Over the weekend, I, like so many of us, was crushed to learn that Teyana Taylor had decided to hang up her shoes in music, and retire from music. Naturally, my wig was blown back, as both me, and the entire culture screamed, "Nooooo, Petunia!" Even some of our faves, like Cardi B, came to her defense, with a tweet that we all felt. Publications like Vulture, wrote:
"In what is officially the most upsetting Spotify Wrapped social-media post of the year, Teyana Taylor has announced that, due in part to being unappreciated in the music industry, she is 'retiring' from her career as a motherfucking international sensation."
After the chaos, Teyana eventually went on her Instagram Live to explain her retirement decision, clarifying that it had very little to do winning Grammy Awards or other accolades, but more so the lack of appreciation felt on her part by her record label. She even went on to disclose that it was a mental health decision for herself and for being around for her kids, which we all know that mental health is huge around here at the xoNecole offices.
Reluctantly, we decided to accept her announcement, but at the same time, celebrate by compiling a list of the times that our favorite sis snatched our wigs and changed the landscape of music and more.
Here's 7 ways Teyana Taylor has changed the game in music and beyond:
Since the age of 16, Teyana has made herself visible in the industry.
Teyana stepped on the scene at the age of 15, as a young artist signed to Pharrell Williams' label, Star Trek. From this moment on, she has gone on to be one of the most recognizable faces in the industry, as she has made herself visible in music, fashion, art, and more. Beginning on MTV's Super Sweet 16, to Ne-Yo's "She Got Her Own", to partnerships with Adidas, to Kanye West's infamous "Fade" music video, and much more, Teyana has shown how multifaceted she could be, and that we really don't think on the innovative level that she has since a young age.
Her performances are un-fcking-matched.Giphy
OK, so we all know that if Tey is attached to a performance, you better tune in. She's going to give you everything you need to enjoy yourself. And because we can name more than three times that we know she has killed the stage (mine are Lil Kim Tribute, Janet Jackson Tribute, and Phillip Plein's fashion show to Future's "Mask Off"). Make no mistake, sis will eat up all you thought a performance should be, and spare no expense.
She brings her life, family, and personality into her projects.
Tey is notorious for bringing her family along with her to her shoots, or any other ventures on her plate. Her husband, Iman Shumpert, and baby girl, Junie, are never too far behind as she balances her many projects. And in her latest music video, "Wake Up Love", she was able to include her entire family and latest pregnancy to daughter, Rue Rose, along too.
Teyana has the respect and admiration from industry peers like Marvin Sapp to Elton John to Erykah Badu.
Some of Teyana's biggest fans are her industry peers, who revere her as one of the best to do it. Sis is able to get many to do what they won't do for many, whether it's Queen Badu serving as her doula and delivering her second child, or Elton John making an appearance in a music video. Taylor is one of the most respected women in music, even if there's no music attached.
Teyana's 'The Album' reached #1 on the Billboard R&B Album Charts, as well as won her awards for Best Director at 2020 BET Awards.
After its release, The Album went on to peak at number one on Billboard's R&B charts, the first in her career. Pitchfork labeled her album as "regaining control of her art across a long and complex album, one that deftly recontextualizes classic R&B and better represents the fierce persona she has honed in public." Soon after, Taylor went on to win Best Director at the 2020 BET Awards, under popular moniker, 'Spike Tey', who has also directed music videos from the KTSE album, as well as other upcoming projects yet to be released.
She unapologetically stands up for herself and other women.
After a rough start to a 2018 Later That Night tour with singer Jeremih and Danileigh, Teyana quit the later canceled tour and decided to go out on her own, rebranding it as KTSE Tour. Taylor told the ladies at The Real:
"He did little to none, any promo, so it was just like, when we got there and the concerts were sold out and different things like that—when we got there, everything was Jeremiah, his name was on everything, like, my name wasn't even on the ticket."
Most impressively, Taylor then decided to bring Danileigh along with her on the rebranded tour, with amenities and perks that she felt they each were robbed of in the previous.
And despite it all, Teyana Taylor has managed to amass 162M Spotify streams in 2020 alone.
In her retirement announcement, Teyana posted a screenshot of her Spotify artist streams, which showed her monumental 2020 accolades to close out the year. She may not feel appreciated, but Teyana is one of the only artists in history to have the resume and relationships she has, with little to no push from her record label.We know she is nowhere near to being done on her journey, and we can't wait to see what she does next. But in the meantime, Alexa, play "Gonna Love Me".
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Featured image by Arturo Holmes / Shutterstock.com
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Charmin Michelle is a southern native and creative spirit who works as a content marketer and events manager in Chicago. She enjoys traveling, #SummertimeChi, and the journey of mastering womanhood. Connect with her on Instagram @charminmichelle.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Get To Know What Drives The Powerhouse Women At BET
It’s always powerfully refreshing and super-inspiring to see Black women in leadership roles, especially when they call the shots at a legendary corporation (once valued at $2.7 billion) at the forefront of Black entertainment and culture. And while we have a long way to go in terms of equity, especially in CEO roles, it’s important to give the flowers due to those who are setting the tone today, breaking boundaries and paving the way.
With decades of combined experience under their belts, these women in leadership at BET Media Group, the parent company of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and VH1, to name a few, wear their crowns smartly, proudly and boldly. Talk about taking up space!
We caught up with three of them to get the gist on the day-to-day of their roles, the morning routines that lay the foundation for a winning day, and why they truly love what they do:
Derek White/Getty Images
Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer
BET Media Group
Kimberly Paige develops marketing strategies across BET Media Group to drive brand support, consumption, and advocacy. From BET Digital and 360 Marketing to brand creative, she’s tasked with making sure business objectives are met, communities are engaged, and the brand is able to deliver on the goal to “advance Black Love, Black Joy, Black Pride and Black Power.
”Every day, I look forward to doing meaningful work that matters and partnering with teams across BET and Paramount, as well as external partners to help take our relationship with our audience and consumers to the next level. We have the luxury of really serving our community and being unapologetic and intentional about that."
On impact: “I hope to leave a legacy that I delivered strategic and bold marketing that left our brands stronger than when I found them. I hope to be remembered as a fair and visionary leader that advanced my team’s capabilities and made them feel like anything is possible, and most of all, that we had fun while making an impact along the way.”
Morning traditions: “I try to work out to clear my mind and get ready for the day. However, every day that I wake up, I drink tons of water and turn on my music to set the tone for what will be an amazing day ahead!”
“I value the advice that I received on the fact that great leaders operate with high emotional intelligence and are visionary, fair, and decisive.”
On sustaining success: “It is pivotal to learn and study the business in which you are striving to thrive. Don’t become too focused on the 'shiny' things, but rather learn your craft and use your authentic voice early and often. Most of all, I encourage aspiring marketers to be open to sponsors who can advocate on your behalf when you’re not in the room.
Arnold Turner / Stringer/Getty Images
General Manager and Executive Vice President
BET Studios & BET Media Group
As general manager and EVP of BET Studios, Aisha Summers-Burke works collaboratively with BET Media Group’s president and CEO, Scott Mills, to create opportunities for rising content creators to create TV series and films for large internal buyers and other third-party platforms. She also works with the team to come up with plans to provide equity ownership to Black creators, oversees the contemporary creative content across multiple platforms, and helms the expansion of its production and impact by finding strategic synergies with the studio’s creative external and internal partners.
“My ultimate goal is to produce inspiration and relevant conversations for Black audiences through entertainment and empowerment."
On the one top thing she loves about her job: "By working with an amazing pool of talented Black content creators across TV and film, I get the opportunity to nurture someone’s personal story and life experiences into beautifully original content that is both captivating and creative. As the demand for premium content from Black creators increases, it is a joy to share these stories from people of all walks of life and differing points of view from an often-underrepresented perspective. My job is humbling, empowering, and challenging, as our teams and partners are constantly mining to find that next experience we can all resonate with personally."
On building impact: "My career and personal legacy goals are tightly entwined. I hope to be an example of what is possible without limitations. As a parent of young twins, I particularly want my daughter, and all young girls of color like her to see me and say, “I can do that!” If they see a strong, confident, successful Black woman who is achieving her dream through hard work and dedication, I hope they will grow up knowing that the only limits they will face are those they set for themselves."
Her morning at-work must-have: "I always enter my office with a large cup of coffee and my twins’ schedule pulled up on my phone. … It is critical for me to prioritize my day before it officially begins to protect my peace of mind and to attempt at a manageable life/work balance."
"Find your tribe. This business is still a challenge for people of color. It is essential to find a small support system built on trust whose feedback you value, who can help you survive your successes and failures, and who challenges you to simply never give up."
Her advice to up-and-comers: "As an older millennial (ahem), I believe networking with your peers is more relevant and beneficial than constantly trying to network 'up.' As I mentioned, creating a tribe is extremely important and, in many cases, it is the people within your peer group that have shared experiences and become part of your support system, if you are lucky enough to have years in this business ahead of you."
Paras Griffin/Stringer/Getty Images
CONSTANCE ‘Connie’ ORLANDO
Executive Vice President of Specials
Music Programming, Music Strategy & News
BET Media Group
Constance Orlando’s role involves developing BET Media Group's music strategy that reflects the opportunities for music and music talent across the full array of BET Media Group’s businesses and initiatives. “I love being immersed in every aspect of Black culture. BET sits at the unique intersection of content, community, and culture, whereas we are able to celebrate, honor, educate, and in some cases create cultural moments that live forever.
"I love being surrounded by so many brilliantly creative people and joining forces to create groundbreaking moments that only BET can create. Not only do we get to celebrate culture, but we also get to create it!"
On legacy: “I would love to be seen as someone who was always true to celebrating and broadening the way people view, understand, and appreciate Black culture globally."
The morning essentials: “I always start the day with God and gratitude. I pray and give thanks for another day to evolve, create, and leave an impact on this world. It is important not to get lost in what I do and how much I can do, as it’s more important to feed who I am becoming."
Best advice from a mentor: “Be myself. I’ve learned that it is important to avoid trying to emulate or lead like anyone else. We all have a unique superpower that only we can bring to a space, and it is in the layers of this authenticity that innovation and success is birthed."
Advice for women aspiring to work in corporate entertainment: “Bring your best, as work ethic is always rewarded and pays off in the long run. I also encourage you to explore new ways to do things and be curious forever.”
Featured image by Cecilie_Arcurs/Getty Images