were all in Jamaica together for my birthday”, says Vivica. She also revealed that the African-American community of actresses are all close. “We hang with each other and we support each other, but lately I have been spending a lot of time with my family”, says Vivica. “I’ve been making sure not to miss those special moments. We have a close knit family and I’m really close with my big sister”. None of her siblings are in the entertainment business; she is the only one. “I’m the only one. My brothers and sisters are all professionals”, says Vivica.
Another one of my favorite performances from Ms. Fox was on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. Actually my husband got me hooked on the show. Vivica recalls, “The show came about because my manager’s husband is also a fan of the show. I had just got kicked off of “Dancing With The Stars”. I was unfairly booted and was ready to go to an island to hang out, drown my sorrows in a Pina colada, hang by the pool and say I got robbed.” Life is so funny with all its twists and turns. She was in rehearsals for dancing with the stars for six weeks before the show actually aired. It was a grueling rehearsal schedule and she was the fourth celebrity to leave the show. It was definitely not a good feeling. However as the saying goes, ‘When one door closes, another one opens’. The next door that open belonged to Larry David. It was meant for her to get eliminated from “Dancing With The Stars” so that we could see her improv skills shine on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. It just so happen that on her way to the airport she found out that she got an audition for “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. On the advice of her manager’s husband, he told her to call him [Larry David] LD. If you call him LD, he is going to like that. So in truth fashion Vivica walked in with her swag and said, “What’s up LD?” That was one of the main things that stuck out in her audition and she got the job. You have to be a really good actress to do this particular type of show because there is no script; it’s all improv. You have to put on your producer/actress/writer’s hat to keep up with the professionals on that show. “There were plenty of laughs on set, but you had to put on your big girl boots because if you wasn’t funny, LD would let you know it.” Vivica has lived and is still living a fabulous life. Her longevity in this business proves she has what it takes to face the challenges of reinventing herself in this business we call entertainment. She just finish wrapping up her latest project called, “Chocolate City” which is basically the African-American version of Magic Mike. “I had a wonderful time”, laughs Vivica. She goes on to say that she plays the mom of a very attractive young man who is struggling to pay bills while going to college. He gets lured into the world of stripping and starts making a lot of money. However, his mom thinks he’s a drug dealer and tries to save him from that type of life. “It was really a lot of fun. The guys are hot and the girls are going to love it”, says Vivica! This is a really tough business to get into and Vivica has managed to carve out a spot in the limelight for herself. For those who are still waiting for your light to shine, don’t give up. “The one thing I always try to pass on to other actors is to have an attitude of gratitude”, advises Vivica. “People have to realize that only 2% of the actors in the Screen Actors Guild are working. That’s a tough world to get into. Therefore, show up with an attitude of gratitude, be professional, know your lines, be on time and be grateful that you have the opportunity to do what you love”. With all that Vivica knows about this business would she do it all over again? “Sure, I have no regrets. Absolutely none”, says Vivica.
Are You Your Sister’s Keeper?
By Letrise Carter
Are you your sister’s keeper? Have you ever felt like every mistake your sister makes you feel obligated to make it right? When she makes decisions that are not thought through clearly like dropping out of school, living a lie as someone else, poor dating choices, drinking habits, or not living up to her full potential, do you feel obligated to fix it? What about when she makes decisions that are dangerous to her well-being emotionally and physically? What do you do? You ask yourself, ‘Am I my sister’s keeper? You grew up being the big sister taking the role of giving sisterly advice and guidance especially when it came to dating, clothes, hair, and makeup. Then someday you would find yourself giving motherhood and career advice. Again I ask you, are you your sister’s keeper? Something to think about… right? How do you help your sister to open her eyes to the poor choices that don’t mean her well? What about the bad choices with relationships that don’t mean her any good emotionally or physically? At some point you may have to step back and allow your sister to fall flat on her back. If not, she will never grow up into a mature woman who can make good decisions and choices. Meanwhile, what do you do? You can pray for her emotional, physical, and mental state of mind. You can ask for guidance and wisdom for her so that she will begin to seek and see the truth. You can continue to be an ear for her and keep giving advice until she hears it, but you cannot make choices for her that will be better for you as she is the only one who can take control of her life. Eventually, she will have to get tired of getting tired. She will have to realize that some of the choices she makes will emotionally drain her physically and mentally. This is not a healthy lifestyle to live nor to teach children that live in her household. She will have to conclude that what she thinks is happiness is not the happiness that God defined as happiness. She will have to realize what she believes is love is not unconditional love. A sister is not her sister’s keeper, but she is a prayer warrior that keeps praying for her sister to be lifted up in prayer until she realizes that unconditional love is never meant to be toxic, hurtful, isolating, or controlling. Love is unified and blessed with a purpose driven partner that you are to be a light together. So the question remains… Are you your sister’s keeper? A Letrise Carter is a CEO and contributing writer to Sistah’s Place Entertainment Showcase at www.sistahsplace.com . She is currently working on her debut fictional romance and drama novel Sister’s Secret due out late fall 2015. She resides in Chicago, Illinois. Follow her on Twitter @SistahPlace2, www.Facebook.com/SistahsPlace2, and Email: Letrise@sistahsplace.com
Daphne Keenan A mompreneur is a woman who takes care of the home, children, husband and can etch out time to have a career or participate in a glamorous photo shoot for Marisa Kenson without disrupting the harmonious flow of family time. I have met such a woman who fits the mold of a momprenuer perfectly. It’s so perfect that she teaches others how to do the same. I won’t keep you in suspense any longer as I reveal the name of the fabulous Daphne Wayans. Most people know her as the ex-wife of one of the most creative, talented men in Hollywood, Keenan Ivory Wayans. In this exclusive interview Daphne reveals how she and her five children survived a nasty divorce and is now in a place of harmony, peace and writing for the Huffington Post as a relationship and parenting expert… When you think about Daphne Wayans, one would say she has everything. You would be surprised to know that there is one thing she does not have in her house and that’s a television!!! Thank goodness for neighbors who invite her over to watch some of the reality or award shows. I had to ask myself if I would survive without a television? The answer would be, ‘Yes’, but don’t feel sorry for her because she and the children have Apple devices in the house where they can watch something if they choose to.
“I am fascinated by the shows”, says Daphne. “Sometimes I will go to my friends’ house, but I will not have that stuff in my own home.” Not one of her five children complains about not having a television in the home. “I have a saying”, states Daphne, ‘If it’s that important, it will get to me’ and it does. I don’t miss out on anything. I don’t hear about things that upset my life and I have peace; my home is like a sanctuary and I’m not disturbed by sensationalism. My neighbor has a television and oh, this is the trick… there are six of us in the house and we have 35 Apple devices so TV is not the only way to see things. I just don’t have a big thing selling commercials in my house and being obtrusive.” “There is no noise in my house; my children read a tremendous amount and we actually commune together. My home is my sanctuary; we treat it like a temple. We don’t wear shoes in the house, the lighting is intimate and it’s an intimate place. It’s my nest where I take care of my babies and nurture all the ones that I love. We go to the movies a lot and we have lots of devices so we have access to things. Sometimes the award shows come on and people will ask if we want to see it and I will say, ‘No, we can’t; we have somewhere to go’. My house is very communal in the sense that my kids are always together and it’s not like someone is off in their room alone watching television and just away. We are doing things together, living together and sharing our experiences. Sometimes I will be in the kitchen an embarrassing amount of hours cooking because I love it and it makes me happy. I have these very creative outlets. Sometimes I’m cooking for 15 hours because I don’t realize what time it is and I just lose myself in it and they [the children] just come in and out and they talk to each other and they talk to me or they talk to their friends and we’re just living, but TV sounds awesome. Whenever I see all those channels, I watch it like it’s my first time seeing the device.” It seems like her children don’t complain or even miss having televisions in the house. Daphne adds, “Let me just say this… besides the 35 devices we also have my ex-husband that lives down the street from me and it’s like a different world. They have television at his house. I don’t mean to glamorize divorce as they say, but I call it the new family and it really works well for us. We share the time with our children 50-50. They are one week at one place and one week at the other so we are all constantly changing and it’s really nice because we never miss each other. I mean we are always kind of missing each other, but we never get sick of each other. We never really get sick of each other because we are never really with each other long enough.” Daphne was very young when she met Keenen. We started to talk about their divorce and she lovingly said, “Since we have children, there is no way a couple can be divorced. We are a family with parents who are not married anymore, but we are still a family,” explains Daphne. “There is no name for it. I want to try to create a name when exes have separated, but are still family. We are not husband and wife anymore, but we’re something. It’s not cousins, it’s not brother or sister, but we’re something to each other. We have to coin a new phrase because the word ‘ex’ is something that the relationship was. When you think of a mother and a child, it refers to what the relationship was. I realize that all relationships are friendships and they all have titles just like in the movies. Since I live out here in Los Angeles, I see there are actors and actresses who play roles. So, in life you’re all friends and then you have this title. When you become an adult your parents are more like your friends, but you have this history that they were once your mother and father and they did a good job with you and you want to continue the friendship. You don’t need your mother and father to do the things as parents that they did when you were a kid like helping you across the street or brushing your teeth.” She continues to say, “My mother hasn’t had to mother me for a very long time. She hasn’t had to wipe my nose or make sure I’m enrolled in school or feed me good food for very, very long time. The further away we get from that time, the less she will have to mother me and in turn she becomes more of a friend. We have that history that she is my mother and got me to a good place so that I could take over my life to make my own decisions, but right now she’s much more my friend even though I still call her mom. And every time I call her my mom I’m reminded of the time we had when I was little. I don’t need her to mother me anymore; that’s just the name of the role she played in my younger life.”
“With my children I really try not to treat them as items. They are not my purse, my shoes or my things; they are my children. I want them to make decisions and I want to put them in a safe environment and be a good example as well as put good examples around them.” Being human involves many different layers. As Daphne explained how relationships start out as one thing and end up being another she hoped it all made sense. At that moment we just couldn’t figure out a name that would acknowledge parents who are not together anymore, but are still partners in raising their children together. Sometimes divorce and the titles we give ourselves don’t fit the makeup of the relationship. “I went through a nasty divorce,” reveals Daphne. “What I found out was that the divorce was indicative of a deeply loving marriage and it was just time for that to change because we’ve been together for a really long time. It was just time to change just like a mother changes from treating her baby like a little baby and letting a young man be a young man. It’s a similar kind of thing and it could be a little struggle in that change in reorganizing the family structure. So in my marriage what remained was a friendship. That’s what was there after all the kicking and screaming. Divorce isn’t the right title to use especially when you have children. Maybe you can divorce if you don’t have children, but when you have five children, there’s no such thing. We’re not a couple anymore, but we are definitely partners.” When partners do decide to separate and dissolve the marriage and there are children involved, what do you say to those faces that you brought into the world… into your world? Daphne explains, “I just kept telling them it’s going to be different. I just communicated with them fully and truthfully. I have heard children say, ‘My parents divorced because of me’, my children never said that and they never wanted to be in the middle of it. So it was very good and easy. They felt, ‘This is between the both of you guys. We love both of our parents’ and they didn’t want to hear anything about it. They got to experience their parents on their own, individually”. For some divorce can look really crazy for all parties however, children of divorce are forced into a situation which allows them to experience one parent at a time. It kind of strengthens the bond because the other parent isn’t there to pick up the slack. Now dads truly know what it is to take care of a child full-time and can no longer say, ‘Go to your mother or go ask your mother.’ Now dad has to figure it out all by himself and mothers may have to pick up some of the responsibilities of the father as well. “They had to figure it out for themselves,” remembers Daphne. “They were four little girls that needed their hair done and other girl stuff. I think we both grew to have a greater appreciation of the other like, ‘Oh wow! This is what you do?’ And then I felt the same about him, like, ‘Wow! You pay a lot of bills’ and he felt, Wow; you do all of this every morning to get them ready for school?’ So we had a greater appreciation for each other.” The question that everyone should ask themselves is can couples realistically feel they can have it all… the 24-hour careers, traveling, kids, quality family time, being a good wife/husband, living a luxurious lifestyle… Can you have it all? “Of course… You just do it. You make your reality,” says Daphne. “You make it per you and don’t get involved in the ‘what you’re supposed to do’. When you involve yourself in ‘What am I supposed to do?, You’re supposed to do this, you’re supposed to do that…’ when that’s your thinking process, then it’s a wrap and that’s where you go wrong and get in a little trouble.” Yesteryear the word divorce was like a horrible, horrible disease that seemed to strip vital resources and happiness from a family. Today’s modern family of divorce has changed 360°. It is no longer the death of a family unit. As you can see it works very, very well for Daphne, Keenen and their children. “It’s not a bad thing; it’s just a transformation of the family.” says Daphne. “It’s like anything else where you add parts and reconfigure. So when you reconfigure, you’re still mom and dad. Divorce never speaks to what happens to the family.
You say to yourself, ‘Damn we’re divorced, but what should we do about being mom and dad. It’s like a misnomer”. On Daphne’s blog she goes into detail about the subject of divorce in a piece she calls, The New Divorce And How It Affects The Modern Family. It definitely gives insight into what happens in a divorce to the family unit. In speaking with Daphne she definitely practices what she preaches because you can feel that her spirit is harmonious and at peace with her life as it is in this moment in time with her divorce and the relationship she has with her children as well as her ex husband, Keenen. It is definitely a blessing to be at peace with where you are in life because some women cannot get past the resentment and feeling that they should be reaping the rewards of the foundation that was built in the beginning of the friendship/relationship/marriage. Many women don’t know how to move forward? Daphne advises, “The way out of the fire is to go through it. Just be willing to go through it. The more you lie down and pretend like you’re dead or you try to go around it, under it, on top of it… it’s still there. You have got to go through it because through it you come out stronger, bigger, better, more enlightened and that’s where the wisdom is. The wisdom comes when you go through it. That’s where you build your character and you build who you are. It’s an opportunity to come out on the other side greater than where you came in. In it there is a phase of anger, sadness, disappointment and all the phases of what seems like a death. Until you come out of that crescendo that’s when you will look in the mirror and see how you got yourself in that position. How did you get yourself in the position to not have what you want after you built it? If you built something, you built a marriage, you built a man and you created him to make him great… what did you do after that?” Love, marriage and divorce are topics that can go on forever in a million directions and as a writer for the Huffington Post she tackles all those topics and more. “I write for them and it was something my publicist was able to arrange for me, but I wanted to write for them because it felt like they needed me and I needed them. It was very mutual and it’s a broad audience so it just made sense. I get a lot of feedback from everywhere because when I do something once it’s published, I disperse it throughout my social media world so I hear from everyone”, says Daphne. She has become an expert in her own right by having five children and knowing what it takes to have a friendship, be married and then divorced from your partner. Her experience has allowed her to start writing two books at the same damn time on relationships and parenting. She is the type of writer who can dig deep within to pull up some very insightful views on the human experience when it comes to relationships. I’m not saying she has extra superpowers, but when you have no television in the house, your other senses get 100 times more powerful. With her Huffington Post gig having a large audience along with her social media followers who look to her for advice she says, “To be honest I really don’t like to advise people on their situations because a person knows what they should do and it’s their perspective. I never want anyone to say, ‘She told me to do this.’ I want people to take responsibility for their lives and decide what they should do by looking at it because they have to live with it. I don’t even tell my own children what to do. I use a few tools and I say, ‘How would you feel if that was you? How would that make you feel? Just be that other person for a minute.’ This really gives them the skill set to think about their own life. So for the most part I try not to advise people. I just say, ‘When I was in that position, this is the way that I handled it.’ I’m not that person and that person has to live with the consequences of a decision made good or bad. Usually when things don’t turn out well they want to blame someone else for the bad decision made; so I really do try to avoid being in that position. I just really try to guide them toward their own knowingness. Usually a person knows the answer; they just want approval.” Daphne loves the parenting part of her life, but don’t give her your kids to parent. Reality TV has produced shows that allow us to look into the world of parents who have no control over their own children. An expert had to come in and incorporate parenting techniques to the home. What would Daphne do? “That doesn’t help a parent to fix it,” she replies. “Obviously it brings some calm to the scene, but it doesn’t establish a rapport between the child and the parent.
Sometimes there are some very lazy parents who don’t want to be the bad guy. In that case they don’t want to be responsible for anything and they’ll ask someone else to do it. I get asked all the time to parent someone else’s kids and I have to say, ‘No, this is your child and you have to take responsibility for this kid and put them in a safe environment.’ For example, there are some things you wouldn’t tolerate from a friend. I would never let my friend talk to me that way or let a stranger talk to me like that. Nothing warrants having a rude or impolite disposition. My kids and I see kids that are just rude. It’s rude the way some kids speak to their parents.” Some parents or mothers also get into trouble in their relationship when extreme mothering gets to the point where nothing else matters including their marriage and everything becomes secondary or ignored. Daphne adds, “Yeah they don’t have a life of their own. They learn the hard way.” “She is so active in that and I love it. She is one of my sister friends. All of the efforts of the organization go towards keeping a child alive in Africa. She had T-shirts made up that said, ‘Drug Dealer’ because they provide medicine to the children in Africa.” In her spare, spare time Daphne is busy on Instagram… “I am mentoring 40 women on how to be a mompreneur,” reveals Daphne. “It’s a new area I am exploring so that moms can stay at home and be with their children and they can also be at home with their husbands and really take care of the home and at the same time bring in a little income by having their own businesses where the home life isn’t compromised. It’s pretty awesome.” What’s awesome is Daphne Wayans! Check out her e-boutique and buy something nice for yourself on her website at http://www.daphnewayans.com On the site you can see her celebrity photo shoot video for clothing designer Marisa Kenson who makes the most stylist clothes for women. There are more surprises coming from the house of Wayans. Stay tuned on her Twitter pages for daily updates http://www.twitter.com/Daphnewayans