Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Exclusive Interview with Actress Vanessa Bell Calloway

Always In Good Company
 By Belinda Trotter-James

Vanessa Bell Calloway is a veteran and actress/dancer who has been in the entertainment industry since 1985. You may recognize her from film and TV roles such as, " All My Children",  "Falcon Crest", "A Different World", "The Parkers",  "CSI Miami", "Coming To America" and "What's Love Got To Do With It" just to name a few. Her Broadway and off-Broadway credits include “Dream Girls", "Bring Back Birdie" with her latest project being a one woman show called, "Letters From Zora… In Her Own Words”.

Vanessa is so spectacular in “Letters From Zora” that it has already received two NAACP theater awards. It's a piece that Vanessa is very excited about doing. "I'm trying to get it to an off-Broadway stage in the very near future and I have been very fortunate and blessed to be invited to Crossroads Theater Company to open the fall season”, says Vanessa.  “Letters From Zora” opens in New Jersey from October 9 – 26. She will be flying back and forth between New Jersey and Hollywood to do the play and appear on an episode of “Husbands Of Hollywood”.  
It must be a little scary to do these types of plays because you're the only one on stage. Vanessa didn't agree at all and said, "Oh no it’s not scary at all; it's very exciting and exhilarating”, explains Vanessa.  “You have to love the material that you're doing and be very planted in what you are doing. It's not scary at all. It's so exciting and I cannot wait to get on stage.  Gabrielle Denise Pina, the playwright wrote such a beautiful piece. It's like an hour and a half of poetry; it's a monologue. It's just me for an hour and a half and it's just delicious.”
 To Purxhase tickets to this event https://twitter.com/Crossroads08901

As Vanessa recalls how wonderful it is to make the words of Zora come to life, you can tell from her voice how excited she is to be able to bring this type of material to her audience. The original music, which also brings this journey to life, was composed by Ron McCurdy.  I'm sure fans cannot wait to see her on stage performing at her best.  It is this type of love for what you do that earned Vanessa two NAACP Theater Award nominations for best actress for “Letters From Zora”. 
 “In The Company Of Friends” is a wonderful celebrity web series hosted by Vanessa in her home. Her celebrity friends come to either an afternoon tea or dinner and talk about various topics. Sometimes I will sit in front of the TV with my dinner and pretend that I'm right there with them for a wonderful, lively evening of conversations. "I hope I would have that type of affect on people where they feel they are right there," says Vanessa. "We also had a contest where our audience had to pick a question from the first season and sit down with their friends, food was option and send in a tape of their version of  “In The Company Of Friends”. I had one grand prize winner, but I sent something to everyone who participated.”  The grand prize winner was submitted by Global Lipstick sisters Ebony, Onyx and Jeta who giggled through a topic on ‘Guilty Pleasures’.

“In The Company Of Friends” actually started eight years ago and it aired on TV1 as a special called  “In The Company Of Friends” the same name. “I got the idea because I love party planning, I love to have dinner parties, I love to cook and I'm a gourmet cook”, says Vanessa.  “I do a lot of parties for myself, family and friends. I help put the parties together and friends have said that I should do this for a business. However, I told them ‘no’ because the moment I do that for a business and someone gives me $50,000 to do a party, they get to cuss me out”, laughs Vanessa. “This way I get to do it because I love it and I just want to do it.  I felt I wanted to do it in such a way where everyone can experience what I love to do.  So I came up with the idea about eight or nine years ago and I shot a pilot and Bernie Mack was in my pilot; that’s how long ago I had this idea. I shot the pilot, shopped it and TV1 bought the pilot.”  In the pilot guests included James Pickens, Sinbad and Kym Whitley. It aired on TV1 as a special and after six months they didn't pick it up”, says Vanessa.  The show bounced back to Vanessa who had to figure out what to do with the show. “I kind of sat on it”, remembers Vanessa.   “Finally, a couple years ago I decided to do something with it. I invested my own money and made it a web series."
 The web series has been airing for one year. The second season was just released. You can stream all of them on demand. There are a total of 18 shows, which you can get by going to www.inthecompanyoffriends.tv.   You can watch season one which is a dinner party with Salli Richardson-Whitfield, her husband  Dondr'e  Whitfield, Vanessa Williams, Wendy Raquel Robinson,  Vanessa's husband, Dr. Anchony Calloway, playwright Donald Welch and Shawn Champman Holley. Season two which is now streaming is a tea party which includes Vivica A. Fox, Loretta  Devine, Robi Reed and of course, Vanessa who says it's a lot of fun.

Coming up with topics can be very tricky depending on the personalities in the room.   You never know what will be said at the parties.  However, Vanessa said she never intended the parties to have serious topics.  "The questions were pretty random because I didn't want it to be too heavy’, says Vanessa.   “People want to be entertained and when I shot this, I knew it would be coming out later. You don't want to talk about topics of the day and when you're ready to air it, the topic is old news.  It's best to ask things that are general and still entertaining no matter when people see it.  Another reason Vanessa did the show is because she can take her time talking with her guests.  Vanessa adds, “When we go on these talk shows as entertainers, you’re rushed.  You only have seconds to get your information across before the segment is over. Most of the time you only have two minutes to talk about yourself or any project you're working on and then they bring the next person out”.  
 Well, on “In The Company Of Friends” guests will have more than 15 seconds to get their point across and have a good time eating Vanessa’s delicious meals.  By the time the show is over viewers will know what makes her guests tick.  We get to see their personality and not just a character playing a role at the dinner table.  We will know what they like, what scares them along with their hopes and dreams.  Vanessa's web series was an effort to get interesting people to just talk and open up so you can really see more about them.  “What's interesting is that these are people I’ve known for years and every time I do this I learn more about them”, reveals Vanessa.  “We just sit around the table open to a general conversation. The stories just come out and you learn things about people and realize, ‘Oh my God, I've known you all these years, but I didn't know that about you’.  I really think that's interesting to people.”

Most of us regular folk only get to see entertainers on television or the big screen at the movie theater. We rarely see them outside of their work. It’s just like a child seeing their teacher at the grocery store. It looks so strange and you wonder what is she doing here. To see interesting people such as celebrities sitting at Vanessa’s table in an intimate setting almost feels the same way. We get to see them as real individuals who are having a conversation over dinner.  Vanessa adds, "Yes, that’s right.  My audience becomes the fly on the wall at my dinner parties. They get to see us drinking, eating and cutting up. My guests forget about the camera and start laughing, talking and having a good time”.
As Vanessa mentioned earlier, she loves to throw dinner parties and that includes cooking. She is a gourmet cook and loves being in the kitchen whipping up some very tasty treats for her guest. I smell a cooking spinoff show in the air.  "Actually when I did the pilot, there were two parts to it," says Vanessa.  "The first part of the special was me in the kitchen preparing the food with Kym Whitley. I'm teaching her how to prepare a lobster dish." Vanessa goes on to say that when she starts shooting the show again, she's definitely going to include some cooking segments. Don't worry she does not want to be the next Rachael Ray. However, most people do want to see Vanessa in action in the kitchen. She cannot keep those scrumptious secret recipes all to herself forever. Actually Vanessa has a lot of shows in that brain of hers that she wouldn't reveal because there are too many people stealing ideas and running to the bank with them.

With the play and web show, Vanessa’s schedule has become so crazy that she had to stop taping her popular blog talk radio show. There are 101 shows that you can listen to on demand at www.inthecompanyoffriends.tv. When her schedule slows down a little bit, she will regroup and figure out how she can fit everything in for the fans.  For those who are listening for the first time along with regular listeners Vanessa would love to hear from you to know what you think about the radio show. I'm sure if you let her know how much you enjoy the interviews, she would get back to doing the show a lot sooner. 
 Another reason Vanessa is so busy is because she just directed her first pilot. She is starring in it and she directed it. The concept was created by her producing partner. "I didn't write it, but it's a beautiful piece”, explains Vanessa. “Basically, I called it Thelma and Louise on steroids trying to get their neighborhood on track one brick at a time. It's called, ‘BRICK’. It's about these two women who are a hot mess and it should be out by the end of the year”.

With all these projects going on in Vanessa’s life you may wonder if some of the acting bug has rubbed off on her children. Vanessa replies, “Oh no. Thank God”. We both laughed and then she said, "My oldest daughter is working at CAA right now which is a big talent agency. She wants to be a studio executive, which is a good thing. I'm happy about that and my youngest daughter is a junior at Spellman. She's an English major and she's interested in PR and event planning". Vanessa wondered if her youngest daughter caught the event-planning bug from seeing her mom all those years planning events. Hmmm…. Let’s check back in ten years.  In the meanwhile check out Vanessa’s website to join her fan page, get discounts on merchandise and keep up with all her ventures!
Make sure to follow Vanessa Bell Calloway on twitter https://twitter.com/nessabcalloway

  All rights reserved -- no part of this website may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission from Who's That Lady Entertainment.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Obama: Mistrust Of Police Corroding American Society

WASHINGTON (AP) — The widespread mistrust of law enforcement that was exposed by the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in Missouri exists in too many other communities and is having a corrosive effect on the nation, particularly on its children, President Barack Obama says. He blames the feeling of wariness on persistent racial disparities in the administration of justice.
Obama said these misgivings only serve to harm communities that are most in need of effective law enforcement.
"It makes folks who are victimized by crime and need strong policing reluctant to go to the police because they may not trust them," he said Saturday night in an address at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's annual awards dinner.
"And the worst part of it is it scars the hearts of our children," Obama said, adding that it leads some youngsters to unnecessarily fear people who do not look like them and others to constantly feel under suspicion no matter what they do.
"That is not the society we want," he said. "It's not the society that our children deserve."

TO READ MORE http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/28/obama-police-mistrust_n_5895670.html?utm_hp_ref=black-voices&ir=Black%20Voices&utm_hp_ref=black-voices

Friday, September 26, 2014

(NEW) The Jody Watley Experience WTLE Exclusive Interview!

It's All About PARADISE

by Belinda Trotter-James

Jody Vanessa Watley is a legendary Grammy award winning singer, songwriter, record producer and fashion style icon. You don't have to take my word for it because I'm getting ready to take you on a musical adventure in Paradise.   Actually "PARADISE" is the name of her new album.  It has a metro futuristic sound and is inspired by classic disco soul and funk reminiscent of an era in music from artists like Larry Levine, Chic, Shalamar and Change.

With the popularity of the Internet Jody has been able to independently market directly to her fans. The "Paradise" CD is available digitally around the world and you can also get it at the Jody Watley boutique on her website at http://www.jodywatley.net  "They have been selling like hotcakes", says Jody.  The entrepreneurial side for Jody has always been important when it comes to selling her CDs all around the world. From Paris to the Netherlands, New York, Texas and all around the world people are grabbing up this CD.    You can see some of the fans on her website holding a copy their autographed copy.  That's the best part about getting it directly from Ms. Watley... It is personalized and autographed.  "I just love my fans", says Jody.  "I call them my Paradise Hall of Famers". Thanks to the Internet you can also get your copy of "Paradise" on various digital outlets such as iTunes, Amazon and Google play.  People love Jody's music and that's why she tries to find new and innovative ways to get her music out to the fans.

Jody is so in tuned with her fanbase that she knows exactly where to find them.  There is a  hot spot in Hollywood called Georgio's which is where you will find Jody performing her music.  "It's a modern discotheque for younger people, but everyone is dressed and glamorous", says Jody. "In the past 10 years I've done primarily dance, electronic and house music.  I've been doing house music since the 90's. I really wanted to find a way to bring together some of the modern sounds that I've been doing over the past decade and blend that with those classic groves. I started working on it and performed the songs live before I finished recording them. In doing it that way it makes the songs better. My guitarist, Levi Seacer, who used to play for Prince is on one of the songs called "The Dawn".  The feeling I wanted to invoke was GQ's "Disco Nights" which is one of my favorite songs. It's not a re-creation, but the spirit of the song. I don't want to keep people thinking about the good old days.  I want them to make new memories and think that the good days are now. You're alive, we're alive, we're all breathing so be fabulous now and don't keep thinking that you used to be fabulous; be fabulous now."

Jody goes on to say, "I think so many people go through the motions of life, therefore, "Paradise" is all about celebrating life, being fabulous and "Sanctuary" is a song about home and creating that environment of love and that type of reflection".  Living life day-to-day can sometimes be challenging and she acknowledges that in some of the songs lyrics. "You have to get outside of yourself and allow yourself to enjoy life because tomorrow is not promised.  That's the spirit of "Paradise". Why wait to have a good time", says Jody.

I love the new music however, I did admit to her that I still wanted to hear some of her classic songs especially if I go to see her perform. Thank goodness Jody isn't one of those artists who will get upset when fans want to go back in time.
Jody laughs and says, "The one thing about social media is that I am very active with Twitter and Facebook along with my blog writings on my website. I've been able to expose fans to different types of music; not just my own", explains Jody. "Fans always tell me their favorite songs.  I love to sing my classics in my concerts because it is like a musical journey. I give the fans the classics and I put a new twist on some of them to keep it fresh for me and for them.  I mix it up with the new music because I am an artist who is progressing".

I wish all artist felt this way because there are some artists who get stuck in time along with their fans.  They get content to be just a nostalgia act. Jody adds, "All they do is old songs and that's fine for some, but I try to always be in the mindset of keeping things fresh. If you get in a routine of doing the same songs, then it's no fun for anyone. I respect and appreciate that I have fans who love the classics. The downside to it is that they get stuck. You could have made the best album of your career and they become so closed off that they cannot even process hearing something new. It's like saying, 'Oh,  I just like your first album or I just like your third album'.   That's great, but you're going to miss something really special in life and in general if you stay stuck and that's my philosophy", says Jody.  "In my concerts I enjoy bringing all types of people together. My audience is so diverse and it's my job to make sure they have the time of their lives.  I really try to do that in a classy way, still energetic, still funky, singing live and taking them on a musical journey."

Since that is Jody's philosophy fans are in for a treat so get ready to live life fabulously with Jody Watley starting November 15th at The Tower Theater in Philadelphia. It will be a night of timeless R&B with Lilllo Thomas and The System On November 29th she will be at Cache Creek Casino. To see if she is coming to your town, go to her website for more tour dates. Some of her hits from her Shalamar days will also be included in the show.  "The Shalamar portion of my show will include Gerald Brown who is the original lead vocalist that sang with me on  "Take That To The Bank", says Jody.  "We are great friends and we have a good time. He performed with me last summer when I did the Essence Music Festival. He also sang with me on my recent hit single which is called,  "NightLife"."

Get your tickets for Jody Watley & Lillo Thomas at The Tower Theatre
Buy tickets here http://theatreupperdarby.com/events.php?search_text=Jody+Watley
 For a long time Jody did not have a Shalamar medley  in her show.  She revealed that she had so many songs that just didn't fit into what she was doing at the time. It wasn't until the concept of "Paradise" and the vibe of the show that she was able to incorporate the Shalamar medley  into the show.

Her hit, "NightLife" seems to be doing very well and fans love it. It was the top five on the commercial pop and urban charts in the UK and it was a top 20 dance hit in America. It has that classic soul,  disco, funky vibe to it.  Jody explains, "I kept hearing a male voice on the song while I was creating it. You don't really hear records like that anymore and I asked Gerald to sing with me.  It really made it come full-circle  because his recording career started as a member of the group".

I was pretty relieved to hear that Jody does know her fans want to hear the old stuff however, she cares enough to enlighten them with new music as well for their enjoyment. I told her about an artist (I won't say her name) who sang Christmas songs for 90 minutes of a 120 minute set. I, along with a lot of the audience were not happy. Yes, it was Christmas time, but that's not why I bought tickets to the show. Radio City Music Hall does an excellent Christmas show if that's what I wanted to hear. After Jody and I got a good laugh she said, "You must give the people what they want.  In my set I try to definitely do that and still give them something new and fresh. The first song that opens my show is "NightLife".  People were on their feet because it's energetic along with that classic, funky Jody Watley vibe.  It feels like they know this song already and love dancing to it. It's just a great time" explains Jody.  "When you come to a Jody Watley show, you're going to get everything and more".   She takes you through the whole musical shebang. Even hits that you didn't know were hits are in the show!

 What makes Jody's career so unique is that there are so many genres and so many facets to it. Jody was the first in 1989 to collaborate with Eric B and Rakim to include a rap on one of her R&B records. We see this has become a popular formula for commercial pop, R&B and hip-hop.  There is no collaboration on this album with any rappers. She only did it that one time in her career with Eric B and Rakim on her second album. She collaborate again with Rakim on her hit single,  "Off The Hook" in the 90s. However, after she broke that ground, that was it. "This album  is strictly beautiful, gorgeous, retro futuristic dance music that has live strings and live instruments on it," explains Jody.  "I worked with Mark Pablo who is more known and respected in the underground worldwide global DJ community. Miguel Atwood Ferguson is an incredible musician.  There are live strings on the title song. There is no other record out there like this right now. The closest may be Daft Punk Rock that Mel Rogers helped collaborate on, but I started working on "Paradise" even before that album came out. It let me know I'm on the right track. True music fans miss a certain level of quality in music and the downside is that radio does not play that type of music for adults."
Jody's longtime friend and assistant Wallace Butts warned me not to go back in time with a million questions about Jody's past when she has so much great new music.  He was absolutely right because Jody's entire musical journey is all online. Her career is truly a remarkable,  musical journey. However, I am a Shalamar fan and I just wanted to know how she felt during that time in her life to be a part of such an instrumental group. She granted me my wish and this is what she had to say about that time in her life.

"I think that it taught me how to be on stage and what to do when things don't go right," remembers Jody.  "When we started out it wasn't glamorous, it was all about paying your dues and performing in places where there were only a few people.  I learned how much work it takes to be a professional artist and how to be adaptable".  Jody was so talented that she was the groups choreographer, she did the wardrobe, costuming, the album cover and the entire Shalamar look was conceptualized by Jody. As her solo career grew, you could still see the continuation of her strong sense of style throughout her career.

 Jody is now the proud owner of the Shalamar trademark.  On a business level there are many ways to continue to be Jody Watley and at the same time rejuvenate the Shalamar name.  It was all about learning  the business and how to be an onstage performer. "I also learned how to work with men being that I was the only woman as a teenager starting out with Shalamar.  It was very difficult at times to deal with things such as sexism, verbal abuse and sometimes physical abuse", reveals Jody.  "I had to learn how to deal with it and how to move on in life and have joy. Life is too short to not enjoy it.  Now I am always trying to find ways to enjoy it.  Even through trouble times you can look back on it and say, 'Wow,  I learned from that'.  It is always about moving forward".

If you talk to Jody's mom, she would tell you that Jody has been a performer since the age of four. Growing up in Chicago Jody knew that she was always going to be something.  "I always wanted to be a singer, performer, writer and fashion designer. Now I get to do all those things through my career," remembers Jody.   "I was the child that was a go-getter. I would always be looking for opportunities. At one point I told my mom I was going to have my own modeling school and have my own business. These were things I said to my mother as a little girl and I was able to build upon all of my dreams".  As a child, Jody would write poetry to escape from the challenges she was having as a little girl growing up.  The family life she had with her mom and dad ended in divorced.  "My dad always said I was going to be a star", remembers Jody. "Before I knew what a star was, I used to think he was talking about the stars in the sky."

R&B singer Jackie Wilson is Jody's godfather therefore, show business was something that she was always around. Her parents knew Mahalia Jackson and Aretha Franklin who have known Jody since she was a little girl.  Her father and grandfather were ministers, therefore the family moved around frequently and lived in a few states. For some people moving around can be traumatic especially for children who may have gotten comfortable with their surroundings and made friends.  However,  it looks like the constant moving prepared Jody to be very adaptable with life in dealing with all types of people from all ethnicities and income levels.  At one point her dad had lost everything and he was trying to get the family back on track.  They ended up moving to LA which was perfect for Jody because she was the type of child that was always looking for an opportunity. It paid off because her career has taken her all around the world.  She even lived in London for a few years.

When you talk to musicians and artists who started years ago, they will tell you how much the music industry has changed. "The music industry as we know it is gone," says Jody.  When I first started out as a professional recording artist, you went on tour or performed at clubs.  Independent promoters would book acts, but now everything is really difficult if you're not associated with some of the big corporations who control all of the venues", recalls Jody.  "When I first started there were independent privately owned radio stations all around the country. You could drive from the West Coast to the East Coast and hear different types of music. It was original music because stations could play what they wanted to play. They would make a playlist, a double-play or a triple play list. DJ's could play an entire album of an artist if they wanted to. I remember when Stevie Wonder's song, "In The Key Of Life"  played on the radio. I sat in my mom's car and listened to the whole thing commercial free. That would never happen today."  In the 90's everything became deregulated and that made it more corporate. You cannot call in to a radio station to request a song; it's already automated. The DJ's don't pick what they play; they get told what to play.  The freedom to choose what is played is over and therefore the diversity in the music is gone as well.

Today there are major changes on how people get their music and Jody realizes that she had to change the way fans can get her music.  People don't really buy music the way they used to because there is more competition for their time: the Internet, video games and television can take up a lot of an individual's time.  "That's one of the reasons why I made "Paradise" with only seven songs," explains Jody.  "That's the classic amount of songs that were used through the mid-80's. Isaac Hayes only had four songs. With the attention span of fans being so short, it's all about quality over quantity.  Nobody needs to listen to 20 songs of filler. Just give me the good stuff", laughs Jody.

Another way technology has changed the industry is that fans no longer have to wait for a record company to tell them when an artist will release new material. All you have to do is Google the artist name to get your update.  Jody adds, "If I'm curious about certain artists, I would just Google them and find their Twitter or Facebook page.  I don't have to wait to see if the video plays on BET or MTV anymore.  I can just go to YouTube. It's all about reality TV now therefore, everything is more accessible and older fans must go on You Tube because they will not hear certain songs on commercial radio. Technology is just changing the habits of how people discover music."

With the Internet and social media dominating the way we live fans, colleagues and artists can interact with each other easily.  "I met Erykah Badu on Twitter", says Jody.  "She is one of my twitter friends and has given me high praises. It's great because you can hook up directly with the artist. Back in the day you had to go through a manager and hope the artist got the message that someone wanted to collaborate with them."  She's right; it's easy to directly stay in touch with artists today.

Ebony magazine has announced their top 25 black music style icons and Jody Watley was listed among some amazing artist. "It's an awesome list of musical icons which include Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Beyoncé, Prince, Lenny Kravitz, and Michael Jackson", recalls Jody.  "It is an honor for me anytime that type of acknowledge comes my way.  It was a nice surprise to be included with my contemporaries and artists I grew up inspired by as a child."

Not only do fans love Jody; designers love her as well.  She mentioned that a young French designer by the name of Jerome C Rousseau designed a fierce bootie for her. "All the young girls love his shoes: Rita Ora, Katy Perry and his 2014 collection is inspired by Jody Watley", says Jody.  "My style has always been a part of my music. With some great artist you can always attach a visual and that's what sets them apart beyond just having talent; they have a vibe. When you think of Jimi Hendrix, you have a visual of what he looks like and his style."

Jody has always marched to the beat of her own drum whether it's with the jumbo earrings or high fashion outfits.  Jody revealed to me that back in the day the record companies didn't understand the bridge between fashion and music. When "Harper's Bazaar" asked Jody to be in the magazine, the record company couldn't understand what a fashion magazine had to do with selling records. Jody had to pay her own way to get to New York for the shoot because the record company wouldn't pay for it. Now the record companies understand and that's why you see Beyoncé, Rihanna and other girls inside the magazines.  I can only guess that Jody Watley helped to open that door. The labels were only worried about crossover backlash or what the urban audience was going to think.

The advice Jody leaves for those following in her footsteps is to know who you are.  "Know yourself and don't wait for somebody to tell you who you are; know who you are", advises Jody.  "You have to be strong and don't be afraid to say, "no".   I've never been afraid to say "no" no matter what the repercussions would be.  Stay true to yourself and hold onto that because when all is said and done, you will have to live with yourself. This industry will chew you up and spit you out. We have seen sadly enough some artists who became self-destructive losing the balance between show business and life. Living your life is number one and you have to keep that in mind. Don't just aspire to be famous or rich; aspire to be joyful and great in what you do.  This industry can make you lose yourself and you might end up doing all kinds of things. I've never written or recorded a song that I felt I couldn't sing 25 or 30 years later and feel good about it."

Hmmm... That's a good point. Maybe that's why some artists don't want to sing the old songs. It could be that they didn't like the song in the first place. Now I understand what artists may have gone through and I will never ask them to sing old songs again. What brings back good memories for fans may not be the same for the artist.  As I ended the interview, Jody's last words of advice for aspiring artists was like getting a golden key.  "You have to always hold onto your authentic self in this business and watch your own back. Never believe that someone is going to watch your back better than you."

Make sure to follow Jody Watley on twitter https://twitter.com/jodywatley

 All rights reserved -- no part of this website may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission from Who's That Lady Entertainment.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Eric Holder To Step Down As Attorney General!

WASHINGTON — Now that Attorney General Eric Holder has announced he will resign, the challenging task of finding a replacement who can win Senate confirmation begins for President Obama.
Holder, an Obama confidant and original Cabinet member, said Thursday he will depart the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed.
A look at some possible replacements being mentioned:
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick: A close friend of President Obama, Patrick is not running for re-election in November. He has long been mentioned as a possible replacement for Holder. Patrick was chief of the Justice Department's civil rights division under Bill Clinton. As governor, Patrick won raves for his handling of the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath. Patrick said Thursday that attorney general is "an enormously important job but it's not one for me right now." 

TO READ MORE VISIT http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/09/25/eric-holder-attorney-general-replacements/16203345/

Monday, September 22, 2014

Vanessa Bell Calloway-The Play Letters from Zora New Brunswick, N.J Oct 9th-26th 2014

Actress Vanessa Bell Calloway will be heading to the eastcoast for her One Woman Play
"Letters from Zora" In her own words by Gabrielle Denise Pina at the Crossroads Theatre starting October 9th-26th 2014
Tickets are on sale at http://www.crossroadstheatrecompany.org/
Also follow Vanessa Bell Calloway on Twitter https://twitter.com/nessabcalloway  and follow playwright Gabrielle Denise Pina https://twitter.com/gabriellepina

Look for Vanessa Bell Calloway Exclusive Interview on http://www.whosthatladyent.com among our other Phenomenal Women.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Exclusive Interview with Chante Moore! Moore is More

It's Alright To Love Yourself

 by Lenell King

With over two decades of blessing us with her angelic voice, Grammy Award winning R&B Diva, songwriter Chante Moore is back with new music from her latest album "Moore Is More" along with a new book, entitled, "Will I Marry Me".  I have been a big fan since her hit single, "It’s Alright" back in 1992.  She recorded several hit records back in the day including, "Love's Taken Over", my favorite, "It's Alright", "Free" and "Old School Lovin'", just to name a few.  Chante was also featured on the soundtracks of, "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" and "Waiting To Exhale".  In 2002 she won a Soul Train music award for best R&B single. She looks like she hasn't aged one bit and is just happy to still be doing what she loves and that's creating good music for her fans.  For those new fans who have been introduced to her on R&B Divas L.A., Chante reveals a little bit of her backstory on how her career started.

Chante: It was a lot of hard work when I first started. I’m from San Francisco and then moved to San Diego where I lived for ten years in my teens.  I was  working in the city writing music and songs at the time. I didn’t really know  that I would be doing it for a living.  I met El Debarge along with his manager and eventually, El’s manager became mine.  His name was Fred Moultrie. A little after we met I got signed to MCA Records.  I was under Louil Silas, who passed away, but that was where it all began at Silas/MCA Records.

Lenell:  One thing that has always stood out about you is your vocal range. How do you maintain your voice after all this time?

Chante: I stay away from the air conditioner because the Freon can take your voice.  It isn’t really something that I work hard at preserving.  I know when it’s cold I always keep a scarf around my neck. I try to make sure that I don’t hurt my voice when I’m not singing.  You can hurt your voice more while talking. It’s actually worse for your voice than singing.  I try to shut up. (Laughing)

Lenell:  From the time you‘ve come on the scene we’ve seen singers come and go. You have maintained your relevance. Would you say that being on R&B Divas L.A. reality TV show has helped that process?

Chante: Yes it has. It certainly has opened up my name and who I am as an artist to a whole new generation of people. It’s not something that I thought I would do, but it’s been wonderful to actually have another wave of fans.  It is definitely a blessing to have that happen.   You can't anticipate that kind of thing. I never thought that I would be on reality TV, but I really was attracted to R&B Divas L.A. because it was about music. I wanted to really be able to show who I am musically more so than just trying to be seen.  I’d rather be rich than famous.  The cast of "R&B Divas L.A." are a talented group of women which include Michel'le, Lil' Mo, Chrisette Michele,Leela James & Claudette Ortiz and the second season just wrapped.

Lenell: We see on the show that you had to speak up for yourself on several occasions. Was it a challenge being around so many strong women?
Chante:  I’ve always been very outspoken, very straight forward. I’m pretty clear about my feelings before I open my mouth. My mother always taught me to think then speak. I think I‘ve grown up being true to myself.  I come from a family where my father was a preacher.  He’s still a preacher and he is 80 years old now. My mother was also a singer and is a missionary in the church. I was taught to speak the truth in love. That’s what I try to do, but I don’t always do it right.  What I say is sometimes misunderstood however, what I say is true from my heart.

Lenell: I remember the song, “Chante's Got A Man”. Is that a factual statement now?

Chante: Yeah! I’m actually dating. I’m  really happy to have found a guy who is really understanding, kind and very strong. He knows who he is and he has his own life. He’s completely out of the music industry, which is really great.

I’m not looking to get married at the moment, which makes me more at peace with myself because I’m not waiting for him to pop the question. I’m not even waiting to see if he is “the one”.  We are mutually respecting one another and having a really good time.

Lenell:  How do you select the music that you record? Do you do your own writing or is it more of  a collaborative effort with producers?
Chante: I just start writing. I always write from where I am because I can only speak from my own heart and my own circumstances. If I don’t feel it or get connected to a song, then I can’t sing what I don’t believe in.  So it’s a moment to moment thing to see where I am as a person and just trying to be true to that moment. I don’t sing songs about bashing men because every man is not the same; which is where “Chante’s Got A Man" came from.

The song is really about having mutual respect and knowing that if there is one good guy out there, then there must be ten good guys out there.  That’s what that song was about. Some people misinterpreted it like I’m bragging about having a good man. If I have a good man, then you can have a good man too.  One bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch.

Lenell: Where can fans go to hear your new music and what should they expect from this album?

Chante: It’s out on ITunes and Amazon.com. What I love about this album is that it talks about where I’ve been for the past five years.  It talks about my heart being broken and where I’ve had triumphs. There was also sadness so, there is a song called, “Alone”. This is a song about being alone, but not lonely.  There is another song called, “Don’t Make Me Laugh” which is about the pain I felt that made me feel invisible in a relationship. These things are really, really personal. This is about being misunderstood as a woman, but I finally stand up and realize who I am. It’s a journey; life is a journey. Learning every day from each experience allows you to see that you are always learning. I learn from my friends, my experiences and my failures.

Chante Moore new music link http://therealchantemoore.com/

Lenell: What made you decide to write a type of self help book for women.

Chante I’ve been keeping a journal since I was 12 years old.  I’ve got about 20 books of my whole life. From that I’ve learned to look at myself first. That's what inspired me to write my book entitled, “Will I Marry Me”? I’ve been married a few times and it really is wonderful to take my failures, my pain, my successes and my triumphs from the lonely girl to the vixen, to the girl next door and then to the invisible woman inside of me and write this book.

There are parts of my personality that have been in full effect at different times. This book has been birthed from my life and I share some personal stories in the book. It is also a workbook.  There are pages with lines where you can write your thoughts about yourself while joining me in my journey as you read the book.  I have done some forums already where I interact with people, ask questions and let them ask questions as well.  The beautiful thing about being at the forums  is that people inspire me and in turn my failures and successes inspire them. It is really about taking control and taking the power back.

We typically wait on the guy to ask us to marry them or  we wonder when it will be our turn to be the princess. Well, you are a princess; so, go ahead and figure out who you are.  Write your vows to yourself, have your wedding day, get a dress, get your friends, get them all together and have that wedding day.  It will take out some of the mystery of the day because marriage is not just one day; it is a lifetime commitment.  You really have to be a whole person in order to draw the person that is meant to be with you into your life.  Nobody is going to complete your life for you. Sometimes you need to just worry about you because the person entering your life will have a list of things that he wants from you.  Therefore, are you willing to put that true list on paper? Would you marry yourself?

Lenell: Hmm.... You know when you first revealed this idea on the first season of R&B Divas L.A., it really made us all, including myself and some friends do some self-reflecting.  I can’t wait to read this book.
Chante: It will be in stores in October, but you can order your copy now at http://www.therealchantemoore.com or at http://www.WilImarryme.org It really is a wonderful thing just to be able to have this out and be able to start this train rolling. I want this to be a one woman show where I talk about what's going on in my life and the audience is talking back to me.  It will be a live interaction with everyone along with music.

Lenell: How do you balance it all with your music, the book and motherhood?

Chante: It's one moment one day at a time. When I’m with my children, they come first. When I’m working, I put my whole heart in it.  I just try to be the best that I can. When I know I’m tired, I take a rest.  I’ve got to have a good nights rest.

Chante Moore and SWL Collection http://www.swlcollection.com/
Chante has manage to have a wonderful music career. She is now signed with Shanachie Entertainment and has a lipstick line coming out called, "The SWL  Lipstick Collection with Superwoman Vicki Irvin.  Check out her website, http://www.Therealchantemoore.com for  tour dates, ordering her book, listening to her new music plus you can also join her fan club and chat with her on social media outlets, Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Iamchantemoore 

 All rights reserved -- no part of this website may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission from Who's That Lady Entertainment.

Exclusive Interview with Tameka J. Raymond (Atlanta Exes)

The Journey Of Letting Go And Giving Back

By Belinda Trotter-James

If you are a fan of the show Hollywood Exes, then you may have seen a familiar face from Atlanta Exes on the show. Tameka Raymond was initially asked to be a part of Hollywood Exes.  She declined to do the show because she didn't live in LA anymore. "I can't hang out with those girls. They are settled and established in LA", says Tameka. "I didn't want to come in and pretend I live in LA when I really don't. My life and children are set up here in Atlanta".   For a couple of years the producers, Vernan and Jeff were very determined to have her join their franchise one way or another. "They asked me if I would agree to be a part of an Atlanta cast.  They said, 'If we bring it to Atlanta, would you do it'? and I said,  "Absolutely".  Tameka signed on to do the show and the rest is history.

On the show the girls get to do fun and adventurous things. Tameka conquered one of her fears by getting in the water to swim with dolphins.  "That was really an awesome experience because I am scared of large breathing mammals", laughs Tameka.

Let's face it the only reason we get to peek into the lives of the wonderful cast of women on the show is because they are the 'exe' wives of very famous celebrities. Their private and public lives, whether it's good or bad are showcased in front of millions. This is the time when you need a very strong support group around you. Even the strongest person can mentally be paralyzed at the thought of not having a relationship with the person who you thought you would spend the rest of your life with.

The Hollywood Exes and Atlanta Exes franchise is a good thing because it will show all women who are traveling along the same journey that you can move forward. Just watch Tameka's story line to see how she moves forward with her life. "You have to maintain your identity and you have to know your purpose", advises Tameka.  "One thing I think we lose in marrying very popular, very wealthy or very dominant type of men is our identity.  We as women had big dreams and goals before marrying that man. We had dreams before people had their opinions. Therefore, I think if you just stay focused and think about what your destiny is, you will be alright without them. It will hurt and the hardest part is the emotional part of getting over a failed relationship. That's probably the hardest part, but once you realize that it's life and sometimes things just don't work out, you will have to pick up the pieces and keep moving. You really do."

Along with the emotional pain of trying to move forward you also have to physically start getting rid of stuff as well. We had a chance to peek into Tameka's closet on an episode of Atlanta Exes to see that she could not or did not want to get rid of anything. "I am a self proclaimed hoarder", admits Tameka.  "I keep a lot of stuff.  I have things from 20 years ago", she laughs. "I've got stuff from any time you can imagine however, it's going pretty well".  Actually at the time of this interview she was doing a photo shoot at her house to capture all her stuff on film to be sold online at http://www.TamekajRaymond.com   Fans will be delighted to know that they can have their own little piece of Tameka Raymond. It will be an e-commerce site where she will sell looks from the show.

I confided in Tameka that I went to Fashion Industries high school, but couldn't get into Fashion Institute college because I couldn't draw well enough to design clothes.  I knew we had something in common because she went to The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I definitely wanted to know if this was the beginning of her career as a stylist. "Actually I wanted to be a buyer.  I did not desire to be a fashion designer", says Tameka. "I wanted to do merchandising and buying. My goal was to go all over the world and shop for department stores.  I wanted to be the type of person that selects and forecast trends".

 Hmmmm.... We discover that Tameka went to school for merchandising however, fate had something else in mind for Ms Raymond. While in school she would hang out, socialize and go to parties; it's what young girls do.  Some of the people she would see were from the music industry.  Everyone would admire the way she put her outfits together.  "They would say, 'Oh we love your style. You got flavor girl'.  Todd Russaw approached me about styling his groups Subway and 702," remembers Tameka.  Some of you may remember a girl group called 702 which was the area code of Las Vegas, Nevada their hometown. The girl group had a lot of style and always looked fabulous on the red carpet, during their performances and at events.  Now we know it was Tameka Raymond who was the genius behind the sexy yet classic looks.  "I started with the group who was signed to Michael Bivins at the time. I was asked to help style the group and create the looks. That began a long, long lasting career  for me", remembers Tameka.  Her long list of celebrity clients include Lauryn Hill, Toni Braxton, Usher, Patti LaBelle and Nas just to name a few.

Some celebrities  can be very picky and may or may not like some of the things their stylist selects for them to wear. Celebrities totally rely on their stylist to make them look good. I wanted to know which of  her clients took a chance wearing creative outfits.  "I think that Lauryn Hill and I were very creative together. We created a revolution of vintage denim and we did a lot bangle stacking", recalls Tameka. "Lauryn was the one that I was really able to do a lot with".

Tameka was so skilled at her craft that MTV, E! and Access Hollywood would ask her to do makeover shows.  "Harpers Bazaar would ask me what was my take on various award shows like the Emmys or my commentary on the Oscars in relation to fashion and fashion advice", says Tameka. "Sometimes I would just accompany clients who would appear on various networks to style them".   If you are reading this in hopes of getting tips for a styling career, Ms. Raymond is your girl.  Tameka advises, "They should learn as much as they can about fabrics, textures and which things are okay to put together.  One should also stay true to themselves and not always try to follow trends. I don't consider myself to be very trendy.  I do think it's important to stay current however, you don't always have to follow trends." Nowadays the trends are half shaved heads, black lipstick and jeggins.  If it does not look right on you, don't fall victim to the trends and follow Tameka's expert advice... "I think you should stay true to what is classic and what looks good other than what's the hottest trend".

Tameka's schedule is full with her career and being a mom however, she does take the time to mentor girls between the ages of 10 and 17. "I felt that as a mother who has all sons, I wanted to focused on the girls.  If I can straighten them out then the boys will follow", says Tameka.  "I think the boys do a lot to impress the girls and men do a lot to impress women. So, I feel if we clean up the girls and teach them class and poise without revealing all their body, it would help guide young ladies into becoming women."

Life is good even when it looks like things are tragic. Tameka has gone through a season that no mother wants to face and that's the loss of a child. Her son Kile, who was only 11 years old passed away in the tragic accident.  In honor of her son she started the Kile's World Foundation. "Kile was very artistic", remembers Tameka. "He was into performing arts, he loved to sing and dance, he did fine arts and graphics. He was smart and a computer genius. So I decided to do a performing arts camp every summer. This is our second summer because it's only been two years since Kile past and that's the focus for Kile's World."

As I looked at the foundation's site, there was a caricature of Kile with angel wings. It was perfect because on the site there is a photo with Tameka standing around a group of beautiful, happy faces of children who will benefit from Kile's World who may have never gotten a chance to explore the arts.  In Kile's World children can participate in fine arts, theater, dance and vocal classes. This is definitely needed because in some areas our  public school systems has failed our children in keeping arts in the schools. When children have something to do, they don't get in trouble with police or get shot for just being.  As humans we often question God as to why tragic things happen in order for good things to take place.  Kile was a very integral part of Tameka's world. They were very, very close like kindred spirits. Through Kile's World his spirit will live on in many children for years to come and Tameka has been blessed with a gift to help children tap into their artistic talent.  "I really just want to help other children who are interested in the arts and lead them in that direction", says Tameka.

In addition to Kile's World Tameka has a foundation in Oakland called 'The Oakland Natives Gives Back Foundation which started seven years ago with co founders Dr. Nyeisha Dewitt and Delicia Abdur-Rahim. Tameka and her friends are all from Oakland, California and they give away backpacks, bus passes and school supplies to children in need.  "We also give away shoes to the children in the underserved communities in Oakland", reveals Tameka.  "We do it every year as a back-to-school rally at City Hall in Oakland.  A lot of parents can't afford to buy shoes or get transportation for their kids to get to and from school. We furnish them with all of that".

 Tamika has been through a lot but she is not bitter and she is not scorned as a result it. On Atlanta Exes she is depicted as being an aggressive character, but it's television and the purpose of television is to entertain. As you can see, the people in the editing department do their jobs very well.  Tameka adds, "You want to show people that they have to see controversy and problems get resolved. It would be pretty monotonous watching us sitting around having lunch talking about our exes all day.  You have to see a little bit of drama, a little bit of tears and a wide range of emotions".

You can keep up with Tameka on Twitter  http://www.twitter.com/tamekaraymond own a piece of her at http://www.TamekajRaymond.com and visit Kile's World to see how your child can participate or give a donation at http://www.kilesworldfoundation.org

 All rights reserved -- no part of this website may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission from Who's That Lady Entertainment.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Download Lil Kim New Mixtape "HARDCORE"

Yep the Queen Bee just dropped another Mixtape CD titled "HARDCORE" so now for you real Lil Kim Fans make sure to visit her website to get your copy http://www.lilkim.com

Actress Mari Marrow Another Phenomenal Women

One of our favorite actress Mari Marrow who some may remember from the movie "How to be a player" with Bill Bellamy. This starlet has done countless movies and sitcoms and as we keep featuring our Phenomenal Women just a quick reminder that Mari is still working doing projectss.
You can follow her on twitter https://twitter.com/Mari_Morrow and visit her website http://www.marimorrow.net/MariMorrow/Welcome.html

About Mari Marrow
Miami native Mari Morrow began acting in theatrical shows as a child to raise college funds for students in need. However, she didn’t catch the “acting bug” until high school. Her love of the dramatic arts led her to New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts where Morrow broadened her repertoire to include singing, dance, theatre, mime, circus arts and clowning.

Morrow’s first television appearance was on the popular syndicated series Baywatch, which she also counts as one of her most memorable. She remembers getting encouraging words from the show’s star, David Hasselhoff, “He told me the key to success is to stay positive and give 150% in all that I do.” Sound advice that has carried her throughout her career. She went on to secure a recurring role on ABC’s Family Matters, and guest spots on a number of popular shows including The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, The Jackie Thomas Show, and M.A.N.T.I.S. Morrow’s big screen debut was in the film Bodily Harm where she starred with Daniel Baldwin and Linda Fiorentino.

Morrow has gone on to work with some of the industry’s most talented actors including Denzel Washington in Virtuosity and Mehki Pfeiffer in the Acapulco Film Festival winner An Uninvited Guest. Her undeniable sex appeal and comedic skills garnered her a co-starring role with Bill Bellamy in How To Be A Player and she also had a recurring role with LL Cool J in the UPN comedy In The House. However, to legions of fans, Morrow is best remembered as Rachael Gannon on the popular ABC soap opera One Life To Live.

TO READ MORE VISIT HER WEBSITE http://www.marimorrow.net/MariMorrow/Welcome.html

Video- Public Enemy Perform with Roots on Jimmy Fallon/ Check PE RADIO

Still going strong 30 years later! Public Enemy just performed on Jimmy Fallon which is the celebration of Def Jam record 30th Anniversary. Chuck D one of Hip Hop most  respected rappers is still a voice of power in Hip Hop.
The group is still touring and still has a strong following globally with out mainstream radio. For one reason they have their own radio station called Rapstation with various DJ'S and show.
TO HEAR RAPSTATION CLICK THE LINK http://www.rapstation.com/rsradio/

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

WTLE Exclusive Interview with Ms Vivica A. Fox


By Belinda Trotter-James

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.
Visit http://vivicafoxhair.com/ for Vivica's Hair Collection

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."

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.

Make sure to follow her on Twitter  https://twitter.com/MsVivicaFox

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