A phenom, well on her way to surpassing her own accolades. An artistic powerhouse wearing many hats.
I personally met the magic of Condola after watching her portrayal of Shelbyin Lifetime's adaptation of my all-time favorite movie, Steel Magnolias. I remember being so excited, that when the cast was announced, I researched everyone—primarily her, and Adepero Oduye, being that they were the two cast members considered "newcomers" to the culture.
Little did I know, Condola wasn't a newcomer at all—sis isn't new to any of this.
The Broadway culture knows her from her performances in Stick Fly, A Doll's House, and Romeo & Juliet, and TV audiences knows her as Kate Stacker on Showtime's Billions. But now, Rashad is redefining her craft and reintroducing herself as Dola, her visual storytelling, artistic alter-ego firing her music into the universe, and debuting her very personal EP, appropriately titled, Space Daughter.
Because we live in a world where seeing a full body of work isn't something we are privy to (unless Beyonce drops it), oftentimes, between the music, the creativity, and full conceptualized storytelling, at some point, these very bodies of work remove themselves from a category of EP, and crosses over into sufficient art.
And Dola is no different. She has, in fact, brilliantly figured out her lane by welcoming us to join her process of coming into herself. "I'm so grateful that I've had the impeccable fortune of having been a part of so many incredible productions and projects," she tells us. "But I'd definitely have to say finally revealing the musician that I've always been, through the journey of the Space Daughter EP, is at the top."
And ladies, this is a huge statement being as she has previously been nominated for four Tony Awards, and she's acted alongside the likes of giants such as Alfre Woodard, Queen Latifah, and oh yeah, her mother, Phylicia Rashad. "Music was and has always been my first artistic expression. It has always been the leading force behind me. It's just most people didn't know until I released Space Daughter earlier this year, which was exciting for me because I love to surprise people! I was in an indie rock band called Condola & the Stoop Kids for a few years; some of the best years of my life!" She continued, "But right around the time when I was in the Broadway production of Romeo and Juliet, we were recording our album simultaneously. I made the decision after we released that album that I needed to focus on one part of my path for a few years, so I focused on acting for about five years, and then when the timing felt right I went back into the studio in 2018 to start recording Space Daughter, my playful ode to the Divine Feminine."
Space Daughter features five vivid tracks: "Blue", "Give Up the Gold", "Running in Place", "What I Said", and "Too Fire".
Intrigued, I share with her that my favorite song on the EP is "Running in Place" due to its message and upbeat, fierce nature. She agrees and tells me that it's one of her favorite as well. We go on and continue to chat about the project. "After I created the five tracks with my team, I knew immediately that it was meant to be a visual EP. First and foremost, I'm a storyteller, so when I heard the songs together, I automatically saw how the visuals were meant to unfold.
"2019 was one of the biggest years of manifestation of my life. I gathered my soul tribe together and produced the visuals alongside a production company called The Colors You Like. We shot five videos in five days. It was one of the most challenging experiences to date, but I learned so much during that time. One of those things being how much I love producing and directing. I can't wait to produce more."
Enamored by her calm exuberance and regality in her responses, I ask her “what's next?"
She smiles, "Well if I told you, then how would I be able to surprise you?"
Spoken like a true Sagittarius.
Below are a few of my favorite stills from Space Daughter EP:
Space Daughter EP is available on all streaming platforms. Follow Dola on Instagram @dolabunny to keep up with her upcoming projects.
Feature and still images courtesy of Dola/WGM/YouTube
- Dola Releases Debut Visual EP 'Space Daughter' - Rated R&B ›
- Condola Rashad (@dolabunny) • Instagram photos and videos ›
- Check Out Condola 'Dola' Rashad in Her New Music Video for 'Blue ... ›
- Condola 'Dola' Rashad Premieres Video for New Track 'Too Fire ... ›
- Condola Rashad Discusses Her Debut Visual EP, Space Daughter ... ›
- Tony Nominee Condola Rashad Releases Music Video from Debut ... ›
- Condola 'Dola' Rashad Talks Visual EP 'SPACE DAUGHTER ... ›
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Food is the star of the show for Thanksgiving, but let’s be honest: dinner wouldn’t be anything special without a good tablescape. Decor is a significant part of the holiday season! Garlands, pumpkins, candles, and other decor can take your Thanksgiving spread from bland to brilliant! However, we understand the stress of making a whole feast for family and friends.
We sat down with Beth Smith of Beth Diana Smith Interior Designs to learn how to create the perfect tablescape for any dinner party.
Set the Tone With Dinnerware
Carolyn Ann Ryan/Getty Images
“Focus on the meal you’re serving and make your dinnerware set the tone and be the highlight of the table,” says Smith. The dinner is why your community is coming together and is arguably the most crucial centerpiece. Decorative pieces are nice, but food and what we use to eat can make it much more special. Smith suggests, “I recommend the Nguka dinnerware set from 54kibo, which is stunning, unique, and beautifully made.”
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, The Stoke Collection by ceramic artists Althea’s Meade-Hajduk is intentionally created to visually enhance any meal experience.
Have Fun With Your Color Palette
Maria Korneeva/Getty Images
In the world of nude palette overload, it’s nice to see color occasionally. Color is a natural mood booster that can bring excitement to the room - or table! “Create a thoughtful color palette that is not the standard Thanksgiving palette of fall colors,” says Smith. Having fun with colors and moving away from a traditional setting can bring uniqueness to your tablescape.
There’s also no chance of your tablescape having the same color palette as everyone else on social media. Smith adds, “If pink has grabbed your attention, this dusty pink set from Our Place has different plate and bowl size options.”
Incorporate Florals Through Bud Vases or Bouquets
Who doesn’t love florals? This look is accepted year-round, not just when romance is involved. “You can’t go wrong with florals for a tablescape if you’re setting it for your family, friends, or a group of singles,” says Smith. Florals are an easy way to make any event look elevated without having to try as hard. If you’re worried about hypoallergenic guests, you can purchase artificial flowers from Amazon. Here, you can find various floral options and even create your own bouquet.
“A floral tablescape can be budget-friendly or as extravagant as you may like. You can select a few bud vases and strategically place them around the table using a bouquet you bought locally,” says Smith.
Unsure of who is your local florist? Black Girl Florist is a site that helps you source local florists in your area. Click here to find a florist in your neighborhood! And if your budget is a little tighter than usual due to the holidays, Smith has a solution that will save you money altogether. Smith suggests, “You can also use dried-up branches and leaves from your backyard, which would be free.”
Elevate Your Tablescape With a Charcuterie Board
Charcuterie boards have become all the rage on TikTok, and for good reason. Mixing your favorite meats, cheese, and grapes has made snacking visually tasteful. Smith says they can also create a fabulous tablescape - killing two birds with one stone. Smith says, “You can never go wrong with creating one large charcuterie board. This makes food the decoration interesting, colorful, and delicious!” This could be especially great for Friendsgiving, and you want to avoid cooking a turkey twice.
The beauty of charcuterie boards is creating a food palette unique to you or your guest's needs. On the flip side, we also understand how overwhelming it can be to decide precisely what to put on your board. Smith has a few recommendations that can be helpful, “You can include cheeses, crackers, and meats, but you can also add specialty items like deserts, chocolate, and truffle mustard.”
Smith refers to the Truffle Mustard by Truffiest, an award-deserving mustard infused with summer truffles from northern Italy. This mustard can be paired with crackers, cheeses, meats, and shredded turkey if you want to stay on the theme.
Build on an Artsy Vibe and Add Layers
There’s no shame in bringing it back to basics. Bring out the old tablecloth your family member gave you a few years ago; it’s vintage! “The goal is to make the table look and feel like you have everything you need and more,” Smith says. Everything you need and more can consist of four main ingredients: tablecloth, napkins, cups, and, most importantly - wine glasses. “Make the tablescape feel artistic with funky dinner napkins and tablecloths. Then, layer with oversized plates, long-stemmed wine glasses, and after-dinner cups.”
Featured image by Goodboy Picture Company/Getty Images