My Interview with Actress Nicole Beharie

Nicole Beharie Discusses Sleepy Hollow’s Season 2 Decline


Though my overall affinity for Sleepy Hollow has waned over the last couple of weeks, my total idolatry of actress Nicole Beharie and her spectacular portrayal of Abbie Mills has not. If anything it has actually grown stronger.

It is for that reason I am asking fans and non-fans alike to tune in to tonight’s episode of Sleepy Hollow, titled “Mama.” According to Beharie, who I had the pleasure of interviewing via telephone last week, “Mama” will give fans what they have long been asking for: a glimpse into Abbie’s past and possible answers as to how she became a Witness.
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Kahdijiha Rowe Welcomes Us to ‘Big Rich Atlanta’

Big Rich Atlanta - Season 1

With its most successful season of ‘Big Rich Texas’ now on hiatus, the Style Network is moving on to the latest installment of the franchise, ‘Big Rich Atlanta,’ which is set to premiere on Wednesday, January 23rd.

With an eclectic mix of characters ranging from a pastor to a former beauty queen, the mother daughter boughie fest promises to bring the drama as only true southern belles can.

One of the more provocative members of the cast is Kahdijiha Rowe, daughter to 112 member Q. Parker. Kahdijiha recently sat down to speak with Brown Sista and shared with us her reasons for doing the show, as well as her love of all things SHOES!
Brown Sista: Hi Kahdijiha, first let me take a moment to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to Brown Sista.

Kahdijiha: Hello Brown Sistas! I am very excited about this opportunity and I would like to thank you so much for the interview.

Brown Sista: Can you take a moment to tell our readers a bit about yourself. What do you do for a living?

Kahdijiha: I am a college-educated business professional with a knack and natural gift for fashion and ALL things fabulous!! I am a Marketing Executive, basically I create brands!! I work very closely with my mom and aunt, Sharlinda and Brie’ to help them brand their many businesses including Tu La 2 Nail Salon and DUO Jewelry. My newest baby is my very own online shoe boutique, “Platform Kouture” scheduled to launch Spring 2013. I am very excited about this project because I just LOVE LOVE shoes!! I am definitely a shoe addict!!! Platform Kouture will offer affordable shoes that are stylish and fabulous.

Brown Sista: How did the opportunity to appear on ‘Big Rich Atlanta’ come about?

Kahdijiha: My mom, aunt, and I were approached about doing an interview. At the time my mom was being interviewed for another really big show so it kinda just fell in our lap.

Brown Sista: Were you worried that filming with your mother would cramp your style or cause you to pull back a bit?

Kahdijiha: **Laughing** No, in that department I will say that I am pretty lucky. My mom and aunt are actually pretty cool. They are only 41 and very well connected in the social scene in Atlanta so we always hit all the red carpets together. Mom definitely makes it very clear that she is mom, but we have an awesome relationship. My auntie Brie’ and I actually hang out and party the most since my mother is married and she has to take care of my little brother.

Brown Sista: Your father, Q. Parker, is a huge musical icon in Atlanta, did he have any reservations about you and your mother, his wife, appearing on the show?

Kahdijiha: My father is a very well established musician and has already built a brand around his name, so naturally he had a lot of questions. He likes to protect us as well, but he is also very supportive and wants to see us develop and grow as well.

Brown Sista: What do you think it is about Atlanta women that has intrigued Hollywood so much over the last few years?

Kahdijiha: I think Georgia peaches are feisty but sweet at the same time. There is a lot of money here in Atlanta and the home of many big celebrities. Also, a lot of movies are being filmed here so Atlanta is honestly like the “new” Hollywood.

Brown Sista: Are you prepared for the scrutiny that will surely come once the show airs?

Kahdijiha: I think my family has always been in the blogs and in the limelight so the scrutiny is not as new for us as it will be for the rest of the cast. Overall, we are prepared and we are very strong women.

Brown Sista: Being a young African American woman in the spotlight, some will surely look to you to set an example. Would you feel comfortable taking on the title of role model?

Kahdijiha: Of course, I would love to be a role model, but by no means am I perfect. My purpose for life is to help people along my journey, especially young women and children. My mom, aunt, and I are very well involved in Philanthropy. All of us sit on the board of a phenomenal organization called Beyond the Game to benefit children and women in Swaziland, Africa. It is an organization for women with NO excuses who believe they can change the world. And believe me … We know we can change the world.

Brown Sista: Several other reality shows have been accused of purposely trying to show African American women in a negative light? Did this criticism give you pause when considering whether or not to join the cast of ‘Big Rich Atlanta?

Kahdijiha: Let’s be honest drama sells. I think showcasing your life to the public is risky and could cause a serious PR nightmare!! However, at the end of the day no one is perfect, the only difference is that now more people know about your choices, decisions, and mistakes. Other than that we are all human and I honestly believe that other races, not just African American women, could say the same thing about reality shows.

Brown Sista: Finally, what do you want people to take away from watching the show? Do you want to leave them with any particular message?

Kahdijiha: After viewers watch the show I want them to be able to take away that I am very driven individual with goals and morals. I take pride in being raised by such strong women, my mother and my aunt, and a wonderful father. I do not follow the crowd, never have and never will. I am good at reading people and I stand up for what I believe in. At the end of the day you can’t sell me wooden nickels!!!!

Brown Sista: Thank you for your time, Kahdijiha. Let’s do it again real soon!

Kahdijiha: Thanks! I would love to do this again.

Interview: Sheree Fletcher

You may have heard Sheree Fletcher’s name mentioned as being the ex-wife and Mother of actor Will Smith’s eldest son Trey. Now remarried and the owner of a successful business, Sheree is a co-star of VH1’s reality series Hollywood Exes. Brownsista sat down to chat with Sheree and she states that the show will absolutely show the many sides of her. You see, Sheree is much more than the ex-wife of a super star. She is a Mother, Preacher’s Wife, Entrepeneur and most of all, she is a sista.

Brown Sista: I watched the first few episodes of “Hollywood Exes” and so far I am pleased with what I have seen. My first question is in regards to how Black women, as of recent, have not been portrayed in a positive light. Were you concerned at all about the show possibly being yet another negative portrayal of Black women on yet another reality show? Did you consider this when you decided to become involved with the show?

Sheree: Definitely. It was a concern. When I met with the creators of the show, their vision for the show was to do something that empowered women. I loved the vision. They were coming from a different place. It wasn’t the typical reality show. They wanted to add a different color to the rainbow.

Brown Sista: When they say a different color to the rainbow, as far as your position, is that coming from your transition into becoming a more spiritual woman?

Sheree: I think just in general. I don’t really know the faith of the other women. I’m a Christian. They weren’t trying to make a Christian reality show, they were just trying to do something that was respectful. The platform is that we were all married to very high profile men. We have a common experience so it really did create an immediate bond. We walked in each other’s shoes before. They hand picked everyone . It is a great dynamic and we have a sisterhood.

Brown Sista: While we are on the topic of spirituality, how does that affect you as far as your friendships with people in general? Has that made you more particular in choosing friends?

Sheree: I have friends from all walks off life. I’m talking about friends. I’m not using that term loosely. Because I’m a little older and wiser, I do things with a purpose. I’m more intentional about the things that I do and the people that I do them with. That is the place I’m in. I come from a place of who I am and where I am. I pick and chose from that place.

Brown Sista: You are currently happily remarried. Did you have any reservations about doing a show that highlights your marriage to Will Smith, which occurred years ago?

Sheree: I really feel like this is something that I’m supposed to do. At this point in time in my life this is exactly where I am supposed to be. I see what you are saying about going back and making that connection again. That opens the door but it is the accomplishments of what I am doing currently that is being highlighted. We make a reference to the past but the show is very much so about the present and the women. The reference to these men is the appetizer and the main course is the women.

Brown Sista: You have to be very brave to put yourself in the public eye for scrutiny. You have managed to stay relatively private and out of gossip. We don’t hear anything about you on the blogs. You stay away from the mess. Doing a show like this almost invites that kind of nonsense. Were you fearful at all about putting yourself out there even more?

Sheree: You know what? Yes and no. I am one of those people who is more comfortable in the corner. I am more comfortable in the background. It is safer that way….

Brown Sista: What is your sign?

Sheree: Oh I am a Scorpio. Part of maturing is having clarity and knowing what you are supposed to do. I sought wise counsel. It is not the easiest path but it is the necessary path. Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to do what needs to be done.

Brown Sista: Have you come across any obstacles so far?

Sheree: People say a lot of wonderful things. People say not so nice things. Nicole said do not read the blogs. You have to protect your heart. That is a part of the business. But for me, this is new. I haven’t encountered a lot of obstacles yet because it is so new. One of the concerns I have is that I love to come and go as I please without people not knowing who I am. But now, you have to go in with your eyes wide open and know that that could change.

Brown Sista: It probably will.

Sheree: It probably will. The reality show is a blessing but I am not striving to be a reality show personality for the rest of my life. This is a launching pad for other avenues and opportunities. It is not the end but just a means to an end.

Brown Sista: Did your husband have any reservations about you doing the show?

Sheree: If I did not have his blessings, I would not be doing it. It is something that we talked about. We prayed on it. We got other prayer warriors on it and we have peace about it.

Brown Sista: Are there any sides of you that might shock us?

Sheree: It depends on what you expect. I do not know the expectations. I am married to a pastor so people might think that I am stuck up. One of the misconceptions about Christians is that we don’t have fun. That is ridiculous. I have levels of emotions. I’m not a punk.

Brown Sista: (laughs).

Sheree: You come at me and I might come at you. But you do it in a way where it is not crazy. I am a work in progress. Sometimes my alter ego Ree-Ree comes out. Ree-Ree makes a cameo appearance in the show. She is not the star though.

Brown Sista: You are a Scorpio and so am I and we don’t play that.

Sheree: You know! That tail will come out.

Brown Sista: We are so sweet. We love so hard but if you push that same button.

Sheree: Very well put and very telling. On that note, you will see the Scorpio in me.

Brown Sista: Let’s talk about your cream Whoop Ash.

Sheree: I always wanted to be a business woman. I went to school for fashion. When my son was about 3 years old I started a clothing line with a friend. What was obvious to me was that starting a business requires so much time and energy. I had a baby. I couldn’t give him 100 percent and give the business the same. So, I had to put the business on the back burner and focus on my baby and being a Mom. The blessing was that I did not have to go out to work to provide. His Dad was doing that. He deserved to have one parent that was always home. The skin care was a total fluke because I read a book-The Secret Life of Bees. This was before the movie came out. The book got me interested in honey. I started to research honey. I love to cook and entertain. I started doing recipes with honey. When I researched it the recipes would be topical and not to eat. I ordered ingredients. I got in my kitchen and got my big ole’ gumbo pot out and made a body butter. My first mind was not to go into business; it was to be a creative person. I gave the product away and people loved it. God kept increasing my vision. He said it is bigger than that. I got a chemist and I took what I made in my kitchen and said make this and that is how Whoop Ash was born.

Brown Sista: What are some of the benefits to Whoop Ash?

Sheree: Aww man! It is 99.9% natural. It was important to me to make something that was good for you. It is preservative free. I wanted them to preserve the quality of my product and I explained that to the chemist. It is hypo-allergenic. It is 31% organic shea butter and mango butter. There is grape seed oil. It is filled with good stuff. It is very condensed and concentrated. It is not something that you have to keep putting on all day long. It is not cheaply made and filled with water. We have amazing testimonials of people who have eczema and they say it work wonders for their skin. You can put it on babies. It is mild. Post Chemo patients as well who experience extreme dry skin from treatments. It provides so much moisture.

Brown Sista: Where can people buy this product?

Sheree: One of the goals that I have is to get distribution for this product to make it convenient and assessable. To be able to go into Target or local beauty supply and pick this product up.

To learn more about Sheree, follow her on Twitter.

Author: La’Juanda “LJ” Knight
“If You Don’t Say It, I Will”

Interview: Model Beverly Johnson

When I hear the name Beverly Johnson, one of the first things that come to mind is one of the first African American models. Not much else is known about the woman who opened the doors for our generation of models which include Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell and Chanel Iman. We can’t seem to escape the triumphs of these successful super models turned entrepreneurs. Well, I had the opportunity to sit down with Ms. Johnson and discover who the woman behind the first African American Vogue cover truly is. Let’s just say, a few words to describe her would be business woman, health fanatic, soon to be reality star and Grandmother.

LJ Knight: Beverly, you were one of the first Black women on the cover of Vogue Magazine. At that time, did you realize that you were going to be an icon? Had the significance of the moment hit you then?

Beverly Johnson: No. I did not realize it at the time. It was one of the most exciting times. Whenever I talk about it, I get excited. I can remember getting the call and seeing the magazine. It was like oh my God. You are a model and this is a big deal. It hit me later that I was one of the first women of color on the magazine and what that implied. Doing interviews from people in Senegal, Africa and… Whoa! This was like deeper than what I wanted. I was such a young lady. I just really thought that I wanted to take on the responsibility. I felt like it was a gift. I wanted to make sure that I respected it.

LJ Knight: This is a side-note but I had your Barbie Doll. I remember when my Mom bought it for me.

Beverly Johnson: Awww…

LJ Knight: Back then, Mattel and other doll makers were not focusing on creating Black dolls as much. Especially Black dolls in the image of successful female Black icons. What was that like?

Beverly Johnson: It was my idea. I brought it to Matchbox. The woman who did the first Mattel came out of retirement to create the face for my doll. But at any rate, they wanted to sell my doll along with Christie Brinkley and Cheryl Tiegs as a package. But they did not want the blonde dolls because they already had blonde dolls. Basically my doll was the only one that did well. But, that is so funny, you better keep that doll!

LJ Knight: Yes, I remember that I was super excited. Fast forward to today. Do you think that African American models and other models of color are finally getting their just due?

Beverly Johnson: I went to fashion week this year. As somebody who really hasn’t been on the other side, sitting in the audience, it was a little disappointing to see that some of the designers did not have any Black girls in their show. I feel like it is so ridiculous. First of all the ones that didn’t have them in their show, they should have because their clothes were not all that!

LJ Knight: (laughs) Oh okay!

Beverly Johnson: We are such a contributor in the industry and to not be included, it takes me back to the 70’s for sure. A very small minded people.

LJ Knight: Why do you think that is? Do you think it boils down to good old fashion racism? Is it really that simple? Or is there something deeper at play?

Beverly Johnson: It’s really that simple. I think it may also be something deeper because they do not even know that they are doing it. It’s just so engrained. I do feel that it is a generation that is dying out. I remember Obama saying recently that pretty soon the whole generation of people that were aligned with the White/Black bathrooms will be gone.

LJ Knight: True.

Beverly Johnson: That is why is it really disheartening to see the industry still so backwards.

LJ Knight: Do you have any thoughts on supermodels being so thin compared to you time?

Beverly Johnson: Well, they were always thin. I think that because we can know what is happening on the other side of the world in a matter of seconds, that comes along with responsibility. If the images that we put out now are really affecting our young and I think they are, then it is our responsibility to put out proper images. This is why my daughter is my hero. She is a plus size model. She is going out there saying “ I love myself. I love my body. I tried starving myself and I’m not going to do that t myself.” I think that that is a very healthy image.

LJ Knight: You have been a private woman for most of your career. What was the reasoning behind your decision to do the reality show on Oprah’s OWN Network?

Beverly Johnson: Well, I have a production company. I told Oprah I had a few shows that I wanted to pitch to her network. I did not know that she was going to pitch the reality show. I was like whoa! You want that one? What about these others? It is a show about a mother-daughter relationship. It is a reality show but it is not the typical one. There is a lot of fun and tears. There is a lot of take away. You learn how to build relationships and have the tools to build stronger bonds with people that you love. I think people will like it a lot.

LJ Knight: Were you just ready to share that part of your life?

Beverly Johnson: I don’t know what it was! I had a number of shows that I pitched to her. She liked the idea of my and my daughter. My daughter was coming to live with me. I told Oprah a story about my daughter and her fiance coming to live with me and I explained that my daughter wrote out a contract. I was like a contract! She thought it was funny. I asked my daughter and she was okay with it. We get to work with life coaches and therapists. We get to talk about things that people never get to talk about with their mothers.

LJ Knight: What was the contract if you don’t mind me asking? Was the contract saying mom you can’t be in my business? (laughs)

Beverly Johnson: You can’t tell me what time to come home. I said honey, I wasn’t going to tell you what time to come home. But you know me. Tell me at what time I should call the police. If you don’t come home!

LJ Knight: (laughs)

Beverly Johnson: It was like crazy things like that. My mother grew up in an era where everyone kept secrets. There are things that I will never know. I just felt like my daughter had a baby and I’m a Grandmother now. A little girl named Ava. Oh she is cute! I felt like what a perfect opportunity. My daughter would never go to a therapist or a life coach with me. She realized the benefit from people that are knowledgable about communication.

LJ Knight: You only have one daughter right?

Beverly Johnson: One daughter, a son in law and a grandbaby now.

LJ Knight: What is it like being a Grandmother? You mentioned your granddaughter earlier and said she was a cutie.

Beverly Johnson: Oh! People always say wait until you get your grand daughter. I would say yeah yeah. But I can’t even tell you how much I am in love with this child. When she cries, my heart is breaking. She cannot cry in my house. She gets whatever she wants.

LJ Knight: Oh no Grandma. That’s not right. (laughs)

Beverly Johnson: I can’t help it! My heart breaks.

LJ Knight: How old is she?

Beverly Johnson: 7 months.

LJ Knight: You are in a world of trouble. You have already started the spoiling.

Beverly Johnson: She had a fashion show yesterday. We were changing her little clothes. (laughs).

LJ Knight: When people say Beverly Johnson, what would you like to come to mind aside from model?

Beverly Johnson: Business woman. I think that there are more women going into business now than ever before. In these economic times when you cannot find a job- you make your job. So I want to be remembered as a business woman.

LJ Knight: You are absolutely right. Now you also have to be good at more than one thing as well. You have to have multiple streams of income. Last question. Can you tell me something about Beverly that no one knows? We know you are a model and opened the door for other women of color in the fashion industry. But, does Beverly Johnson cook? Does Beverly Johnson sew?

Beverly Johnson: Unfortunately, I can’t cook. You will find all of that in the reality show. You think of yourself in a certain way. But when I did this show I realized that I am not a good listener. I do take my daughter for granted. You learn a lot about yourself when you have someone looking in with the third eye.

To learn more about Beverly and her various entrepreneurial endeavors, check out her website And don’t forget to tune into OWN on March 31st to see Beverly’s new show “Beverly’s Full House.”
Author: La’Juanda “LJ” Knight
Owner – YeahSheSaidIt
“If You Don’t Say It, I Will”

Interview: Michael Jai White

When you hear the name Michael Jai White, you immediately think of movies like Universal Soldier 2 and Spawn. You know he is one of the few Black actors in Hollywood who know martial arts. Not until recently, with the explosion of Tyler Perry’s Why did I Get Married franchise could people begin to appreciate White’s explosive talent. He is not just an action actor but also handles himself comedically quite fine. Not to mention that the brotha did his thing as Nicki Minaj’s love interest in the video for her single “Your Love”. Brown Sista sat down to talk about White’s acting past, his time on the set of Why Did I Get Married, oh and did someone say a Black James Bond?

Brown Sista: How did you become involved in acting?

Michael Jai White: It was kind of a hobby. I was a school teacher. I had taken some acting classes while in college but I did not take it very serious. I got more serious about it one summer and decided to get it out of my system to see if I could possibly make a living out of it. I started getting positive reinforcement which lead me to thinking I was doing the right thing.

Brown Sista: A lot of people may not know that you played Spawn. One of the few Black super heroes. What are your thoughts about the lack of Black super heroes?

Michael Jai White: Hollywood disregards Black audiences. That is why more people are starting to go in the direction of doing their own thing; so that they can touch the Black audience.

Brown Sista: What advice would you have for aspiring Black actors?

Michael Jai White: Look at show business as a business. So many people get wrapped up in what they want. The desire for fame. They neglect the fact that it is a business. You have to know the value of who you are. You have to be able to answer the question why choose you? If you are trying to sell something then you have to have a good product. So you need to learn everything you can. That is the best advice that I can give anyone.

Brown Sista: What was the experience like while filming the movie Why Did I Get Married Too?

Michael Jai White: The experience was terrific because we already were friends. It is like getting together and working with your friends again. The movie was like art imitating life in that way. It is not often that you have the opportunity to work with people you like and make money.

Brown Sista: People really enjoy your character in the movie as well as the interaction between you and your on screen wife. What do you think it is that draws people to you two aside from the constant bickering of course?

Michael Jai White: The thing I hear all the time is that we remind them of someone that they know. At first people raise their eye brows when they see me doing something comedic.

Brown Sista: Do you think that is because they are accustomed to seeing you in action movies like Spawn and Universal Soldier 2?

Michael Jai White: Well yeah. I always have physical roles. When you do something that is not what you are defined as, you have the opportunity to reshape how people see you. With Tyler trusting me, because he knows me personally. For him it is no big deal, seeing me in a comedic role. It’s not strange to him. What’s funny is that the majority of the stuff I’ve done, it’s more comedy than the physical role. The physical roles stand out to people because there are far less people who can do that. It is unique. It’s understandable. I don’t gripe about it. It just myself and Wesley Snipes who are known to do martial arts. You see a Black man doing martial arts it stands out to people. We haven’t seen that since Jim Kelly. I knew going into this business it would start to define me. That is why I made the decision not to do any martial arts movies until later on in my career. One of the first movies I ever did martial arts in was Universal Soldier 2. At that time people did not even believe that it was really me that was doing the martial arts.

Brown Sista: Do you have any pending projects?

Michael Jai White: Well, I’m telling you this from my office. I have been working on a movie that I am about to direct for Sony.

Brown Sista: Can you tell me about the movie:

Michael Jai White: It is a post date action movie. It is a little early for me to give too many details.

Brown Sista: Do you think that we are ready for a Black James Bond?

Michael Jai White: Absolutely. I think we are ready for a James Bond who is Black. I know it sounds the same. The same way that Barack Obama is the President and he is Black. The same way a person can play the James Bond it will be because he is a believable James Bond. It would have less to do with him being Black.

Brown Sista: For the ladies that love you, they want to know are you married?

Michael Jai White: I’m married. I have been married for 11 years now.

Brown Sista: I want to change the subject here. Tell me something about that your biggest fan would not know about you.

Michael Jai White: I have no sense of direction. I literally get lost in my own neighborhood. I don’t know if it is early Alzheimer or something but I get lost almost every day of my life. I average about 3 u-turns a day.

Why Did I Get Married Too has recently been released on Blu Ray Disc from LionsGate. The features on the disc are


Girl Talk: The Women of “Married”

Male Bonding: The Men of “Married”

Janet Jackson’s “Nothing” music video

Couples Character Guide

Photos courtesy of Kate sZatmari

La’Juanda “LJ” Knight

Interview: Kem Gets Intimate

Singer, song writer and musician KEM has come a long way from his days of drug and alcohol abuse. Specializing in what I like to call “grown folks” music, he is back with his new album Intimacy. KEM claims this album is a reflection of where he is in life and what it took to bring him here.

Brown Sista: For those who may be unfamiliar with your musical background, can you tell me how you first got involved with music?

KEM: I started playing music when I was a toddler. I started playing the piano. It was the driving force behind my songwriting, which eventually led to singing and playing in bands. I’ve known what I wanted to do since I was very small.

Brown Sista: Most kids don’t just pick up an instrument versus a toy. Do you remember what made you gravitate towards the piano?

KEM: My Grandparents had a piano. Kids like things that make noise. My first musical memories are of sitting at the piano and trying to play Gospel songs that I heard. My Grandfather was a Baptist minister and it resonated with me. The idea that I could somehow create music fascinated me at a young age.

Brown Sista: You have been through a lot throughout your life. You were also once on drugs and an alcoholic. How do you think those experiences manifested in your life?

KEM: I think that they added the element of humility. I guess if you call yourself humble then you aren’t humble (laughs). It gives me a different perspective on my life in general. I’m very grateful.

Brown Sista: Who inspires you musically?

KEM: I am a sucker for a good song so it can range from Smokie Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Anita Baker, Chaka Khan. There are so many more artists. More than one. If I had to say one it would be Michael Jackson.

Brown Sista: Why Michael?

KEM: He was electrifying. He made you want to do what he was doing. He made you want to be good at what you did. Michael was more of the dancing and Prince was more of the multi musical side. They made you want to be as good as they were.

Brown Sista: The new album Intimacy. Is there an immediate difference that you can think of in this album versus the others? Did you approach it differently? Also, what does the title mean?

KEM: It is a collection of songs, which reflect a man’s desire to go deeper in his relationship. Recognizing that there are deeper levels of relationships with family and friends. It is not just about the intimacy between a man and a woman. It could be the relationship between you and your family and the closeness that your are building with one another.

Brown Sista: Is that something that you are currently going through in your own life?

KEM: Uhm , yeah. Always. We are always in a relationship. Whether it is good or bad. When we think of intimacy we think of a lover and it is only intimate if it is good. But it is also intimate when it is bad. You can be holding each other or cussing each other out at 3 o’clock in the morning. So that’s the direction of this record. It is different from the others because there is a co-producer on this record, Rex . I brought him down from Los Angeles. Some of the songs required a level of production that I was not able to foster which I can accept. Jill Scott is also on this record. There are other collaborators as far as writers on this album as well.

Brown Sista: Most celebrities prefer not to speak about their darkest moments. However, you are very candid about your battle with drugs and alcohol. Why is that?

KEM: If I can inspire someone else to overcome whatever they may be dealing with in their lives then that is what I want. When we are brought through something, it is not just for ourselves but to be a witness to other folks.

Brown Sista: Any idea when there might be a video for the first single “Why Would You Stay?”

KEM: We were working out the details for that today.

Brown Sista: I like to ask this to everyone that I interview. Can you tell me something about yourself that your biggest fan would not know about you? I asked this to Lela James recently and she told me she likes to smooch Doritos in between her peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

KEM: Whoa! I used to eat peanut butter and Doritos when I was smoking weed (laughs). That’s a weed smoker’s meal. Lela might be hitting it. Nah, I’m kidding. She is disturbed though. (laughs)

Brown Sista: (laughs)

KEM: I eat chitterlings.

Brown Sista: Can you cook them?

KEM: Nah, there is only one source and that is Moma’s house.

Brown Sista: You don’t want to be over there picking and cleaning them but you want to eat them.

KEM: Absolutely. I would do that to if I was so inclined.

Brown Sista: Can you cook? Are you involved with someone? These are the things that the female fans want to know.

KEM: I can hold it down in the kitchen for myself. I do a nice salmon. I do a nice breakfast. I do spaghetti and pasta. Yeah I am involved. Everything is good for me on that front. She can cook too. (laughs)

La’Juanda “LJ” Knight

Interview: Up Close With Leela James

Singer Leela James has proven herself to be a force to be reckoned with over the years. The woman has raw talent and is constantly evolving. Her newest album My Soul proves that her music is truly a reflection of who she is. Brownsista sat down with Leela to discuss her new album and what inspires her and a few other things you did not know about the singer.

Brownsista: How did you become involved with music?

Leela James: I fell into it on the serious note. I was always singing. When I got out of high school it just took a life of its own and I developed a real passion for it. I continued to sing while I was in college and doing showcases where I could. I got a band together and performed wherever I could until someone finally discovered me.

Brownsista: Do you have a creative process?

Leela James: Not really. It definitely helps to have peace of mind when you go into the studio but sometimes that is not always the case. I don’t go through any rituals or anything. Whatever comes out comes. Whatever is on you at the time you should just let it come out.

Brownsista: A lot of female R and B singers or Soul singers use their bodies to sell records. You have never gone in that direction. Was that a conscious decision?

Leela James: I always felt comfortable in my skin. In terms of not feeling like I need to be butt naked. A lot of times when you show everything that you have then you leave nothing to the imagination.

Brownsista: Do you think that part of the reason why talented artists like yourself aren’t as popular as some others is because you don’t take it all off and let it roll or pop it? You know what I’m talking about.

Leela James: (laughs) Definitely that plays a role. You don’t fit into the mold of commercialism and what sells. If you not shooting for that format then you are not going to be popular. The best metaphor that I can come up with is that if you are in high school and you are not on the cheerleading squad but you are a regular chick. You may not be as popular. You may be dope but people might not be feeling you.

Brownsista: You have your own personal style. Where did you develop that from?

Leela James: Thank you. It’s just me. Being comfortable with how I look. To be honest it’s not something that I put a lot of effort or energy into. I like something then I will wear. Everything that I wear may not be for everybody. If it is comfortable for me and I like it then that’s what I do.

Brownsista: This particular album has more of a hip-hop infused sound. Is there a reason why you went in that direction?

Leela James: No, it is a part of me. Even when my first album came out Kanye produced a couple of records on that album. That was always a part of me I just didn’t give a lot of that before.

Brownsista: Any songs on the new album that particularly touched you?

Leela James: Yeah, “Tell Me You Love Me” and “The Fact Is”. I showed a vulnerable side on those songs. You don’t have to be 100 percent strong all of the time.

Brownsista: Who inspires you?

Leela: I love old school music. Chaka Kahn, Al Green, Outkast. That’s where the hip-hop comes from.

Brownsista: Tell me something about yourself that your biggest fan wouldn’t know.

Leela James: I like to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with Doritos. (laughs)

Brownsista: Are you squishing the Doritos on the sandwich or do you mean on the side?

Leela James: Yeah I put the Doritos on the sandwich.

Brownsista: Awwwwww!

Leela James: (laughs)

Brownsista: What do you drink with that? Do you drink milk with it?

Leela James: Yeah. (laughs)

Brownsista: The regular Doritos?

Leela James: Yeah the old school one in the red bag.

Brownsista: You are some kind of special.

Leela James: (laughs)

By LJ Knight Of YeahSheSaidIt

La’Juanda “LJ” Knight

Interview: Makeup Artists: Daniel Chinchilla

Los Angeles beauty expert and trendsetter Daniel Chinchilla knows beauty. His relentless perserverence is inspiring, to say the least, as he is also quite aware of what it takes to be successful. A highly sought-after makeup artist in the fashion and entertainment industries, Daniel has a wide range of diverse clientele. Amber Smith, Betty White, and Truth Hurts are just some of the stars who have had the privilege of working with Daniel – the talent who is known to create the ultimate “flawless face.”

BrownSista is delighted to present an exclusive interview with Daniel, a makeup artist who makes women look and feel beautiful. Enjoy!

BrownSista: You have had an amazing journey as a beauty trendsetter and makeup artist! What have you learned about yourself thus far?

Daniel: One of the biggest things I have learned about myself is that I love to empower people. I love to make them feel beautiful inside and out. It really is what makes me excited about going to work every day. I have also learned that there are no limits to where I can go in the beauty industry, and it makes me work harder to achieve all of my dreams. I am a very ambitious and driven person, and watching some of my dreams come true has been so surreal to me.

BrownSista: Tell me about your product launch. You look to cater to women of all different ethnicities.

Daniel: Oh yes!! Of course I do. It is extremely important to me that I have foundations for women of all skin tones. My clientele consists of all ethnicities, and I love the fact that I am able to match up all of my clients with my Beauty Perfecting Mineral Fluid. I don’t like the fact that women of color have to feel left out when they try and find their perfect foundation match in other makeup lines, and therefore, I promised myself that when I launched my makeup line, nobody would be left out. The other reason why my mineral foundations are so amazing is that they are all yellow-based, meaning they match everyone’s skin tone. I also wanted to create a liquid foundation that not only matched all skin tones, but that was also great for your skin.

BrownSista: What are some of the best colors for the summer? Are there certain hues to avoid?

Daniel: Summer is the time where you can play with bright, bold colors that you might normally be too scared to try. Purple and pink hues are IN for the Summer . Aside from those, a rainbow of colors such as blue are a big summer trend as well. Finish off your eyes with some bold eyeliner, and lengthen and thicken your eyelashes to their fullest potential. Even if that means putting on a pair of false eyelashes. Glowy, flawless skin, as always, is a big hit. And yes ladies, leave the lip gloss and bronzers alone, because matte lips and rosey cheeks are back in style.

BrownSista: The smokey eye is my favorite look for a dramatic appeal, but I tend to struggle with creating the perfect result. What are some tips that could help me?

Daniel: This seems to be one of the questions I get asked most. Remember, a smokey eye doesn’t have to be black. You could use any color combination to create a smokey eye. I would recommend first applying an eyeshadow base to your eyelid and applying a dark eyeshadow over it. I would then make sure to use a blending brush to blend that color into the crease of your eye. Blending is key! Apply a pencil eyeliner on top and bottom of your eye, and smudge it with a brush or Q-tip. That way it doesn’t look like a line. I recommend using a fantastic product, called Shadow Shields. It prevents you from getting raccoon eyes when trying to achieve a smokey eye. They make the process quicker and easier. Finish the look off with two coats of mascara on top and bottom. Waterproof mascara works best for the hot and humid times.

BrownSista: For women who are clueless as to how to apply makeup as well as unsure about which colors look best for them, what type of tips would you give them to get started?

Daniel: Well, it seems like a pretty scary thing to most women. But like with anything else, practice makes perfect. And of course, don’t be afraid to try new colors. Don’t get stuck using the same makeup. After all, we only live once! Thanks to technology, there are plenty of ways to get tips and learn new techniques online. For example, YouTube, blogs, beauty websites, and of course, my website. There are also many books and videos that give makeup and application tips. I always like to choose complementary colors to the eyes. That way, your eyes stand out. And you can use those same hues on your cheeks and lips. Some of the books that I was inspired by are those by amazing artists such as Kevyn Aucoin and Sam Fine. Theirs were the first makeup books I picked up 10 years ago, and they continue to inspire me. If you find something that inspires you, you will get different ideas as far as what to try on yourself.

BrownSista: I noticed that you’re always on the road, traveling here and there for shoots (thanks to your Facebook updates!). How do you balance your time so well?

Daniel: Well, that is tricky at times. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love it! I balance my time by waking up early, and going to sleep really late. LOL. That way, I know I will get everything done. Luckily, I am very good with planning my days, and usually fit everything in. I have learned that its about being business-minded, and thinking ahead. On top of that, I have amazing clients that will work around my schedule so that nobody and nothing is left out.

BrownSista: The economy seems to be affecting everyone right now. So many women can’t afford to update her entire makeup collection on a regular basis. If a person’s budget allows for only three items, what are the essentials to invest in?

Daniel: I would say the top three makeup items that you must have are a great foundation that will even out your skin without looking heavy or cakey. Remember, less is more! Especially for the summertime. Try my Beauty Perfecting Mineral Fluid. Gives a nice, even finish, without feeling heavy and clogging your pores. When it comes to foundation, we want to see your skin, not your foundation. So keep it natural. Another must-have would be mascara, because it draws attention to the eyes and instantly wakes you up. Lastly, I would get a great lipstick. You can also dab a little on your cheeks for some instant color, that way you never have to worry about looking washed out.

BrownSista: Your mother is said to be a huge inspiration. So I’m guessing that she helps to keep you grounded in such a competitive industry…

Daniel: My mother is a huge part of my life, and why I am so driven to succeed. She helps keep me grounded, and at the same time never lets me give less than 100 percent to my dreams and goals. Nobody works harder than her, and because of that, I make no excuses for myself. She’s amazing, and when I need some TLC, I make a trip to visit my mom.

BrownSista: What should we expect from the Daniel Chinchilla brand in 2011?

Daniel: You will have to wait and see! LOL… I hate to ruin surprises. As always, I am excited about the future and sharing it with everyone who loves makeup! It has been an amazing journey, and I am truly grateful to everyone who has supported my dreams. Therefore, I promise not to disappoint! Sign up for my “eNews and Updates” on and you will get updates on all the latest and greatest!!

By Elana Pruitt