Posts tagged with "Essence"

Kur via Kierra Felton for Republic Records for use by 360 Magazine

Kur – The Hold Over

Drumming up palpable buzz, rising Philadelphia force of nature Kur revealed a new bundle of songs entitled The Hold Over via Meek Mill‘s DreamChasers and Roc Nation/Republic Records. Listen to The Hold OverHERE.

To celebrate the project’s arrival, he shared the music video for the new single, “For My Fam.” Watch it HERE. The intense production matches his energetic rhymes as he declares, “I done got so many scars, but I’m grateful.” He instantly captivates with bold bars and a hard-hitting hook. The visual seamlessly translates this spirit to the screen and illuminates his star power. 

He bulldozed a path for The Hold Over with “Road to the Riches” last month. It arrived to garner critical acclaim. HotNewHipHop described him as a “talented lyricist,” and Essence highlighted it among “New Music This Week.” The project also boasts previously released “Sheist,” “Let’s Talk,” and “Play It Cool.”

Next up, he’ll deliver a hometown performance at the Roots Picnic on June 4th.As the story goes, Kur first cut his teeth by leaving the competition speechless during lunchtime cyphers at W.B. Saul High School. Projects such as the Straight From The Kur mixtape and Upside Down Cake EP (where he murdered the beat for Drake‘s “Poundcake“) led to the biggest hometown endorsement possible. Meek Mill shared lyrics from “33 Shots” on Twitter as Kur went on to participate in the 2016 BET Hip Hop Awards cypher with Sam Black, Ms. Jade, Dave East and Young M.A. Around the same time, he joined forces with New York phenomenon Dave East for the EP, Born Broke, Die Rich.

2019 saw him approach critical mass. His project Shakur spawned the infectious “Crack” and powerful “Soul” [feat. Mozzy], eclipsing 10 million cumulative global streams. On its heels, “Spare Me” vaulted to #14 on the Apple Music Hip-Hop and Rap Chart and #20 on the All Genres Chart. This prompted Meek Mill to proclaim Kur as “the soul of Philly”. Signed to DreamChasers in partnership with Roc Nation and Republic, the 2021 LP It Shouldn’t Be Like This elevated his total streams past 77 million.

count to ten cover art by Bri Hall for use by 360 Magazine

COUNT TO TEN PODCAST RELEASE

COUNT TO TEN’ PODCAST WITH CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED BIPOC AND QUEER ARTIST, INFLUENCER, AND CONTENT CREATOR BRI HALL LAUNCHES NEW EPISODE: RACE & ROYALTY WITH BRITTANY LACKEY & GERMANI MANNING OF BLACK GIRL BRAVADO 

“Some proclaim the title of social media influencer just because they have a lot of followers, but [Bri Hall] is using her platform for good to reach her 1 million followers around the world.” — START YOUR DAY, BLACK NEWS CHANNEL

“[Count to Ten] aims to unpack appearance-based discrimination and more… [Bri Hall] wants the podcast to elevate people’s various lived experiences with the hope of also hitting home with those who haven’t lived them.” — WWD

Multi-hyphenate BIPOC and queer artist / influencer Bri Hall launches episode 2 of her new weekly podcast ‘Count to Ten presented by RedCircle. Available across all streaming platforms now, the new episode entitled Race & Royalty features Brittany Lackey and Germani Manning of Black Girl Bravado. Oftentimes when we think of a “post racial society,” we hear about minorities who have “made it.” Minorities who exist in the top 1% of society as the beacon of hope. Sometimes this is used to gaslight experiences with race by saying, “that was not racist, it was classist,” when it can be one, the other, or both. Today’s episode is all about exploring intersectionality of race, class, and power. Tune in now, here.

Raised in the DMV area (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) and now based in Los Angeles, Hall has achieved over 1.1 million followers across social media plus 50 million views and counting on YouTube as a content creator. Through her various work, including partnerships with Fenty Beauty, Calvin Klein, Clinique, Facebook, Google, etc, and her music project under the moniker La Hara, the rising thought leader has garnered positive praise from ABC, Allure, BET, Black News Channel, Bustle, Cheddar, Elite Daily, Harper’s BAZAAR, ESSENCE, NBC, NYLON, PopSugar, Refinery29, Washington Post, WWD, among several others. Utilizing her dedicated fanbase and established platform, Hall hopes to open an honest dialogue around delicate and indispensable topics such as race/racism, feminism, sexuality,  intersectionality, the model minority, DACA/Dreamers, invisible disabilities, mental health, and more. 

‘Count to Ten’ is a statement of defiance against the notion of “staying calm”—something individuals in marginalized groups are told to undermine their experiences when facing complex issues around social and racial injustices, gender or identity inequality, mental health, and more. Taking ownership of the phrase “count to ten,” the podcast is Bri Hall’s way of breaking that silence and creating a safe, educational yet entertaining space where listeners can feel seen and heard. Throughout the podcast, Hall will tap a special guest to provide their unique insight and expertise on select themes. Upcoming guests in the first season include Keziah Dhamma (aka Swirly Curly), Brittany Lackey and Germani Manning (Black Bravado), Bukola Odeosun, Darian Harvin, Aliza Kelly, Kristopher Head, Charlotte Nguyen, Helya Mohammadian (Slick Chicks) and Marta Elena Cortez-Neaval (Abilitee), MANNYWELLZ, and Jen Winston (The Greedy Bisexual). 

For Bri Hall, every project is an opportunity to explore new avenues to push boundaries and showcase different sides of her as an ever-evolving creator and trendmaker. On the ‘Count to Ten’ podcast launch, she states, “I’m excited to share a huge part of myself that supporters don’t always get to see from an Instagram photo or a makeup tutorial. Between filming for videos and creating content, I’m deeply engaged in conversations with colleagues, friends, and family about social justice, personal struggles, and marginalized identity. It feels like such an organic step to use my platform to further delve into these stories on a larger scale. I hope that people will learn more about marginalized identities and themselves through this podcast. Oftentimes, the gap between empathy and apathy is a lack of understanding and a fear of asking the wrong questions. By having a first person, fly-on-the-wall invitation into these conversations, I hope a deep feeling of connection between diverse communities will emerge for my fans and new listeners.”

‘Count to Ten’ episodes:

  • January 18th — Do I Seem Relaxed with Keziah Dhamma (Swirly Curly)
  • January 25th — Race & Royalty with Brittany Lackey & Germani Manning of Black Girl Bravado 
  • February 1st Being First Gen with Bukola Odeosun
  • February 8th — Do the Write Thing with Darian Harvin 
  • February 15th — Hex and the City with Aliza Kelly
  • February 22nd The Truth of Invisible Disabilities with Kris Head
  • March 1st Excluded? The Model Minority Myth with Charlotte Nguyên
  • March 8th Ableism in Fashion with Helya Mohammadian (Slick Chicks) and Marta Elena Cortez-Neaval (Abilitee)
  • March 15th Show Dates: How DACA has Impacted Artists with MANNYWELLZ
  • March 22nd The Greedy Bisexual with Jen Winston

About Bri Hall:

One of the brightest cultural leaders of her generation, Bri Hall embodies the kind of visionary creativity that defies all boundaries and transforms the way we view the world around us. With a global reach that now includes over 1.1 million followers across all platforms, the 27-year-old artist, social-media creator, and motivational speaker has continually turned her creative passions into a conduit for community-building and increased awareness of such crucial issues as social justice and mental health—all while channeling the singular joy of unbridled self-expression.

A first-generation American whose mother immigrated from Jamaica, Hall was born in New York but moved to Maryland at the age of five. As a young child she started drawing portraits, discovering an affinity for art that she partly attributes to an urge to connect with her absent biological father (a stained-glass artist). A lifelong creative polymath, Hall took up poetry in third grade, and within just two years saw one of her pieces published in a national poetry journal. Later on, she earned the distinction of being one of two students in the entire state to be accepted into a highly competitive visual and performing artists middle school, which helped to refine her raw talents and self-taught skills. Throughout her childhood, Hall further broadened her artistic horizons by learning to play clarinet in elementary school and later taking up piano while enrolled in a prestigious science and technology program in high school. During her junior year, she began exploring social media by kicking off a weekly Facebook feature in which she created time-lapse videos documenting her work as she drew or painted a portrait based on subject requests submitted by her followers. The feature was an instant hit, and in 2011 Hall launched a YouTube channel to showcase her increasingly in-demand speed portraits. 

While studying animation and game design at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Hall continued posting art videos and began appearing on camera—a turn of events that soon led to the launch of Smartista Beauty, a separate YouTube channel that served as a hub for the hair and beauty tutorials her viewers immediately clamored for. With her very first Smartista Beauty post amassing a staggering number of views, Hall quickly emerged as a beauty guru backed by an immensely devoted following (as well as support from global brands like Calvin Klein and Google). Not only known for the awe-inspiring ingenuity behind her wildly popular tutorials, she gained widespread recognition for the vulnerability and candor of her content, often using her videos as a sounding board for such complex and intensely personal topics as self-love and Black feminism. As more and more viewers tuned in for Hall’s insights into living a more fulfilled and empowered life, she took the stage for a TEDx Talk in 2018 and detailed her journey in following her creative dreams to incredible success.

In all of her endeavors, Hall merges her limitless imagination with a profound sense of purpose. In 2019, for instance, she made her musical debut under the name La Hara, an R&B project whose first round of singles included “Hereafter”—a quietly powerful track she wrote after the death of a close friend, then released during National Suicide Prevention Month in order to help others struggling with grief. More recently, Hall has aligned her longtime mission of increasing representation in media with her growing fascination with cosplay, tapping into her extensive makeup savvy and morphing into a series of iconic characters rarely performed by Black artists and creators.

In her commitment to endlessly magnifying the impact of her platform, Hall is now set to launch a weekly podcast called ‘Count to Ten.’ Presented by RedCircle, the show will include intimate and unfiltered conversations with guests whose personal experience speaks to the inequities affecting marginalized populations all around the world. To that end, the first season of ‘Count to Ten’ finds Hall and her guests discussing everything from the model minority myth and the intersectionality of race and class to ableism in fashion and the politics of natural hair. Inspired by the heart-to-heart talks she engages in on a daily basis—and the moment of re-centering pause many people with intersectional identities must frequently take in order to coexist in a variety of spaces—’Count to Ten’ ultimately reflects the driving force behind all of Hall’s output: a one-of-a-kind gift for taking the ordinary stuff of everyday life (a conversation, a bare face, a blank page), then introducing the extraordinary to expand our sense of possibility and reshape the way we live, work, and care for each other.

Kash Doll × Wale × Eric Bellinger

Today, award-winning, certified artist, entrepreneur and actress Kash Doll reveals the music video, which exclusively premiered on Tuesday on Facebook, for her red hot new single “Single & Happy” feat. Wale & Eric Bellinger. It arrives ahead of the fourth episode of the highly anticipated STARZ series Black Mafia Family, which features the rap femme fatale in a recurring role.

Watch the music video for “Single & Happy:” HERE
Listen to “Single & Happy”: HERE

In the visual, Kash Doll occupies an ornate and classy mansion. As she raps right from bed, the rising superstar simultaneously auditions a series of potential suitors in between performing the track alongside Wale and Eric Bellinger. All at once, it reflects her attitude, swagger, and style on-screen, affirming her star power.

Since dropping last month, “Single & Happy” has already amassed millions of streams and counting. Earning critical acclaim, Complex praised how the track “gets straight to the point: understanding your self worth and seeking a partner who only adds to what you already have, rather than becoming someone you can’t live without.” Vibe highlighted the song’s “positive messages, while HotNewHipHop proclaimed she “didn’t hesitate to bring her bad bitch energy. Sohh summed it up as “pure audio fire.

It followed her previous single “Like A Pro” [feat. Juicy J]. Right out of the gate, HotNewHipHop raved how she “comes with nothing but energy, and Brooklyn Vegan hailed it as “a bouncy, catchy, raunchy new jam. Revolt predicted “the record is expected to be blaring through the speakers of the club ASAP. Elite Press put it best, calling it “one of the best songs of the year.

Kash Doll, who has gathered over 1 billion streams worldwide since signing with Republic Records, continues to pull up everywhere this year. She features on Saweetie’s “Hoops” alongside the legendary Salt-N-Pepa from the mega-anticipated Space Jam: A New Legacy Soundtrack. She took the stage at Detroit Summer Fest this month. Next up, she joins the bill of the Migos “Culture III” Las Vegas Weekender on October 15 and Rolling Loud LA on December 10.

Kash Doll continues to make waves. Receiving critical acclaim from Vulture and Marie Claire, Essence praised, “If there’s one rapper who can teach us a thing or two about remaining confident, it’s Kash Doll. Meanwhile, she guested on “Friday Night Cypher” from Big Sean’s chart-dominating Detroit 2 and joined forces with HoodCelebrityy for “So Pretty.”

Detroit native Kash Doll has impacted the music industry with a commanding force, dropping street-earned truths with her throwback wordplay and powerful bars. The one-two combination of spirit and sass announced her as fiery female force in 2019 after quietly amassing 30 million-plus on-demand streams, garnering the BMI Social Star Award and “Issa Wave Award” at the BET Social Awards, securing a new management deal with Title 9 Productions and inking a recording contract with Republic Records. An unbelievable story brought her to this point. Losing her dad on just her first birthday, she always held down multiple jobs to support her mom and siblings. And at 18, she started investing in herself eventually opening two beauty bars and funding her own music career. She made waves on the 2014 independent debut mixtape, Keisha Vs. Kash Doll. Following 2016’s Trapped In The Dollhouse, she developed a presence as a touring force and earned coveted co-signs from Drake, Big Sean, Rick Ross, Remy Ma, and many more. The 2018 The Vault mixtape captured #1 on multiple mixtape sites as her debut single for Republic Records “Ice Me Out” and its 2 Chainz-assisted official remix clocked 85 million-plus total streams. Last year, Kash Doll also released a project solely for her fans titled Brat Mail to thank them for all their continued support. The project garnered over 30 million global streams and features the break out single “Check.” Shortly before Brat Mail, Kash released one of her biggest singles to date, “For Everybody,” which racked up over 101 million YouTube/VEVO views independently. Outside of music, this boss runs Kash Doll Enterprises and does charity work around her hometown. Her city bestowed the “Spirit of Detroit” Award upon her. Additionally, in 2019, Kash Doll released her debut album Stacked, received a 2019 BET Award nomination for “Best Female Hip-Hop Artist,” garnered critical acclaim for her album from Billboard, MTV, UPROXX, BET, Forbes, Nylon and more and toured with Meek Mill. This year will be full of brand new music, acting and more from the Detroit star.

Image via RCA Records for 360 Magazine

Justin Bieber × Wizkid × Tems – Essence

JUSTIN BIEBER JOINS WIZKID AND TEMS ON ESSENCE

WIZKID TO RELEASE MADE IN LAGOS DELUXE ALBUM ON AUGUST 27

MADE IN LAGOS NORTH AMERICAN TOUR SOLD OUT

The official song of the summer takes a new turn today! Justin Bieber joins Wizkid and Tems on the widely popular Essence, resulting in a fresh new Afropop vibe.  Click here to listen.

The new version of Essence, plus three additional tracks, will be included on the Made In Lagos Deluxe album, set for release August 27 via Starboy/Sony Music International/RCA Records – click here to pre-order.

The original version of Essence continues to climb the Billboard Hot 100 and Global 200 charts and serves as the perfect musical accompaniment in various TikTok and Instagram clips from Kevin Hart, Doja Cat, Saweetie, Kylie Jenner, Michael B. Jordan, Winnie Harlow and more.  

Released October 2020, Made in Lagos is currently #4 on the Billboard World Albums chart, the longest charting album by a Nigerian artist for the new decade (2020) at 39 weeks and counting. The album is also the longest charting album by an African artist on the Worldwide and European Apple Music albums charts. The 14-track project includes features from an incredible group of chart-topping artists – Burna Boy, Skepta, Damian Marley, H.E.R. Ella Mai and Starboy Entertainment’s youngest signee Terri.

Following the incredible success of Wizkid’s critically acclaimed Made In Lagos album, the Grammy Award winner will embark on the now sold-out North American tour. Kicking off September 10th in Boston, the 16-date tour will give fans the chance to celebrate alongside Wizkid with special guests to be announced.

Stream Essence featuring Justin Bieber and Tems

Stream Made in Lagos

Follow Wizkid via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

ESSENCE Festival Promo image via Sheila Harris for use by 360 magazine

ESSENCE Festival Features Bobby Brown × Keith Sweat

ESSENCE Festival of Culture will feature R&B legends Bobby Brown and Keith Sweat on July 1.

It’s official! The battle for the title of R&B king is back on the line and this time, two of the genre’s icons are going head-to-head for the crown in a Verzuz battle to rival the best of them—and it’s all going down at the 2021 Essence Festival of Culture presented by Coca-Cola.

Get ready to watch none other than Bobby Brown and Keith Sweat go hit-for-hit in what’s sure to be an epic showdown filled with a host of the R&B classics we love. Mark your calendars and get your watch party crew together to watch these stars on Thursday, July 1 at 8 PM EST via ESSENCE.com, the Triller app, and the Verzuz TV Instagram page. The Essence Festival x Verzuz stage is a show you surely won’t want to miss.

Bobby Brown is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, and dancer who has been dominating the music industry since the 1980s. Originally part of the R&B and pop group New Edition, Brown stepped out for a highly successful solo career in 1985. He’s known for his hits like Don’t Be Cruel and Every Little Step. His sound was influenced by musicians like Prince, Michael Jackson, and Marvin Gaye, which served him well as he went on to win Grammy Award and even cameo in Ghostbusters II, for which he contributed two songs on the soundtrack. He later married (and divorced) superstar singer Whitney Houston and wrote a tell-all book about his life, which was released shortly after her death. He has since returned his focus to his music, including performing once before with Keith Sweat at the Valentine’s Day Music Festival in Houston, TX.

Brown will appear opposite Keith Sweat, a fellow singer, producer, and R&B genius. He was also an important early figure in the new jack swing movement. Sweat’s career began in the 1970s and he has gone on to soar to new heights ever since. The musician honed his craft in his early years while he was a part of the music group Jamilah, before branching out as a solo artist in 1984. His collection of hits like I Want Her, Make You Sweat, and I’ll Give All My Love To You won him not only fans and fame but also awards recognizing his stellar R&B style. He eventually found himself working with other expert musicians again when he helped form the R&B supergroup LSG with Gerald Levert and Johnny Gill. He also discovered and supported other popular R&B groups like Silk and Kut Klose.

As a part of their showdown, the Essence Festival × Verzuz stage will feature an endless list of hits like Bobby Brown’s My Prerogative, Don’t Be Cruel, and Every Little Step, as well as Keith Sweat’s Nobody, Twisted, and Make It Last Forever. In other words, you’ll want to have all your best dance moves ready, folks. 

Essence Festival of Culture x Verzuz is sponsored by Ciroc, Nike, and Coca-Cola.

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

Reese Sherman Q×A

Reese Sherman is a talented photographer who creates stunning portraiture. The photographer has been featured by the likes of Town & Country, Essence, Ambassador Digital Magazine, W Magazine, Muze, and more. The vibrant portfolio of Sherman’s evocative, striking, beautiful photographs can be viewed on their website or Instagram. Sherman looks to empower viewers with their photography and highlight gender-neutral inclusivity and LGBT+ acceptance. During this pride month, we sat down with the artist to discuss their latest photography project, which involves self-exploration, unity, and love.

Could you tell us about your photographic approach to this project?

This all came about during the BLM and Trans Lives Matter movement, where I was noticing so many people were standing up and showing up as themselves. Such an array of different people showed off their style and spoke loud and proud about who they are. [It] really inspired me to pick up my camera and shoot my husband wearing masculine clothes mixed with feminine jewelry against bright, bold and colorful backdrops. [These photos] showcase[ed] him being 100% comfortable within the style of art and fashion. I wanted to explore incorporating feminine elements within a masculine framework in a way that transcends sexuality. This is all about style and freedom and identity that goes beyond any pre-conceived category.

“This is all about style, freedom, and identity…” Was your model, Jamarr, a part of the creative process as well? 

Jamarr is a creative individual… I love to collaborate with him and have him give his input into projects, especially this one, where we both styled the wardrobe and jewelry. Also having my husband a part of this, I wanted the story to stay true to his own authentic style, since his normal everyday accessory wear isn’t geared towards feminine pieces. But, styling him with a pink beaded necklace, yellow roses and eyeliner really took him out of his norm—but he was confident in wearing it all.

Did photographing your partner make this project more intimate/personal?  

Absolutely! We just know each other so well to the point when we first started to talk about this project, we spoke about the issues the LGBTQ+ community was going through. The issues that the Black community was dealing with made this personal to us. Seeing Jamarr model and stay grounded in his sexuality was inspiring to me. This made us both proud of what we’re hoping to accomplish, which is gender-neutral inclusivity.  

Some of your images are more detailed and some of them not, could you tell us what this mean/how you would like the viewers to interpret your photos?

I want the viewers to see timeless, intimate and non-conforming pictures. I want viewers to feel confident to do whatever is it that makes them happy. if you want to pile on a bunch of jewelry head-to-toe, do it! If you’re a man and you come across an accessory that is traditionally feminine, wear it and be proud! If you’re a woman, same thing applies, if you want to wear clothing that’s traditionally male. Be proud of how you present yourself. I just want people to feel empowered.

What is the most important component of this collection of work?
Two words: unity and love.

What is the most challenging component of this collection of work? 

The challenge was putting this all together and hoping the result would match what we envisioned in our minds.

Could you comment on the styling of choice and what inspired you to choose these colors in particular? (Apart from the colors of the pride flag!)

The unapologetic energy of the model, the juxtaposition of the traditionally feminine jewelry against his body hair, the structured clothing made of shiny, flowing fabrics—they all promote the idea that masculinity is what you make it. Initially the pink just felt fun and exciting. Yellow felt like sun kissed skin plus it reminded us of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The orange/red was striking and sexy. And a lot of the jewelry was my grandmother’s, so that added an even more personal aspect to the work.

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

Alex Bogdan illustration for 360 MAGAZINE of Jazmine Sullivan.

ESSENCE × Jazmine Sullivan

ESSENCE’s July/August 2021 issue features GRAMMY nominated singer Jazmine Sullivan and EMMY award-winning actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II on its two covers dedicated to the “ESSENCE Festival of Culture” and “Summer Screen Kings” respectively.

In the piece, Jazmine’s Tale, the singer and ESSENCE Festival of Culture Presented by Coca-Cola headliner (which will stream across two weekends June 25-27 and July 2-4 on ESSENCE’s website and on ESSENCE Studios) slays in bold colors and white-hot looks from Stella McCartney, Fendi, Cong Tri, Aliette, Alix NYC and more. She opens up to Insecure co-creator/writer/producer Issa Rae about the importance of holding space for Black women, therapy and the freedom of sharing her own journey. She talks to Rae about:

  • ON HAVING A MASTER PLAN…OR NOT: “I wish I could say I had a master plan, but I really didn’t. I was just doing what felt natural, and luckily I had gotten with a record company and with people who allowed me to do that. But for me, I just wanted to express myself in the most natural way, and that means me writing my stories. So many of the songs at that time came from a lot of the childish stuff I was going through. For example, busting windows out of an ex’s car and literally going straight from doing it to not being able to sleep. I was restless, because I was still in the moment. And so I just started writing about it. I let my girlfriends hear it, and they were like, ‘Girl, do your thing—whatever this leads to.’ And it led to my world opening up in such a different way…”
  • ON TELLING BLACK WOMEN’S STORIES: “Before now, I had really just been concerned about expressing myself and getting my story out there—and people have connected to that. But for this project, it was important for me to share the stories of the women I love and hold dear to my heart. I feel like they are just as banging and dynamic as me. And I want to give space and opportunity to women, period…”
  • ON MAKING SPACE FOR OTHER BLACK WOMEN: “I feel like we get caught up in thinking there’s ‘only one’ of us. There can only be one R&B superstar; there can only be one rap girl at a time. That’s not true. God was not stingy when He was giving out gifts. And you’re not the only person. There are many other women, especially Black women, who can do what you do. And let’s all create spaces for each other to get out there and do that…”
  • ON FINDING THE RIGHT THERAPIST: “The first five minutes I was holding back tears, because I was like, ‘Wow, this is the first time I’m actually speaking about my feelings. And it’s not in a song. It doesn’t require notes. I don’t need to impress anybody with what it is that I’m actually doing. This is the first time.’ So I was holding back tears even doing that. But after that first five minutes, I was surprised by how much I was enjoying speaking to somebody, and somebody listening to me, and I didn’t have to perform to do it. But finding the right therapist is a process—because I went to therapy one time, years ago, and I hated the experience, and I feel like it stopped me from going for a long time. And then I found this new lady, and it’s a totally different experience. So you have to find the right person for you, that you actually want to open up to. But once you do that, a weight lifts off of you—just from speaking, just from telling your story. And that’s what Heaux Tales was. It’s like, ‘Tell it, girl. Tell it. Set yourself free.’”

In the piece, Summer Screen Kings, it’s obvious that leading man Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is here to stay. Given the space he has carved out for himself in Hollywood, the meaning of his name (which, roughly translated from Arabic, means “Graced by God”) seems particularly prescient. At 35 and a towering 6 feet 3 inches tall, Yahya’s imprint in Hollywood continues expanding. Weeks away from the release of his first leading role in Candyman (in theaters August 27), Yahya will also star in The Matrix 4, the newest installment in the Matrix franchise, as well as his third action flick, Ambulance, next year. As he heats up the issue in designers including Fendi, Hermes, Gucci and more, he talks to ESSENCE Senior Entertainment Editor Brande Victorian about what really drew him to acting, his definition of sexy and whether a rom-com is next on his list of achievements:

  • ON WHAT IT REALLY MEANS TO BE SEXY: “I don’t think sexy tries. Ease is sexy. It’s nice to have a little bit of mystery, and if I’m being perfectly honest, it’s not for me to say whether I’m attractive or not. It’s for me to have self-confidence. Confidence is sexy…”
  • ON HOW HIS CURIOSITY DREW HIM TO ACTING: “I wasn’t itching to be a star or anything like that. I wasn’t thinking about movies or television. I just started following my curiosity…I got here by staying curious, by staying humble, and also knowing that there’s so much more that I want to do…I think I’ve done a lot on other people’s terms. I’ve been able to step into projects that were already written before my name was attached, and I’m so thankful that I was able to step in and support those projects. But now I’m at a place where I’m looking to come into rooms with my own ideas, and develop those ideas and tell my own stories. I think that’s the next chapter…”
  • ON WHETHER A ROM-COM IS IN HIS FUTURE: “We need more romance…We have adventure. We have action. We’ve got a lot of stories about trauma, because trauma is very present in our world right now. But we also need love. We need more straight-up, old-school romance. I don’t mind putting my hand up and stepping into that place to say, ‘I’ll be your man, girl.’ I don’t mind that at all…”
  • ACTRESS/DIRECTOR REGINA KING ON YAHYA’S DEDICATION TO THE WOMEN IN HIS LIFE: “That man talks about his sisters and his mother with so much love and so much appreciation…I think that was one of the reasons why we connected so well. It doesn’t always work that way with actors, that you feel safe enough to be so forthcoming with your personal life, but we did that literally day one. His love for the women in his life, he leads with that…”

ESSENCE’s “Summer Screen Kings” package also features hot actors Don Cheadle (Space Jam: A New Legacy), Omar Sy (Lupin), Aaron Pierre (OLD) and Mekai Curtis (Raising Kanan). For more on this issue, which hits newsstands on June 29, visit ESSENCE For more information on the virtual ESSENCE Festival of Culture Presented by Coca-Cola, visit ESSENCE’s Festival website

All Photos: Brad Ogbonna

Kash Doll illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Kash Doll × Thumbin

KASH DOLL RELEASES NEW TRACK “THUMBIN”

LISTEN HERE

“Kash Doll is sharp, headstrong and savvy” – Billboard

“One of the most promising acts of female rap’s current class” – Nylon

“Kash Doll has established herself as a pioneering force in the industry.”– MTV

“Kash Doll has established herself as one of hip-hop’s leading female voices.” – XXL

Stars in 50 Cent’s New Starz Series ‘Black Mafia Family’ Due Out Later This Year

Emerging as one of the culture’s most undeniable voices, gold-selling Detroit rapper, entrepreneur, and actress Kash Doll unleashes her new track “Thumbin” today via Republic Records.

Listen to “Thumbin:” HERE

On this bag-chasing anthem, Kash Doll rips through bars as fast as she counts cash over simmering trap hi-hats and a sample of crisp dollar bills flapping. Flexing without apology, she flosses on the immediately irresistible hook.

It arrives on the heels of her knockout collaboration with DJ Famous “Bad Azz” feat. Mulatto & Benny The Butcher, which has amassed 9 million streams and counting. Beyond features from REVOLTPitchforkBrooklyn Vegan and more, UPROXX claimed, Kash DollDJ InfamousMulatto, and Benny The Butcher show why the competition is mad with ‘Bad Azz’.

She also asserts herself as a 360-degree entertainer in 2021 by joining the cast of 50 Cent’s new series ‘Black Mafia Family’ on Starz later this year.

Kash Doll continues to make waves. Receiving critical acclaim from Vultureand Marie ClaireEssence praised, “If there’s one rapper who can teach us a thing or two about remaining confident, it’s Kash Doll. Meanwhile, she guested on “Friday Night Cypher” from Big Sean’s chart-dominating Detroit 2 and joined forces with HoodCelebrityy for “So Pretty.

Detroit native Kash Doll has impacted the music industry with a commanding force, dropping street-earned truths with her throwback wordplay and powerful bars. The one-two combination of spirit and sass announced her as fiery female force in 2019 after quietly amassing 30 million-plus on-demand streams, garnering the BMI Social Star Award and “Issa Wave Award” at the BET Social Awards, securing a new management deal with Title 9 Productions and inking a recording contract with Republic Records. An unbelievable story brought her to this point. Losing her dad on just her first birthday, she always held down multiple jobs to support her mom and siblings. And at 18, she started investing in herself eventually opening two beauty bars and funding her own music career. She made waves on the 2014 independent debut mixtape, Keisha Vs. Kash Doll. Following 2016’s Trapped In The Dollhouse, she developed a presence as a touring force and earned coveted co-signs from Drake, Big Sean, Rick Ross, Remy Ma, and many more. The 2018 The Vault mixtape captured #1 on multiple mixtape sites as her debut single for Republic Records “Ice Me Out” and its 2 Chainz-assisted official remix clocked 85 million-plus total streams. Last year, Kash Doll also released a project solely for her fans titled Brat Mail to thank them for all their continued support. The project garnered over 30 million global streams and features the breakout single “Check.” Shortly before Brat Mail, Kash released one of her biggest singles to date, “For Everybody,” which racked up over 101 million YouTube/VEVO views independently. Outside of music, this boss runs Kash Doll Enterprises and does charity work around her hometown. Her city bestowed the “Spirit of Detroit” Award upon her. Additionally, in 2019, Kash Doll released her debut album Stacked, received a 2019 BET Award nomination for “Best Female Hip-Hop Artist,” garnered critical acclaim for her album from BillboardMTV, UPROXX, BETForbes, Nylon and more and toured with Meek Mill. This year will be full of brand-new music, acting and more from the Detroit star.

FOLLOW KASH DOLL
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook 

Rhianna Illustration for 360 Magazine

RIHANNA x ESSENCE

ESSENCE, the leading media, technology and commerce company serving Black women, kicks off 2021 with a stunning January + February cover art exclusive. Legendary artist Lorna Simpson collaborates with global fashion and beauty founder Robyn Rihanna Fenty, who recently launched Fenty Skin globally in stores in the U.S. and the U.K.

Their goal was to reinterpret the narrative of modern-day beauty in the gorgeous photographic cover collage, Of Earth & Sky, and in images comprising a 12-page portfolio feature inside the January + February issue. Over the past 15 years of her acclaimed three-decade career, Simpson has created collages that recontextualize images of Black women from vintage pages ofEbony and Jet magazines. Like all of Simpson’s celebrated works, these original pieces are more than what meets the eye.

Simpson channels Rihanna as her muse throughout the spectacular artistic rendering—reimagining the artist in a way that has neverbeenseen before. Rihanna looks ethereal in designer pieces including from her signature Savage X Fenty line as well as Prada, Givenchy, Hood by Air, Thelma West, Rick Owens and more.

“…I needed to create images of Rihanna to place within the environments of source materials from my archive,” said Simpson. “For the project to have the same kind of dramatic visual intensity as my collage work to date, I had to consider the atmosphere and lighting of specific source materials before arriving to set. Knowing Rihanna’s charisma and commanding presence, my effort was then to be as present and prepared as possible to capture her exquisite performance for the camera…”

The package also features the piece, Anthems of Possibility, written by Simpson’s daughter, writer and actor Zora Simpson Casebere. She weighs in on how Rihanna helped shape her womanhood at an early age and how serving as a stand-in model on set for her mother was a full-circle moment. 

“…At 13, I was deeply grateful that at a formative time in my life, it was Rihanna’s voice and art that became my portals to so many questions about sexuality, sexual exploration and sexual autonomy,” expressed Casebere. “Now, on set, I assisted my mother as a model as she explored how she might later place Rihanna within the visual contexts she’d selected from vintage Ebony magazines, old Associated Press photographs and 19th-century lithographs of mineral specimens.”

“When Rihanna arrived at the set—my first time seeing her in real life—I was mesmerized. She was the very definition of grace, charisma and influence,” continued Casebere. “Wearing a magnificent Maximilian black headdress, she requested the song ‘Thick’ by DJ Chose, then met the camera with power and possibility—power in how she moved her body through space, and possibility in how she dismantled and moved beyond institutional boundaries…”

The gorgeous issue will also pay homage to Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris’ historic win with reflections by five influential Black women: Donna Brazile, Leah Daughtry, Karen Finney, Star Jones and Minyon Moore. In addition, the issue features an interview with Barack Obama talking about his new book and journey as the nation’s first Black president. Plus, iconic actress Cicely Tysonshares an eye-opening excerpt from her new memoir.

For more on this issue, visit ESSENCE.com or pick up the January + February 2021 issue on newsstands next week. (Photographic Collages, Lorna Simpson)

ABOUT ESSENCE COMMUNICATIONS, INC. 

Essence Communications is the number one media, technology and commerce company dedicated to Black women and inspires a global audience of more than 31 million through diverse storytelling and immersive original content. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, experiential and online, ESSENCE encompasses its signature magazine; digital, video and social platforms; television specials; books; as well as live events, including Black Women in Music, Black Women in Hollywood, Street Style and the ESSENCE Festival. Essence Communications is owned by Essence Ventures, an independent Black-owned, consumer technology company merging content, community and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of people of color.

Rhianna for Essence 1
Rhianna for Essence 2
Rhianna for Essence 3
Rhianna for Essence 4
Rhianna for Essence 5
Rhianna for Essence 6
SEVANA UNVEILS “BLESSED” VIDEO FROM HER LATEST EP BE SOMEBODY

SEVANA UNVEILS “BLESSED” VIDEO FROM HER LATEST EP “BE SOMEBODY” 

“The rising Jamaican star definitely has the range…manages to make the song’s already blissful hook sound even sweeter.”

NYLON

“Sevana has the octaves and pipes that give singers like Beyoncé their stripes.”

ESSENCE

“…poised for greatness…effortless, airy and buttery, it [Sevana’s voice] floats above dreamy melodies…forming a blend that feels timeless and yet profoundly modern.”

POPDUST

Sevana released her latest video for “Blessed.” The Jamaican singer gives reverence to a higher power on this Yoram Savion directed visual shot in the rustic terrain of Soda Springs, CA. Sevana towers over the bright horns as her voice overflows. This soul-baring anthem is off her acclaimed EP Be Somebody (out July 31 via In.Digg.Nation Collective / Six Course / RCA Records) and produced by IzyBeats, the hitmaker behind Koffee’s “Toast” and Lila Iké’s “I Spy.” Watch it HERE.

“The visual follows the story of a woman lost in the wilderness. She’s made a home there, but it all comes to a head when a threat finds its way into the home she’s made. Through divine intervention, she escapes. The threat is fear. The woman is me, “ Sevana explains.  It’s the story of my spiritual growth, how I awoke to a relationship with God as my world came crashing down. I  know what it feels like to never be alone again, I am covered, I am at peace. I am Blessed,” she adds.

The “Blessed” visual follows her “Mango” video which has over 2m+ views and is a favorite among the likes of actress Halle Berry and dancehall queen Spice. The latter song is also featured on her 6-track EP Be Somebody.

Listen to Be Somebody EP: 

https://smarturl.it/BeSomebodyEP

Watch “Blessed” Video:

https://smarturl.it/BlessedOfficial 

About Sevana:

Hailing from Jamaica gives any artist a certain legitimacy, but it also brings certain expectations — ones which Sevana lives up to, but also defies. While reflecting the island’s musical sensibilities in some ways,  Sevana’s vocals are strongly influenced by R&B and soul. Be Somebody comes after Sevana’s self-titled EP (2016), her 2018 breakthrough song “Sometime Love” and 2019’s singles “Nobody Man” and “Haul & Pull” off the Protoje and J Vibe produced Rock & Groove Riddim. In 2019, Sevana landed festival performances at Boomtown (UK), Reggae Geel (Germany) and Rototom Sunsplash (Spain), Sole DXB (Dubai) and joined Protoje on some of his major shows, including BRIC’s Celebrate Brooklyn! NYC concert and Jamaica’s largest annual music festival Reggae Sumfest. Sevana has earned notoriety by The FADER, ESSENCE, NYLON, COMPLEX, ASOS, VICE/Noisey, BBC (1Xtra), LargeUp and graced the cover of RIDDIM Magazine’s SPRING 2019 issue. Her naturally radiant look has made her a favorite of photographers and fashion labels. Most recently, she was included in PUMA Middle East’s 2020 campaign along with labelmate Lila Iké. 

www.sevanaworld.com

www.instagram.com/callmesevana

www.twitter.com/callmesevana

www.facebook.com/callmesevana