Entertainment

Before Fergie Joined The BEP, There Was Another Vocalist—“They Got Rid Of The Black Girl, Then They Got The White Girl, And They Blew Up”

The Black Eyed Peas as we all know them, are conformed by Will.I.Am, Taboo, Apl.De.Ap and Fergie. What many people may not know is that Fergie actually replaced the group’s original singer, Kim Hill, in 2002. In a new “op-doc” published by the New York Times, the former vocalist got real about what happened.

Back in 1995, Hill joined Will.i.am, Apl.de.ap, and Taboo when they were forming the Black Eyed Peas. 

Hill met Will.I.Amwhen she moved to L.A. to pursue a musical career. He approached her and they began writing music together. The band eventually gained a following and got to open for the likes of OutKast and No Doubt, but the fame wasn’t all positive for Hill.

Right before the group skyrocketed to fame, she felt its fame put pressure on her to be over-sexualized.

“There was new management now, so it’s a whole different set of expectations and pressure. It just started to get clumsy and messy. You want me to grind on Will.i.am in a bathing suit?” Hill says in the video. “That was being asked of me, never by the guys. That was happening from an executive level.”

“The tug of war was about my sexuality and how much of that I was willing to like, literally strip down.” 

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“I never wanted to be objectified while doing my music. ‘Where’s your voice? Where are you?’” she continues.

At the dawn of the 90s, hip-hop faced something of a crisis. 

The success of gangsta rap groups such as Los Angeles natives NWA, whose 1988 debut album, Straight Outta Compton, detailed street violence in an uncompromising and explicit style. Hip-hop’s more aggressive artists were the most popular ones.

When it came to the Black Eyed Peas’ voice and rising fame, Hill and the other members had conflicting opinions on how they should evolve.

She believed it was the group’s “duty to progress [hip-hop],” she says, adding that its uniqueness was being “happy at a time in hip-hop where it really wasn’t okay to just be happy.”

She resented that outside voices wanted her to appear sexualized, objectified.

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But at the same time, she understood her bandmates’ didn’t have her privilege to refuse the demands of a burgeoning career. “The pressure started coming to, like, soften it up and make it super-commercial. [I] was like, ‘We’re not really going to do that, are we?’” Hill recalls. “And the guys were like, ‘You don’t have to go back to East L.A. if this doesn’t work out.’”

Not wanting to tear the group apart, Hill left and pursued her solo career. 

The Black Eyed Peas eventually brought on Fergie. Soon they were “inescapable”, as Hill says, going on to win six Grammys, sell millions of albums, and release hits like “My Humps” and “I Gotta Feeling.”

Hill has nothing but love for Will.

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Kim Hill reached out to Will once The Peas became a worldwide sensation. “Will was so happy, and I called,” she explains. “And I was like…I saw you on TV and you are happy. And I just want you to know, I’m happy for you.” From then on, Hill’s relationship with the band has been amicable. 

The former BEP vocalist didn’t throw any shade at the band.

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The beginning ✌️#fbf

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“No one handed them anything,” she says. “They worked their asses off. They deserve it.”

Does she resent Fergie? Not at all, if anything, she think’s they’d bond perfectly.

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#AxlsIsland

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Hill has never personally met Fergie. “She’s never done anything to me. She didn’t take anything from me,” Hill says. “What I do feel like is if we ever met it would be like an embrace with a hug and a deep breath because I think we just kind of know something about being that female in that construct, and that is — it’s tough.”

“I was there for that part of Hip Hop, that was kind of the last of it.”

There was a seismic shift in hip-hop before the decade was out. A new generation of rap stars who were as comfortable on the red carpet or in the boardroom as they were in the recording studio started to emerge.

Many artists moved on from the overt violence and harnessed radio-friendly productions to cross over into the pop market. 

“It’s okay that it’s not wrapped up in a bow, with platinum records and a big house.” says Hill about missing out on the fame and fortune of having been part of The Black Eyed Peas. “I had my happy.” The singer is now divorced and has a son.

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Vanessa Bryant Shared The Sweetest Throwback Photo Of Kobe For Her Daughter Natalia’s 18th Birthday

Entertainment

Vanessa Bryant Shared The Sweetest Throwback Photo Of Kobe For Her Daughter Natalia’s 18th Birthday

Stephen Dunn / Getty

Life goes on.

Almost a year after her father Kobe Bryant passed, Natalia Bryant is gearing up for college and celebrating her life in progress. On Tuesday, to celebrate her daughter’s 18th birthday, Vanessa Bryant showered her daughter with tributes and words of wisdom in an Instagram post.

Vanessa posted a handful of tributes to Natalia on Instagram, including old photos of the 18-year-old her father, Kobe.

The late LA Laker, who died last year on Jan. 26 with his 13-year-old daughter (Gianna) and several others in a tragic helicopter crash, could be seen in the photos. In one of the images, Vanessa and Kobe held baby Natalia in an image taken on the Los Angeles Lakers court.

“Daddy’s little princess, Natalia. ❤️🎉🎂🎉#18#BirthdayGirl,” Bryant captioned one of the photos.

In another post, Vanessa expressed how proud she was of the woman Natalia has become.

“Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the young lady that you are. You have displayed so much strength and grace throughout the most difficult year of our lives,” she wrote in the post. “Thank you for stepping in to help me with your little sisters. You’re such an incredible big sister and a beautiful role model to so many people. Thank you for being kind, polite and gracious in everything that you do. You have no idea how happy and proud mommy and daddy are that you’re our daughter. We love you always and forever, forever and always. Happy 18th birthday to our first born, Natalia, our principessa!”

Last week, Bryant revealed that Natalia has college on the mind.

In a separate post shared to Instagram, Vanesa revealed that her daughter has New York on the mind when it comes to getting her Bachelor’s. “NYU is one of her top schools. (@nataliabryant chose not to apply ED to her top 5 schools). I will do my best to keep her in Cali just like I kept her daddy here,” she commented.

There’s no doubt that in the wake of her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gigi’s deaths, Vanessa Bryant and her family have received quite the outpour of support from fans. Look up just about any hashtag with their names and you’ll find hundreds of thousands of images of the two deceased Bryant family members and just about as many fan accounts. The images and tributes have meant to be a eulogy to the two basketball players that lost their lives too soon.

Yet, recently Vanessa Bryant revealed that the ongoing support hasn’t always been so positive for her.

In June, Vanessa Bryant opened up about having to take action and remove herself from all the social media love she and her family have received in the five months since her husband and daughter’s deaths.

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In a post to her Instagram page, the mother of four, sent a note to fans to let them know that she and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalia, had decided to block fan pages in an effort to keep away from the constant pictures of Kobe and Gianna popping up on their “Explore” pages. In her post, Bryant underlined that she was only blocking the accounts to make sure she was continuing to heal and that it was not being done out of malice.

“Thx so much for all the [love]. @nataliabryant and I have unfortunately had to block fan pages because it’s been really hard to go online and constantly see pics of our beloved Gigi and Kobe under every single square of our explore pages. Blocking the fan pages has helped change the algorithm,” Bryant wrote in a post to her Stories on Instagram.

Vanessa continued to explain that “We [love] you all but please understand that we had to do this for our own healing not because we don’t appreciate your [love].”

Bryant’s Instagram page was made to be private soon after her husband’s death likely for similar reasons.

In a separate Instagram story to her own account Vanessa’s daughter Natalia shared, “We hope that people understand although these fan pages have good intentions, they make moving forward harder since they are constant reminders. Blocking the accounts have helped change the algorithm but we can not go public until the fan pages stop. We love all of your sweet intentions and we hope you understand.” 

Understandably, Bryant and her daughter are sheltering themselves from further hurt during this time.

Here’s hoping their fans continue to support them through this decision and understand their motives. Fortunately, while Bryant and her daughter Natalia have made their accounts private, they are still making their content available through other pages. Recently, Bryant revealed that she had decided to pay tribute to her late husband and daughter Gigi by commemorating their lives with tattoos.

Last week, Bryant took to Instagram to reveal she’d made the decision to honor her husband and daughter with two new tattoos.

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Both images were shared with the public via Nikko Hurtado, the artist behind Vanessa’s ink work.

“Shoutout to @nikkohurtado for coming over and helping me get my Gigi’s sweet message transferred on me,” she wrote in a caption to her Instagram page featuring a video of her new tattoo honoring her daughter. The details of the tattoo aren’t totally visible but in the comments, Bryant revealed that the tattoo features her late daughter’s handwriting. “So happy I can see my Gigi’s handwriting everyday ❤️ #mambacita,” she replied.

Bryant also shared a video of herself receiving another tattoo, this time for Kobe.

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In a post to her Instagram page, Bryant shared another video of herself. This time the video revealed that she was actively receiving a shoulder tattoo that is meant to honor her husband.

“I wanted my boo boo’s @kobebryant sweet message transferred on me,” Bryant explained in the caption of the photo.

For fans of the Bryants it’s important to note that while Vanessa and Natalia aren’t looking at fan accounts, the art is still available for you to view if it makes you feel better during this time.

Additionally, fans who want to keep up with Vanessa and Natalia and see how they continue to heal can follow friend accounts or stay in touch with us for updates!

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Melania Trump’s Former BFF Calls First Lady’s ‘What About Me?’ Reaction to U.S. Capitol Riots ‘Embarrassing’

Things That Matter

Melania Trump’s Former BFF Calls First Lady’s ‘What About Me?’ Reaction to U.S. Capitol Riots ‘Embarrassing’

Drew Angerer / Staff

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend of Melania Trump and employee of the Trump inauguration celebration, authored a book last fall about her friendship with Melania. The book, which detailed the first lady’s reaction to Trump’s infamous “Access Hollywood” tape and her relationship with the president’s favorite child: Ivanka came hard on the heels of several other damning memoirs concerning the Trumps. Now, the former friend (and adviser to Melania) is at it again.

In response to Melania’s comments on last Wednesday’s U.S. Capitol riots, Winston Wolkoff accused the first lady of being an “enabler” of her husband, Donald Trump.

In a recent interview with CNN, Winston Wolkoff accused Melania of being too little and too late with her response.

Issued five days after the attack on the Capitol, the first lady’s statement was criticized for focusing on issues related to herself rather than the harm done at the Capitol.

“I find it shameful that surrounding these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me – from people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda,” Melania Trump wrote. “This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain… I implore people to stop the violence, never make assumptions based on the color of a person’s skin, or use differing political ideologies as a basis for aggression and viciousness… We must listen to one another, focus on what unites us, and rise above what divides us.”

Addressing Melania’s reaction, Winston Wolkoff noted that “This isn’t the only complicit event that’s occurred throughout these four years. Melania Trump has a voice and she hasn’t used it. She has a platform, she hasn’t used it. As the First Lady of the United States of America … you have the ability to speak loudly, clearly, and for the rest of Americans. She is not just complicit, she is his enabler. And she’s his biggest cheerleader and unfortunately, she’s done nothing but that.”

When asked by CNN if she thought Melania’s statement was directed at her, Winston Wolkoff replied, “Unfortunately, Brianna, if that’s what’s on her mind, then that’s really an embarrassing thing to be thinking about at this moment in time.”

Last fall, Winston Wolkoff published a tell-all book that claimed to reveal what Melania really thinks about the president of the United States.

The new book reveals that that Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former close friend of Melania recorded the first lady speaking about the president and his children. “Wolkoff takes you into Trump Tower and the White House to tell the funny, thrilling, and heartbreaking story of her intimate friendship with one of the most famous women in the world,” says a preview of the book which is being published by Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books 

The book titled “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with The First Lady” hit shelves on September 1. It has tons of reveals.

Wolkoff says that she feels “stabbed in the back” by Melania.

“I witnessed the transformation of Melania from gold plate to 24-karat gold,” Wolkoff wrote befoe adding “Watching her now, and seeing that only the gold shell remains, I have to wonder if that’s all she ever was, and I was the sucker who bought the fake watch on the street corner.”

When it came to the Hollywood Access Tape, Melania was apparently glowing.

Wolkoff wrote about how Melania reacted in 2016 to the Access Hollywood tape in which her husband could be heard bragging about “grabbing” women by their vaginas.

“She was radiant, she was smiling,” Wolkoff wrote. “It was as if nothing happened… She knows who she married… She knew what she was getting into, and so did he.”

It’s yet to be revealed when and where the alleged recordings of Melania were done but there’s no doubt Trump likely already has a legal team on it.

After all, recording someone without their consent is illegal in many states. However, in New York and some others, only one person taking part in a conversation needs to legally consent to be recorded.

According to the book’s description, Wolkoff (also the former director of special events at Vogue and a producer of Met Galas) “met Melania Knauss in 2003 and had a front-row seat to the transformation of Donald Trump’s then-girlfriend from a rough-cut gem to a precious diamond. As their friendship deepened over lunches at Manhattan hot spots, black-tie parties, and giggle sessions in the penthouse at Trump Tower” the author “watched the newest Mrs. Trump raise her son, Barron, and manage her highly scrutinized marriage.”

Once friends, Wolkoff and Melania experienced a breaking point in their relationship over her handling of the $107 million inauguration. The spending on the inauguration prompted various questions and a federal investigation. In the book, Wolkoff claims that she became Melania’s scapegoat for the decisions of President Trump and his aides.

In response to Wolkoff’s book, a spokeswoman for Melania said “The book is not only full of mistruths and paranoia, it it is based on some imagined need for revenge… Sadly, this is a deeply insecure woman whose need to be relevant defies logic.”

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