November gifts us with the blessing of Mercury direct on the 3rd bringing balance and understanding to our relationships. When Mercury shifts into Scorpio, we're invited to embrace our vulnerabilities and the healing that our intimate connections can provide. The Jupiter and Pluto conjunction reminds us that even the most painful experiences have the ability to transform our lives for the better. Our vitality returns with a force when Mars goes direct just in time for the New Moon, inviting us to (re)commit to our deepest desires. The Sun shifts into Sagittarius on the 21st, lifting our spirits for the holiday season and preparing us for the beginning of eclipse season.
Check out your November 2020 monthly horoscopes:
Aries November 2020 Monthly Horoscope
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Your relationship dynamics get a little more clear when Mercury goes direct on the 3rd. When Mercury shifts into Scorpio on the 10th, you desire to go deeper in your connections. Anything surface-level won't keep your attention for long. On the 12th, Jupiter and Pluto meet up, requiring you to step up to the plate as you rise to new levels of success and influence. Here's your opportunity to show the world what you've got. When your ruling planet, Mars, goes direct, you're feeling more confident in your ability to get the job done––even if it requires you to move beyond your comfort zone (aka the growth zone).
On the New Moon, you're encouraged to explore different resources for gaining the financial assistance you need. When Venus enters this part of your chart, you've got the magic touch. Ask and ye shall receive. The Sun enters Sagittarius on the 21st, inviting you on a quest for higher knowledge by deepening your understanding of your spiritual beliefs. If you've been feeling the urge to travel to a specific place, there may be lessons for you to explore there. November comes to a close with a Full Moon Lunar eclipse, helping you resolve any communication barriers inhibiting you from expressing your truth and acknowledging the truth of others.
Taurus November 2020 Monthly Horoscope
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Mercury goes direct in Libra on the 3rd, then shifts gears into your opposite sign, Scorpio, bringing your focus to relationships. Finding a happy middle ground with your partner and renegotiating existing contracts are supported moving forward. On the 12th, Jupiter and Pluto encourage you to expand your view of the world––possibly through some sobering events playing out on a global scale. Sudden changes in your religious and political beliefs are possible during this time. On the 13th, Mars goes direct, helping you blow off some steam. The past couple of months may have been a bit intense as you internalized your frustrations and hopefully came to a better understanding of the root of them.
The more mindful you become of your anger, the less power it has over you.
The New Moon on the 15th has you taking a relationship to the next level. You may be tying the knot with your sweetie or signing your name on the dotted line with that new employer. If you're an independent contractor or entrepreneur, Venus shifting into Scorpio can help you attract new clients or a business partner. On the 21st, the Sun enters Sagittarius liberating you from the opinions of other people as you learn to place more value on your own perception of yourself. They don't call it SELF-esteem for no reason. The month wraps up with a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse liberating you financially, whether you're paying off a debt or getting a raise. Avoid overspending so you don't wind up getting yourself right back in the spot you worked so hard to get out of.
Gemini November 2020 Monthly Horoscope
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Your ruling planet, Mercury, goes direct on the 3rd helping you get clear on whether you and a romantic interest are on the same page. The focus shift when Mercury transitions into Scorpio to help you get your schedule and workplace organized. When it comes to your health, addressing any obsessive or addictive tendencies is beneficial for more sustainable peace of mind. On the 12th, Jupiter and Pluto support you in getting to the root of any habits that affect your psychological well-being. When Mars goes direct, your friends can be a much-needed support system if you let them in on what you've been struggling with. We all need help at times—even the person wearing so many different hats.
The New Moon on the 15th invites you to incorporate some better habits into your lifestyle. When Venus enters this part of your chart, you'll find it a little easier to stick with these changes. On the 21st, the Sun enters Sagittarius, bringing your attention to relationships and contracts. It may be time to renegotiate the terms of an agreement or communicate your needs within a close relationship. Knowing what your boundaries are is great but it doesn't do you any good if you don't communicate them to other people. The month closes out with a Full Moon Lunar eclipse in your sign bringing forth some powerful, fated events that will change your life over the course of the next year. Strap yourself in and get ready for the ride!
Cancer November 2020 Monthly Horoscope
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The month kicks off with Mercury going direct on the 3rd helping you smooth out any family feuds or disruptions on the home front. When Mercury shifts into Scorpio on the 10th, you're in a sentimental mood, making this the perfect time to indulge your inner romantic. Write a love song, watch your fave rom-coms or travel somewhere secluded with bae for a little more one-on-one time. On the 12th, Pluto and Capricorn meet up, encouraging you to take an honest assessment of your relationships and contractual agreements. If something isn't working, address the issue and provide some solutions that could work for you and your partner.
When Mars goes direct, the pressure is on but you're feeling confident to take on any challenges that stand in the way of your success. The New Moon on the 15th invites you to pick up a new (or old) hobby as a means of nurturing your inner child. On the 21st, the Sun enters Sagittarius, making it a little difficult for you to practice self-control at Thanksgiving dinner. Enjoy yourself but keep things in moderation! The month closes out with a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse. Take it easy during this time if you don't have as much energy as usual. It's time to disconnect from the grind and reconnect with your spirit.
Leo November 2020 Monthly Horoscope
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Communication issues smooth out when Mercury goes direct on the 3rd. When this energy shifts into Scorpio, you've got an opportunity to resolve some family drama or issues on the home front. On the 12th, Jupiter and Pluto team up to remind you of the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Don't let the hustle stress you out to the point that you're not eating properly, getting enough rest, and exercising as well. When Mars goes direct on the 13th, you're ready for some adventure and another stamp in your passport. If you're a student or teacher, this transit gives you the energy boost you need to finish off the semester strong.
The New Moon on the 15th invites you to start a new project or learn a new skill. Scorpio's fixed nature will help you lock into whatever you're creating or learning. On the 21st, the Sun enters Sagittarius, encouraging you to indulge your romantic side. Enjoy a fancy bottle of wine, buy yourself some flowers, or take a trip with bae. The month winds down with a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse illuminating those that are truly loyal to you and those that are just around to get something from you. Let go of anyone that you're dragging along just for the ride. They just might be the dead weight that's slowing down your progress.
Virgo November 2020 Monthly Horoscope
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Your ruling planet goes direct on the 3rd, helping money matters move forward. When the energy shifts into Scorpio on the 10th, you're capable of communicating your feelings more clearly. Jupiter and Pluto team up on the 12th to shake things up. If life has become too routine, a stroke of inspiration has you craving something bigger, better, and way more fun. Your inner child is in desperate need of your attention so make sure you're nurturing that aspect of yourself to stay more engaged with life. On the 13th, Mars goes direct, bringing you out of the depths of some transformational shadow work you've undergone these past couple of months.
You're feeling more confident in your ability to make the best out of your experiences—the good, bad, and ugly.
The New Moon on the 15th invites you to express yourself in a way that allows others to know the real you. On the 21st, the Sun enters Sagittarius making your family the center of your joy over the next month. Spending more time at home and with your loved ones is just what you need to get grounded. November comes to a close with a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse reminding you that it's OK to pivot in a different direction. If you're no longer interested in your career path, this is a supportive time for repositioning yourself and establishing a new mission.
Libra November 2020 Monthly Horoscope
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Mercury goes direct in your sign on the 3rd, clearing up communication and travel issues for you. Energy shifts into Scorpio, helping you move money matters forward. On the 12th, Jupiter and Pluto link-up which has you feeling restless to make some changes on the home front. A relocation may be just what you need to transform your life. You're feeling more assertive when Mars goes direct on the 13th, encouraging you to shoot your shot so you can take your relationship to the next level. Just make sure you maintain that diplomatic approach of yours to avoid coming off as too pushy.
The New Moon on the 15th invites you to plant the seeds for a new, financial endeavor that may involve you partnering up with someone else. Just make sure they're on the same page as you to avoid any problems in the future. On the 21st, the Sun enters Sagittarius and you're feeling vibrant and ready to mingle for the holiday season. You're the life of the party and others can't help but be mesmerized by your charm. The month comes to an exciting close with a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse wrapping up a chapter for you in the way you view the world. Your political or religious beliefs may undergo sweeping changes as you get more clear about your personal values and beliefs.
Scorpio November 2020 Monthly Horoscope
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The month kicks off with Mercury going direct on the 3rd, helping you find closure where necessary. When this energy shifts into your sign, you're feeling more empowered about the new direction you're moving in. On the 12th, Jupiter and Pluto meet up which could feel a bit heavy as you're adapting to new ways of thinking and communicating. It's time to address those limiting beliefs and self-dialogue. No one is out to get you in this case, Scorpio. Don't play a role in your own demise. When Mars goes direct on the 13th, you're motivated to get your body and your office into shape. Put yourself on a more structured routine to maintain a good sense of work-life balance.
On the 15th, the New Moon in your sign invites you to blow out the candles and make a wish. What do you want to accomplish in the next six months to a year? Write it down on paper and watch sh*t get real. The Sun shifts into Sagittarius on the 21st, bringing your focus to money. Avoid overspending over the next month. Holiday season is upon us but you can budget for it instead of breaking the bank. Remember the most important part about the holidays is being with your loved ones––not seeing who can buy the most expensive gifts. The month comes to a close with a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse on the 30th, giving you the nudge you need to step into your power and ditch the old sob stories that perpetuate a victim complex. You're a winner, baby. Act like it.
Sagittarius November 2020 Monthly Horoscope
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November kicks off with Mercury going direct on the 3rd, helping you smooth out any communication issues amongst your social circle. When Mercury shifts gears into Scorpio, you're clear on which connections you need to dissolve due to others' hidden agendas. On the 12th, Jupiter and Pluto team up, sobering you up to the reality of your financial situation. You may hate to hear it, but stop trying to live above your means, and then wonder why you're stressed about money. Reel it on in and stick to a strict budget when it comes to holiday shopping. When Mars goes direct on the 13th, you're motivated to create and play. You can have fun and still be financially responsible.
The New Moon on the 15th invites you to disconnect from the chaos of the world to reconnect with the still center of your soul. Profound healing is taking place for you regarding issues that may have affected you in past lives. It's time to clean up your karma by making different choices moving forward. On the 21st, the Sun shifts into your sign, making it your birthday season! All eyes are on you so make the most of it. The month closes out with a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in your opposite sign which could result in an ending in a relationship or contractual agreement. Ultimately, whatever dissolves from your life during eclipse season is no longer a good match for you. Keep your head up, buttercup. Better opportunities and partnerships lie ahead.
Capricorn November 2020 Monthly Horoscope
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The month begins with Mercury going direct on the 3rd, helping you move forward in matters of career. When Mercury shifts into Scorpio, you're clear about who's on #TeamCappie and who's not. Any hidden agendas will be revealed in the weeks to come. On the 12th, Jupiter and Pluto team up, reminding you not to blow your problems out of perspective. It's been a tough year but trust that all of this pressure you've been under will result in some major gems. When Mars goes direct, you've had enough of the same ol' scenery, making it the perfect time to switch up your home decor or relocate elsewhere.
The New Moon on the 15th invites you to reconnect with your deepest desires. Do you want more power? More depth in your relationships? Or maybe more satisfaction in the work that you do. The choice is yours. Plant the seeds and nurture your garden. On the 21st, the Sun shifts into Sagittarius which has you feeling more reclusive than usual. Reflect and rest up for your birthday season. November comes to a close with a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse helping you overcome the limited beliefs contributing to any addictive or obsessive habits. Some insight about your health can be just the catalyst you need to get your sh*t together.
Aquarius November 2020 Monthly Horoscope
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November kicks off with Mercury going direct on the 3rd and you're on the first flight out to that resort in the Caribbean. When this energy shifts into Scorpio, be mindful of confrontations with authority figures—particularly in the workplace. Instead of cursing your boss out, vent about them to a friend instead. Jupiter and Pluto meet up on the 12th, inviting you to confront your biggest enemy—you. Your experiences are simply mirroring what you feel about yourself, so cut it out with the projections and lean into some accountability instead. On the 13th, Mars goes direct, reminding you of the power of your righteous anger.
Use your voice to be an agent of change.
The New Moon on the 15th has you pivoting in your approach to your career. Realign with your deepest desires to assure that your success is in the bag. On the 21st, the Sun enters Sagittarius, inviting you to connect with your friends—both online and in real life. Your vibrant spirit is infectious amongst your social circle. You could even find yourself receiving a lot of attention on social media over the next month. On the 30th, the month closes out with a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse transforming your relationship with your money. Limiting beliefs have got to go for you to step into the abundance you were destined for.
Pisces November 2020 Monthly Horoscope
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Mercury finally goes direct on the 3rd, helping you sort out issues with financial institutions you're associated with. On the 10th, the energy shifts into Scorpio encouraging you to dive deeper into your studies about spirituality. Some of you may even be in positions to teach others what you know. When Jupiter and Pluto link up on the 12th, you're reevaluating your social circle and whether they truly align with your core values and beliefs. Don't be afraid to branch out in search of your tribe. On the 13th, Mars goes direct. If your money slowed up over the past couple of months, things should be turning around in the weeks to come.
The New Moon on the 15th has you ready to commit to your mind's expansion, making this a good time to enroll in school, sign up for that workshop, or find a mentor you can learn from. On the 21st, the Sun enters Sagittarius and you're feeling the pressure to push forward in your career by leaps and bounds. It's OK to be hopeful but make sure your expectations are realistic. Everyone can't be an overnight success. November winds down with a Full Moon Lunar eclipse illuminating a generational pattern that needs to be resolved. You now have the opportunity to express yourself in ways that your ancestors didn't have the privilege to.
It's your duty to own your truth, embody it, and share it with the world.
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Featured image by Laci Jordan for xoNecole.
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Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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15 Women Share Their Personal Hacks For Better Orgasms (And Sex Overall)
I’m pretty sure that I’m basically being redundant when I say that I write about sex quite a bit which means that I spend quite a bit of time doing research when it comes to sex-related intel, tips, and hacks. Yet I have to say that when it comes to getting some much-needed information in the realm of coitus, it’s been my clients (along with random interviews that I do with people because I don’t mind talking to complete strangers about intimate ish) who have garnered me some of the best takeaways.
Take orgasms, for example. Since I’m well aware of the fact that vaginal orgasms (especially) can be a real challenge for a lot of women, I’m constantly on the hunt for what can help to “bridge the gap” in that arena.
And that’s why I decided, this time, to forego science articles, vlogs, and online data and instead ask some women for myself about some of the things that they do to make having an orgasm, improving their orgasms, and their sexual experience overall something that is so much better for themselves.
So, grab yourself a light aphrodisiac snack (check out “Eat Your Way To Better Sex With Aphrodisiacs”) and dig into what 15 Black women told me gets them off, in a mighty big way, just about every time.
*As always, middle names have been used so that everyone can feel comfortable giving up the goods…umm, so to speak*
1. Rochelle. 37. Married for 11 Years.Giphy
“While y’all be out here talking about some kegels, what I’m into is my man giving me a hip massage. The key is to make sure you use some sort of massage oil that has menthol in it. Between the tingling of the menthol and him rubbing on your hips, not only is it really relaxing, but the ‘minty feel’ opens your body up so that once intercourse begins, you’re less tense, and that makes having an orgasm so much easier to do.”
2. Karmyn. 27. Single.
“Kiss him the way you want him to penetrate you. Literally, use your tongue as if it were a penis and move it in his mouth like you want him to move inside of you. The kissing will turn you both on, and if he follows your instructions, you should be able to orgasm with no problem."
"I learned this trick when I asked an ex of mine to explain what p — sy feels like, and he said the best way to explain it is what a tongue feels like inside of [the] mouth. He should’ve never told me that, boy! It’s been hell in these streets ever since!”
3. LaChelle. 43. In a Serious Relationship for Two Years.
“If you’re self-conscious about your body, get some lingerie that has cutouts in them. There is a lot of sexy stuff out here that can have you covering up the parts you’re not comfortable with while still giving him access to the ‘main events.’ My man loves one of my lace one-piece teddies that has no crotch, and it’s easier for me to orgasm because I’m not overthinking the entire time.”
4. Trinitee. 27. Married for One Year.Giphy
“We’ve only been married a year, but we weren’t exactly abstinent when we were just dating. So, we like to find ways to keep it fresh. One thing that we do is go ‘hotel hopping’ once a month. We find a new hotel and meet each other there. We try and do different hours of the day and come with a surprise in hand. Like he might bring a new sex toy, and I might have on some lingerie that he’s never seen before. Then we text each other beforehand to talk about the best part of the sex we had from the last hotel we visited. The anticipation is foreplay.”
5. Wren. 33. In a Serious Relationship for Six Years.
“What works for me is doing afterplay as foreplay. What I mean by that is, taking a nap naked with my boo before any sexual activity is one of my favorite things. Being up under him, especially if he’s spooning me, feels really good, sleeping together is very intimate, and — there’s something about being awakened outta my sleep with kisses on my neck and back that almost makes me want to cum right then and there.”
6. Bevalyn. 40. Living with Her Partner for Four Years.
“Get on your back and have him kneel in front of you."
"Put your legs over his, and when he penetrates you, ask him to use one of his hands to apply pressure on your pubic bone — the area right above your clitoris."
"As he’s gently pushing down while he’s inside of you…if you don’t cum from that, I don’t know what else to tell you, sis.”
7. Sophia. 38. In a Serious Relationship for Two Years.Giphy
“Shower sex can be a bit much, and I don’t trust a used jacuzzi. What we do is fill up our own inflatable pool and get it on inside of it. It’s perfect during the summer, late at night, because we have a tall fence. Just make sure that you bring some silicone lube to keep things slippery down there. An inflatable pool has been one of the best sex investments that we have ever made!”
8. Averie. 35. Single.
“Wanna know if your man is as into giving you head as he claims? Right after he goes down on you, ask him to immediately penetrate you. If he’s hard, he’s totally into it, and if he catches you soon enough, you’ll be in the perfect position to have a multiple orgasm. Don’t say I didn’t give you the ultimate cheat code.”
9. Victoria. 40. Married for 11 Years.
“Shellie, you actually got me on the cinnamon kick when I read one of your articles that talked about applying cinnamon oil to my clit before oral sex. Since [then], I’ve been doing some research, and it says that cinnamon is also an aphrodisiac because it stimulates blood flow. So, I’ll also drink cinnamon tea throughout the day or share a cinnamon cocktail with my husband. Works like a charm.”
Shellie here: She’s right. I did say that. LOL. You can read for yourself: “Here's How To Have Some Really Great Fall-Themed Sex.”
10. Daniela. 28. Engaged for Six Months.Giphy
“Ever been fingered backward? What I mean is, get on all fours and have him insert a finger or two from behind with his palm being flat. That way, the space in between your anus and your vagina will get a massage while your vagina gets penetrated. There’s nothing quite like it.”
11. Saven. 32. Single.
“Ice. Have him rub a little bit of ice on your clitoris and then immediately warm it up with his tongue. There is something about the drastic changes in temperature that gets me every time. And I mean, EVERY time.”
12. Ferynn. 30. Living with Her Partner for Five Years.
“I don’t know about you, but my man loves to put my legs up in the air. It was never really my favorite move until I read that behind the knees are an unsung erogenous zone. Whoever found that out was onto something because if he rubs back there while talking real crazy to me in a deep voice? Here I come…HERE I COME!”
13. Vivienne. 30. Engaged for One Year.Giphy
“Never underestimate the power of a foot massage. Just make sure that he applies pressure in the middle of your foot where your arch is. It instantly makes me wet. I asked my doctor why and he said that it’s probably because foot massages tend to increase blood flow, including where the vagina is. Either way, it’s always a good night if I get a foot massage first.”
14. Michelle. 24. Single.
“I’m a doula who owns my own exercise ball…for sex. When I first started showing couples the positions that women can get into to make labor easier, it got me to thinking that some of those positions could work for sex too — and they do."
"Something about the movement of the ball takes the pressure off of the back for both men and women. It also makes getting into certain positions a lot easier so that you can enjoy sex for a lot longer.”
15. Carol. 31. Married for Five Years.
“My husband and I have bets. If he wants me to make some of his favorite meals five days in a row, he’s gotta make me cum five times in a row. If I want him to get me something that’s not in our budget, I’ve gotta attempt one of his sex fantasies. We’re both competitive as hell, so it works for us because honestly, even when we ‘lose’…we win!”
Listen, I don’t know about y’all, but this was definitely worth my while. After all, ain’t nothin’ like some Black women who can speak from very-personal-and-up-close experience about what makes them happy — especially if it can increase the odds of bringing some sexual satisfaction your way too.
Speaking of, if you want to share the wealth, drop some of your own orgasm-related tips in the comment section. The more of us who can woosah on the regular, the better, chile. Straight up. #havefun #lotsofit
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Featured image by Giphy