Invite Only

Posted 11/25/2008 at 6:19 PM  |  4 comment/s

THE SPOT: 74 Leonard Street between Broadway and Church, Nov 24, 2008. It’s raining but we must press on because this is, in fact, is a VIBE event and to not go or support, despite my personal-training induced body aches, wouldn’t be right. So Danyel and I hopped into a black car service (finding a taxi at our new location on Wall St. is MISSION IMPOSSIBLE) headed to the Knitting Factory to witness Plies‘ first ever performance in New York in honor of his December cover.

We arrive early, like five-people-in-the-room-plus-the-food-staff early. But you all know if the food staff was set up and good to go, I felt right on time. Slowly VIP began to make their way into the stuffy, or like the industry calls it “intimate,” VIP area. I’m tearing into my shrimp wrap, and everyone is looking at me crazy for eating, but isn’t that what the food is for, damn? (What up E.W.!) The crowd made up of press, label crews, old and current interns, photographers and VIBE staffers are all rubbing elbows, and knees, booties, arms for that matter–because the spot is tight. The music volume is lowered, the crowd silences, and the announcement is made that Plies has arrived! Wait a minute is this a surprise party??? Why do we have to turn down the music for fifeteen minutes before he actually makes his way to the indoor red carpet? Plus now that the music is off, you pay more attention to the temperature, and Nelly said it best…”It’s Getting Hot in Hurr.”

Finally Plies enters, photographers go buck for a shot of Danyel and Plies as the crowd gets shifted, pushed, and pulled in every direction. I was glad I was one of the few sitting in a seat, chilling…but it was funny to watch. With the Red Rug (small scale) photo session was over, Danyel was good to go, and we made our way upstairs. Alright here’s where everything gets hot–literally. Our trek up the steps changes the temperature from an uncomfortable 70 degrees, to the heat-gotsa-be-on-hell, 98 degrees.

Mind over matter, “whoosa,” I came to enjoy the show and that’s what I intend to do. Every female with hair past their shoulders tied their locks up in a ponytail, while I was thinking: if I pull out my scissors and just cut my hair off will I have time to buy another pack tonight and put it in by the morning??

Funkmaster Flex is on his reggae set trying to trick us into thinking this was a basement party, and the temperature was supposed all part of the look…right. With twelve people on a 6ft x 6ft stage, I did feel worse for the people on the platform than in the audience. BET’s 106 and Park Terrance J, the host for the night, comes out jumping on the stage like he just ate 39 Pixie Stixs and I’m like please stop with that bubble coat and all the hoping he is wearing me out. Plies, please where are you?

Just before I had a heat stroke, Plies in all his miniature swaggerliscious self comes out to the song, “Who’s Hotter Than Me?” Really Plies? The answer is us…this whole damn Knitting Factory crowd is hotter than you. In a white jacket, thermal, and fitted flipped to the back, Plies raps his hit “Busta Baby,” gangsta sex rapping at its best. Seductively touching a girl on her lips he says, “When you say you love me, I love you to. And when I say the pleasure is all mines, the pleasure is all mine.” Whew am I getting hot for another reason?

By the smells of it people are now smoking whatever they want, and Plies is performing his first mega-hit “Shawty” ft. T-Pain. He goes acapella, and for a moment I forgot how X-rated his lyrics were, “Look how that pussy sit in them shorts, you got to want her…” Ummmm?

Plies spits his verses on Shawty Lo‘s, “Hello,” and DJ Khaled‘s tracks “Im Out Here Grinding,” “I’m So Hood,” and removes his thermal to give a shout out to all his Atlantic label family. Before he raps over the Pattie LaBelle sampled “Somebody Loves You Baby,” he vocalizes his appreciation to Vibe for allowing him to do something so major, and sends a special thanks to Danyel. “I know she’s here, I gave her about three kisses tonight,” he admits. Awwwwww how sweet. It’s time to go…I make my exit almost falling to the ground when I finally get outside… air.

Lesson: Stay humble, stay prepared, there is not such thing as luck. Success is preparation meeting opportunity.
BIG UPS: Michael Kyser (Atlantic Records), Sydney Margetson (Atlantic Records), Gena Gatewood (Project 2050), Jenessa Jacobson, Tiffany Reeves, Taj Chrisp (Former Vibe Intern), Johnnie Nunez, Deanna Lopez Torres (Project 2050)



So yesterday Monica‘s first episode of  her new reality show Still Standing aired on BET,  and easily you can see it was more acting than reality. Although I respect her trials and tribulations,  5 reasons why I won’t be tuning in weekly and inviting her in my home:

1. In the BET promo video for her show she is wearing a leporad dress with butt pads. Don’t try it Miss Thing!

2. I don’t understand people who have the opportunity in life for a come up and feel obligated to keep it overwhelmingly and annoyingly “real”. You don’t have to prove you hood stats,  hood-tendancies can’t be fabricated.

3. Seems like BET is trying to use the Keyshia Cole model: The Way It Is for Monica. Strike 1: Unless you have a crack head mama w/missing teeth, Strike 2:a sister who won’t get her tubes tied, Strike 3: or a never ending extended hood fabolous family, proving your hood-ness won’t work. Your out!

4. Back in the day when everyone was blasting the “Boy is Mine,” I was on team Brandy.

5. Commercially Monica‘s career wasn’t ever large enough to use the word “comeback.”  While Monica considers herself a survivor, I think she would avoided a lot if she sat her ass down versus “still standing.”

Hey its just how I feel Don’t take it Personal*Cheese*

Posted 09/24/2008 at 5:55 PM  |  2 comment/s

So I thought meeting Jay-Z and having him smoothly declare, “I have a thing for tall girls,” to me at the VIBE anniversary photo shoot was my ultimate VIBE moment, but last Wednesday, Sept. 17, all that changed. I had the opportunity and honor to meet the MAN…Mr. Smokey Robinson. I walked into Universal on 56th and Broadway not knowing I was about to experience something that major. Here’s nine reasons this became my new ultimate VIBE moment. (Yea, I was short of making it 10 reasons, don’t trip…)
1. BREAKFAST IS SERVED. Y’all already know I’m a self-proclaimed “foodie.” So when food is served, I’m ready for anything. Had me some strawberries, a bagel, and some orange juice. Still waiting on Danyel so why not grab a croissant and few grapes–the red ones and the green ones–damn, I might as well grab a muffin…

2. SMALL TALK IS REAL TALK. I’m in like a greenroom or something chatting it up with corporate PR execs of Universal, PR reps for Smokey, and people that really move and shake, pop and lock. Straight Mickey D’s–I’m loving it. I’m comfortable in my skin, and surprisingly I feel totally in my element while talking and shooting the breeze.

3. MOTOWN HISTORY. I had overused the “Danyel is five minutes away” line to many times, so I has happy when she finally arrived, and much to everyone’s relief–because she was the only person granted the opportunity to do a one-on-one interview with Smokey Robinson (everyone else had a roundtable). But before meeting Smokey we had the opportunity to tour the Motown vaults. Walking into the room was surreal–to see hundreds of original-recorded song reels boxed and marked. Not the tapes, not the records, but the actual reels from the Supremes, the O’Jays, the Miracles and many other historic hit makers.

4. BLACK DON’T CRACK. We are ushered into the room and here is the iconic Mr. Robinson, dressed to the nines in his purplish-brown suit proving you can take the man out of Detroit but can’t take the Detroit out the man. It’s true black don’t crack. With his full head of hair in small twists, island-kissed skin, and blinged-out studs in both his ears, Smokey is looking yummy for his age. We are introduced to him, and he stands to give us a warm sincere hug, soooo different than the superficially cold double kisses and waves I’m used to.

5. BALANCED. The sound guy asks how many hours on the recorder, and let him know 120 hours. Smokey just laughs and says, “I guess that gives us more than enough time.” My eyebrows crunch, I get the feeling Smokey can do some talking, and I’m right. Smokey and Danyel get into the interview and I can sense her excitement, it’s a moment for her, and I’m happy to witness it as she is normally very level about everything. It’s the first time I get to see the editor-in-chief of VIBE conduct an interview, and I must say I have never seen Danyel miss a beat around artists, as she’s been in this game for a while, but with Smokey–she was gassed. She kept her cool, showed her skills, and really got to get some good answers.

6. TAKE IT TO CHURCH. Smokey not only talked about his music, but also for a moment sounded like the love guru, when explaining the difference between men and women in relationships. Listening to his cadence and pausing, he reminded me of a preacher schooling Danyel and I on what it takes to make love work. Holla-jueah!

7. SAY MY NAME. Don’t exactly remember when and in what context it was said, but Smokey said, “Shirea,” and it made me gasp. I thought to myself, “Did this living legend, who has more than 300 songs, numerous hits, and 50 years of experience in the business just say my name?” Ok at this point I’m way to excited.

8. A LOT OF TEARS. Smokey did the complete breakdown of many of his greatest hits. I can’t even front, due to my age, I don’t know a huge amount about Smokey, but I know enough to respect his craft. He gives the background story on the songs “Tracks of my Tears” and “Tears of Clown” and reveals that the inspiration for his songs, came from stories he makes up about people or stories he’s read. He said, “I’m not the one to have to go to the top of the mountain or trip on the beach…” I love it, keepin’ it real…

9. IT’S SMOKEY! I mean I need you to understand the enormity of it all. I got to kick it with history. Classic Motown. Hitsville. Songwriter. The Miracles. “You Really Got a Hold On Me.” Introduced the Sumpremes. “I Second that Emotion.” Singer. Composer. “Crusin’.” The Icon.

Get ya minds right!!

LESSONS: Respect tradition, learn from it and grow.

: Harry Weingar (Universal Music Group ), Wil Sylvince (Comedy Short Cuts ), Grant Pavolka (Universal Music Group), Maria (Universal Music Group ), Courtney Barnes (Barnes Group PR), Jonathan Wolfson (Wolfson Public Relations) Chanel O’Reilly (designer)


Uber turnoff – crusty ashy black lips. Usually a sure sign of some smokers, it’s unfortunate that once the lips turn black they don’t go back.  Celebrites are no exception. Good news for brands like Newports and Dutch Masters, celebrities are a free walking advertisement – recesscion score!  Listed are 5 known faces bringing them the most business.

Number 5: Young Jeezy

Light Grey

Yes, Jeezy rapped he needed a vacation…..but from the roll ups.  Jeezy comes in at number 5 because they haven’t turned totally black, just a light shade of grey. Before he finds himself with pitch black puckers, a quick fix may be for him to simply grab some of Marbury’s Vaseline.

 Number 4: Khia

Dark Grey


Everytime Khia represents for the ladies, it’s always in the most hurt way.  I don’t know why I’m letting her hold onto minute 15 of her 15 minutes, but hey.  Instead of worrying about her neck and back she should of worried about those lips. And maybe the eyebrows.

Number 3: Barack Obama

Mr. President?…smh. I know, I know…no one’s perfect.

Number 2:  Jamie Foxx

I peeped this a while ago.  Recently he has had a new baby, and while he’s already the father of a teen daughter maybe its time to set example for the kids, before it’s completely to late.  Jamie’s lips are a deep shade of purple, not quite midnight black yet…there’s still hope. Jamie, you can’t blame this one on the alcohol.

Number 1: Gucci Mane

Black blue

Lawd, speaking of midnight black!  I recently saw Mariah Carey’s “Obsessed” video, and while the attention as usual was to supposed to be completely on MC, I couldn’t help but wonder the whole time ‘Is that really Gucci Mane’s mouth?’  He has the reached the point of no return, he’s #1 for a reason.  Out of everyone on the list I wouldn’t be surprised if his kisses left stains.

Lessons: Time waits for no one and nothing, and it can’t be saved. Spend it wisely.



The death of Micheal Jackson put a strain on the relationship of his younger sister Janet, and just a few weeks ago it was announced she and Jermaine Dupri had called it quits. Rich Winters got the whole messy break up on tape, and I posted it here.  I really wish both of them the best.

Big Ups: Celebrity Smack

    After reading Anslem Samuel’s super humorous post, “10 Things Not to Say to a Black Guy,” on, I laughed so hard until I figured I better look out for the ladies.  It was only fitting to do the remix.  Stereotypes are real but what amazes me is how they seem to never get old. For instance when you Google the images for the phrase “Angry Black Woman,” who but Michelle Obama’s picture comes up in the results. Why?  Sadly enough on the low, these outdated stereotypes are continually taught, but what’s even sadder sometimes we play into them.

    Although I catch myself sometimes I swear we aren’t all angry black women, but here are 10 things to avoid saying so you don’t have to see that  side of us. 😉 Let the countdown begin.

MichelleObama4.jpg image by nathanmorton_photos


10. “I already know you can cook.”

Quite frankly half us can’t. We do, however like to pretend we belong on Bravo’s Top Chef,  but come on with the constant pressure.  And, does spaghetti count?

9. Girl you know, some of my best friends are black.”

And some of my best friends are human. Its 2009! Does your particular association make you a honorary sista girl?

8.   “Whew, I thought you were going to be waaaay more upset than that.”

Ok with that statement now we are. Not at the situation in question,  but at your silly assumption. Immediately our anger is directed towards you…with an eye roll and neck pop.

7.  “Your so fashionable.”

Actually we are wearing the same designers and labels as you, the celebs, and the models, but our curves are our staple accessories.  Get ya mind right.

6. “White women are more giving and open minded.”

Or any variation this statement. Are you serious? You must have not met Lashonda from Central Ave, or Keisha from around da way who put Cindy up on her game.

5. “You remind me of … [insert black woman celebrity name here].”

What’s bad is that we know you are so far off,  because it’s always someone either super hurt like Tiffany Pollard from VH1’s “I Love New York,” or someone our total physical opposite. Stop. The. Lies.

 4.  “Dance for us.”

Ugghhhhh, you know there are establishments you can go where that very wish is your command. But don’t think when we hear music we are immediately inclined to find a rapper and pop our asses….well unless it’s Beyonce.

3. “Your ass is soooo big.”

Ok, it’s not that we really hate this statement, but honestly we cant do anything about it. So do us a favor and  quit pointing out the obvious and stop staring like we have 3 legs.

2.  “What happened to their father?”

Unless you want to sit for a while and hear a 23-hour saga, just respect us for providing a loving homes and stable environment for future Obamas.

1. Is that your hair?

The #1 way to make us mad quick. If it is ours and you can’t tell – we are offended, if  it isn’t ours and you mentioned it – we are offended. So here’s the rule:  Whether we grew it,  purchased it, or borrowed it — for the time it is in or on our head it is ours! Period.

Follow Anslem Samuel  @NakedWithSocks on twitter and his blog

And as always find me on twitter @inviteonly

Posted 06/09/2009 at 12:45 AM  |  1 comment/s  

Sunday, June 7th–SUMMER JAM. After Jay-Z’s “D.O.A” song dropped on Hot 97 on Saturday I became a bit more excited about my attendance. Great weather, good company, and knowing it was a no-brainer that Jay would be a surprise guest, I went to Giant Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ way more giddy than I was last year. However, all the anticipation, the hype, and even Funk Master Flex’s bombs couldn’t maintain my excitement for HOT 97’s five hour concert a.k.a The Hood Fest!

I’m not going to act like I’m super boogie with it, because there is something about the hood that humbles me and keeps me grounded, but I mean! I don’t know what was more entertaining the artists taking the stage or the audience who thought they were the celebs. For every act that performed, there was an equally hood act or performance in the stands. Peep the order of the show.

On stage: First up Day 26, and we all know what performing first means at a concert…your name barely made the bill. No shade, although they were the opening act for the opening act, females stood up in there poon poon shorts to show support. While Will had on his uniform W-beater, they decided to put the heaviest dude in the group, Mike, in a black leather jacket when it was 78 degrees out.

Meanwhile in the stands: Homegirl in a jean halter top dress, takes off her dress and stands up to sing Day 26’s single, “Put it on You,” in nothing but a gold bikini and heels. Jaw drop!
On stage: Pleasure P sporting a mohawk, blue windbreaker, and some toddler’s sunglasses plugged his new album. His performance was decent, but when he ended a 17-minute long rift like he was overtaken by the holy ghost…my eyes rolled.

In the stands: Queen of the poon-poon shorts made her way to her seat stunting! No only were her daisy dukes insanely short they were hoooooot pink! Her bottom teeth? Totally gone….

On the stage: Reggae time — Serani, Mavodo, and Elephant Man take the stage one after another to give the Caribbean massive their fill the evening. Serani and Mavodo much respect, but Elephant Man? Red and yellow braids, a jacket borrowed from MJ closet, capri pants, and black tube socks doing the Nuh Linga? Ughhh…..

In the stands: Nobody topped Elephant Man’s fooolishness. No one.

On the stage: Next up, Dream, with his body squeezed and squished in a to ssssmedium white leather jacket, he came on stage after the wild child Elephant Man. Yes, Dream you have hits, but vocals not so much….not giving quite enough to hold the audience attention. His dancers stole the show, and Fabolous made a guest appearance in a plastic Gucci jacket.

In the stands: A fight breaks out between two super deebo dudes, in the VERY aisle I am standing. Our very cool Caucasian music editor Sean Fennessey, shocked me. I respect his gangsta he wasn’t moved, scared, or anything. But Janelle Grimmond, VIBE’s associate market editor and I were clutching our bags jumping over seats in fear for our lives. Immediately after another fight pops off, it rains…total FAIL.
On the stage: “This is D-Block Mighty Mighty D-Block.” Jada is the first performer for the night (at least to me) and he kills it. Dude has street cred for days. He brings out his bro Sheek Louch, Busta Rhymes, Swizz Beats and weirdly enough Jeremih. Although I wanted to pull out my weave when Jeremih belted out the overplayed “Birthday Sex,” he does deliver. Dude can sing.

In the stands: People cant even pronounce Jeremih name’s name correctly, but know his lyrics. “Who dat?” “O dat’s the boy Jeremey,” …c’mon. There is also a chic is a garter belt, fishnet stockings, and cutout lingerie p-poppin on a handstand–holding her heels…!

On the stage: Mary J. Blige appears like the legend she is, and the crowd goes bananas! In all black, fitted jeans, tank and leather vest, Mary’s rock star look is on point. 6-inch Gucci shoes on her feet, she is dancing like she finally went out and purchased some rhythm. Mary’s hood love anthem “Your All I Need,” brings out Method Man in all his glory, who brings out Red Man (wearing a vest w/o a shirt…yikes) to entertain the crowd with their new and old tunes.

In the stands: Two chics are making a killing, selling marijuana to the already lifted fans. “Yo ma I got that weed, 20 bags and a free dutch.” Damn. Smart, because I mean EVERYONE was smoking.

On the stage: If the ladies went looney over Mary, then the fellas went crazy for Jeezy. Jeezy pauses between each of his songs to “preach,” but two or three songs in, he brings out….wait for it wait for it…Drake! Drake performs “Best I Ever Had,” in a jean jacket and khakis looking like his mother still shops for him. The stadium was in a uproar…girls and guys couldn’t get enough of this dude. No album, millions of fans.

In the stands: Epic bromance…dudes taking pictures of each other, rapping to each other, singing to each other, maaaaaaaaaan hugging each other…um I think it was a little to much weed being smoked.

On the stage: Jeezy comes back to perform “Put On” and who, no other than Jay Z strolls on the stage to perform his verse. The stadium goes insane–if their was a roof it would of been blown off. Fans screamed like they were dying. Like I predicted Jay Z performs his newest track “D.O.A” (Death of Auto-Tune), and T-Pain comes on stage. Touche’ — I don’t know if that was a diss or antic, but T-Pain looked more than happy to be on the stage with the big homie…even if he was getting played.

In the stands: If one more person said “Now that’s what I’m talking ’bout” I was going to make a “mistake” and smack someone.

On the stage: Jay-Z off, T-Pain on. How could you even follow that? Summer Jam then turned into the the T-Pain show. He had to be on stage for at least an hour. His surprise guests? Ace Hood, Lil Kim with her airbrushed abs, Maino, DJ Khaled, and his creepy looking Mime dancer.

In the stands: *Crickets*

Lesson Learned: It’s not where you’re from, it’s where your at.

: Ashley Levy (HOT 97), Lauren Schneider (Island Def Jam), Sharada Maddox (Island Def Jam), Ali Bianchi (Island Def Jam), Summer 09 Edit Interns, Nancy Byron (OG PR), Syreta Oglesby (Universal)

Tweople: All Day, Everyday

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