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Kickin’ It: TriBeCa Film Festival with Lincoln Black Label Series

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Last week I got the opportunity to experience quite a few new things thanks to Lincoln Motor Company. Lincoln and its partner brand Ford are friends of the LoveBrownSugar family. You might recall that I attended my very first BET Awards back in 2012 courtesy of Ford and that I attended this year’s Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon for the very first time as a guest of Lincoln.

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Well last week, they gave me the pleasure of attending my very first TriBeca Film Festival! Growing up in NYC, I’d always heard about the festival and that it often brings out a myriad of celebrities including musicians, actors and actresses that are featured in these independent films.

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I’m not a huge film buff but I can always appreciate works of art that people put their hearts and souls into. There’s something very special about film and I appreciate the storytelling aspect of it because I consider myself a visual and written storyteller as well.

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LBS Opinion: Should We Drop The Plus?

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Written by Keyaira N. Boone

Plus. Extended. Womens. No matter what you call the section of a store that caters to size 12 and above, it’s separate.

And when I walk into the Mall at Short Hills with a slim friend I know I’m preparing for a separate but not so equal shopping experience. As we enter * insert the name of your favorite department store here* the escalator will foreshadow our fates as she is led to the area for “ladies” and I’m left to languish in the limited offerings of whatever is on the sales floor for the full-figured and fashionable.

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3 Reasons To Watch EMPIRE on Fox

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Tonight at 9pm/8pm central, the FOX Network is premiering a new hit series called EMPIRE. The series, starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, revolves around music label Empire Entertainment. Built from the ground up by its CEO Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), the story revolves around the family members vying for control of the record label including the owner’s 3 sons and the mother of his children Cookie (Taraji  P. Henson) who returns from a 17 year stint in jail to claim what she believes is rightfully hers – half of the company.  I won’t give away any of the juicy details from the first episode, but it is amazing!

The whole cast toasts to Empire.

I first saw previews of the series while watching TV. They’ve been running commercials for a while now. Then, a few days before Christmas, I opened my front door and found this sitting on my step:

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Someone at Fox clearly loves me and knows that I love music, because when I opened it up it was a GRAMAVOX!

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Gramavox is this new meets old school speaker system that allows you to play music via Bluetooth technology and it comes out of this really cool retro sound system. This is like the perfect gift for a vintage music lover.

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In the package was a letter from legendary director and producer Lee Daniels himself. If you’re not familiar, Lee Daniels produced Monster’s Ball and directed Precious (which received six Academy Award nominations including Best Director) and The Butler. Impressive resume is an understatement.

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In addition to the wonderful music gift, they also sent me the Pilot episode of EMPIRE.

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After watching it, I can definitively say I will be tuning in weekly. Here are three reasons that EMPIRE on Fox is a must-see:

1. Taraji & Terrence. Nuff said.

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This is really a dynamic duo. Their on-screen chemistry is so on point and they feed off of each other so much in this series. I really loved watching them interact, it just looks so effortless. Also we know how these two do – anyone remember Hustle & Flow? Right.

2. The music is amazing. Timbaland is responsible.

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Timbaland is hands-down one of my favorite producers. If I ever grow up and decide to become Beyonce 2.0, I’m going straight to Tim to cut me some tracks. He’s responsible for the music production in this series and it is so amazing. They’ll definitely be getting some iTunes downloads out of me.

3. It’s like ABC’s Nashville – the hip-hop version.

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It has the same appeal as ABC’s series Nashville with strong music as the foundation, great acting as the meat, and fun cameos and recurring roles as the generous topper. But what’s amazing about this is that’s for us! We’re always so up in arms about our actors, actresses, producers and directors not getting enough screen time. Well things are changing for the better and it’s so exciting to see an entire cast of people of color represented on a national primetime series. I really enjoyed watching the pilot of Empire and I’m encouraging all of you to tune in tonight. You won’t be disappointed!

EMPIRE premieres tonight, January 7th at 9pm/8pm central on FOX Network.

Are you planning to watch the premiere season of Empire?

5 Ways to Reinvent Your Wardrobe in 2015

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The cliché “New Year, New Me” is almost inescapable. It’s been plastered all over memes, blogs and social media sites, and is a viable mantra for those who had a horrid 2014. In hopes that 2015 will be brighter and more favorable, we encourage readers to inject pizzazz into their wardrobes. Use these five reinvention tips to escape a fashion (and personal) rut in 2015.

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Lisa Price Discusses Carol’s Daughter L’Oreal Acquisition

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As someone who has been a huge fan and supporter of Carol’s Daughter for years now, I was elated when I heard the news that the beauty brand would be joining the L’Oreal family. As a business major in college, one of my very first high-profile interviews at the time was with Lisa Price. Carol’s Daughter was still a budding brand that was rapidly expanding to include a storefront in Harlem and a slew of new product lines. I was enamored by Lisa Price’s business acumen and her sensibility. It is NOT easy to take a brand that you started in your kitchen to the level that Lisa Price has grown Carol’s Daughter. From there, I developed a great relationship with the brand and I’ve been a supporter ever since.

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But with a big move like this, obviously comes controversy and conflict. Some loyal Carol’s Daughter fans are concerned about whether the products will change or discontinue. Some critics are worried that the brand will lose some of its authenticity as a result of the Carol’s Daughter L’Oreal acquisition. Well I had the privilege of speaking one-on-one with Lisa Price about her decision to partner with L’Oreal and what will change at Carol’s Daughter as a result.

Here’s what she had to tell me:

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My Instaweek: NYFW Spring 2015 Edition

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Happy Monday folks! I haven’t done one of these Instaweek posts in a very long time but it’s my first NY Fashion Week back on the scene and there’s been a ton of excitement today. Here’s a snapshot of my busy (but exciting) week last week and the first few days of NYFW:

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On The Market: Monif C’s ‘Beach is Better’ Collection

monif-c-collectionThe summer sun is barely peaking its head here in the big apple, but we’re excited to see it shine over at Monif C. – the ever brilliantly designed plus size label. Their swim 2014 collection was presented at a transformed Manhattan loft on the evening of April 17th, complete with real palm trees and loads of sand. Channeling the sexy of South Beach, models stood on lighted platforms and guests sipped on Bacardi tropical cocktails.

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Kickin’ It: About Last Night Private Screening and Dinner

about-last-night-movie-nyc-screening.jpgOn Monday February 3, 2014 LBS was invited to AMC Movie Theaters for a private screening of new movie About Last Night followed by a special dinner hosted by Kevin Hart, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant and producer Will Packer. If you’ve been paying any attention to the TV (or Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) lately there has been heavy promotion for the film which follows two friends who go from spending nights at the bar to steamy nights in the bedroom. The movie is a remake of the 1986 original

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Cover Girls: Alicia Keys for Marie Claire UK

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This July, Alicia Keys sets the cover of Marie Claire UK on fire, right in time for the summer. Shot earlier this year on the island of the Bahamas by photographer Yutsai, the photos are really breathtaking. Alicia is featured in sophisticated, sexy looks from Gucci, Versace, Diane von Furstenberg and Just Cavalli. In the issue, she opens up about her first impressions of her husband, evolving and directing.

On her overall first impression of Swizz Beatz:

Swizz will have the fastest car, the biggest jewelery, the loudest jacket; everything with him is really over the top. I used to see him and think, “He is so annoying.”
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On writing “That’s When I Knew” for Swizz Beatz:

That’s when I Knew” is definitely an ode to my husband… Honestly, I didn’t really like him that much. I thought he was too ostentatious.
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On what she’s learned from her relationship:

I think we’ve taught each other a lot. He’s taught me to live more fully and I think I’ve taught him to live more deeply.
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On becoming vocal about her feelings:
You have to speak up. To say, “I don’t like that, it’s not cool, don’t do that to me”, but it’s not easy, especially with people you love. I think getting older has made me evolve in a lot of ways and made me more relaxed about saying how I feel, no matter what.

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On maintaining balance:
I realize you have to have a balance – you can live life and have more experiences as well as working.

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On becoming a director:
I fell in love with directing. Because first of all I didn’t have to get up early for make-up and, second, I’m a very diplomatic individual.

Check out the behind-the-scenes video here: http://bcove.me/96p2c38e
Thoughts on this cover? Do you love it?