On Friday (May 3), The Intruder hits theaters and the film's trailers promise to give us the steamy love scene between Michael Ealy and Meagan Good we didn't know we needed. In the psychological thriller, the stars play a couple who are taking the next step in their relationship and buying their first home, only to find that they are now stuck with an uninvited houseguest from hell.
While the couple conjured up some major chemistry on-screen for the film, in real life, the stars are both married to partners who they are very much in love with.
Like all couples, celebrities aren't immune to miscommunication. We all have a desire to be loved, but not just any old way. A few years back, the internet was introduced to the concept of love languages by Gary Chapman and had the relationship world shook. It was then that we learned that misunderstandings can happen when it comes to the way we love, too. Michael Ealy, who has been married to his wife, Khatira Rafiqzada, since October 2012, recently sat down with xoNecole and opened up about how learning to love in his wife's language transformed his marriage for the better.
The 45-year-old actor revealed that understanding the way your partner needs to be loved lies in paying attention to the little things. He shared, "There are definitely lessons that come with staying with somebody and living with someone. Most of it is learning how to meet them at their level. Right? So for my wife, celebrating her birthday and I think certain other holidays really matter to her. They don't, to me. My birthday could come and go. It doesn't matter to me."
According to Michael, the key to a lasting relationship is knowing when to put your partner's needs before your own, even if that means taking time to celebrate special occasions you never may have cared about before. He shared that although he never put much importance on his birthday, understanding the sentimental value that certain holidays have for his wife made him change his perspective.
"I had to not approach her birthday in the way in which I approach mine. That was a hard lesson to learn and it took me a couple of years to figure it out. Because it was important to her, I realize, yeah, this is who you married. Like you married someone who, for whatever reason, this matters to them."
Michael says that being conscious of what matters to your partner is important because although certain acts of love may be menial to you, they can mean the world to the person you love. The Intruder actor told xoNecole, "So I have to kind of put aside whatever philosophy I have to kind of get through my life and any holidays in my world and be like, 'okay, this matters to you. I'm going to do whatever it takes so that you can be happy on this day because it makes you feel heard.'"
Spoken like a true heartthrob.
His co-star, Meagan, who has also been married to her husband, author and TV producer, Devon Franklin for the past five years, added to this sentiment and revealed the most important lesson she's learned since becoming a wife. The actress explained, "One of the biggest things I've learned is that you cannot love somebody the way you want to be loved. You have to love them the way they want to be loved, and vice versa. And you guys have to learn each other's language."
Although initially, she and her husband had to make some adjustments and compromises when it came to their lifelong union, she learned that real love can come of a number of different packages and they won't all be something you're used to; and that's OK.
Watch the video of the actors' candid conversation with us below.
MICHAEL EALY REVEALS THE HARD LESSON HE LEARNED IN HIS MARRIAGE youtu.be
The Intruder hits theaters on Friday!
Featured image by Instagram/@MichaelEaly.
Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
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 xoNecole exclusive, 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
Masego's critically praised self-titled sophomore album was released earlier this year to fans' delight. Leaning on a cool, breezy, and smooth production, this 44-minute album highlights the singer's distinct musical delivery, which is steeped in neo-soul, R&B, and jazz. Through the album, Masego demonstrates his emotional and musical maturity via subjects of pursuing one's aspirations, looking for Black love, discovering oneself, and the scrutiny of contemporary fame.
Now, in response to the album's critical praise, Masego has released four remixes that provide an alternative take on some of his original tracks. With the help of Kweku Sanderson, Grammy-nominated producer Kooldrink, Pocket, and Jamie Brown, the tracks "What You Wanna Try," "Say You Want Me," and "Black Anime," the Grammy-nominated artist gives an already excellent compilation a new look and vibe.
To ride the wave of his successful sophomore album, Masego will kick off his headline Europe/UK Tour called "Where We Goin?" in 2024, where he will visit Berlin, Milan, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, and many more cities. In the meantime, however, you should definitely listen to the stellar Masego album, and give a listen to Masego Remixes.
"What You Wanna Try (Kweku Saunderson Detroit Mix)"
I was intrigued and annoyed by this song's melody when I first heard it. I was intrigued by the distinctive sound of the tune, but I was also annoyed because there was, somehow, a familiarity behind the tune that I couldn't place. Nevertheless, after giving it some thought, I discovered that the familiar melody was lifted from "Tom's Diners" and given Masego's unique trap-jazz twist.
This tune is simply the beginning of Masego's musical brilliance. Cleverly, he produced a tune that felt familiar and brand-new by layering his original beat and flow over parts of the well-known track. When it comes to Black love, he appears to be asking the same questions that he asked himself in the song "Mystery Lady" from his last record.
He wants to know what she's willing to try, and he's prepared to give it to her, whatever that may be. A partnership? There he is. A fling? He is also able to accept that. The song is welcoming and forces you to want to find an answer to whatever question the artist poses.
With layered vocals, a drill rhythm, and an inverted echo of the singer repeating the first chorus over a variety of instruments, Kwekku Saunderson's remix has the most club-like vibe. Since this is the most significant song modification of all the remixes, the charm and sensual qualities typical of Masego's music aren't as evident here, which may leave the listener wanting more from the remix than from the original. However, its interpretation is still worth the listen, as it is intriguing to hear Saunderson's version of the single over a Detriot House beat.
"What You Wanna Try (Kooldrink (Amapiano) Remix)"
Masego's song "What You Wanna Try" is featured in this remix over an amapiano beat. The dance-like element of the single is emphasized at the beginning of the song, but when Masego enters, the song is almost as alluring as it was in the original. Why? This is largely due to being absorbed in the Afro-dance rhythms for such an extended period, that when the singer eventually makes an appearance and extends a warm welcome, it feels as if he is extending a sense of companionship following the protracted periods of isolation.
Since it seems like the more collaborative of the two remixes, I might appreciate this one a little bit more. Though it sounds more like Saunderson than Masego, the first song isn't a terrible cover. Nevertheless, despite maintaining Masego's self-assurance, the first song lacked the singer's easygoing charm and swagger when pursuing a lover. That's why it wasn't as interesting as this one, which manages to keep the charm and lyrics that make Masego so appealing and enjoyable to listen to, while also veering toward club-like sounds.
"Say You Want Me (Pocket Remix)"
Prior to Study Abroad: Extended Stay, Masego occasionally performed songs with elements of Caribbean music, although not as frequently as he does these days. In this single, Masego draws on his Jamaican roots in the original "Say You Want Me," playing a lively Afro-R&B groove that feels like warm sunshine. However, it is precisely because of this emotion that the song is so brilliant and flows so naturally, making the message all the more devastating for his pursuer. Masego takes the lead on the song with a player's mentality, talking about leading ladies on, while competing for their attention at the same time. There are times when he seems invested, changed even, but he quickly implies—almost tauntingly—that it was all just him lying to her.
The backing vocals, which are contributed by Ambré, Ari PenSmith, Mannywellz, and Destin Conrad, only serve to emphasize this point as they act as possible echoes of Masego's affections—only for them to learn that the voices are just an endless part of Masego's inconsistent actions.
The Afro-R&B is dropped in favor of a faster-paced, more energetic party song in the remix. This rendition of the song has some appeal, even if it's not as seductive as the original. Like other club hits, its irresistible rhythmic quality is the primary attraction. You won't be able to sit still, even if you don't like the song; and don't get me wrong, not enjoying this song is a big "if" because even in this rendition, you can't help but think that Masego meant something else for his lover, even if he is explicit about what he intended.
After this, it is impossible not to hope that he changes and searches for a greater romance.
"Black Anime (Jamie Brown Remix)"
In its original version, the opening of "Black Anime" has a piano riff that possesses a dream-like quality. Lasting only forty seconds, its melody brings the audience to an alternate reality full of grandeur and wonder that showcases the value of using one's imagination and how this exploration can foster new ideas that may contribute to one's success. Though, the melody does not nurture this idea alone. Instead, when Masego's vocals finally emerge, he gives off an impression of expansiveness mixed with the feeling of a distant, maybe illusive dream.
This is done when he uses the familiar tune from "The Cha-Cha Slide" to lull his audience into a dream-like state, illustrating the addictive nature of pursuing one's desires and "money dreams" through a captivating cycle of pleasurable contemplation.This song's Jamie Brown remix is intriguing since it produces the same engrossing loop as the original but in a novel and intoxicating way. This version instills a sense of urgency and agitation, rather than lulling us into following our aspirations through this infinite cycle of repetition. For example, if we don't achieve our goals with a swift and nearly frantic energy, they cannot materialize at all.
By the time the well-known tune of "The Cha-Cha Slide" appears during this performance, it seems as though Masego has reached a point of exhaustion and is being forced to take a break after working nonstop for many nights, only to have the cycle repeated the instant his eyelids open, again.
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Featured image via Giphy