All Articles Tagged "pop"

Amandla Stenberg Is One Of The Faces Of Stella McCartney’s New Fragrance

March 19th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Photo Credit: Instagram/@stellamccartney

Photo Credit: Instagram/@stellamccartney

Stella McCartney’s new fragrance, POP by Stella McCartney is a nod to the new Millennial woman, and she’s chosen the perfect girl boss crew to be the face of the fragrance.

It’s been nearly four years since English fashion designer Aazers.

So, who are these young women in particular you might ask? Madonna’s 19-year-old daughter/model Lourdes Leon, Canadian artist Claire Boucher, daughter of music mogul Quincy Jones Kenya Kinski-Jones, and last but not least, our favorite young actress that epitomizes the greatness that is #BlackGirlMagic, Amandla Stenberg, all scored the title of campaign models for McCartney’s new POP fragrance. 

“Fragrance and cosmetics should enhance each woman’s unique beauty, not distract or overpower it,” the designer believes, and it’s apparent in POP’s feminine scent that combines a hint of fresh and luxurious florals and bold sandalwood.

“POP is a spirit. It’s about capturing and celebrating that very special and exciting time when you are finding yourself and coming into your own,” McCartney said, further explaining that aside from the product itself, POP is actually an attitude — one of which that speaks to the youth directly. “It’s about freedom, and starting your life away from judgments or labels.”

POP by Stella McCartney will be available exclusively at Sephora and on Thursday, March 24.

Pass Or Play: Kelis Has “Been Given A Morning” On Latest Single

September 22nd, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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"Kelis Been Given A Morning"

This is why we love Kelis: She’ll be lowkey for months and then, out of nowhere, she drops new music and we eat it right up!

That’s exactly what happened on Saturday as “Been Given A Morning” surfaced on the internet. The first thing you notice is that Kelis, known for her unique beats and sometimes harsh lyrics, traded that in for a super mellow joint.  Yes, she had a moment that was more “soft and pink” than bringing her milkshake to the yard.

In the track, Kelis opens up her vocals to a vulnerability many of us haven’t seen from her since she stepped on the music scene (when she was super angry, Kelis).  The song was produced by Basshitter and on Instagram, he described it as a mix of classical, soul and pop music.  We’d agree.

What makes this song extra special is the horn and violin playing right before Kelis begins the second verse. That composition alone is almost enough by itself to give a second listen.

Yes, it is different from what we’ve heard from Kelis but one thing we should never forget: she ALWAYS switches things up. Kelis is truly a musical chameleon and you’ve got to be able to appreciate that.

It looks like “Been Given A Morning” will be on Kelis’ new album, FOOD, which likely has a 2014 release date.

So check it out and tell us what you think!

I Like The Way You Do That Right Thurr! Signs You’re From The Midwest

August 28th, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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midwest meme

The Midwest is a special place. Unlike other regions of the country, like the south or East Coast, there’s a bit more variety in every day living when you talk about an area that spans metropolitan life like in Chicago and rural living in Wisconsin. But yet and still, there are some behaviors that are undeniably Midwestern and if you do any of these, people will surely know that’s where you come from.

Pass Or Play: Kelis Finally Gives New Music And Serves Up…”Jerk Ribs?”

April 28th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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"Kelis pf"

Travis Wade/

Well, look what we found!

Kelis is known for her loud and eccentric style making you love her when you’re not always sure why. But a few days ago, she very quietly dropped a song on Soundcloud  titled “Jerk Ribs.”

Now, we are not even going to take a guess at why she named it “Jerk Ribs,” especially since she repeats “Call On Me” during the chorus. Then again, artists come up with song titles all the time that are never in the song. But we can tell you that she’s giving a mix of dance, funk and traces of calypso in the beat.  There are whistles and steel band sounds all through it.

So what’s it about? The best we can tell it is about Kelis’ love of music and always hearing and feeling the melody in everything, including music and possibly love.

Oh and even better news? Kelis tweeted that her album is done and sounds like “love and summer balled up into one.”  We haven’t had a Kelis album since 2010 when she released Flesh Tone to not so rave reviews.

So check out “Jerk Ribs” below and tell us what you think! Are you ready for the return of Kelis?

First World Problems: Nicki Minaj Was Scared ‘Idol’ Would Make Her Too Famous

January 5th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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Ivan Nikolov/

Ivan Nikolov/

Actually, these aren’t first world problems; these are rich and famous people problems.

According to Zimbio, the producers and judges recently did an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in which they discussed trying to get the show back on top.  When they asked Nicki about finally agreeing to do the show after the rumors had been floating, she said:

“Sometimes you are afraid of being too famous because it’s almost, like, is that even cool? Being that accessible, someone you see on TV every week? I never pictured myself as that type of person. I’m still surprised I decided to do it.”

Wait, I think I get it. American Idol is a wildly mainstream show and it is understandable that some artists, particularly hip-hop artists, would be a little reluctant to join a show like that which airs weekly.  But that only applies to artists who have never crossed over into the mainstream world. Nicki has been part of the mainstream world so long that many would actually hesitate to still consider her a hip-hop artist or rapper; some just call her a pop artist who also raps.

She’s worried about how collecting a check for judging singers (something she doesn’t do quite well) on a major show makes her look versus the crazy hair, facial expressions and cheesy pop songs? Well, alright then. We all have to figure things out for ourselves.

Do you think that Nicki will ruin (not in a bad way though) her hip-hop image by being on American Idol?

Brand Divas: Which Queen of Pop Embodies Your Brand?

November 9th, 2012 - By C. Cleveland
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Women rule pop music. They hold the top spots for digital downloads, money earned and albums sold. For the most part, the female dynamos dominating the music scene manage to coexist without stepping on each other’s toes. Each has a unique brand that allows them stay in their own lane.

This is why so much emphasis is placed on branding. In a crowded market, your brand sets you apart and allows you to attract an audience, even when other brands offer a similar product.

Developing your brand is as simple as embracing who you are and allowing your identity to influence how you do business. Here are a few concepts to help you articulate your brand:

  • Mission – What do you do? What is your purpose?
  • Offer – What are you selling?
  • Relevance – How do you meet your audience’s needs?
  • Values – What’s your personality? What is important to your brand?

Let’s look at how today’s reigning divas epitomize their brands. Which diva best matches your personal brand?

Rihanna performing at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Image: Nicholas Hunt/ USA (Sipa via AP Images)

Rihanna – The Vamp

Mission: Rihanna’s image has morphed through many phases since “Umbrella” launched the star into the pop stratosphere. In recent years, Rihanna has settled on being pop culture’s symbol of youth and sexuality. An unrelenting stream of singles and gossip ensure the singer’s flirtatious presence is constant.

Offer: A good time, and all the mistakes that come with it.


  1. Stay on trend. Rihanna molds her style and sound to mimic the pulse of pop culture.
  2. Stay on the scene. Rihanna doesn’t give her audience a chance to miss her. She constantly releases music, and her life provides endless fodder for entertainment outlets.
  3. Remove your filter. Rihanna’s potty mouth, suggestive lyrics, and unbridled sex appeal create an image of youthful rebellion her audience loves.

Values: unapologetic, open, risqué, trendy, fun

Mass Appeal: Nicki Minaj Sets Her Sights On Television

November 2nd, 2012 - By C. Cleveland
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Image: Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

Nicki Minaj is a star, whether you want to admit it or not. More than that, she is on the brink of ascending to new heights of celebrity. Television is the platform that will cement her “Icon of the Moment” status. An E! three-episode series, Nicki Minaj: My Truth will debut on Sunday, November 4 at 10:30 pm, preceding her debut as a judge on American Idol next year.

Her endorsements with Pepsi and Adidas, and the product deals with MAC and Elizabeth Arden fragrance are cute. But, her foray into television is a different ballgame. After being declared the clear winner in female rap, Minaj is working on pulling ahead of the pop star pack.

The next level of stardom for Nicki – true mainstream success, where parents and grandparents know your name – will require the star to face her most common criticism.

Minaj bristles at the mention of the dividing line between rap and pop in her image. She told Vibe magazine when promoting Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, “I cannot break my album down into how the normal person like yourself would break an album down and say, well this is rap and this is pop. There is no rap or pop for me. It’s Nicki Minaj. It’s one collective body of amazing work.”

But, her collective body of work debunks her point. Both of Minaj’s album releases can be divided into separate rap and pop discs, and have been criticized for “exploring her musical identity… rather than perfecting one.” She even employs a two-face strategy to music videos, releasing them in pop- and rap-themed pairs.

Minaj’s decision to embrace her inner theater geek and follow the larger than life path Gaga paved has paid off for her. But, the wigs, makeup, outfits, and personalities could also be her undoing. To those who aren’t firmly in her fan base, and some who are, she can come off as a screaming wall of color. She makes an entertaining spectacle, but is hard to connect with.

For all the personalities in Minaj’s arsenal, we have yet to be introduced to the one that really matters. Even her fans debate her true identity. Is she “old Nicki,” the mixtape diva whose return was called for before her debut album could settle on the charts, or the opportunistic pop princess that rose out of a Taylor Swift co-sign? Minaj has gotten away with being two stars at once. But, creating a brand with universal appeal requires a cohesive image.

The hallmark of an American icon is having something real – whether it is a captivating story or sheer talent – that fans from all walks of life can connect to. Minaj’s decision to invite E! cameras into her life and set up shop in America’s living rooms every week is a sign that she is ready to forge that connection. The only question is, which Barbie will we get? It’s time for the real Nicki Minaj to stand up.

Her performance on E! and American Idol will give a hint of who Minaj wants us to believe she is. She may opt to appeal to a broader audience and risk alienating her hip hop base beyond repair. Her on-set feud with fellow Idol judge Mariah Carey shows Minaj brought Queens with her, but too much attitude could alienate the parents of the kids who love her.

Minaj has another option, one that she rarely manages sonically. She could find a balance between her two sides, and meld them together into some type of the-hood-meets-Candyland concoction that leaves everyone craving more.

Whatever direction she chooses, Minaj’s next moves will be among the most important she has made. Watching her find herself should make for good television. Her performance will be an important determinate of how much longer we’ll be seeing her around.

C. Cleveland is a freelance writer and content strategist in New York City, perfecting living the fierce life at The Red Read. She is at your service on Twitter @CleveInTheCity.

Don’t Lie, You Were Jamming Too: 7 Singers & Groups We Used to Get Made Fun Of For Listening To

May 23rd, 2012 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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I’m sure I’m not the only person who used to get soooo much crap for liking a certain musician or group who weren’t big with family or friends. For me, back in the day, if it wasn’t hip-hop or R&B, my brother used to get on me about digging pop musicians like Christina Aguilera, Fiona Apple, and Celine Dion. You listen to unique bands and singers today that don’t fit the BET mold and you look more cultured, deep and well-rounded, but back in the day, I just used to get called weird. Ah, well. Were you fans of any of these folks years ago? Well, now you know you weren’t the only one…


The White Boy Bands

I used to say I liked the Backstreet Boys to my family, and often times, they would assume I was talking about BLACKSTREET. Uh, no boo boo, there’s a big difference. I couldn’t help it, “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys, “Bye, Bye, Bye” by N’Sync, and “Step By Step” by New Kids on the Block were THE jams. But if you played them around my folks, or asked someone to turn the radio back to the one of these tracks, folks would treat you like you were trying to listen to Insane Clown Posse. Shame…

Video: Nicki Minaj Debuts “Starships” and Shows Off Her Much Talked About Curves

April 27th, 2012 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Miss Nicki Minaj just loves to show off her curves these days doesn’t she? From booty popping in both the “Dance (A$$)” remix video and “Stupid Ho*,” to rocking bikinis in “Beez in the Trap” and for this new “Starships” video, she literally wants you to kiss her a**, whether you think it’s real or not.
The visuals for her hit song off of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded debuted last night, and in the clip, Minaj struts around in an array of revealing outfits that show off her well-documented derriere, and swings some colorful wigs for folks in Hawaii. Minaj winds up there thanks to a spaceship, and once she lands, the party begins with some Hawaiian dancers, paint and some sand that homegirl keeps rolling around in. Love the colors in the video (the water looks amazing!), but that’s about it honestly. She looks great actually, but all those booty shots she kept giving the camera were a bit much. The song still isn’t my thing, but it’s clear that somebody out there is loving it to the nines. Check out the video below and let us know your thoughts:

PS, this is the explicit version, so excuse the language from time to time. Thanks!

More on Madame Noire!

Colorful Cast of Characters: Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown Team Up For “Right By My Side”

March 20th, 2012 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Here she goes singing again.

But Nicki Minaj is not alone in her attempt to pretend she can sing on the track “Right By My Side.”  She gets some backup from Chris Brown on this poppy, formulaic track. And by formulaic,  I mean that it sounds exactly like everything else on the radio. Not all too well executed, pretty repetitive…you get the idea. And is that Auto-tune I hear? *sighs* At this point in the game, if you have to rely on Auto-tune, just stick to what you do best and leave singing to the pros.

But in all honesty, this track could be pretty decent if Minaj just stuck to lyrical tirades about ratchet chicks like she does around the 2: 50 mark. But alas, we’re all pretty clear on the fact that she’s changed and is hoping to be a mainstay in the pop world, so this track fits.  The song will be on her upcoming album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, which comes out April 3. Check it out below and let us know if you’ll be rocking in the club to it, or shuddering at the mere thought of it later.

Sooooo. Pass or play for you?

More on Madame Noire!