Drew Dixon Speaks: 9 Takeaways from Russell Simmons’ Rape Accuser

Russell Simmons/Drew Dixon
By Brenda Alexander

At just 24 years old, Drew Dixon was a rising A&R executive at Def Jam Records at the pinnacle of rap’s rise. Under the influence of hip hop mogul Russell Simmons, she produced platinum-selling albums, arranged tours and promotions and was responsible for the classic duet between Method Man & Mary J. Blige. But according to Drew, none of her career success was enough to prevent severe sexual harassment and “alleged” eventual rape at the hands of her boss. As a follow-up to her profile in The New York Times, in an interview with Buzzfeed News, Drew detailed how she went from Stanford University graduate with NYC record label dreams, to a victim of abuse and isolation, leading to her eventual exit from the music industry altogether. Here are 9 takeaways from Drew’s story.

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When Keeping it Hood Goes Too Far: Cardi B Vs. Nicki Minaj

Cardi B
 By Brenda Alexander

So Cardi B decided to interrupt the Harper's Bazaar Party during the fashion industry’s premiere celebration of New York Fashion Week for a full-on old school street fight with Nicki Minaj. I knew nothing of this beef, but I digress. What’s more important here is that I’m disappointed that once again, my people cannot handle themselves amongst the Caucasians.

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Tell It Tuesday: Eminem Drops Surprise Album & Proves that Hip Hop Beef & Transparency is Still Hot

By Ta-Ning Connai

First, I'd like to give my sincere condolences and a heartfelt prayer for all the rappers and rap critics that got slaughtered by Eminem on his unexpected sneak attack album, Kamikaze, on August 31:


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Tell It Tuesday: Here's Why This 11-Year-Old Rapper is the Youngest to Get a Major Record Deal

Alaya High aka Lay Lay
By Ta-ning Connai

“Be ready so you don’t have to get ready” is a motivational quote worth repeating. Even Will Smith, Rupaul, Conor McGregor and Snoop have found them worthy of retweeting. 11-year-old Alaya High wasn't born when those words came together, yet she sure seems to epitomize them nonetheless.

Empire Records has some heavy hitters from representation to distribution... Kendrick Lamar, Remy Ma, Migos and the late XXXTentacion. And since That Girl Lay Lay (her hip hop moniker) is one of the hottest things in the game right now, they put her on their roster, now she's the youngest artist ever to get a major record deal!

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Anyone Buying a Lauryn Hill Ticket In 2018 Deserves Whatever She Gives Them

Ms. Lauryn Hill Courtesy Photo via TheMiamiTimes
By Veronica Wells 

I was in fifth grade when Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation was released. I don’t think I could overstate what that album meant to me. It changed the game for me (I would learn later, so many other young, Black women.)

A year later, during a family reunion—where we ended up in Vegas— I saw that Lauryn Hill was performing there, the day after we would have already left. I stood there on the strip, staring at that illuminated marquee, somehow knowing that I was missing something magical, some once in a lifetime event. As you know, Lauryn Hill is still performing her classic album. But if I wanted to hear what I fell in love with, the best chance of that would have been in 1999.

BET’s Docu-Series VIXEN Explores the Rise & Fall of the Video Model

Rapper Nelly with video model in his Tip Drill music video
By Brenda Alexander 

After watching BET’s 30-minute digital docu-series “VIXEN," I was left wondering: was video modeling a legitimate starting point for Hollywood hopefuls that could spearhead a dream career? And did the supposed tell-all 'Confessions of a Video Vixen' by Karrine Steffans change the narrative and perception of video models to hoes?

Tell It Tuesday: A Lesson for Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson & Those Who Victim Blame


Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and Terry Crews
By Ta-ning Connai 

I use to love me some 50 Cent. Key words: USE TO. I know he got his start as one of the kings of Hip-Hop beefs, but now as a full-grown man with a bunch of kids and a whoooole lotta stuff to do, the beef he instigates on social media is RI-DI-CU-LOUS. Makes me wonder if 50 Cent will ever grow up, or will he keep acting like he's just a small dish full of loose pocket change?

The Power exec seems to take a peculiar kind of pride in trolling online conversations. The man who brought us “go shorty it's ya birfday" has taken on bullying like a sport and gossip like it's a part of his work out plan. And while most of his tweets had many of us cringing in disbelief, his most recent remarks about actor Terry Crews have many more saying, “Alright Curtis Jackson, ENOUGH!”

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The Obamas & The Carters: True Love vs. Business Strategy?


By Devon Mac

As I type these words I'm already tired of talking about Jay Z and Beyoncé so please forgive this post. But I was sitting here in the cloud of their media hype and most recently an article about how their joint album, Everything is Love, did not debut at number 1, and a few quandaries began to surface for me.

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Could Removing Butt Implants be the New Jam?


By Mwabi Kaira

I have been blessed in the derrière area and fill my jeans out quite nicely. I feel like it is pretty large as is and can’t imagine trying to make it bigger. Making it smaller would be of more interest to me. Even when I was 35 lbs lighter and in a size 8, I lost much of everything else but this derrière was still right here so it’s not going anywhere. I’ve come to terms with it. When Drake was recently photographed with a woman with a derrière twice the size of mine, I wondered how she could function with it. Also, along with the rest of the internet, we wondered when this butt implant trend would end because some of these jobs don’t look quite right as far as proportions go.

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Tell It Tuesday: For Those Who Feel Like There's No Justice, Remember This

Tupac Shakur
By Ta-ning Connai

June 16 was Tupac Shakur’s birthday. And if he was still alive today, he would have been 47 years old. Often hailed as the greatest rapper of all time, he was Passion Manifested! Whether spitting prose like a modern Gil Scott-Heron, making gangsterish threats to a dope beat or dropping knowledge like the late Malcolm X...when he spoke, the brother made time stand still. And even while performing on the silver screen, he made the fictitious seem soooooo real. Like when Bishop killed poor Raheem and then went after Q in Juice...chiiiiile, I was so scurred, I wanted to jump off that ledge myself! The rapper turned actor deserved an Oscar for that piece and there was more great work to come.

Sadly, the thug life Tupac portrayed so well didn't end when the director said, “Cut!” The same passion that fueled his gifts fueled his anger too, ‘til one day he reached the point of no return.

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When it Comes to Relationships, Here's Why T.I. is the Original F*ck Boy


Rapper T.I. 
By Brenda Alexander

I tend to ignore the opinions of black men who coin themselves the embodiment of a standup guy yet they have such minute views on women, relationships and marriage. As my good girlfriend Amanda Seales recently said in her interview with The Breakfast Club, “Everyone is not a thought leader.” We’ve all had to deal with these new norms from public figures over the past few years giving their opinions on black women as it relates to their value, how they should carry themselves, what they need to do to get and keep a man and so on and so forth. Tyrese has become famous for this, Steve Harvey credits himself as a “relationship expert” and T.I. inserts himself often.

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Nas Is My Favorite Rapper, But I Still Haven’t Been Able to Bring Myself to Listen To ‘Nasir’

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY SARAH ROGERS/THE DAILY BEAST

By Britni Danielle

His raspy voice first boomed through my headphones on the Wake Up Show anthem back in 1994, changing my life forever. I remember sitting up in bed when he began spitting his intricate rhymes, wondering who the hell he was and how I could hear more. At the time, I was shy and quiet, and spent most of my time trying to make sense of my parents’ tenuous relationship, which wobbled on the precipice of divorce. Just when I needed it most, the kid who’d dubbed himself "the corrupt novelist Nas" invaded my ears, giving me something else to obsess over than the demise of my family.

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.

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.

Tell It Tuesday: Will Kanye Ever Be Great Again?

Photo taken by Ta-ning Connai in her Santa Monica neighborhood
By Ta-ning Connai

As soon as we think we've recovered from Kanye’s last outrageous stunt...SURPRISE!....he hits us with another dose of untapped foolishness! He recently poured out some pretty glowing feelings about the POTUS and I suppose he had to ignore Trump’s racist, misogynistic and morally decayed views in order to esteem him that way. The suck up continued with words like “brother,” “love,” and “dragon energy” (huh???) followed by a pic of Kanye sporting a Make America Great Again cap (again). But this isn't a person simply exerting the right to his opinion or political views, as his wife Kim tried to defend. Sadly, his comments point to his slow, but deliberate path towards “white is right, black is whack” (a phrase going back to the 70’s), and that alone is more disheartening than who he would cast his vote for.

Hip Hop Is Having Its Own #MeToo Moment...But Our Change Might Come Slower

Kelis
By Veronica Wells

For years, I’ve wondered what went wrong with Nas and Kelis. There just seemed to be more to the story. After yesterday, when her interview with Hollywood Unlocked was released, I realized I felt that way because we’d never heard Kelis’ side of it. The singer-turned-chef dropped a bombshell yesterday when she detailed the mental and physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband and father of her child, rapper Nas.

Roxanne Roxanne: The Roxanne Shanté Story on Netflix!

Roxanne Shante via Getty Images
By Mwabi Kaira

Before Cardi B, Nikki Minaj, Remy Ma, Lil Kim, Eve, Foxy Brown, Queen Latifah, Salt & Pepper and every female rapper you can think of, there was Roxanne Shanté. 14-year-old Lolita Shanté Gooden released her debut single Roxanne Speaks Out in 1984 and became rap’s first female star. She released Roxanne Roxanne and The Real Roxanne and both albums hit the Billboard chart. The Queensbridge native had a gift for freestyling and her battles became epic both in the street and on wax; the Roxanne Wars were a yearlong saga that followed Roxanne and her rivals. Roxanne didn’t care who she battled and she commanded respect and made male rappers take notice.

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