FEATURE: ‘Girls Trip’ Star Tiffany Haddish’s Remarkable Rise

Comedian and actor Tiffany Haddish (photo via theatlantic.com)

by Michael P. Jeffries via theatlantic.com

When comedian Tiffany Haddish was 9, her stepfather tampered with the brakes on her mother’s car, hoping to kill his partner and her four children. Rather than going out with her mom that day, Haddish asked to stay home and look after her younger siblings—sparing her from the horrific accident that left her mother mentally impaired. As the oldest child, Haddish did what she could to help for three years, from tying her mother’s shoes to paying bills, but eventually Haddish and her siblings were placed in foster care.

Haddish used the trauma and tragedy of her upbringing to ignite what is now a blazing comedy career. As a child, the Girls Trip star was teased for being a foster kid, but Haddish has also talked about maintaining a strong sense of self worth in her recent Showtime standup special, She Ready!: From the Hood to Hollywood. “The state of California paid so much money to make sure I don’t die ‘cause they knew I was gonna be special,” Haddish tells her audience. “They knew it. They was like, ‘This one right here, she gonna be a unicorn.’ And they was right. I’m the last black unicorn, bitch!”

Haddish’s ascent in recent years—debuting on NBC’s The Carmichael Show in 2015 and appearing in the 2016 action comedy Keanu and the summer hit Girls Trip—is a testament to her talent and resilience. But her story also offers insight into what it takes for a black woman in comedy to become successful today. Haddish’s rise points to where systemic roadblocks still lie for performers of color, particularly women, when they first enter the business—and how some barriers to entry may be falling as comedy enters a new golden age, with fewer gatekeepers and more platforms for artists to reach their fans.

Even though Girls Trip has a black director and writers, Haddish faced questions about her low profile. Her agent initially told her that studio executives were looking for someone with a bigger name to play her character, Dina. Haddish told her agent to tell them, “I’ve had a name since 1979. Okay? I was born with a name.” In the end, her rare comedic gifts won out, and reviews of Girls Trip regularly singled Haddish out for praise. Continue reading

Meet Kayla Robinson, the Teen Who Made Frank Ocean’s Powerful Panorama Tee via Green Box Shop

Green Box Shop creator Kayla Robinson (l); Frank Ocean (r) [photos via mtv.com]

by Hilary Hughes via mtv.com

Since launching Green Box Shop in 2016, social media has played a huge part in how Kayla Robinson, 18, runs Green Box Shop: She heavily relies on Instagram and Twitter to promote her line of T-shirts bearing progressive, all-caps messages, and she’s found inspiration for some designs by connecting with people online and checking her feed, too.

A couple of famous fans have snapped up Green Box Shop shirts — including Zendaya, who posted an image of a Green Box tee on Snapchat before saying she’ll snap up a few shirts (or all of them) herself — thanks to their popularity on these platforms, and it was one of these well-known customers who let Robinson know that Frank Ocean was rocking one of her shirts for his headlining set at the Panorama Music Festival on July 28.

“Well, Jessica Williams, she DMed me,” says Robinson of the moment she realized her shirt was about to go viral. The star of The Incredible Jessica James and former Daily Show correspondent has been a Green Box shopper for a minute, and was all too eager to share that Ocean was broadcasting Robinson’s WHY BE RACIST, SEXIST, HOMOPHOBIC, OR TRANSPHOBIC WHEN YOU COULD JUST BE QUIET? design to a thousands-strong crowd.

“She texted me in all caps, all excited, like, ‘FRANK OCEAN IS WEARING ONE OF YOUR SHIRTS!’ I was like, ‘That’s not true! You’re lying!’ I didn’t believe her at first, but then she sent me some pictures, and I was like, ‘That’s crazy.’ I just started freaking out. I just remember doing something in my kitchen, and I just immediately started running around.”

Robinson’s reaction is completely understandable given the intense surge of interest in Green Box. During a typical week, Green Box sees a daily average of 50 orders. On July 29, the day after Ocean’s set, Robinson says that 3,500 orders were placed (though not all for the shirt he wore, specifically); an additional 1,000 orders came in before this article went to press on July 30. That means that Green Box sold ten times what they typically do in a week in a single day thanks to the exposure Ocean provided — and it also means that Green Box has a chance to give back more than they already do.

For Robinson, the focus of Green Box has always been more about freedom of expression than about fashion, as she launched the company to sell tees with activist messages she’d actually wear (and raise money to fund her yoga teacher certification in the process).

“I never really had an interest in fashion — you know, as in being really trendy or fashionable,” she says. “I was already in the phase of tie-dying a lot of shirts, and so I decided to put my ideas on shirts and sell them to raise money. I first started doing this through GoFundMe, and then the business grew. It basically came from a passion of speaking my mind and tie-dye.”

To read full article, go to: Meet The Teen Who Made Frank Ocean’s Powerful Panorama Tee – MTV