“To the white folks that have expressed anger/shock over my approval of A Thousand Miles’ usage in the Spinabenz, Whoppa Wit Da Choppa, Yungeen Ace, & FastMoney Goon song Who I Smoke, I invite you to ask yourself why you feel this way & then read this,” she tweeted last month. With the support of Carlton alongside his fallen friend, King Von — who appears on his new project Life of Betrayal 2X — Ace is ready to unleash a storm on the rap game for all of his believers and loved ones. “I knew this year was the year to smash the gas when it came to music, and I couldn’t stop,” says Ace. “I say that because sometimes, I feel like I’m overlooked despite what I’m doing. So I have to keep my foot on everyone’s neck and not letting you guys have a chance to breathe.”Before the release of Life Of Betrayal 2X, Ace spoke with Billboard about the biggest misconceptions surrounding Jacksonville’s rap scene, his friendship with the late King Von, how his life has changed after “Who I Smoke,” and more.When looking back at your career, how do you feel when realizing you made it, and you did so coming out of Jacksonville?It feels good! It only motivates me to keep going because I know I’m one of the biggest [rappers] to come out of my city or at least make it this far. I also just went gold the other day. Even though I don’t show my emotions much, even when happy, I am glad to be where I’m at, and there’s a new light shining on our city.I want to help everybody make it here in Jacksonville, so that we can eat together. Up until now, the most prominent point any rapper from Jacksonville got to was being known around the city. So from studying those guys, the art itself, and finding the right studio, I put everything together to be different from everyone else. Everything from my music and sound made me bigger than I was, and it worked.So with that said, what is the biggest misconception about Jacksonville’s rap scene? That there’s no talent. [Laughs.] Many people overlook our talent and don’t understand what we can do. When you’re from Jacksonville, you have a real story to tell. Everything from our environment, people, etc., fuels our storytelling and creates great talent from here. But I’m going to change that [narrative].Leading up to the release of Life Of Betrayal 2X, there were talks about it having many features. Is that still the case? Real talk, there were a lot of features on there, but most of them came off. But I do have [King] Von and [YFN] Lucci. Salute to Lucci and, of course, my brotha Von. This album will go crazy, and I also have “Who I Smoke” on there.You’ve been quoted saying, “Trust is temporary; I’m into loyalty.” With that said, how have you handled your relationships in and out of the music industry? I can’t lie, bro; I didn’t come into this game to make friends. For the most part, I try to be cool with people and leave it at that. But if you and I are locked in, and I look at you like family, that means I love you and will risk it all for you. But not everybody loves the same way as me or communicates like me, and I had to learn that.With [King] Von, it was different. He was my guy outside of rap, and we spoke about everything involving real life. And I could also pull up to his house, and he could pull up to mine. But that doesn’t happen with everybody. At the end of the day, this is a competition. Everybody wants to compete, and I think we should focus on winning together.One thing I’ve noticed is that you have a very committed fanbase who appears to be just as invested as you with everything you do. Can that be overwhelming at times? Oh, no, I love it. [Laughs.] They’ve been with me every step of the way, and they know we’re a team. Heck, my fans can be more supportive than those around me, especially when it comes to buying my music. It can be up with whoever when it comes to my fans and me. I speak for them and will do everything for them. When it’s all said and done, my fans only see what I show them, and I do that on purpose. I don’t have to worry about my fans taking it too far in certain situations because of that decision and how I presented it. Not to mention, I’ll never speak about any rumors. As long as I know the truth, then I don’t care.To piggyback off the topic of the fans, you’ve become a success when it comes to YouTube and it’s not only with the music videos. What made you value that platform so much? The fact everybody is on YouTube and you could find answers to anything on there [laughs]. There are different audiences on YouTube, and some people know me more from there than music, to be honest. Besides releasing my music videos and vlogs from studio sessions, I also have a channel with my girlfriend. Please believe me when I say YouTube has my full support.Like your fellow artists, you had to make music throughout this pandemic. How did it impact you, especially with a new album on your schedule? You know what’s so crazy? Even during this pandemic, I remained in the studio every day. It didn’t matter what I was doing. Whether it was recording music or shooting videos, I was in there working and then going outside to continue working. No matter what was in my way, I couldn’t stop, and that’s no disrespect to anybody who was slowed down by this pandemic. Sure, I missed out on shows and appearances, but that can’t mess with my work ethic. Music is my life, and I put it all on the line for it. I told you, I couldn’t slow down.
Lauren Patten Thanks Trans and Nonbinary ‘Jagged Little Pill’ Colleagues While Accepting Best Actress in a Musical
Patten’s comments follow the news that the show’s lead producers, Vivek J. Tiwary, Arvind Ethan David and Eva Price, had hired the external firm Jay Hewlin and The Hewlin Group to investigate allegations made by former cast members, including nonbinary actor Nora Schell, who alleged in a social media post mistreatment by stage management and…
Patten’s comments follow the news that the show’s lead producers, Vivek J. Tiwary, Arvind Ethan David and Eva Price, had hired the external firm Jay Hewlin and The Hewlin Group to investigate allegations made by former cast members, including nonbinary actor Nora Schell, who alleged in a social media post mistreatment by stage management and other members of the show’s creative leadership in regards to their health care. The producers also announced they are immediately launching an external review of the show’s policies and procedures.That followed a lengthy Sept. 17 statement to the production’s website and social media, acknowledging missteps in how they publicly spoke about and identified Patton’s character Jo, a lovestruck teen dealing with religious parents, their sexuality and a souring relationship while also going on their own gender journey, which has no confirmed outcome in the show. The letter also outlined significant changes to the productions on an off-stage approach to trans and nonbinary identities.A day after the statement, Patten shared a video conversation with Shakina Nayfack, trans writer, actress and activist, to increase transparency around the conversations that were being had about Jo, and to be accountable for harm resulting from the erasure of Jo’s gender journey. Patten linked her comments to a broader conversation on Broadway about transparency and the production changes that have occurred in regards to representation, particularly over the last year.“The truth is that I did not know as much as I should and stepping into something that I did know would resonate with a lot of folks — a lot of queer folks and a lot of trans folks,” Patten said. “I should have known more how to talk about it. I should have known how to exactly, as you said, affirm the experience without trying to be it.”This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.
Britney Spears Thinks These ‘Cheesy’ Instagram Photos Look Like Her Yearbook Pictures
Britney Spears returned to Instagram after a brief hiatus recently, and she’s back to sharing some of her selfies.Friday night (Sept. 24), the pop star posted a pair of pictures of herself in which she’s seen sweetly gazing up at the camera. With a floral crop top and her hair pulled half back, Spears’ look…
Britney Spears returned to Instagram after a brief hiatus recently, and she’s back to sharing some of her selfies.Friday night (Sept. 24), the pop star posted a pair of pictures of herself in which she’s seen sweetly gazing up at the camera. With a floral crop top and her hair pulled half back, Spears’ look in the snapshots apparently reminded her of some old photos — her yearbook pictures.Some of Spears’ actual yearbook portraits have circulated around the internet in the past. (A quick Google image search will pull them up.)
Saweetie & Darren Criss Talk Performing at the ‘Celebratory’ SHEIN x Rock the Runway
“I love that SHEIN’s goal for this event is to create a one-stop destination for fashionistas to discover up and coming creators across all aspects of the industry,” Saweetie tells Billboard of the opportunity. “I love that SHEIN is opening that door for everyone by shining a light on the biggest of stars to the indie artists.…
“I love that SHEIN’s goal for this event is to create a one-stop destination for fashionistas to discover up and coming creators across all aspects of the industry,” Saweetie tells Billboard of the opportunity. “I love that SHEIN is opening that door for everyone by shining a light on the biggest of stars to the indie artists. I’m passionate about so many things… music, fashion, beauty, and I’ve been so fortunate to pursue my dreams. Music is my ultimate love and it’s opened the door for all these other amazing things.”Fellow performer Darren Criss is equally excited to be included in such a unique opportunity, telling Billboard, “I really like the idea of not your typical fashion show and it being more of a celebration of dance and music and contextualizing the clothes via the music and performative elements and seeing how clothes look on all different kinds of people with different kinds of movement and music. That thinking out of the box factor of a typical fashion show was immediately appealing to me.”Saweetie shared that for her performance, which will showcase the Ski Party looks, fans should expect “lots of dancing” choreographed by Brya Woods and assistant choreographer Aahkilah Cornelius.Criss is gearing up to perform his new single “For a Night Like This,” which he describes as an “unapologetically celebratory jam.””It’s all about celebrating with the people you love,” he adds. “It’s such a vibrant song and the creativity that they were going for with this fashion show was a really great match for the song I wanted to perform. I’m happy I can showcase that vibrancy and colorfulness.”Criss, whose performance will accompany the City Sleek styles, emphasized his gratitude for SHEIN bringing his song to life with “a hundred dancers of all different backgrounds, shapes and sizes, with a variety of movement. That is something that really takes a song to the next level. It takes it from a song to a spectacle and a visually exciting experience. It’s something we all hope can happen with our songs when we write them.””Any opportunity I have to be around dancers and have dancing in my life – I’m not a dancer myself, but any time I can have that in my life, whether it’s through one of my songs or walking through life, I embrace that opportunity,” he continues. “The more dance, the better.”SHEIN x Rock the Runway will also help raise awareness and donations to benefit National Action Network, one of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations and Youth Emerging Stronger, which helps to build futures for foster and homeless youth. SHEIN is donating $350,000 across both charities.”While I love to use my platforms to entertain, it’s just as important for me to educate and make a positive impact on the world and I love that SHEIN is acting on this by partnering with these organizations,” Saweetie says of the event’s charitable aspect. “I’m huge supporter of education and giving everyone access to the knowledge that will help them to grow and succeed in the world regardless of their background.””It’s obviously the bonus for anything you do,” Criss agrees. “You’re happy to support anything that supports others beyond the preliminary presentation of ‘Here are some cool clothes, here are some amazing dancers, here’s a cool song.’ In the process, we’re also shining a light on an organization that are doing a lot of good in the world. I always prefer that to be a component in anything I do.”Since this is a fashion show, after all, how would Saweetie and Darren Criss describe their personal style? “My style is always growing and evolving,” Saweetie explains, “Because I am constantly researching and studying designers and their collections throughout the past. I love to play with fashion and take risks with my style – anything glam! I draw a lot of inspiration from the 90s and early 2000s and try to mix these retro and nostalgic elements with the feminine aesthetic of old Hollywood glamour.””I’m a big believer in dressing for the party,” Criss says. “This is a much larger idea that goes into music, that goes into how I approach everything in life, which is knowing what the venue is, honoring what the dress code is and then doing your own spin on it to be a little unique and not like everybody else. Just enough of something that is accessible so that people feel comfortable around your choice, but you’re also pushing it a little bit. I like toeing that line in general. I’m not saying I’m a fashionista at all, but it depends what day of the week it is, what coffee shop I’m walking to and what part of town. All those variables have their own set of rules that I like to abide by. But I’m definitely not one type of thing and am never thoughtless, that’s for sure.”Catch the SHEIN x Rock the Runway event when its streams on Sunday (Sept. 26) at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT on the SHEIN app, and the company’s Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook pages. Shop the SHEIN x Rock the Runway looks here.