Ciara keeps the dance floor hype going with her new release “Freak Me,” a collaboration with Nigerian star Tekno Miles.
On the track, which follows her viral smash, “Level Up,” the veteran songstress delivery intimate and spicy lyrics while taking command of the dance floor. “Wind slow on it, take control of it, take all of it,” she sings. “I’ll be the freak that you need / I won’t tell nobody / How you freak my body.”
A few days ago, R&B veteran Eric Benet posted a photo on his Instagram profile, which read: “If all you rap about is “killing black people,” “degrading black women,” “abusing drugs,” “materialization,” and “living a low life” – you are not an artist, you are a black face for white supremacy. You are being used to help destroy your own people.”
The post generated opinions from many fans, some who agree and some who don’t. Rapper Fat Joe gave his two cents after a TMZ cameraman asked him to comment on the post by Benet.
“That’s his opinion. I view music as entertainment, man. It’s just entertainment,” Joe says in the below video. “We have different rappers with different messages. It’s all entertainment. If you’re gonna go and you’re gonna live your life behind a rap song, then you’re the fool. …We make gangsta rap people go work out to. People in the Army, Navy, fighting wars, they get hype to our shit.”
Joe also added, “I don’t know what he’s talking about. It’s a shame. I love Eric Benét.”
Rapper Wale also commented on the post, insisting, “Hip-hop always had an affinity for material things,” he wrote in TSR’s comments. “It’s a part of the very fabric (no pun) but does not define the players IN said genre.”
Issue, Photographed by Tyler Mitchell
Do you remember a world before Beyoncé? The singer has been in our hearts and headphones for more than 20 years, from teenager to mother of three. The Queen graces Vogue’s September issue this year, sharing the story of her latest pregnancy and delivery, her thoughts on body acceptance and the influence of her ancestry, and the legacy she hopes to leave her children. Beyoncé’s fourth Vogue cover is also historic: It was shot by 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell, a rising young black photographer from Atlanta, hand-selected by the star. In this month’s cover slideshow, the Houston native stuns in Louis Vuitton, Valentino, and Gucci.
Pregnancy & Body Acceptance
After the birth of my first child, I believed in the things society said about how my body should look. I put pressure on myself to lose all the baby weight in three months, and scheduled a small tour to assure I would do it. Looking back, that was crazy. I was still breastfeeding when I performed the Revel shows in Atlantic City in 2012. After the twins, I approached things very differently.
I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth to Rumi and Sir. I was swollen from toxemia and had been on bed rest for over a month. My health and my babies’ health were in danger, so I had an emergency C-section. We spent many weeks in the NICU. My husband was a soldier and such a strong support system for me. I am proud to have been a witness to his strength and evolution as a man, a best friend, and a father. I was in survival mode and did not grasp it all until months later. Today I have a connection to any parent who has been through such an experience. After the C-section, my core felt different. It had been major surgery. Some of your organs are shifted temporarily, and in rare cases, removed temporarily during delivery. I am not sure everyone understands that. I needed time to heal, to recover. During my recovery, I gave myself self-love and self-care, and I embraced being curvier. I accepted what my body wanted to be. After six months, I started preparing for Coachella. I became vegan temporarily, gave up coffee, alcohol, and all fruit drinks. But I was patient with myself and enjoyed my fuller curves. My kids and husband did, too.
I think it’s important for women and men to see and appreciate the beauty in their natural bodies. That’s why I stripped away the wigs and hair extensions and used little makeup for this shoot. To this day my arms, shoulders, breasts, and thighs are fuller. I have a little mommy pouch, and I’m in no rush to get rid of it. I think it’s real. Whenever I’m ready to get a six-pack, I will go into beast zone and work my ass off until I have it. But right now, my little FUPA and I feel like we are meant to be.To this day my arms, shoulders, breasts, and thighs are fuller. I have a little mommy pouch, and I’m in no rush to get rid of it. I think it’s real. Whenever I’m ready to get a six-pack, I will go into beast zone and work my ass off until I have it. But right now, my little FUPA and I feel like we are meant to be.
Until there is a mosaic of perspectives coming from different ethnicities behind the lens, we will continue to have a narrow approach and view of what the world actually looks like. That is why I wanted to work with this brilliant 23-year-old photographer Tyler Mitchell.
When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell. Clearly that has been proven a myth. Not only is an African American on the cover of the most important month for Vogue, this is the first ever Vogue cover shot by an African American photographer.
It’s important to me that I help open doors for younger artists. There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don’t matter.
Imagine if someone hadn’t given a chance to the brilliant women who came before me: Josephine Baker, Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and the list goes on. They opened the doors for me, and I pray that I’m doing all I can to open doors for the next generation of talents.
If people in powerful positions continue to hire and cast only people who look like them, sound like them, come from the same neighborhoods they grew up in, they will never have a greater understanding of experiences different from their own. They will hire the same models, curate the same art, cast the same actors over and over again, and we will all lose. The beauty of social media is it’s completely democratic. Everyone has a say. Everyone’s voice counts, and everyone has a chance to paint the world from their own perspective.
Sure, Justin Bieber has made mistakes. The monkey. The mop bucket. A few historical desecrations along the way. Then he spent all of last year telling us he was sorry. (Though it turns out he didn’t mean sorry so much as… Well, we’ll let him explain.) Now he’s found a better way to make up with the world: by making the best music of his life—and forcing all of us to rethink what we believe (Beliebe?) about him.
She’s been making ahead-of-the-curve music and mind-bending videos for 20 years—and that’s no fluke. Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah goes behind the curtain with the ultraprivate creative genius.
This article appears in the June 2017 issue of ELLE, on newsstands now.
At the photo shoot, the accoutrements of being her precede her. A tray of acrylic nails and an almost-empty bottle of professional-grade nail polish remover are carried by Bernadette Thompson, the Takashi Murakami of manicurists. A tall, strong-looking man walks around distractedly, wheeling a Louis Vuitton duffel bag that is smaller than his forearm; from time to time, he spins it in a wide circle out of boredom. Jewels—gold chokers, hoop earrings, and rings in a velvet-lined box—are attended to by a thin young man wearing a black Balenciaga fitted cap and high-top Nikes. There’s a bottle of jewelry cleaner harnessed to his chest and a chain of styling clips attached to his hoodie strings; he looks listless, like he has given his body over to the task. On the table, someone has set down two Kangol hats, one tan, one black: fuzzy, wearable homages to the golden era of hip-hop. They sit there like low-key crowns.