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Comedienne, actress and now talk-show host,; Mo’Nique is really doing her thing at the moment! As the 41 year old continues to generate Oscar buzz for her role in the critically acclaimed ‘Precious’ (which I’ve yet to see – is it any good?), her photoshoot for Upscale Magazine has surfaced. The Alter-Ego themed shoot was snapped by famed photographer Derek Blanks. Mo’ looks stunning!

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What do you think of the pics?

Unique performer Kelis recently sat down with Popbytes where she discussed her upcoming album. The artist also shared her thoughts about Rihanna, who has been accused of ”swagger jacking” her style, as well as Lady GaGa. Kelis’ new album hits stores in 2010.

As one of the people who has followed Kelis’ career for quite some time, I definitely see elements of her style in both Rihanna’s music and her fashion choices. From the Pop/Rock-infused Hip-Hop beats to her edgy hair styles (see the Bossy video), many acts have incorporated elements of her appeal into their artistry. Nevertheless, I respect how Kelis addressed the issue without being overtly ‘catty’ or disrespectful. Good stuff.

Thoughts?

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Our good friends over at Lime Magazine here in London generously provided That Grape Juice with exclusive excerpts from their recent interview with Grammy Award winning vocalist Toni Braxton. In the candid piece, the mother-of-two speaks on everything from her much publicized bankruptcy (with shocking revelations), her divorce, as well as the death of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson (who she recounts a hilarious story about). A lengthy, yet great read. Check it out:

Your bankruptcy was very messy and highly publicised at the time – what happened?

The bankruptcy was a good thing in a way as it allowed me to help other artists. For example my case was made public like that because I was at the pinnacle of my career but Usher, TLC, NSYNC were going through it but no one really knew – they only knew about me and TLC, so the girls tend to be made an example of. When you file bankruptcy it means all your contracts are null and void, the reason my case was made as public as it was is because that meant my music would be null and void, so the record company was fighting that. The second thing that a lot of people don’t know about is my royalty statement at that time was just under two thousand dollars. For 10 years I couldn’t talk about it because there was a gagging order but now my 10 years has passed and I can say what happened. So imagine I’m on tour with UnBreak My Heart and I get my royalties statement and its one thousand and nine hundred plus dollars!

How did you feel about having such a private matter out in the public domain like that?

Yes it is a very private matter but I was to be made an example of. My situation went to congress because they wanted all artists who file for bankruptcy in the future to have rights. As it was when you file bankruptcy all contracts are made null and void except recording artists so my case was to be made the example.

Did all of this take a big toll on your health?

Yes over a period of time I think it did. I think going through the court thing and then going through getting out of my deal with Blackground and then the stress of my son having autism, it really did beat my body up a little bit and then that’s when I got ill last year.

Was that experience the dark side of fame for you?

Probably yes that was the dark side but right now my husband and I are separated so it’s dark once again. We’re fine, we’re friends and it’s amicable; we’re just trying to raise our kids together without actually being together and it’s new, it’s only been six weeks.

How did you feel when you heard about the death of Michael Jackson?

Gosh it was very surreal to me, I heard about his passing before the press did because I’m with AEG and so was Michael Jackson. When I found out I didn’t believe it because I’m a huge fan. I remember when I first met him; he came over to me which was a really big deal. We were at a charity ball and he came over to me and said, ‘Toni Braxton oh my God I love you, your voice is so incredible, so androgynous – it’s so unique. Breathe Again is my favourite song, let’s take a picture together.’ Of course I was like, ‘it’s Michael Jackson!’ Years later he called me on my phone and introduced himself but I was like, ‘yeah right please like that’s Michael Jackson’ and put down the phone! Then his assistant called and was like, ‘no seriously Toni – it’s Michael Jackson’, when he called back I was like ‘Michael I’m so, so sorry’ and he said: ‘everyone does that, I’m used to it!’

What are your favourite songs that you’ve sang?

Breath Again is my all time favourite song, I remember when I first heard it, but it wasn’t for me it was for Pebble (Producer L.A. Reid’s wife). Un-break My Heart I loved but Seven Whole Days I hated it! There’s apart in the song where I say, ‘Seven Whole Nights aahhh’ I did that on purpose because I hated that song and they kept that bit in the song because they liked it. Let It Flow, I love but that wasn’t for me either, that was for Whitney (Houston) because it was for the soundtrack ‘Waiting To Exhale’. It was in a higher key but they had to lower it considerably for me.

Click here to read the full interview!

A very insightful read! Who would have known Usher and NSync were going through similar financial issues to Toni?! Or that Michael Jackson loved ‘Breathe Again’? Or that ‘Let It Flow’ was meant for Whitney Houston? Also, interestingly, this interview was conducted here in London BEFORE Toni officially announced her divorce and even more interestingly BEFORE the Soul Train Awards (which she attended with her husband, yet kissed Trey Songz). Things that make you go ‘hmmm’

Toni’s new LP ‘Pulse’ hits stores 22nd February 2010.

Tidbit: Be sure to follow Lime Magazine on Twitter by clicking here

Your thoughts?

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Mariah Carey and husband Nick Cannon were quite the ‘vision of love’ at last evening’s TeenNick HALO Awards at the NEWSEUM in Washington, D.C. Cannon is currently the chairman of TeenNick. Peep more photos from the event below:

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What do you think of their looks?

Pop phenomenon Lady GaGa was interviewed by television icon Barbra Walters last evening. The entertainer was listed as one of Walters’ ’10 Most Fascinating People of 2009′. During the discussion, a very humble GaGa revealed facets of her journey to stardom, her sexuality, artistry and her relationship with her family.

If there is one journalist that leaves everyone starstruck, it’s Barbra Walters. GaGa basically melted when asked about her sexuality, as if embarrassed to discuss the details with a parent. This interview displays how complex yet human the singer really is behind all of the glitz and glam. Quite interesting indeed.

Sidebar: Lady GaGa was not the first act to have their first 4 singles on their debut album go to #1. That honor is held by Mariah Carey, who is also the only artist to have their first 5 records top the charts.

Thoughts?

Comeback queen Whitney Houston kicked off her world tour today in Moscow, Russia. The singer, 46, voice was in tip-top shape (for 2009 Whitney) as she revisited her classic hits as well as new cuts from her Platinum selling LP ‘I Look To You’. She has really come leaps and bounds with the vocals, which in time I’m sure will only get even better. You can watch the performance of ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ above, and the rest below (video quality isn’t great, but oh well). Go Nippy!

I Will Always Love You

My Love Is Your Love

Man In The Mirror (Michael Jackson Tribute)

Saving All My Love For You

Bobbi Kristina Tribute

I Look To You

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What do you think of the performances?

Sexy siren Ciara spoke to ‘MTV News’ last evening while at the VEVO launch in New York City. The singer elaborated about the direction that  she will be taking on her next album, the follow-up to this year’s ‘Fantasy Ride‘. Ciara received a Grammy Award nomination for ‘Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals’ for her hit ‘Love Sex Magic’, which featured Justin Timberlake. The new LP hits stores in 2010.

This is certainly some interesting news. The fact that she is going to target “everybody” with this project is a very good indication that she will be developing material similar to ‘Love Sex Magic’, which saw her step out of her Urban niche and into the realm of Pop music. Ciara definitely has the potential to be an international act; with the potential to find success beyond the Hip-Hop/R&B format. Indeed, unlike many of her contemporaries (*hint hint*), she has both beauty and talent in her corner. I am eager to hear what she puts forward.

Thoughts?

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As our girl Kelly Rowland puts the finishing touches to her third studio album, a remix of Mario‘s ‘Thinkin’ of You’ featuring the Destiny’s Child alum surfaced a few moments ago.

While it may seem like somewhat of a random song for Ms. Kelly to jump on, it hardly surprises us as The Runners produced cut was penned by Rico Love (Beyonce’s ‘Sweet Dreams’ and ‘Radio’), who is overseeing Kelly’s project.

About the song itself, Ms. Kelly worked it out! As well as adding another dimension to the already cracking track, Kelly’s vocals (as evidenced by some of the adlibs and runs) show a lot of vocal maturity (we always knew she could cut it live, yet previous studio recordings had been played too safe IMO). Great remix!

Be sure to keep it locked on That Grape Juice for a special announcement about Kelly very soon!

Hit or Miss?

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Peep episode 7 of Monica‘s BET reality show ‘Still Standing’ (below), which aired earlier this week. As usual, I’m watching it now…what are you waiting for?! LOL. Enjoy.

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Check out this behind the scenes look at Beyonce and Lady GaGa‘s much hyped collaboration for the clip for ‘Video Phone’. As ‘ok’ as the video turned out to be, I must say this ‘making-of’ proved a lot more engaging than the finished product.

Tidbit: Aww @ what Bouncy says at the tail end of the video.

Your thoughts?

For this I have no words.

Your thoughts?

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Last evening the Skylight Studio, New York hosted the official launch of VEVO, the music video website started by Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. Some of the biggest names in Pop, Country and Urban entertainment appeared at the venue to debut their latest projects. Check out some the shots below:

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Mariah Carey shut everyone down with those shoes!

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Ciara experimented with this ‘look’. Okay then…

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50 Cent and Mary J. Blige posed for the cameras.

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Lady GaGa wowed the crowd with a performance of ‘Speechless’ from her ‘The Fame Monster’ LP.

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John Legend kept warm in this ensemble.

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Wyclef Jean was enjoying the festivities.

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Music executive Doug Morris, L.A. Reid, and Mariah Carey were clearly some of the most powerful people at the event. O yeah, and Rihanna’s in the picture as well.

Thoughts?

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