All Articles Tagged "super bowl"

Missy Elliot Covers Billboard, Talks Her Come Back, Her Health & Thoughts On Nicki Minaj

November 19th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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missy elliot covers billboard

Source: Billboard

Now that it seems that we’re finally about to get some new music from Missy Elliot, the Hip Hop legend sat down with Billboard to cover their November 28 issue. In it she talks about the pressure she feels to come out with something hot and fresh, her privacy both in and out of the studio, her health struggles and her thoughts on Nicki Minaj and music today.

Check out the highlights below.

On taking her time to release new music

“I have to be very careful,” she says. “It’s different now. People are quick to be like, ‘You’re irrelevant, you’re a flop, you’re washed up.’ 

The task became particularly challenging considering Elliot is only working with a very small circle of people for this project.

[Pharrell and Timbaland are] “the only two producers that understand me.”

Truth be told, it’s not that the album hasn’t been held off because she’s been uninspired.

“If I wanted to do ‘The Missing Files of Missy Eliliot,’ I have probably six albums just sitting there.”

Missy consciously made a decision to take a break. She just didn’t realize it would be this long.

“People hadn’t realized that I haven’t just been an artist, I’ve been a writer and a producer for other artists. When you’re writing that much, your brain is like a computer. You have refresh it.”

Missy also believes it was her workload didn’t do much to help her Graves disease.

“It causes hair loss, your eyes bulge,” she says. “My blood pressure was always up from just overworking.”

Her protege, Sharaya, spoke about the emotional toll it took on Missy as well.

“It started to change her way of life,” she says. “There were physical changes, extreme headaches, extreme weight loss. What that does to a person, being a public figure and knowing people are looking, judging? That’s a tough thing.”

On Nicki Minaj and the need for more female MCs. 

When asked about Nicki Minaj, who is clearly influenced by Elliott, she mock-innocently replies, “Oh, she is?” (Speaking to her influence generally, she adds, “Unfortunately, breaking news, there is only one Missy.”) Still, she would love to see more woman MCs on the charts — when she was coming up, that was much more common. “It was me, [Lil’] Kim, Lauryn [Hill], Eve, Foxy [Brown], Trina,” she says. “There’s room for so many. It’s important.”

On being shy and maintaining her privacy 

“I was always feisty, always that kid that would be on the porch with a hairbrush singing or rapping,” she says. “I got more shy as I got older and realized people could be laughing at me, or judging me.”

And though she and Timbaland are friends and have been creative partners for years, she’s shy around him too.

“I never record in front of anybody,” she says. “[Even] Tim has never seen me record a day in his life.” Early on she worked with an engineer, but for many years now she has recorded her parts alone — with two exceptions. “It’s just me and my little Yorkies, Poncho and Hoodie.”

The habit of being alone comes from Missy’s childhood where she would use her room as an escape from her often turbulent life. Not only had she repeatedly been sexually abused by her cousin, she also  watched her mother being physically abused by her father, at one point pulling a gun on her.

“My room would become a whole other world once I shut that door,” she says. “That’s why I believe my videos are so important to me. It was Alice in Wonderland: my bed, my closet — it would all turn into something else. And I would write and sing and block out whatever was going on.”

Pieces of that introverted child still remain. Surprisingly enough, while we all remember her absolutely killing her Super Bowl performance with Katy Perry, Missy says that she had a panic attack before it actually happened.

Like, IVs in my arm, everything,” she says. “Nobody knew.” The day of the show, she remembers being just offstage and hearing the opening riff of “Get Ur Freak On.” “I said, ‘If I can get over this step, then I know all my dance steps will be on point,’ ” she recalls. “I know it was nothing but the grace of God that lifted me up and took me through that performance.”

We’re so glad He did!

You can read Missy’s full interview with Billboard here.

Look Beyond The Game: Life & Career Lessons From Super Bowl XLIX

February 2nd, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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NFL/football/sports/Super Bowl


Did you watch the Super Bowl last night? It’s okay if you didn’t. Highlights and those multi-million dollar commercials are online. While football aficionados glued themselves to their seats to see who would become the best football team, there was a message that translated beyond the pigskin. Here are some interesting takeaways about life and career from the 2015 Super Bowl.

Nationwide Explains Why It Ran That Depressing Ad During The Super Bowl

February 2nd, 2015 - By Tonya Garcia
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While many of the ads that ran during last night’s Super Bowl were fun to watch (my particular favorite was the Snickers ad), Nationwide decided to go with something much more serious. Downright depressing actually.

The ad drew some angry responses from viewers who likely thought they were going to enjoy an evening of football, pizza and chuckles and got hit with a sad reality bomb.


The outrage was such that Nationwide had to issue a statement explaining why they chose to run this commercial on one of the happiest sports days of the year.

“Preventable injuries around the home are the leading cause of childhood deaths in America. Most people don’t know that. Nationwide ran an ad during the Super Bowl that started a fierce conversation. The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation, not sell insurance.”

“We want to build awareness of an issue that is near and dear to all of us—the safety and well being of our children. We knew the ad would spur a variety of reactions. In fact, thousands of people visited, a new website to help educate parents and caregivers with information and resources in an effort to make their homes safer and avoid a potential injury or death. Nationwide has been working with experts for more than 60 years to make homes safer. While some did not care for the ad, we hope it served to begin a dialogue to make safe happen for children everywhere.”

Starting a conversation about safety is great. You just have to wonder if starting it at that moment was good timing. Were you upset by the ad?

Here’s the company’s other ad, ICYMI.

h/t USA Today

Kid-Friendly Snacks For The Big Game

January 31st, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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The Super Bowl is no longer just about big, burly guys playing a rough and tumble sport and the men that watch them; it’s about the whole family. Of course, women enjoy the sport and even kids, as we mentioned here, are into the games and the multi-million dollar Super Bowl commercials. What else do we love besides the football game and commercials? The snacks! So if you’re hosting an event for family and friends this Super Bowl weekend, we’ve got some kid-friendly snacks that everyone will enjoy while watching the big game. You’ll be settled in for a few hours, so we’ve got yummy treats to go with whatever else you’re serving from a great source,


Strawberry-Pretzel Snack Mix

Just slightly sweet and salty with a little tang from the strawberries-any leftovers of this colorful snack mix can easily be packed into a school lunch box (if there are leftovers!).

  • 4 cups graham-flavored cereal
  • 4 cups pretzel sticks, slightly broken
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick)  unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons light  brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure  vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups yogurt-covered pretzels, broken into pieces
  • 2 cups freeze-dried  strawberries

For the full recipe, visit


Supreme Pizza Dip

This hearty dip has the works: pepperoni, onions and bell peppers stirred into a thick tomato sauce, all topped with gooey melted cheese. Serve in a skillet and let your guests pile their baguette slices high with toppings, deep-dish style.

  • 4 ounces pepperoni
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped  green bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced plus 1 whole clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

For the full recipe, visit


Pastrami Football Finger Sandwiches

  • 1 cup shredded  cheddar and  Monterey Jack cheese blend
  • 1/3 cup pickled piquant peppers, such as Peppadews, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 32 slices cocktail pumpernickel bread squares

For the full recipe, visit

Are You Ready For The Big Game? 2015 Super Bowl Commercial Previews

January 30th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Friends watching tv/Super Bowl party


Are you ready to watch Super Bowl XLIX? It’s okay if you aren’t a big fan of football or the competing teams for that matter (hint: the New England Patriots are battling the Seattle Seahawks). Super Bowl parties are really fun opportunities for people to kick back, stuff their faces with food and enjoy the millions companies spend on commercials. Here’s a look at some 2015 Super Bowl commercials you can expect to see.

Super Bowl Treat: Touchdown Cupcakes

January 30th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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If you’re throwing a Super Bowl party where kids will be in full effect, a treat for them is mandatory. These Pull Apart Touchdown Cupcakes are the perfect sweet to celebrate football and fit right into little hands. You can take this pull apart one step further by writing team names on the ends of the field with decorator icing, or use sprinkles in your teams’ colors on the last row of cupcakes on each end of the field for personalized end zones. Touchdown! Courtesy of


  • 3 1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 sticks  unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup  sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Assembly and Decorating:

  • 2 1/2 cups dark green jimmies
  • 15 large marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
  • 8 chocolate cream covered cookie sticks, such as Pocky sticks
  • One 4.25-ounce tube white decorators’ icing
  • 2 small chocolate chewy candies, such as midgie-size Tootsie Rolls, unwrapped
  • 22 fruit-flavored gummy candies in 2 different colors, or 11 chocolate-covered raisins or  peanuts and 11 yogurt-covered raisins or peanuts
  • Special Equipment: metallic green, metallic gold and/or dark brown cupcake liners


For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup standard muffin tins with cupcake liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, basking soda and salt tin a small bowl. Set aside.

Combine the butter, granulated sugar, sour cream, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 21 to 23 minutes, rotating the pans once about halfway through baking. Cool the cupcakes in the pans for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting: Beat the butter, peanut butter, vanilla and salt using an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar and continue to beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes more.

For the assembly and decorating: Put 1 cup of frosting in a piping bag fitted with a large round tip and set aside. Put the jimmies in a shallow bowl. Frost a cupcake, using about 2 tablespoons of the remaining frosting per cupcake, and then gently dipping the top into the jimmies, turning the cupcake until the top is coated. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes. Arrange the cupcakes in 4 rows on a large serving plate or cutting board. Fit a marshmallow between each cupcake, 5 marshmallows per row, to fill in the gaps between the cupcakes in the rows. Using the frosting in the piping bag, pipe thick cross shapes between where the cupcakes meet one another and over the marshmallows so there are no visible gaps between the cupcakes. Sprinkle with jimmies to coat.

To make goal posts for the cupcake “field,” microwave the chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl until just melted, 30 to 45 seconds.  Keep 2 cookie sticks whole for the bases of the posts. Cut off and discard (or eat!) the bottom third of the remaining cookie sticks. Dip the top of one of the longest cookie sticks into the melted chocolate and adhere it to the middle of one of the cut cookie sticks so that they form a capital T shape. Next, dip the cut ends of two short sticks into chocolate and adhere them to either side of the cross on the T. Lay the goal post on a flat surface and repeat with the remaining 4 cookie sticks to make the second goal. Allow goals to fully harden, 15 to 20 minutes, or place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Using the decorators’ icing, pipe 10 lines across the cupcake field to represent yard lines. Pipe out the number 50 in the middle for the 50-yard line. Heat the Tootsie Rolls in the microwave on high in 5-second intervals until they are soft and pliable. Mash them together and form into a football. Use the icing to pipe the lacing on the football; use a toothpick if necessary to help define the lacing. Place the football on the field. Place the gummy candies on the field to represent players and then stick the goal posts into cupcakes at each end of the field.

12 Healthy Super Bowl Snacks

January 29th, 2015 - By Rich
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Don’t let the big game get in the way of your New Year’s weight loss goals. Score major points minus the major guilt with these tasty, healthy Super Bowl recipes.

12 Healthy Super Bowl Snacks

MIA & The NFL Have Settled Middle Finger-Gate

August 24th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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Rapper MIA performed during the Super Bowl halftime show in 2012. Two years later, there’s finally a resolution of the lawsuit that resulted from MIA’s flipping the bird during her act.

The amount and exact timing of the settlement have not been released. However, a spokesperson confirms to ESPN that a “confidential” arrangement has been reached.

There is a portion of the contract between performers and the NFL that the show will follow certain rules, and failure to do so will result in a fine. After the 2012 halftime performance — which was actually headlined by Madonna — the Federal Communications Commission received 222 complaints about middle finger display.

In the beginning, the NFL only sought $1.5 million. Unable to reach an agreement, they sued MIA for $15.1 million. MIA has been vocal throughout, tweeting about the process and saying that the players and coaches themselves have done worse and haven’t faced nearly the same amount of punishment.

Given the penalty handed down in the face of catching Ray Rice on video dragging his seemingly unconscious fiancee (now wife) out of a hotel elevator, it’s hard to deny her point. You’ll remember that Rice got a two-game suspension. Even Stephen A. Smith got a one-week suspension from ESPN for his objectionable comments about women “provoking” domestic violence after that decision came down. Word is that, just this week, the NFL only fined Cleveland Browns rookie Johnny Manziel $12,000 for giving the finger to the Washington Redskins.

The NFL is now asking acts to pay them to perform, perhaps to have the money in hand should something go awry? As we can see, the NFL doesn’t have a fixed and reasonable code of conduct, which results in these uneven penalties.

Plus, the league clearly doesn’t have its priorities straight since a middle finger is worth two years of fighting but there’s still a team that’s offensively called the Redskins in its ranks. One of the league’s own referees asked not to officiate games this team played and his request was granted. What is that? Get your house in order NFL.

Rihanna Among Those Considered For Super Bowl Halftime Show, But She’d Have To Pay To Play

August 20th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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The NFL is already thinking about the next Super Bowl and, most importantly for those of us who don’t really care about football, who’s going to play the halftime show. The shortlist for next year includes Coldplay, Rihanna and Katy Perry. One thing though: If they want to play one of the biggest shows of the year, they’re going to have to pay for it.

Word is the NFL has asked those acts that they’ve contacted to perform to kick in some money to the league, though there’s no word on how much they asked for and no confirmation from the league about any negotiations. A spokesperson for the NFL specifically told The Wall Street Journal that when they have something to announce, “we’ll announce it.” The show doesn’t take place until February 1, 2015, so there’s plenty of time.

The newspaper says the acts who were told about the new plan gave it a “chilly” reception, which probably explains how it got out to the newspapers. From the NFL’s perspective, the show typically costs millions to put on and it gets tons of publicity for both the NFL and the act that performs. Last year for Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 115.3 million people tuned in. There’s also a “temporary bump,” the newspaper says, in album sales. And it could lend a hand for concert ticket sales.

However, from the act’s point of view, they know that they add cache to the event and attract viewers who, as we said, aren’t really that interested in the game. The halftime show generates talk on social media and becomes one of the talked-about highlights in the day following the big game.

Not to mention the acts they’ve narrowed it down to have enough fans on their own. Unlike the advertisers who are willing to shell out millions for a 30-second spot, Rihanna, Coldplay, and Katy Perry can — and do — generate millions on their own. Says the paper:

Ms. Perry, for example, sold 92% of the tickets to the concerts she headlined from May to July, grossing more than $36 million, according to Pollstar. Rihanna grossed $141.9 million on 90 shows around the world in 2013; Coldplay grossed $171.3 million on 67 global dates on their last tour in 2012, according to Pollstar.

As of now, there’s no word on what’s what. If we had to place a bet, we’d say that there are very few acts that would be willing to pay to headline the game and the NFL will have to back down from this request.

Your thoughts? Who would you like to see perform?

NFL Suing Rapper MIA For $16.6M Over Her 2012 Super Bowl Performance

March 18th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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A still from the "Paper Planes" video

A still from the “Paper Planes” video

The NFL has added $15.1 million to the lawsuit they’ve filed against rapper MIA over her 2012 Super Bowl performance in which she gave the audience the finger.

At first, the NFL was only looking for $1.5 million. The new, much higher figure comes from the NFL’s argument that the finger damaged the NFL’s “wholesome” image. Moreover, the league is arguing that her appearance is tantamount to an advertisement. She performed for two minutes and 10 seconds.

MIA took the lawsuit public in September. At that point, she had been going back and forth with the NFL for about a year and was accused of “resisting arbitration.”

“The claim for restitution lacks any basis in law, fact, or logic,” was the response from MIA’s lawyer.

The paperwork she and her lawyers filed also says there were 222 complaints filed for the show. The year of Janet Jackson’s “nipple-gate,” there were 542,000.

mia tweet1

In another portion of the response, MIA notes that the players and coaches themselves do the same and worse while on camera. Not to mention what the players are doing off the field. (Like getting accused of murder.)

Sounds like the NFL is overreaching. Thoughts?