Category Archives: Queens

Girl’s Power

It Is Still Cardi B’s Year

Haters tried to write her off as a one hit wonder following the success of her debut single ‘Bodak Yellow’ last year, but numbers don’t lie and looking at the Billboard charts right now, Cardi B is definitely here to stay.

Unless you were living under a rock last year, there’s no way you missed the pandemonium that was Belcalis Almanzar aka Cardi B. She started as an Instagram celebrity posting videos where she dished out advice and jokes while she was a stripper, upgraded to television and made a flashy and unforgettable two season appearance on Love and Hip Hop: New York  and now reigns on the rap charts. All the while, posting on social media, specifically on Instagram, and taking everyone with her on this journey.

To me, that’s the unique key to her success. Yes, the audiences she performs to a growing, the quality of weaves she rocks are more luxurious and she is working on collaborations with artists and brands that she hadn’t been exposed to before. But Cardi appears to really be that ‘regular degular shmegular’ girl from the Bronx.

Although winter was creeping in, she kept the charts hot with back to back releases in December 2017.  She released her next hit ‘Bartier Cardi’  which features rapper 21 Savage. That coincided with her collaboration with Ozuna, a Puerto Rican reggageton artist, called ‘La Modelo’ where we hear a softer side of Cardi and she sings in Spanish. But it didn’t stop there. She was also featured in the Migos’ song ‘Motorsport’ where in my opinion, she had the best verse (I’m the trap Selena/Dame más gasoline…skrrt).

These songs closed out the year for her perfectly, marking her one of the most talked about and successful musical acts of 2017. Confirming this, Billboard Music announced the other day that Cardi is ‘the third artist in history with her first 3 songs simultaneously inside the top 10 of the Hot 100′. Only a few days into 2018 and Cardi has hit another milestone.

Without taking a break, just 4 days into January and we’re already blessed probably the best of her collabos.  Bruno Mars released a remix to his song ‘Finesse‘ featuring Cardi B. The song and video speaks to the old school head in me. The video pays hommage to In Living Color, a comedy sketch show that ran in the early ’90s that all your faves were on. Bruno Mars even Tweeted that the video was dedicated to his favourite TV show. The song took me back to LL Cool J’s ‘Round The Way Girl’ and Bobby Brown’s ‘Every Step I Take’, very New Jack Swing. I can’t stop playing this song and video.

It’s inspiring and fun to watch Cardi’s climb and growth. From her new line of shoes with Steve Madden to her recent engagement to fellow rapper Offset from the Migos, she dazzles us and keeps it all the way 100.

 

Best Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle YouTube Vids

Gotta give it to my girl Rihanna when it comes to Fenty Beauty. The line has consistently come out with new products with range since they launched a few months ago in September. Starting off with a primer, 40 shades of foundation, a rainbow assortment of highlight and contour sticks, invisible-like blotting powder and a juicy lip gloss. There was a lot of hype leading up to the launch and the brand lived up to the high expectations.

Without any hesitation, I bought the foundations (shades 380 and 370) and the lip gloss on the first day of launch. I’ve been using both happily ever since. So with each new addition to the Fenty Beauty line, I’m excited to see what’s next.

The most recent addition was the new matte lipsticks called Mattemoiselle, which come in 14 strong shades. They’re a creamy matte and before I gave Sephora more of my money, I went to YouTube to see what some of my fave beauty vloggers were saying. And I found two great vids that convinced me (which was like leading a child to candy, let’s be honest) to purchase some of these lipsticks for myself. I settle on four shades: PMS, Candy Venom, Griselda and Ma’Damn. Look out for a review to come.

First is from across the pond (London, UK) with the lovely Patricia Bright. I’ve been following her for years and she’s so enthusiastic and honest. I can always count on the truest review on everything from beauty, skin care to fashion. And her reactions are EVERYTHING!! Grab a tea, sit back and enjoy.

The next one is from Alissa Ashley who has grown and excelled so much in terms of her makeup videos this year. Her photos, video editing skills and even her brand collaborations have been amazing to watch this year. She’s based in LA and I always look forward to seeing the fantastic looks she creates with makeup. She’s super talented and she was one of the first to do a video on the Mattemoiselle lipsticks, changing outfits with each colour to pull a full look. As a consumer, I appreciate makeup vloggers going that extra step to really show us how new products will not only work but to also offer inspiration.

Both different styles of videos but both on point in terms of showing you how this matte lipsticks are going to glide on and look.

Let me know if you’ve tried anything from Fenty Beauty and if you’re looking at trying the new Mattemoiselle lipsticks.

French & The Artist Webseries

Came across this new webseries on Twitter and thought I’d give it a few minutes. Before I knew it, I had watched 3 episodes. Clearly I binge watch everything now.

The series is centered around two young ladies, Erin (Artist) and Sarah (French) based in London, UK sharing their day-to-day lives. They are both in the arts and use this series to showcase London’s talent as well as their ongoing personal creative journeys.

It’s shot on a handheld camera and feels like a mix between an intimate vlog and a snap your friend would send you after a fun night out. They’re hilarious, cute and genuine.

 

I’m Here For AubRih

Once Rihanna announced that she was dropping the video for ‘Work’ on Monday Feb. 22nd, I had a feeling that my day would officially be a write-off. My afternoon was spent watching the video fifty-eleven times and imagining all my new outfits for summer 2016.

This isn’t going to be a think piece on how incredible Rihanna is, how incredible she is as an artist who has now surpassed Michael Jackson (RIP) for most #1 songs or a breakdown on her outfit choices. There are so many blog posts out there detailing all of that.

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What I’m here for, is the chemistry between her and Drake. As hard as it is to see my boo, Aubrey Drake Graham, blush over RiRi, I have to admit that if I have to lose him I’m more than cool with seeing him gush over Rihanna. I’d gush over her too if she looked my way. Let’s be serious.

Let’s go back to 2010. Rihanna releases “What’s My Name” and we get the first glimpse of AubRih and their cute behaviour with each other. If you remember, it was only a year before this that Chris Brown had attacked her. So we’re all rooting for her to be happy and free from Chris. Hence seeing her in the arms of Drake fulfills a fairy tale for us that they’re a real couple.

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Then the following year, Drake releases ‘I’ll Take Care Of You” off his album Take Care and we get to see these two again. As usual, Drake’s lyrics are emotional and it appears as if these two are singing to each other.

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And a year later, 2012, Drake and Chris Brown get into a fight in a New York club. Most likely about Rihanna. So for a while now there’s a build up of a story in the media about Drake and Rihanna There’s been pictures of them together, specifically in Europe in 2014, that have quietly kept the rumor mill going.

Fast forward to 2016 and the year is already shaping up to be the year of music super madness. Drake has an album coming out in April 2016 and Rihanna has finally released her eighth album, Anti, after a long wait. The anticipation for the first video ‘Work’ was high after snippets and pics came out while she filmed it in Toronto (bam bam!!) on Feb 5th.

I was ready for the fashion greatness, the on-point makeup, the isolated whining, the Toronto dancehall party vibe and the overall reggae flex. The pictures and video teasers that came out last week had me hyped. I was so happy to see that the video was shot in my city at The Real Jerk, by our own Director X (pictured below) who is a legend. It was great to see Toronto get shine and our unique culture get global attention.

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Often our connection with Caribbean culture goes over folks head but it feels like Rihanna has always seen it and used it. Her first song ‘Pon De Replay’ came out 11 years ago and was also shot here by Director X.

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Back to ‘Work’. What I wasn’t ready for was the new level of intense chemistry between Drake and Rihanna in not just one, but two videos. The first one is captivating and the second one is mesmerizing as we see Drake and Rihanna continue to smile and blush at each other. Now they’ve got us deeply enthralled into their soap opera.

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Whatever it is they have going on between them, it makes for great music videos, tabloid headlines and blog content (clearly). I’m here for it and can’t wait to see if Drake will have her featured on his album and what that video will look like.

The Struggle To Keep Writing

There has been a slow and steady movement happening. I’m sure you’ve seen it. Felt small bursts of joy from it. Possibly like me, kept hoping that this change in tide was a foreshadowing of things to come.

I’m talking about the recent celebration of black women excellence. Whether behind the camera, in front of it, on the cover of magazines, at the helm of major movements and/or winning prestigious sports titles. We were gone for a minute but we’re back with the jump off (shout out to Lil Kim).

I’ve written about the absence of our faces on TV and movies and the culture vultures who co-opted elements of black culture in the mainstream media. But you’ve also seen the rise of sisters in the arts and sports recently along with the unashamed celebration of it. The wait had been too long.

Essence magazine’s February 2016 issue is coming out with 3 covers featuring activist Johnetta “Netta” Elzie, TV’s Black-ish actress Yara Shahidi and the film Chi-Raq actress Teyonah Parris. I recently read a great article on xoNECOLE about the writer who wrote that Essence cover story. And as much as seeing those three sisters on the cover was amazing, it’s the story on the woman who wrote it that spoke to me more.

Bené Viera is a journalist who was about to give up writing right before she got this gig. It’s always darkest right before the sun, right? She was tired of the industry but when this opportunity came, although not presented in full form as what it entailed, she took a chance. And like that, what looked like a possibility turned out to be grander than what she imagined.

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As you all have probably seen, I haven’t written here in a while. The struggle to open up my laptop and pour my words onto a screen has been real lately. Folks have asked what is up, what am I working on, etc. And the truth is I don’t know exactly why. Some days I’d rather read, watch a movie, clean my house, meet up with friends. Anything but write. There’s vulnerability in writing. And I guess, I needed to be in the right head space to be there. But when I read these words from Bené I felt compelled to get back to it. Get back in front of that blank screen and unleash what’s inside.

When I was assigned this story I was done with this industry. Done. Looking for jobs in non-profit and looking for jobs in L.A. I was tired of the layoffs. Tired of covering salacious gossip. Tired of the uncertainty. Tired of the funny way in which people move. Tired of writers who think they’re pseudo celebrities. But something told me I could not pass up this opportunity. Including this story, I’ve only written three things this summer. I tell people I’m on Sabbatical. But when the Universe has other plans, the Universe has other plans. ESSENCE was always the dream job. Writing cover stories was always the ultimate goal. Although the “job” part didn’t manifest in the way I envisioned, it did come to fruition…

I say all that to say, keep dream chasing. I mentor a few young writers and I wonder, “Girl, why are you into me? I barely have it figured out.” So I write this for them. They need to know it’s not all glitz and glam. They need to know you will want to quit. They need to know we all experience self-doubt. They need to know there will be some dark days. But they must keep doing the work. People can say whatever the hell they want to say about me, but nobody, not a single soul can say I don’t do the work. No one can say I’m not committed to my craft. I moved to NYC in 2010 without a plan. I lived with my ex in his father’s home. I had no money. No job. Just some degrees and the crazy idea that I wanted to be a writer. Well, mama, I’m a writer. I hope I made you proud…”

This was the push I needed. Whether at my day job, home life or extra curricular I know I put in the work. So although RealDelina.com is still new, I want to see it flourish so I’m going to keep on doing the work!

No matter what we decide to take on, I hope it’s with both our feet in and our heart open wide. Whatever path you take in 2016, be prepared to sweat and enjoy the rewards!