Why Aunti Vi is Queen of the Small Screen

Tina Lifford
By Brenda Alexander

Aunt Vi, played by Tina Lifford on Queen Sugar, is a character unlike any middle aged black woman we’ve ever seen on the small screen. She’s older but with a young spirit and swag, sexy without trying and motherly without seeming elderly. To top it off, she has a man at least 20 years her junior and has just as much, if not more, spunk than him and the women his age chasing after him. She’s the gap that’s finally been filled to represent the black woman on the other side of 50.

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Pusha T's Album Cover: When Artistry Goes Too Far And Why We Need to Let Deceased Celebs RIP

Whitney Houston
By Brenda Alexander 

Everyone who knows me knows that my love for Nippy (Whitney Houston) runs deep. So imagine my disgust when I saw that Pusha T’s album cover was the photo of her alleged drug den of a bathroom, taken circa 2006. The photo in question was taken by her then sister-in-law during the height of her drug use, sold and subsequently published in the National Enquirer to be absorbed by the masses. Making matters worse, Kanye West paid $85,000 for the “artwork,” which he purchased from said ex-sister-in-law.

In an interview with Angie Martinez, Pusha T explained previous artwork was chosen but changed per Kanye last minute, stating: “He changed my artwork last night at 1 a.m. He wasn’t feeling it.”

That’s the explanation provided. Nothing further.

Tired of Subpar TV? OWN’s Line Up is #BlackExcellence


By Brenda Alexander

When OWN debuted, I was disappointed. Between the reruns of Dr. Phil and 20/20, I couldn’t figure out what the hell Auntie O was doing. Fast-forward to today and she's developed some of the greatest quality shows and content television has ever seen.

OWN’s seasonal campaign is “See Yourself” and that’s exactly what I’m able to do with her current programming. There’s a little something for everyone. For those who have grown tired of Bravo, WeTV and all things Viacom, look no further than OWN to satisfy your needs of multi-faceted stories that depict us in all forms. Here’s a look into what you’ll find in its current rotation.

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If You're Not Watching Real Housewives of Potomac, Here's What You're Missing!

Real Housewives of Potomac Season 3 Cast Promotional Photo
By Brenda Alexander

Whenever I ask friends if they watch Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Potomac, I’m hit with the same response: “I’ve heard about it and saw a few clips, but haven’t watched it yet. I hear it’s good.” Well, what you’ve heard is correct, Real Housewives of Potomac has been slept on and I’m here to wake y’all up!

Why The Suspcicion Around Brandy's Weight Gain Is Symbolic of Our "Body Goals" Obsession

Brandy's interview with True Exclusives 
By Brenda Alexander

Brandy has always been thin. Like no curves, straight up and down, pencil thin. So when pictures of a relatively thicker Brandy started surfacing, people speculated she was pregnant. She denied she was with child but the rumors persisted, as if her added pounds couldn’t be voluntary, or something more serious like a medical issue. How rude?!

After so much talk, Brandy finally addressed her weight gain in a recent interview with True Exclusives and put the body shamers and social media thugs to rest. While explaining that after 7 years of going hard in the gym, rigorous tennis and boxing workouts and eating clean, Brandy had enough and wanted a “foodcation.”

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The 6 Most 'Colorful' Moments from the Royal Wedding

Meghan Markle & her mom Doria
By Brenda Alexander

Thanks to Meghan Markle, the new Duchess of Sussex, we have now #SecuredTheCastle (whoever created this hashtag is a complete genius)! But seriously, how amazing is it to know that a woman of color will be sipping afternoon tea on the regular at Buckingham Palace?!

Aside from the storybook romance of Harry and Meghan- how they were set up on a blind date and married two years later- many Black people waited in anticipation to see just how black the Royal Wedding would get, if at all, and they didn’t disappoint. Here are the 6 most "colorful" aka "black" moments from the ceremony:

Taraji's Engagement at 47 & What it Teaches Us About Not Settling

Taraji P. Henson
By Brenda Alexander

In a 2015 interview with Steve Harvey, when asked about the status of her dating life, Taraji P. Henson declared: “I’m a grown woman...if there’s nothing on this (ring) finger, no one gets claimed. You don’t get claimed until you claim me.”

Well her beau Kelvin Hayden must have taken note because 3 years later, Taraji is now a fiance and wearing it well!

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The Miseducation of Azealia Banks: 5 Takeaways from her The Breakfast Club Interview.

Azealia Banks on the Breakfast Club
By Brenda Alexander

Azealia Banks has been hard for me to figure out. One minute, she's professing the most thought-provoking, incense lighting ceremony worthy opinions and the next, what’s uttered from her tongue makes you eager to refer her to the closest clinical psychiatrist for an immediate diagnosis and treatment- or hire a crisis management firm to reel her in a bit (Olivia Pope would do wonders). But she’s smart. With her intellect, she could stand with Dr. Michael Eric Dyson on a panel discussing whatever is impacting black lives. But her Kanye-esque rants and adult tantrums have overpowered her talent and brilliance. I knew she was a rapper, but I had no idea she could SANG until a clip of her singing I’m Every Woman acapella made its rounds. Her gifts mixed with her lack of censorship have been counterproductive in terms of the success an artist of her stature could achieve. Aside from making headlines for whatever beefs she starts (Remy Ma, Nicki Minaj, T.I. & Tiny, and now Cardi B), there’s a layer underneath that’s full of potential. This was proven further with her most recent interview with The Breakfast Club.

Here are 5 revelations that have me rooting for her.

From Hip Hop Artist to Activist: The Changing Face of Meek Mill

Meek Mill today & from a 2007 mug shot
By Brenda Alexander

When the #FreeMeekMill campaign began, I was unbothered and uninterested. Considering the protests took place near my job, I was irritated at the inconvenience it would cause with traveling to and from work. Furthermore, I was perplexed as to why the entire city of Philly was in an uproar over his arrest and imprisonment. Philadelphia 76ers owner, Michael G. Rubin became a public champion and Meek’s song was even used as an introduction to the Eagle’s game during this year’s Super Bowl. Not being a huge fan of today’s hip hop, I knew very little of 31 year-old Meek Mill.

I'm Here for #MuteRKelly But it's Long Overdue

Photo of R. Kelly by Michael Loccisano 
By Brenda Alexander

When a group of black elite women in Hollywood like Shonda Rhimes, Ava DuVernay and Jurnee Smollett-Bell ban together, you know the project is not one to miss. Little did anyone anticipate that this group of women were joining forces to put their power and voices to a movement that has been overlooked for over two decades. Finally, we have our own political party to help #MuteRKelly. 

No Black Men, I'm Not Boycotting Issa Rae

Issa Rae
By Brenda Alexander

When my brother told me that Issa Rae was a trending topic on Twitter recently, I was too pumped thinking the trailer for Season 3 of Insecure was released. Instead, I wasted precious seconds of my life searching the hashtag only to discover pure foolery.

This is 50! Model Tomiko Fraser Hines is Killing the Game

Tomiko Fraser Hines photo by Guy Viau
By Brenda Alexander

While most fashion models are slowing their careers down by age 25, Bronx-born Tomiko Fraser Hines was just starting out. After being told constantly that she could have a successful career as a model, the brown-skinned beauty eventually quit her job as a secretary in favor of a more flexible gig as a hostess, and began pursuing supermodeldom. Eventually, she signed with renowned FORD agency and began booking commercial and runway work here and abroad, in addition to features in a plethora of magazines and catalogs, as well as campaigns for the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Old Navy. Most people know her for being the first African-American model to land a contract with Maybelline Cosmetics- at age 31, no less!

After taking a hiatus to focus on family, wellness and her advocacy work in women’s empowerment, Tomiko is baaaaaack, and candidly talks with us about why at 50 years old (Happy Birthday Mama!) her career is on fiyah!!!

Kim Zolciak May Not Be a Racist, But She Does Have the Attitude of a Privileged White Woman


Kim Zolciak of the RHOA
By Brenda Alexander 

When Kim Zolciak cried to Andy Cohen about being “bullied” by “Five African-American women” during the Season 10 reunion of RHOA as a result of her obnoxious, inconsiderate and ignorant behavior and comments made throughout her time on the show, I sucked my teeth harder than a teenage girl in an argument with her parents. Her statement that racism is magnified by social media and her castmates owe her an apology for comparing her to a racist in such a digital infused world made me laugh. Oh Kim, the self-proclaimed “black girl in a white girl body.” Even after being affiliated with a show for over a decade with a predominantly black cast, mingling with them and altering your original face to include injected plump lips that many will argue you did due to your love of black features, you are still the typical privileged white woman.

Can Beyonce Ease the Financial Strain of Attending an HBCU?


Beyonce at Coachella
By Brenda Alexander

Following the hysteria and backlash from across the nation regarding the allegations that a Howard University law student embezzled upwards of $400,000 during his work study at the university’s financial aid office, I was impressed to see Beyonce’s new scholarship fund for prospective HBCU attendees. Not that she’s the first to establish a college fund or donate to a historically black college or university, but her recent (and phenomenal) Coachella performance has ignited pride and long overdue attention to HBCU’s and hopefully, attracts more big-time donations, as it is needed.

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Iyanla Teaches Hateful Words Uttered are a Personal Reflection We Must Be Held Accountable To

Iyanla Vanzant & Hazel E
By Brenda Alexander

Although reality television is a guilty pleasure of mine, I avoid the Love & Hip Hop franchise. From fights - to love triangles - to social media scandals - to manufactured beefs for ratings and even going as far as bringing innocent children into the picture to be subjected to the shannigans, the show just does way too much for my liking. Its cast members seem to be the most exploited and then rewarded, going from season to season and jumping cities with pay increases and instagram endorsements. Aside from K. Michelle, Amina Buddafly and Cardi B who used the platform to successfully take their music to new heights, the rest continue to marvel in the madness. Never did I think that an example would be made out of one of the franchise’s stars after seasons of showing her ass. Instead of being reprimanded for throwing drinks on her fellow co-stars or simply acting a fool, Hazel E was instead given the axe after posting disparaging comments about her nemesis' skin color. Black twitter wasn’t having it, production felt it was too much of a PR nightmare to recover from, and her “career” has taken a hit. So what did the fallen reality star do when she had no luck elsewhere? Call Auntie Iyanla of course.

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Double Standards: Can We Stop Nailing Black Women to the Cross While Letting Black Men Run Free?

Fabolous & Emily B.
By Brenda Alexander

I’ve already expressed why I don’t stand with Mo’Nique in a previous piece. I even questioned why Tisha Campbell-Martin would ever re-consider a reboot of Martin after she alleged to be sexually harassed for years on the show by her co-star. Those sentiments remain true for me. However, the same way I can call out a woman who I feel isn’t standing in truth or whose actions I find questionable, is the same way I can change any radio station that plays a song by the “Pied Piper” and turn a channel when one of my favorite shows from childhood, The Cosby Show, appears on my screen. Unfortunately, not many others can do the same.

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And iDanced: Shane Johnson Gives Us a Peek Into the World of Hip Hop Dance Pioneers

Promotional photo for And iDanced with Shane Johnson
By Brenda Alexander

In a time where music videos with coinciding choreography that you mimic in front of your bedroom mirror are almost nonexistent, most hip dances are learned via Youtube and Instagram. With the exception of Beyonce’s core background dancers, the days where artists have a signature ensemble of dancers employed are long gone. I grew up in the 90s where dancers were a vital part of a performance or video. Dancers, at one point, were the main attraction, more so than the artist. Those dancers weren’t known by name but they were recognized by their faces and their moves. Many were associated with the artists they worked with. Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson all had some of the greatest dancers and choreography in its prime. There was one dancer at the center of it all during that time: Shane Johnson.

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Spiraling From Past Trauma: Iyanla Tried to Fix Producer "Memphitz's" Life

Mickey “Memphitz” Wright
By Brenda Alexander

Say what you want about Iyanla Vanzant and what many consider her style of life coaching to be unconventional and exploitative; but, one thing she’s never wrong about is the hindrance unresolved traumas will have on your life. Case in point: Mickey “Memphitz” Wright.

When I saw the preview for Memphitz appearance on the show, I thought to myself: He’s about to act a damn fool. Thankfully, I was wrong...

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The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 10 Leaves Us Craving More Substance

The Real Housewives of Atlanta Cast
By Brenda Alexander

It’s season 10 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta and the first where I haven’t seen weekly headlines or recaps. What started off as a raw and fascinating depiction of the elite black women of Atlanta has transformed into a show of forced story lines and soured friendships. Here’s what we are left with...

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Can Someone Tell Ne-Yo's Wife We're Done Using Terms Like 'Hawaiian Silky' & 'Good Hair?'

Crystal Renay, son & Ne-Yo
By Brenda Alexander

In a time where mom’s are becoming moguls from sharing their children’s hair routine to their thousands of mommy subscribers on Youtube and Instagram, I so thought we were beyond the era of coined terms like “Hawaiian silky,” “good,” and anything else in that word family to describe our kid’s hair in its natural state. That was until Neyo’s wife Crystal Renay Smith shared this photo begging her 363k followers for tips on taming her son’s mane as a last resort because according to her, he wasn’t “blessed with mommy’s Hawaiian silky” texture. My oh my how far she’s set our Wakandan pride back.

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