Show Transcript
Today on Essence Live the steam room is back. And it's getting hot with Gray's Anatomy star Jason George. Andrew Day dishes on her break out success. And what it was like to nab the June cover of Essence. Plus, a special performance from Travis Green, but right now it's the Hot List, the biggest stories you're buzzing about today. [MUSIC] Look at this photo. Strong, brave, proud. That's Tess Asplund who raised her fist in protest to a neo-Nazi group marching through the streets of Borlange, Sweden on Sunday. Tess spoke exclusively with the Guardian, explaining that she merely acted on impulse in the moment But now hopes the stunning photo will inspire others. I hope something positive will come out of the picture. Maybe what I did can be a symbol that we can do something. I one person can do it, anyone can. Raped by Morehouse. That's the hashtag that has Twitter buzzing this week, after an anonymous student at Spelman College unleashed a series of tweets alleging she was raped by a group of Morehouse men at a party. In her tweets, the woman wrote how, after reporting the incident, she was told by a dean at the school that she should, quote, Give them a pass, because Spelman and Morehouse are considered sister-brother institutions. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that both schools are investigating the allegation and that Speldman's president has reached out to the student personally to provide support. [MUSIC] Lupita Nyongo has clapped back at Vogue Magazine for writing that her MET Gala look and hairstyle were inspired by Audrey Hepburn. The star posted a series of photos of African and black women. Similar styles for her Instagram page with the simple caption, hair inspiration, check. And the Internet is loving it. Gabrielle Pina said on Facebook, if vogue had some people of color working in their editorial department, They would have known how asinine their comment was. Stupid. Congratulations are apparently in order for Janet Jackson. ET Online reports that the singer and her husband Wissam Al Mana are pregnant with their first child. Although the singer has not yet confirmed the pregnancy, she did tell fans last month that she was postponing her tour to start a family. And she also just dropped a new video for her song Damn Baby. You go Janet. Speaking of divas, our June cover girl Andra Day is in the studio next. And we're going to get the tea on her fashion sense and what she really thought of people saying, she outshined Ellie Goulding at the Grammy's. It's Thursday, May 5th and Essence Live starts now. [MUSIC] You're watching Essence Live, I'm your host, Dayna Blair. We always want to hear from you, so get those Twitter, Instagram and Facebook fingers ready and use the #ESSENCELIVE to join the conversation. And, if you'd ever like to call in, and I know No you always do and ask questions to our celebrity guest you can just email us at ESSENCELIVE@ESSENCE. COM for details. Okay, in studio right now is our June cover girl and she'll be performing at this year's Essence Festival plus. Plus, she gives us lots of slayage with her music and her style. Please welcome, Ms. Andra Day to Essence Live. How are you? I'm well. Thank you. Now, I wanted to get your name right because some people say, Aundra, it's Andra. Correct me, talk to me. It's Andra Day but you know tomatoe, tomato. Where does it come from? Well I actually just cut my name in half so it comes from my It's, okay, this is funny. Talk to me. My name is Cassandra, but my stage same is Andrea with the hard A because I just liked the way that sounded better. Yeah, so I just chopped it in half. And then the second half, I'm a big Billie Holliday fan. Probably my number one inspiration. And she worked with Lester Young, and he used to call her Lady Day and she would call him the Prez. And I just thought that was so cool. And so the Day, I adopted from sort this pet name. I love that, I like that. Thank you. [LAUGH] Ans you're also our June cover, as I mentioned. Thank you very much. Have you had a chance to Hold touch kiss if you have it [UNKNOWN] I have it, look at this [UNKNOWN] That's a good cover And the best part about it is I got to use my beauty team who's been rocking with me for years. It's been kind of a bumpy road so to be able to do this together and to put these looks together like this is all of our vision, you know? So it was Just, it was incredible. I was so grateful and grateful to Essence because they just, you guys have supported since day one. That means everything, first cover. As you mentioned your beauty team, you have a very distinct style and look and flair. Did you ever have any pressure from like the labels Or anything like that to change your look and become more poppy or- Yes. [LAUGH] And how did you handle that? I mean, I think, some things I would agree to try out. Like they had me do a test shoot, I remember, one time and try on all these Hairstyles, some Beyonce wig, and things left and right. But I always think that what makes people people, what makes Beyonce Beyonce, what makes me me is they just do What they love. I would oblige and say O-K, we can try out the test shoot. You don't have to be such a tyrant all the time. At the end of the day you have to know this is who I am and be able to be vocal about saying I tried to test you, I don't like this. This is who I am and so you have to work within this realm. Just knowing that people will always have an opinion and just be true to yourself because you are never going to stand out trying to chase something that someone else is doing. You'll always be a lesser version of what they've already created, or you can be the highest version of you. Remembering that and just remembering that everyone is well intended, you don't have to be angry but you do have to express. We'll have to compromise in certain areas. So it's been great. We're really in a groove now so it's really amazing. Awesome and speaking of groove Essence Festival. I'm performing on the main stage. Main stage. Which I keep thinking is a typo. [LAUGH] How'd they let me up in here. How are you are prepping for it? Now taking up the main stage versus our super lounge. The same way I would prep for any show. For me, the idea is if I am performing for one person or if I am performing for 50 thousand people, it has to be the same show. It has to be the same energy. But for this show I am incorporating background singers. So, we are going to play with the set a little bit more just to fill the space. Who are you looking forward to seeing? We have Kendrick. We have Mariah. My God. Both of them. I love Yeah, I'll be in the front row. [CROSSTALK] [LAUGH] I [UNKNOWN] last year, too, which was just incredible. You know what I'm saying? Killed it. Yeah, exactly. And then I'm kind of from the old school, if you could call it that really, so seeing Puffy and the family was amazing. But I love Mariah's Voice obviously she's an icon. I just really like Kendrick. Seeing him at the Grammys too was just one of the best performances I have ever seen in my life so I'm just excited to see what he'll have in store this year. And many people are giving you huge props for your Grammys performance as well. [LAUGHTER] Don't just brush past that. How did you feel the next day when you started to see on the blogs and all social media? Positive press and so much love? I mean it was amazing. I feel like it's fulfilling, I think, and just gratitude. I think the one word that I use to describe it is gratitude. Because it has been a long time. Contrary to what people may think, it's not overnight. It didn't happen in the last two years. This has been a process of me pursuing this for almost 15 years. So it's It is funny to finally be at this point or to be on the Grammy stage and just be. Honestly, it was a spiritual experience. And it was really, really incredible. Some people think it was overnight. But it's been 15 years. Amy Schuler often says people say I am an overnight success but I have been in the clubs 10 years. For 10 years right. How do you stay inspired and focused and you know don't give up. I think. You know what fake is a big thing. Remembering your idea of success doesn't have to be what everyone thinks. You've got money, you've got fame, no I'm just now at a place where success to me means being a whole person. So it's sort of like okay you do something and then you feel great about it. And maybe people don't respond positively that doesn't have to change the fact you feel great about it. Right. It's okay. And then throughout my life I give a lot of credit to my parents. And I didn't realize when I was young what a blessing it is to have both my parents who say, we support you. And then just remembering being here for a purpose, I think that's what keeps me inspired. I love that. Good answer. Thank you. [LAUGH] Thank you. [LAUGH] Your album's in store now. Yes. And of course, Rise Up has been a breakout hit. But what's your favorite track on On the album. Rise up is one of my favorites because of the place that it came from. But my favorite song on the album is The City Burns. I really cannot wait until we start the run on that song, until people hear it. And I am excited. I cannot wait to do the video for it. Any scoop you can share with us here at Essence Live on that? The City Burns? I have Well, yes, there's harmonica on the song, and that's Stevie's harmonica there. He's playing that there. But I don't really know what the video is gonna be yet. But I can share actually the Rise Up music video was done by myself and the director M. Night Shyamalan, so Wow. Yeah, it's the craziest. He just reached out. That's an awesome combination. Yeah. He reached out on Twitter, and it's unlikely almost. I think people were like what is that going to look like but I won't tell you everything but it is a very inspirational video. It's supposed to be, but he just reached out on Twitter and Loved the song, let's do a music video, #NightAndDay. Wait does that mean you're possibly going to be in one of his upcoming films, is there some acting coming up soon? Maybe? I dont know, maybe, yeah if he wants that. Honestly, with acting though, I would like to take time because right now I'm a terrible actress. I had to accept it, like I had to come to a point where I was like I can do this The musical theater, I was in. And I would get to the point where I was like, Yeah, you're just not good at it. [LAUGH] [CROSSTALK] But you get better. If it's not natural to you [INAUDIBLE] But I like the production side of things, too. I think, like, I've spoken to him about it briefly. Getting into producing films, and co-directing. So, at some point I want I definitely want to do that, yeah. Thank you so much for joining us. I think you're a beautiful singer don't worry about that. Thank you [UNKNOWN] [LAUGH] okay. Thank you so much for joining us you can catch her at Essence Festival July Fourth weekend in New Orleans. And what are you waiting for? Go get your tickets they are on sale now at Coming up, Grey's Anatomy Jason George steps into the steam room. [NOISE] And it's gonna get a little hot. But first, one woman shares an inspiring message for those dealing with loss this Mother's Day. [SOUND] Mother's Day of 2010, she was fine. She passed away June 19th, a month later. I am Mayana Walker I am Natale's daughter, i am Essence, we were extremely close, two peas in a pot, i was obsessed with my mother, i know some parents are like i'm your mother not your friend, no my mother was both. In the seventies she attended two ivy league colleges, you know, a black girl from Harlem with an afro as a child my friends loved her mother means they would want to come over and say can miss [UNKNOWN] do facials? Can we eat some of her vegetarian food? My birthdays were her birthdays. Because she would say without me, there would not be you. There would be no day. She went in for a colonoscopy. She was diagnosed with just polyps in her colon. Then it rapidly progressed to cancer. We almost did not take it serious because we just knew the power that she had. My mother was someone who was A vegetarian, she was into holistic healing. And we were like, cancer, she has that. She'll be okay. I think my mother realized her body was betraying her. This was something that she couldn't tackle. I think my family kind of looked to me like, okay Yanni, what's going on? I just had this connection to her where I just knew. I was like This is different this time. Towards the end I was so in tuned with my mother that I knew it was the end. Mother's Day of 2010, she was fine. We were in Brooklyn, we went to flea markets, we walked around, she passed away June 19th, a month later. [MUSIC] In the beginning it was hard I was in pain I was angry I have an older sister and a younger brother. We rallied around each other without them this healing process would not have been As smooth. My mother always had symbols of the lotus flower in our home. And if you know the story of the lotus flower, through the murkiest, swampiest waters, it still blooms. Like that lotus flower, from my darkest place imaginable, I just have to bloom. I am her legacy now. I had to also live for her. I started to volunteer more. Currently, I lead advanced class for kids in the Bronx and it's a way to get them active in a safe place to have a good time. Her death was a catastrophic event, but it was a catalyst for me to kind of live a more purpose filled life. For people who are going through the same thing, just know that not only can you move on past this, but you can almost propel your life to knew heights. I am [UNKNOWN] Walker, I am [UNKNOWN] daughter. I chose to bloom. I am essence. I had a wonderful mother's day. [KISSING NOISES] to Jasmine, [UNKNOWN], and Rah, I love you all so much. [BLANK_AUDIO] [LAUGH] [MUSIC] Hi, I'm Anthony Anderson and you're watching Essence Live on! There's an exclamation mark. No, let's do it again. [SOUND] I'm Anthony Anderson and trust me, You do not want to watch this show. Hi, I'm Anthony Anderson, and Dana Blair is my favorite person on the planet. Essence don't hate me. She made me say that. If your just tuning in, this is Essence Live. The best damn digital talk show we must say so ourselves. Coming up later we're gonna show you some great gifts for any mother in your life. Plus we're covering everyone from the glam mom to the new mom. So you don't wanna miss it. But right now, it's time to enter the Steam Room with a hottie you've seen in Barbershop, Hit The Floor, and Grey's Anatomy. Here's what happens when we ask Jason George how ladies can really get to his heart and some other areas [MUSIC] Hey, how y'all doing? This is Jason George and I play Dr. Ben Warren on Grey's Anatomy. And I am in Steam World. What's the compliment you've received from a woman. You gotta give me a second. Which part of a woman's body most turns you on? [LAUGH]. What part of a woman's body most turns me on? That's simple, the small of a woman's back belongs to me. What's something sexy you would whisper into a woman's ear? There's always I love you. And then there's who's is it? [MUSIC] I think the best song to make love is anything by Prince. Old Prince. The original Prince. Prince with ass-less chaps. What's your favorite place to have sex? Outside, you gotta find yourself a good spot. How can a woman seduce you? A woman can seduce me with her brain, first and foremost. I like a smart woman. And then with her hips [LAUGH] cuz I love to dance. This is Jason George, thanks for hanging out in the Steam Room y'all. [MUSIC] I don't know. Okay, my funniest mom moment Was, we used to always go to different basketball and football games. She always thought whenever the cheerleaders were going, she would always try to dance battle me. And I was about four at the time so I wouldn't really know what she was trying to do. In seventh grade, I was a class clown so my mom was like if Ms. Brown call here one more time I'm coming up the school and I said whatever. So Ms. Brown called. My mom came up to the school with masking tape I had to wear it on my mouth all in class only for recess and lunch could I take it off. It didn't stop me, I just learned how to be funny while being funny. I was the quiet funny person. My brothers and I had decided to act up and my mother was super calm about it. She told us several times, "Stop and sit down," but for some reason we were just on one that day. And we got back home and we were just like, "Yeah, we had a good time out! It was cool! Mom's cool! Yeah, Woo!" And all hell broke loose. ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE! God! I remember that was the moment that I thought This is an incredible woman. Because if all of this was just kept inside she could hold anything together. Thank you mommy. [LAUGH] Heavy Vince wants more children. What's your position on that now? Well I bought him a pig and so God is good. Won't he do it? I don't know. I can't say that I'm not and I just want to be healthy first and then we can talk about that. [LAUGH] Welcome back to Essence Live. That was a quick look at [UNKNOWN] discussing whether there will be another baby Herbert anytime soon. But you heard her, she bought him a pig. And speaking of mommyhood this Sunday is the day where we celebrate our mamas our mama's mamas, aunties, wives. You get the point, it's Mother's Day. But let's not be cliche and cheap, folks, cuz some of you are gonna try it. Even though flowers and cards are nice, let's step up our gifting game and be a little more thoughtful. Here to help us find the right gift for that special mom in your life is TV personality and author of Looking fly on a dime. Patrice Williams, hello. Hey, how are you? I'm fine. Welcome to Essence Live. Thank you. Great to be here. I know you have a lot of goodies here in store for us, but first, what's the biggest mistake people make when shopping for moms? I think they get gifts that are focused more so on themselves than mom. They get something that's cute but maybe it doesn't take into momma's personality or her needs So focus on what mom needs and what she wants. I feel like that's just like a good gift tip in general. Just in general, right? So that's what we probably want to do. So, okay. I wanna get started with our first mom. The I just wanna spend time with you mom. Often times moms are like no, don't get me anything. Anything. I just want a hug. Yeah. She still wants a gift. These are the lies you tell. [LAUGH] So talk about this. Our first gift for that mom. Our first gift is the Wishing Ball. Okay. So this is a way for a mom and daughter to spend time together. It's hand blown glass. It comes with fifty-two scrolls of paper. So you can write down your wishes, gratitude, maybe your favorite scripture, something like that. Mom and daughter write down whatever they want. Put it in the ball and then once you put it in you can't take it out. So it's kind of like putting out into the universe whatever you want. I love that and it's really pretty as well. It really is. It's a great display piece. I made my own personal one. I'm not gonna tell you what it is, Essence Live. You're not gonna tell me? Patricia, maybe I'll tell you a little bit later. Okay, tell me later, tell me all about it. I tell you about it a in little bit. [LAUGH] And what's the price point for this? This is just $32. That's really good. [CROSSTALK] So super affordable, you can display it afterwards. Cool, it's in. And it makes a huge impact, right? I like it, I like it a lot. Okay, so our next mom is the has-it-all mom. We also encounter this real life, what do I get mom this year? Yeah. So how do you tackle that? I think with a mom like that, you wanna get her something that's kind of like a throwback and really reminiscing to like maybe when you were growing up. So this here is a Polaroid SNAP, Instant Digital Camera. I own this. Right? It's so cute, right? So the camera comes in 5 different colors, 10 megapixels and it actually prints out the photo. So it prints it out in less than a minute and we're so used to using our camera our phones for our cameras. But this is actually a camera like we use to use. I'm going to take a picture of you. A picture. Give it to me. You're serving, you're serving. Good. And I also want to point out too I love that you can That you can select like black and white. Color try to get artistic that kind of thing. Right, right. You can do that and it saves a digital copy. Perfect. So you can upload it, email it, social media all that good stuff. Perfect and now I hear we're going to do a special magic. The picture actually comes out right there on the spot. The picture prints out in just under a minute and it has an adhesive backing to it also so you can stick it wherever you want as well. I love that, okay great. So what do we have next for the glam mom? That mom that's fly, she's out here stunting, looking fabulous on these loved ones. Yeah, there are a lot of those glam moms out there, right? So if your mom has a mean handbag game, she just loves her purses and maybe she's been collecting them over the years. This right here is awesome. This is by Dear Rain. And it is a poncho for your handbag. Nice! Yeah, so you cover your handbag with this. It fits most bags, pretty much bags from every size, covers your bag from the rain, snow, whatever. And you can even just store your bag in this to protect it from dust. That's good especially most of us ladies out there, we like to invest in shoes, bag or jacket so you want to protect your investment. Yes, you want to protect your investment. Handbags are worth investing in. Definitely, and maybe if somebody wants to get me a handbag [INAUDIBLE] All right. [LAUGH] Okay, just buy me some gifts. [LAUGH] All right, and so our next mom is the mom who is super-emotional, very sentimental. This is the mom who has your macaroni necklace and your first pair of shoes from 1972, okay. [LAUGH] So what do you get the sentimental mom? So yeah, this is the crazy sentimental mom. And I love this company because it kind of has a connection to Mother's Day. This is JoJo Rings, and the Company was started when the founder took a key from her late grandmother and turned it into a ring. Nice. So that's the concept behind this company. You send in your mom's key, obviously something she's no longer using. Okay, right? [LAUGH] So maybe her first car, her first home, or whatever, and they turn it into a ring. Ring for her. I really, really like that. This is really great. This is customizable, no one's gonna have the exact item just like this. That is awesome, always love something intimate and personal. And for many women this will be their first Mother's Day. Yeah, the new mommies. Something very sentimental. We have a couple of good gift options for them, so what's our first one? Our first item that we have here is it's the aromatherapy shower kit. Now that is basically like an at home spa. So the kit is just $45 and it comes with oil that diffuses. The oil is actually diffused through the hot water. Yeah. I like that. It's very simple to install as well. It's super simple. It literally installs in seconds. Fits all shower heads. Comes with three different oil blends, patchouli, bergamot, eucalyptus, everything. So a new mom might not be able to make it to the spa, but you can make it the shower? Make it to shower, attach it in seconds, and you're good. And you can take if off and say, it's super easy. Yes, I would take mine with me. [LAUGH] Cuz I would be like, you know what? This is mine. [LAUGH] You don't want anybody else in the house using it. It's yours, right. You're mom, you earned that. I love that The second one I've had my eye on all show. You wanna try this one right? I do want to try this one, I'm in heels, so I wanted to sit and have fun moment, what's this? So this is the acupressure mat and pillow, so you're immediately going to feel it when you sit back on it, it's got the hard plastic points And it basically stimulates body pressure points. So it releases endorphins. Mm-hm. Makes you feel super relaxed. So if you had a long day just recline. I feel like this with a little wine. With a little scandal. A little wine. A lot of wine whatever. A lot of wine. It's your day, you're in a safe space no one is judging. Just relax and they suggest you lay in it for a good ten minutes or so. Mm-hm. But new moms whatever time you can sacrifice. It really makes a big difference. And what's the price point for this? So for the mat, $70, the pillow is $40. Okay, not bad at all. No, not bad at all. You can buy them both for mom, she's earned it right? [LAUGH] Of course she's earned it. Thank you so much, Patrice, for all of your suggestions. Thank you. These are really good. And you know some of you have waited til the last minute, okay? But we're not finished just yet. Up next is our black girl magic moment of the week, and this one is definitely a touching one. [MUSIC] My mom, that's hilarious. One of the things that makes me laugh is seeing my mother with my kids because she's unrecognizable. [LAUGH] And there was a phase where my mother decided sugar syrup Cereal is bad. So like all the frosted flakes, all the good stuff was gone. And she brought in fruit and fiber. So with my son I was really particular about what I buy for him. And I open the refrigerator and there are these hot dogs. These nasty hot dogs in a packet in the drawer. And I'm like what is this? And my mother was like, well he said he wanted them, I don't know he said that he wanted hotdogs like she had no power to say no when she's been saying no to me my whole life. [MUSIC] One thing moms do better than dads that I hate to admit, I would say bath time. Cuz it don't take an hour to get in. You playing with rubber toys and stuff. She has more patience of letting him play in the water and [NOISE]. I'm like, bruh if you don't clean up and get out. I got stuff to do. Let's go. So moms, God bless you. [SOUND] Peace and love. [BLANK_AUDIO] [SOUND] You're watching Essence Live and it's time for our Black Girl Magic Moment of the Week which goes to Jada Pinkett Smith for her touching letter on the passing of [UNKNOWN] Jada wrote. She always had a way of making me believe all would be well. I got to see where Pac got his passion, his ideals for equality and justice, but most of all his depth of thinking. Afeni was a giant in her own right. Hip hop fans will also remember how Tupac himself honored his mother in the instant classic, Dear Mama. [MUSIC] Rest in peace Athene and happy Mother's Day to all the mothers everywhere and remember to watch our original black girl magic documentaries on Thanks to Andra Day and all of our guests for coming through today. If you missed any of it, you can catch the replay immediately after the show or watch clips on demand's video section. Plus we're on the YouTube. Go to and subscribe right now. Closing things out for us today is an artist who will be appearing at Essence Festival in New Orleans July 4th weekend. Performing Intentional from his number one gospel album, The hill, here is Travis Green, i'm your host Dana Blair, see you next week. This is Travis Green just coming to encourage you, everything that's happening in your life is not happening to you, but it's happening for you and we still regard who does everything on purpose. [MUSIC] My favorite part in this song says, I don't have to worry cuz it's working for me. Yeah, it's working for me. And I believe it's working for me. [MUSIC] And ain't it over till it's good. It ain't over till it's good. Yeah. Ain't it over till is good, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Because she's intentional. He's intentional. Hey, yeah. He's intentional. [MUSIC] Never failing. [BLANK_AUDIO]

Andra Day Dishes on Her Journey, New Projects and Inspiration on 'ESSENCE Live' 

ESSENCE Festival performer Andra Day dishes on her musical journey and staying true to herself, our favorite celebs share their funniest mom stories. Plus, we get last-minute gift ideas, and hear how one woman celebrates Mother's Day after losing her beloved mom.