When you think of LeToya Luckett's career journey, don't call it a comeback. Her glow up has continued well past her years as part of the original roster of Destiny's Child.
She reached the Billboard 200 with her solo debut back in 2006, and went platinum that same year. Her second solo album also made waves in 2009, and she went on to grab TV and film success, appearing on Starz's Rosewood, OWN's Greenleaf, HBO's Treme, and Starz's Single Ladies. (Who didn't love the savvy and shrewd Felicia Price, a music industry exec who held no punches, wore the sexiest suits, and had the one fly white chick on the show jumping through hoops?)
"If I find myself in a new position or situation outside of my comfort zone, I say 'Cool, God has me here for a reason.' So whatever it is, He's preparing me for something bigger and better," Luckett told xoNecole in an exclusive interview.
Luckett's now touring with the stage play version of cult classic, Set It Off, and she's become the new face of Dark & Lovely, a spot that's perfect for someone whose style transitions have been just as beautifully intriguing as those in her professional life---from songstress, to TV host, to actress and back again with styles that have inspired YouTube tutorials and hair magazine covers.
Dark & Lovely
"I feel that now, there's this cookie-cutter trend going on where it's like everybody with the same hairstyle---the same this, the same that. I want to continue to let women know that it's OK to be you. The things I love about the legends and icons---the Lena Hornes, the Dorothy Dandridges, the Diana Rosses---they were free to be themselves. I want to bring that back. Dark & Lovely has been around for generations. My grandfather uses the products and still does in his beauty salon and he's 80-plus years old. Women would come in dying their hair different colors and they were OK with it. They weren't so worried about what people had to say about them. I want to get back to that. Rock out however you want to."
"I want to get back to that. Rock out however you want to."
She is definitely walking the talk, having cut the long tresses--- so popular among today's successful film and reality TV stars--- for a short sassy 'do that helps to redefine what's beautiful among young black women already challenging the stereotypical standard.
Set It Off
Luckett redefines several other aspects of black womanhood in the roles she takes as well, and her latest is quite a twist from the sweet Southern belle we've seen in interviews and on Instagram.
"I think [being in Set It Off, the play] stretches me a bit. Vivica [Fox] did an amazing job playing Frankie, so much so that I would've tried to play Vivica instead of trying to be Frankie. I felt that if I want to do the character justice, I needed to go back in and think about it and get to know Frankie again. That's what I did. I have so much fun playing her, to know where she's coming from, to make the decision [she made]."
An everyday bank-teller-turned-bank-robber might be far from what people might relate to Luckett but this is one survivor who has taken professional and personal blows to the chin with grace and a smile.
Love & Happiness
In another experience that tested her fortitude and confidence, Luckett was fortunate enough to find love and remarry after a very public divorce from a mate who was a celebrity in his own right. (Her ex-husband, Rob Hill Sr., was once known as "The Heart Healer," and would often promote relationship and dating advice to a following of more than 400,000 on Instagram alone.) With her now-husband, Tommicus Walker, who she did not meet until months after dating over the phone, she decided to change the game again, choosing to let go of the pain of the past and release control to the only thing she knew more powerful than her own sheer determination and strength.
"Faith played a huge role. It's the only way i was able to get through my divorce. I said, 'God I give this up to you and I'll be OK if hey, I leave this Earth and never marry again. God has done so many other great things for me in my life that I can't complain. God decided to give me a husband again, and I'm so grateful for what God has done for me."
"God decided to give me a husband again, and I'm so grateful for what God has done for me."
For Luckett, the swaying of public opinion and the pressure of adhering to an Instagram-worthy facade of perfection are no match for authenticity.
"I remember as a kid, before I signed any record deals, before I did anything, music brought me so much joy. Singing brought me so much joy. I wasn't doing it for money or attention. I was doing it because it brought me joy, and I had a passion for it. You can't lose that in the politics of it all. It's easy to allow that stuff to taint your experience. You gotta remember the real reason you're doing it all. Find the joy in that. Don't make it so easy for people to easily steal your joy---especially with social media and people having opinions of you."
"You gotta remember the real reason you're doing it all. Find the joy in that."
From exiting DC---a pivotal part of her adolescence and teenage life--- to rebounding after heartache, to continuing to inspire all women to embrace their own unique Black girl magic, Luckett proves that the highs and lows of her life as vital parts of the journey.
"Sometimes we can be so afraid of change that it cripples us from getting where we need to be. I find the beauty in change and transition. For me, I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be."
For more LeToya, be sure to follow her on Instagram.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There are moments on our health journey when our bodies are bugging us to hit the reset button.
With life, we can start to see slips in our diet, irregular exercising, and inconsistent sleep schedules, and our mental health can suffer because of it. But what many people come to find is that with just a few adjustments — as opposed to restrictions — being made to their food intake, we can see a focus more on eating “the right” calories and less on being on a restrictive diet.
"Raw Till 4" is a dietary concept and lifestyle associated with the raw vegan and high-carb, low-fat vegan (HCLF) movements. Created by Australian blogger and YouTube star known as 'Freelee the Banana Girl', the method suggests eating raw, uncooked plant-based foods until 4 p.m. each day and then having a cooked, vegan meal in the evening.
The Raw Till 4 lifestyle follows the guidelines of vegan and rawist eating and involves consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains in an uncooked, natural state until the designated time of 4 p.m. or around one’s typical dinner time. After 4 p.m., a cooked vegan meal is consumed, which may include foods like steamed vegetables, grains, legumes, and plant-based sources of protein like tofu or tempeh.
On TikTok, creator Adina Yaffa is repopularizing the trend, sharing how it’s helped to improve digestion, boost energy levels, and support weight loss.
Replying to @🌜kat🌛 here is what I eat in a day on a raw till 4 lifestyle. I eat with the sun and according to the circadian rhythm that out bodies follow on a typical day. Where i drink liquids during the first 8 hours, then juicy fruits, then smoothies, more dense building fats, proteins and veggies! #snatchedwaist #bellyfat #bellybloat #smallwaist #hourglass #rawtill4
“During the hours of 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., your body is in an elimination phase and needs all the help it can get,” Yaffa says in the clip. “So what you’re going to do is drink coconut water, citrus juices, and green juices during this time, and around 8 a.m., you can break your fast with some fruit. I suggest juicing fruits, and then after that, I suggest having a smoothie or a bowl with berries and granola so you can get your fats and healthy proteins in.”
Raw till 4 has so many benefits including better digestion, nutrients, belly fat and bloat elimination, snatched waist, more energy and so much more! #snatchedwaist #bellyfat #bellybloat #smallwaist #hourglass
On the official Raw Till 4 website, Freelee the Banana Girl shares tips on how to get the best outcomes of this lifestyle change, which include:
- “Stay hydrated! You should pee about 8-12 times per day, and your urine should be clear. Drink 1 liter of water when you wake up in the morning, and 1 liter of water about 30 minutes before each meal for optimal results.”
- “Fragmented sodium (salt) should be kept to a minimum. Use herbs, lemon juice, etc. wherever possible in place of salt.”
- “Eat unlimited calories at every meal, no restriction. The majority of your calories each day should come from fruit. Don’t under-eat on fruit during the day or 'save up' your calories for dinner time. RT4 is about abundance at every meal.”
- “Move your body daily. Find an activity you love and make it your playful exercise.”
- “Make sure to get lots of rest, relaxation, and good sleep. Learning to incorporate good rest, early nights, and regular sleeping patterns into your life will greatly improve your overall health.”
- “Practice gratitude and peaceful emotions at mealtime, and get a vision book started! Be sure to enjoy this journey. Focus on long-term health instead of short-term results.”
Critics argue that it can be challenging to get all the necessary nutrients from a raw vegan diet and that it may not be suitable for everyone, especially over the long term.
As with any diet, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making significant dietary changes to ensure that it meets your individual nutritional needs and health goals.
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