There are way too many legends roaming this earth every single day and never get enough of the flowers that are owed to them. And in relation to today's article, this is largely true in the dance community. High-profile dancers such as Debbie Allen, Misty Copeland, Fatima, and Josephine Baker, have all provided representation for the young girls who grew up to be the everyday women who also dance—the Jane Alexandria Kings of the industry, or the Alyshia Sherees, or Alisa Gregorys. After all, seeing black women perform in a realm in which we aren't often reflected on a mainstream level, legitimizes opportunities for any one of us to go after the same things—just as each of these women have done.
Someone that has helped catapult black dancers to the forefront, is Ashley Everett, dancer extraordinaire, right-hand woman to some of our faves in the game. Since the age of 16, when she moved from Chico, CA to NYC to train with Juliard and Alvin Ailey, she has become one of the most recognizable names in the industry, primarily due to performing with one of the best entertainers that music has ever seen—whichhhh we all know who that is.
We thought it would be dope to list out a few fun facts about our favorite dancing queen, so, Alexa, play "1-2 Step".
Here are 8 things you didn't know about Ashley Everett:
Her Resume is UnmatchedGiphy
Ashley began dancing at age 3, originating in ballet, but also training in tap and jazz. At 16, she moved to New York City to train at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. During a training session, she met Frank Gatson, Jr., Beyonce's choreographer at the time. A few months later, Ashley attended an open audition for Beyonce, and after Gatson remembered her, she landed the gig of Beyonce's dancer. She was just 17 years old.
Since, she has danced on all 10 of Beyonce's tours, totaling over 500 shows. And this isn't even including the mass amounts of promo spots on a variety of televisions shows, Super Bowls, etc. etc. But sis isn't just tied to one artist. She has also danced alongside other mega-stars such as Ne-Yo, Usher, Tina Turner, Ciara, and Jennifer Lopez.
Additionally, Ashley is an actress, and has starred in shows such as Hit The Floor and Shake It Up. She was on Season 3 of The Masked Singer, and recently created her own line of fitness videos with NEOU Fitness. #bookedandbusy
Ashley Skipped Out On Attending Julliard As Her Career Blossomed
By age 19, Ashley Everett was promoted to Beyonce's dance captain. From here, she would go on to perform in a multitude of shows, a decision she made, that ended up working on her behalf. Prior to The Beyoncé Experience, Ashley was accepted and enrolled into the Juilliard School, but ultimately decided against attending, due to touring with Beyonce and wanting to pursue her dance career on her current path. Regarding her decision, she told ET:
"I was a girl when this started. She's just a huge inspiration in my life and so many others, obviously. I wouldn't take it back for the world."
Um, we absolutely do not blame you, girl.
Ashley Has Her Own Swimsuit Line
In 2019, Ashley Everett partnered with her best friend and business partner at Phae Design and created a swimsuit line that's an entire look! She announced the news via Instagram by saying:
"We are so excited to announce that #phae aka @phaedesign a swimsuit line by @hperrier36 and myself will finally be up for sale next week!! It's been a long process but we can't wait for you all to see and enjoy our new baby just in time for summer!"
Each piece comes in a variety of colors and styles and sis has been werking them all, all over her Instagram page. Visit or shop on their website at www.phaedesign.com.
Her Dog's Name is Hov
Ashley recently became a new pup mommy with her boyfriend, and they decided to name him Hov! The Lilac Tri American Bully even has its own IG page, complete with enough cuteness, pics, and captions to go around. Ashley says she took some time to get acclimated to the pup, but as you can see, they're doing just fine. Cuteness overload!
Ashley Once Choreographed A Personalized Fitness Routine For xoNecole
At the height of quarantine, Ashley hosted 'Fitness Friday' on our Instagram Live, where she showed up ready to work! She choreographed an entire dance and fitness routine and showed us just how she gets down—and whew, we were tired, m'kay? Set to the tune of Beyonce's "Before I Let Go" and harboring enough squats, turns, and sweat to go around, Ashley simultaneously showed us just how she gets down, and why we have a long way to go before we can get down with her.
Add this fun cardio routine to your workout and let us know how you do!
Click here for the full dance routine.
Ashley Has Revealed That The Hit Song "Single Ladies" Took 22 Hours To Shoot
Alongside Ebony Williams, Ashley took part in changing the scope of music videos forever, while dancing with the boss in 2008's mega-smash, "Single Ladies". But according to the starlet, the "Single Ladies" music video, which has amassed over 791 million views on YouTube, was anything but easy to shoot. She told Metro:
"I can't believe I've been dancing that long. I remember that shoot was like a 22-hour shoot or something, almost a full day. Of course that video is all dancing from top to bottom so it was exhausting because a lot of dance videos have a dance section or moment, but this was the entire video so we were tired to say the least."
It's one thing to dance for an hour, but 22 of them? Chile.
The hard work paid off as its music video went viral and secured it's rightful place in music and pop history.
Ashley's Signature Hair Color Was Beyonce's Idea
When Ashley Everett first joined Beyonce's camp, she was young and unaware of who she was as an artist herself. She revealed that one thing Bey has always encouraged her dancers to do, was embrace is their natural hair. She told Hello Beautifulin 2014 that Bey told her her to play around and find her signature hairstyle:
"She'll say what she likes on us. She'll be like, 'Ashley, I like when your hair is big.' She'll say what she likes and we do have room to play and change. But, for the most part, we try to stick to it because they want us to look the same. Like her, she doesn't change her hair too much."
From that moment, Ashley became a standout, as they settled on her trademark bright red curls.
"Beyonce asked me to dye my hair in 2009. She never gave an explanation but I imagine it was for variety. Then I just kept dying it brighter and brighter to the point that it became my trademark."
She Regularly Uses Dance To Inspire Women And Young Girls
Philanthropy is a huge component to Ashley's brand, as she is an advocate of passing the torch. She takes part in many charity activities and events, and is always open to teaching what she knows and creating a standard for what it means to be a black woman who works alongside one of the most profiled black women in the world. Her journey isn't unique to some, and she's had public ups and downs (something she had to learn to get used to), but she always manages to fly the flag of what it means to represent her position and pay it forward.
Even during a pandemic, she has hosted various virtual events to inspire the next generation of young dancers. She recently told NBC Boston:
"I love anything empowering women and girls and I just love to help the next generation in any way that I can. If I can inspire and educate in any way that's what I'm here for."
Ashley Everett has many personal projects in the works, as she is coming into the landscape of who she is a business woman.
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Feature image by Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
This was first evident more than a decade ago when she quit her job as the corporate executive of a Fortune 500 company during a Periscope livestream. “I’m not sure if there’s an alignment of [our] future trajectory. I’m going to work for myself. I'm promoting myself to work for myself,” she said at the time before flashing a smile at the viewing audience. As she resigned on camera, a constant stream of encouraging messages floated upwards on the screen.
By 2021, she’d fashioned her work as a corporate consultant and her personal life with her husband and three adopted daughters into a reality show, She’s The Boss, for USA Network. This year, she released the New York Times bestselling memoir Nothing Is Missing, written as she was in the process of getting a divorce and dealing with her eldest daughter’s struggles with substance use.
Convinced that there’s no way the 39-year-old has achieved all of this without intentional strategic planning, I asked her about it when we spoke less than a week before Christmas. I’d seen videos on social media of her working on 2024 planning for other brands, and I wanted to know what that looked like following her own year of success.
She listed a number of goals, including ensuring that the projects she takes on in the new year align with her identity “as a Black woman, as an African woman, as a mother, as someone who has lived a [rebuilding] season and is now trying to live boldly and entirely as themselves.” But, I was shocked by how much of her business planning also prioritized rest.
Despite the bestselling book, a self-titled podcast, and working with numerous corporations, Walters said she’s been taking Fridays off. This year, she doesn’t want to work on Mondays, either.
“A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement,” she said, noting that she’ll check in with herself around March to see how successful this plan has been. The goal, Walters said, is to only be working on Tuesdays and Thursdays by sometime in 2025. “It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to have happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change.”
"A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement... It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change."
Walters said the decision to progressively work less was partially in response to her previously held notions about her career, especially as an entrepreneur. “When I first started, I thought burnout was a part of it,” she said. “What I didn’t realize is that even if you’re able to bounce out of burnout or get back to it, there’s a cumulative impact on your body. If you think of your body as a tree and every time you go through burnout, you are taking a hack out of your trunk, yes, that trunk will heal over, and the tree will continue to grow, but it doesn't mean that you don’t have a weakened stem.”
But, the desire for increased rest was also in response to the major shifts that occurred three years ago when she was experiencing major changes in her family and realized her metaphorical tree was “bending all the way over.”
“One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity,” she added. “That is some language that I think is just now starting to really get unpacked.” In recent years, there’s been an increased awareness of achieving balance in life, with Tricia Hersey’s “The Nap Ministry” gaining attention based on the idea that rest, especially for Black women, is a form of resistance. Even online phrases such as “soft life” and “quiet quitting” have hinted at a cultural shift in prioritizing leisure over professional ambition.
"One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity."
If companies are lining up to consult with Walters about their brands and products, then women have been looking to her for guidance on starting over since she invited them to livestream her resignation 12 years ago. As viewers continue to demand more from content creators in the form of intimate, personal details, Walters has navigated her personal brand with a sense of transparency without oversharing the vulnerable details about her life, especially when it comes to her family.
The entrepreneur said she’d been approached to write a book for several years and was initially convinced she was finally ready to write one about business. “I started to do that, and then I went through my divorce. When that happened, I said, why would I write a book telling people to get the life that I have when I’m not sure about the life that I have,” she said.
Instead, she decided to write Nothing Is Missing and provide a closer look at her life, starting with being born to immigrant Ghanaian parents (“You need to know my childhood to know why I’m passionate about entrepreneurship.”) through the adoption of her three daughters and eventual divorce. Despite her desire to share, however, she said she felt protective of the privacy of her family, including her ex-husband.
When discussing this with me, Walters said she was reminded of a lesson she learned from actress Kerry Washington, who released her own memoir, Thicker Than Water, just a week before Walters’ book release. Washington’s memoir grapples with family secrets, too, specifically the fact that she was conceived using a sperm donor and didn’t learn about it until she was already a successful TV star. While Washington reflects on how the decision and subsequent deception impacted her, she’s also careful to hold space for her parents’ experiences, too. “A lot of things she said was that she had to recognize where she was the supporting character and where she was the main character,” Walter said.
This is something Walter worked to do in Nothing Is Missing when discussing her daughter’s struggles with addiction. “I was very intentional about making sure that I did not reveal more than what was required,” she said. “If I say something about someone’s addiction, I don’t need to go into the list of the substances they used, how they used them, what I found. [I don’t need to] walk into a room and paint a picture of what it looked like for people to understand.”
Walters said some of the most vulnerable moments in the book barely made a ripple once it was released. She was extremely nervous to write about getting an abortion, she said. But no one has asked her about this in the months since the book was released. Instead, people have been more interested in quirkier revelations, such as the fact that she once appeared on Wheel of Fortune.
“I have bared my soul about this thing I went through in my youth that has changed me for people, and people are like, ‘So how heavy was the wheel when you spun it?’” she said, chuckling. “It just goes to show that people never worry about the thing that you worry about.”
With the success of Nothing Is Missing, Walters said she still isn’t planning to release a business book at the moment. But, as she navigates parenting a teenager and two adult children while also navigating a relationship with her new fiancé, Walters said she believes she has at least one or two more books to write about her personal journey. “There is sort of an arc of where my life has gone that I know I’ve got something more to say about this that I think is important, relevant and necessary,” she said.
In just three years, Walters’ life has undergone a major transformation. There’s no telling what the next three years will have in store for her, but it seems likely she’ll retain an inspired audience wherever life takes her.
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The 2024 Grammys was a magical night due to the Black girl magic that took over. Our favorite artists, from SZA to Victoria Monét, took home more than one Grammy, showing us two things: Black women run the world, and R&B ain't dead. Victoria was nominated for seven awards and won three: Best R&B Album, Best New Artist, and Best Engineered Album: Non-Classical. This comes on the heels of her massively successful album, Jaguar II, which included the anthem "On My Mama," and after being turned down to perform at the 2023 VMAs. These are the singer/ songwriter's first Grammys, making her a shining example of there's something greater on the other side.
During her acceptance speech for Best New Artist, she had this to say. "I just want to say to everybody who has a dream, I want you to look at this as an example. I moved to L.A. in 2009, and I like to liken myself to a plant who was planted, and you can look at the music industry as soil. And you can look at it as dirty, or it can be looked at as a source of nutrients and water. And my roots have been growing underneath the ground unseen for so long. And I feel like today I’m sprouting finally above ground.”
Our girl SZA also snagged three Grammys thanks to her chart-topping SOS album. The R&B darling won Best R&B Song for "Snooze," Best Progressive R&B Album, and Best Pop Duo/ Group for "Ghost In The Machine" featuring Phoebe Bridgers. SZA held back tears as she gave her acceptance speech for Best R&B Song. After thanking her parents and Top Dawg (her label), she said, "I just.. I'm sorry. I'm just really overwhelmed. You don't really understand. I came really, really far, and I can't believe this is happening, and it feels very fake."
Coco Jones wins first Grammy
Photo by Kayla Oaddams/WireImage
Below are a list of other big winners of the night:
Tyla wins Best African Music Performance for "Water."
Samara Joy wins Best Jazz Performance for "Tight."
Alicia Keys wins Best Immersive Audio Album for The Diary of Alicia Keys
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Feature image by Kayla Oaddams/WireImage, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy