Here are some highlights:
On a new Outkast album:
“There are no plans to do [an Outkast album]. It’s not like some people think: ‘They’re about to drop this album!’ We don’t have, like, one song,” Benjamin says. “There’s no trickery or nothing like that.”
On new albums from Big Boi and himself:
“I know Big Boi’s [working on his]; I haven’t even started on [mine],” says Benjamin, then adds, sounding his common refrain: “I’ve got to find something I’m excited about.”
“I feel like I will do music in some kind of way, but something that can hit music from the back door,” says Benjamin. “Like, if I start to write screenplays and I want to [compose the soundtrack]. Or if I’m making certain product designs and I just want to release music with every shirt I design.”
On retiring from rap:
“To be clear, there’s no retirement.” And he’s not in conflict with Big Boi: “It’s kind of like growing up in a house with your brother, people expecting y’all to live in the same room and have bunk beds forever,” says Benjamin. “And people try to read into it and say people are beefing. But it’s nothing like that, man. Big Boi will always be my brother and a really important part of my life.”
On if he’ll ever act in another film:
“I do read scripts,” he says. “But I have to be excited about it to really fully throw myself into it. The older I get, I don’t know what my decisions will be. I may start just taking roles just to support myself, just kind of keep busy.”
On the killing of Ferguson teen Michael Brown:
"Honestly, I don’t have a big urge to voice [my feelings]," he says. "But I do feel kind of guilty sometimes. Like when the whole Ferguson thing went down, we were actually in England, and buddies were telling me about it, like, ‘Aw, man, it’s horrible here.’ But I didn’t feel it; I only heard about it. So I felt like, ‘Am I out of touch?’ "
Read his full interview here.
In an excerpt he told Billboard,
"I realize that what I do for a living opens my life to public scrutiny and that I have a responsibility to everyone because of that exposure," Brown tells Billboard. "I can say that I am only human and I have made mistakes. I can say that I try to live my life in the most true, honest way that I can. I am not perfect, no one is. No one is harder on me than me. No one can please everyone. No one can live in the past and expect to grow. I have been moving forward and hope that I am not defined by just a few moments in my life but all of the moments that will make up my life."
Pick up a copy when it hits stands September 4.
Here are the highlights:
“Hollywood puts you in a box and they don’t like you stepping to the left or right of that. I’ve tried as much as I can to just spread my wings when the opportunity arose. And it’s tough, I’m not gonna lie, ‘’cause they don’t let you. You really have to scratch and fight for the chance to show them that you can do it.”
On Being a Regular Guy:
"I could walk around with security guards and make it really weird on everybody and draw a lot of attention. But I like to move around like a regular person.”
On being over people’s perceptions:
“If I started worrying about how people perceive me, I would be mad about people not realizing that I couldn’t even speak English when I first came here. People always give so much props to English actors that do an American accent convincingly. I had to learn how to walk and talk and move around so I could be accepted as somebody who plays African-American roles. There’s not one other German actor who has established himself as playing American characters. I’m proud of that. I use it as encouragement to myself that I don’t have to put limitations on where I wanna go.”
Primetime stars Danai Gurira (“The Walking Dead”), Laverne Cox (“Orange Is the New Black”), Nicole Beharie (“Sleepy Hollow”) and Alfre Woodward (“State of Affairs”) covers the newest issue of Essence.
Here are some highlights:
Common is no stranger to violence:
His 6-foot-8 father, Lonnie Lynn, (Common was born Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr.) was a basketball playground legend who suffered from an addiction to drugs and the fast life. He once kidnapped Common, then a toddler, and his mother at gunpoint, taking them to a tryout with the Seattle SuperSonics to prove to recruiters that he was a family man.
On almost marrying Serena Williams:
Common is single now, and enjoying his unattached life, but says he believes in marriage. He thought it would happen with Williams, but he is taking his time now before he jumps into something else. “If I’m in it as much as I was with Serena, as much as I loved her…it takes time to heal and find that peace to be able to move on.”
On being labeled as “soft”:
“I’m hardcore which to me is coming from the heart. Putting your heart on that paper and being true.”
Speaking for the first time on the death of close friend and industry peer J. Dilla:
“He was physically deteriorating. It would be sad for me to see. You know you coming home healthy. You feel guilty. It brought my own immortality to the forefront […] Until I did [“Rewind That”], I wouldn’t answer questions in interviews about him. I wouldn’t keep pictures around. That song has been part of my process in dealing with it still.”
On his tenth album Nobody’s Smiling and the youth of Chicago:
“One way of giving back is by having young Chicago artists on the album. This album is an action to increase awareness to people in the city. I owe it to Chicago […] The most beautiful thing about this project is it’s not ahead of its time, it’s not a throwback album. It feels like today. I feel like a new artist. There are people out there that don’t know my music, but they know me from acting. Some don’t know me at all.”
Here are the highlights:
On Being a Role Model to Young Black Women
“…Every time I do a business venture or something that isn’t the norm for a female rapper, I pat myself on the back. It’s important that corporate America can see a young black woman being able to sell things outside of music…A female rapper! With HSN!”
On The Industry Killing People Before Their Time
“I was making a point to say that the business kills so many people and we don’t even realize it. I can only imagine how many people in this business have died because they may not have wanted to… to be embarrassed publicly. We care so much about what the world thinks that we don’t live, really.”
On Her Comment About Writing Her Own Lyrics in her BET Acceptance Speech
“My point of saying what I said was that women need to have a perspective. If we’re out here saying that we’re so confident, and we’re so this and so that, but we don’t even trust ourselves to write down our own thoughts and spit it on a beat? It just doesn’t add up.”
On Leaving Her Family:
Her younger brother was just a child when she signed with Young Money and left her mom’s home. ‘One day he asked my mother, ‘Do you ever think there’ll come a time we all live in the same house again, and Onika will be back and she’ll have her room, and I’ll have my room?’” Nicki says. “And it just broke my heart.” Before a tear can muck up any of her makeup, Samuels wordlessly pops up from the couch to nab her a tissue. As soon as the curtain of Nicki’s private life slides open, revealing the sacrifices she’s made for her career, it’s pulled back again. ‘I don’t want to get emotional,’ she says, ‘I just miss them. Every time I talk about them, I get emotional.’”
Here are the highlights:
On what it means to be black:
“What is blackness? What is being black? Who defines that and do we need to define that? I don’t have the answers to all of those questions but I think these are the conversations we’re all still having.”
On her ABC show, Black-ish:
“The beauty of the show is that it’s just a family comedy, but it has another layer to it. I don’t know what I necessarily want people to think or talk about after watching it but for me in general with cultural identity, racial identity and feminist identity, dialogue is important. People communicating in a light and open way about issues that have a lot of depth and weight to them is a great thing.”
On loving her body:
“I’m proud of my body—I work very hard to keep my body at 41 years-old, because my booty could drop… Gravity is not a joke.”
On advice & romance:
“Any one rule [as it pertains to romantic relationships] that people think works everywhere is just not true. In general, with everything it’s an intimate discovery of trusting yourself and allowing yourself the room to have curiosity about life and self.”
Zoe Saldana opens up about her body issues for Women’s Health UK and their Naked issue. Here are the highlights:
On coming into her own and trust issues:
‘I’ve learnt to listen to myself, so whenever I don’t feel like doing anything that starts with ‘I should’ then I don’t.”
On her body image:
"I’m exactly where I want to be. I do feel beautiful in a way that even when I was working out a whole lot, I sometimes didn’t.
‘Because there have been times that I was really slender and I didn’t like that I sometimes looked a little too muscular and flat chested - you’ll never be completely happy, so at the end of the day it’s like “F**k it. Just be happy, regardless.”
On listening to nature:
This past year I’ve had to start letting go. My body dictated it as if saying, ‘Slow the f**k down!’ … And I struggle with that. I love to be an athlete.’ ‘My body is less toned. I do look in the mirror and see things I don’t want. My first reaction is I breathe and I think, ‘I’m a woman, I’m 36, my body is changing.’’
On husband Marco Perego:
We give each other a great deal of support and love but it wasn’t because we found it in each other, we came that way and then got together. That’s what I love about it. I do believe whatever’s meant to be will be - but had the universe said, ‘Let’s just wait, he’s going to come into your life later,’ I would’ve been fine on this journey I was on just knowing who the f**k I was.”
The issue is out on stands right now.