Yara Shahidi Talks 'Grown-ish,' Plus Tina Fey's 'Solution' To Racism: Check Out This Week's Episode Of ESSENCE Now

In this week's ESSENCE Now, our Slayed or Shade panelists take on Tina Fey's "Sheetcake" bit on SNL's "Weekend Update" and Yara Shahidi talks Harvard and her new "Black-ish" spinoff.

ESSENCE.COM Aug, 23, 2017
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[MUSIC] I'm Makho Ndlovu and today on Essence NOW, our girl Yara Shahidi is here and ready to dish on her plans for Harvard. And was Tina Fey's sheetcake bit funny or not? Our panelists are ready to go in for the return of slayed or shade. But right now it's time for the hot list. The biggest stories you're buzzing about today. [MUSIC] Anyone remember this Trump tweet from 2014? President Obama is about to embark on a 17 day vacation in his 'native' Hawaii Putting Secret Service away from families on Christmas. Aloha. Well pot, meet kettle. According to several reports because of the family's constant traveling, the Secret Service has already hit its salary and overtime cap that was meant to last the entire year. It's only August, right? Under Trump, 42 people have protection, 18 of which are members of his own family. So Trump, here's a tip. Tell Johnny Jr, Ivanka, Pookie and Nay-Nay and them to save us some money And stay there **** at home, do it for america okay? Here we go again, another woman in R. Kelly circle has come forward accusing the star of abusing young women. In fact she said she had a sexual relationship with Kelly when she was just, 16 years old. According to Buzzfeed News, Jerhonda Pace was such a huge R. Kelly fan at the time that she cut high school every day to attend his child pornography trial in Chicago. She said she's speaking out now and breaking A non disclosure agreement in the process because she's worried for the other women in his circle. She told Buzzfeed, I didn't have anybody to speak up on my behalf when I was going through what I was going through with him. He's brainwashed the women really bad and it kind of reminds me of Charles Manson. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] Are you tired of all the news about white supremacy. Well, Tina Fey has an interesting solution. Watch. And the next time when you see a bunch of white boys Boys in polo shirts scream about taking our country back when you want to scream it's not our country. We stole it. [APPLAUSE] [INAUDIBLE] Don't yell it at the Klan, Colin, yell it at the cake. Aah! [LAUGH] But everyone was not laughing. Elon James tweeted, so you all going to it was a joke me to death when the ignoring of racism and oppression leads to my community's continued suffering. Cool. Amanda [FOREIGN] disagrees. Just a friendly reminder that you can find Tina Fey funny, find the laughter cathartic, and And still go out and protest, so what do you think, was the bit funny or not? Send us your comments using hashtag essencenow, because we're talking about it and slaid or shade next. It's Tuesday, August 22nd, and it's time for ESSENCENOW. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] Welcome to Essence Now. I'm your host Makho Ndlovu and remember, you can talk to us at any time using the hashtag essence now or by email at essencenow@essence .com. All right. You know what time it is. It's time to slay or shade. Where we slay or shade the weeks hottest topics. Joining me in the studio are senior lifestyle and relationship editor for essence.com, Charli Penn. Filmmaker of the upcoming documentary Duty Free, Sian-Pierre Regis. And essence.com editor, entertainment editor, Danielle [UNKNOWN] Clarke. Welcome everyone. Thank you. All right, let's jump right in. As I mentioned in the hot list, a recent S&L bit, comedian Tina Faye suggested that we can all fight white supremacy with what she called sheetcaking. Basically, instead of attending any protests or any rallies, Folks should order a cake with an American flag on it from a Jewish or a black owned bakery of course and eat it. Although Fey did call out White Supremacists, Trump and the Nazis some felt sheet caking wrongly encouraged people to ignore the very serious problem of racism. But other fans think we should take it for what it was. A joke. So, panelists, with Tina Fey's sheet cake bit a slay or shade and one, two, three throw your cards up lets see. Shade, shade, okay. Danielle we'll start with you. [LAUGH] Tell me what you think. I love Tina Fey I think she's so funny. I think this one was in bad taste. [MUSIC] It was I think the week after, if not days after Charlottesville. And I think the biggest lesson we've learned from this incident is that white people need to speak up to other white people about hatred, about racism, about privilege. So I think eating a cake instead of addressing the community that needs to be addressed is not really what needs to be done. I get a joke is a joke but maybe there was another way she could have taken it Literally it was in poor taste.>> It was literally in poor taste.>> Shawn chime in This one is so hard for me. Okay. I said slayed because for me, what I took away, was the fact that if you do not give these racist, ignorant people an audience, then who's listening, right? And I thought that was really, really important because they should not have a voice. Or at least one that's listened to. But at the same time, I get what we're saying. That when you look at Boston this weekend, when 20,000 people stood up against 100, and you see a visual like that, you're like, hell yeah, I want to go out there and protest, and this is so important. But I think Tina Fey didn't want people to go out and get Hurt as of what happened in Charlottesville and there was a very real threat of that. But also it brings up the idea of must we always police other people's protests? Right, is that the role of comedians? Exactly, and You know, is there one right way to protest? Mm-hm, Interesting. It's a good question. Charlie? So I said shade because like Danielle, I am a Tina Faye fan, I do love her comedy. And I think, because there's been so many moments where she nailed race relations in comedy, She thinks she can just always go there and this time it was in poor taste, literally. So, I'm not really mad at Tina Fey in general, I'm honestly not. There's been so many times she's nailed it but in this case, girl no. It's a fail [LAUGH] Our faiths can be problematic. Exactly. So Kayla, let's check in with you, you're manning social media. What is the Twitterverse saying? I mean it's truly divided. Okay so Lamont Brown says it's a joke ease up, so he's slaying it. Nathaniel Freedman [UNKNOWN] Darko says Tina Fey made a joke about the silly way people cope and it's being taken as literal advice. Megan Allison says the fact that people are hating on Tina Fey for incredible sheetcaking skit is ridiculous. I choose empathy and laughter over hate. But some people are shading it. Van Newkirk says I have successfully ignored and avoided all Tiny Fey news for years now and today will not be a day that I stop. Cynthia Daniels says not funny at all, but I do still believe you need to be active in the fight for our rights. Okay, very interesting comments, keep them coming. All right, moving along. After a fan accused Kevin Hart's wife, Eniko Parrish, of being his former mistress Eniko managed to shade the fan, the rumors and Kevin's ex Torrei. Eniko said that Kevin and Torrei's marriage was already broken and that Torrei spread the mistress rumors because she wanted to play the victim. Ouch. Now Eniko has since turned off all comments on her instagram page but it seems Torrei is getting the last word on this one. She told TMZ Numbers don't lie. Dates don't lie. At the end of the day she forced my hand to address this publicly. The most important thing to me is my children, so if my children see something that she's writing that makes me look like a liar, no. Panelists, what in the Hart is going on here? Slayed or Shade, I want to see you all are writing. Go. [LAUGH] All right. We'll start with Sean, you're right in the middle. Go ahead. I was Why be so messy about it? [LAUGH] Like, these women- [CROSSTALK], right? Yes. But it's like these women are powerful in their own right, right? [LAUGH] Torrei has her own brand. You have money. You have class. Don't take to Instagram to let out all of these like Silly, keep it internal. Like, you would never see J, Beyonce and, Becky with the good hair out there. [LAUGH] Telling who each other was and how they were all involved. They're too classy for that. You will see [UNKNOWN] in the elevator putting [UNKNOWN] camera, you know? Chime in, what do you think, [UNKNOWN] Okay, so I'm saying Saying Slayed for Torrei. I saw the video, the TMZ video when they asked her, of course they were going to ask her, and I thought the way she handled it was really classy. I mean she was just, basically said the same thing that we just read, she was saying you know this is something I thought we had moved past. Apparently there's some issues there. Point blank, don't lie on me for my kids to see this. I thought she handled it well. Eniko, I don't know, maybe it's the pregnancy hormones, I don't know what's going, but it seemed very out of character. [LAUGH] for her, because usually [UNKNOWN] pretty quiet and like kumbaya. So it seemed really off for her to clap back like that. I don't know. All right, Charlie, what was Kevin's weird thinking? Okay, so to be honest, I was actually kind of doing that. On your card. On the card. Explain. I'm slaying [UNKNOWN] for being as mature as a woman can be, having to publicly respond to Something like this again for the thousandth time. But I'm actually shading Kevin and Eniko, who I usually love for taking the high road, and I'm mostly shading Kevin. Because the only person I wanna hear really set the record about this publicly is Kevin. And I did not read the book yet so if he did that there Fine. Yes. Okay Twitter, but if he didn't, he's the one who should go public and clear up these dates. He's always like, I'm just laughing, it doesn't bother me. Right, but what happened? Because obviously the two women in your life still don't agree on it. I thought we had moved on. Exactly. Caleb's there are folks on Twitter saying about the hard drop. Shade all around. Shade all around, ok! At Boss Lady Radio, Kevin Hart's wife Eniko played herself, she says. His ex-wife handled that with so much class. I bet she will think twice before mentioning Torrei at Honeybee 83. That was very shady of Eniko, Torrei is better than me because she would have had to see me over that disrespect To Truth, Eniko must want Torrei to pay her a visit. A lot of threats going on here. If you love that man's kids as your own and you're respecting your own, you wouldn't reply with all that. That's so true. What about the kids? And the new baby coming in? All right Now lastly, in an interview with Rap Radar Podcast, Daisy questioned why black people don't support black entrepreneurs. And he used basketball dad Lavar Ball as his example. That man has a vision of his own. Why wouldn't I support him? Right Why wouldn't I support him? He feels like he can move culture, and his son got a big enough name and a big enough brand that they can do it. Nike had to start somewhere. Why do we get so upset when we, us, as a culture, want to start our own [BLEEP] Some folks believe that Jay missed the mark here pointing to everything from Lavar Ball's controversial statements about women to his overall brash personality being the reason he shouldn't get a blanket co-sign from us On its way in, does Jay have a point that we should always support black wealth or is it inexcusable to dismiss Lavar Ball's past behavior? Is it a slayed or a shade? Go ahead panelists. One, two, three, go. Okay. We'll start with you. Wait, I haven't started with Charlie. Charlie, you go. I knew you were ready Charlie. Let's go. I'm shading [UNKNOWN] because it's easy for someone with as much wealth as he has to tell us what to do with the wealth we don't have. Okay, look. I'm all for supporting black owned businesses but my morals mean everything to me. And I stand up for women. I'm black and I'm a woman. So if I don't agree with someone's views, I don't have to support their business just because they're black. Right. I can find another black owned business to support. And I just, it's always interesting to hear people with so much money tell us what to do with ours. So you don't listen to R Kelly? That's where you draw the line? I do, I haven't supported R Kelly. In a long time. Okay all right. [INAUDIBLE] All right all right Sean jump in yes? I agree with Charlie in a lot of ways right? I mean I think Hope was wrong in saying that there should be a blanket contract. I still don't have title. It's not that good. Shade. Yes I did yes I did. You're holding up the right card. Just because Jay did it doesn't mean that we should get into it. Yeah. And also, if you looked at the sneakers that this man is trying to sell for $450 they are ugly. So I'm not gonna support you for some $450 I could get for $12 from Shaq at Walmart. [LAUGH] [UNKNOWN] Have the last word in here. On the so-called sneak. I actually agree with Shaun and Charlie, I think that we should have enough deciphering to like. We do have enough, we're gonna buy what we're gonna buy. But I'm saying Slay just for the continual promotion of buying black in general. Just to remind people, if you have that option to buy black. Do it. But I'm not saying anything. Cuz I think Lavar Ball is crazy, he thinks he's better than Jordan and- He tried it. He said it several times that he couldn't beat Jordan in his prime and I'm like, okay. [LAUGH] But I do support the I have Spotify so I don't have Tidal, either. But. Another one. Yeah Spotify is great [LAUGH]. Yeah yeah well. But support black if you can. If you can. All right Kayla. Twitter's saying about Jay's comments on Lavar Ball. Okay, I was trying hard to find something supportive, so I found one. At skepical_lex, she says, Lavar truly is creating a legacy, Jay-Z had to support #supportblackbusiness. All right, that was the one support I found. Everything else is shade. So at ausout1302, So Jay-Z buying from, and publicly stating support for Lavar Ball, isn't showing support for his misogyny? So hashtag double standards they say. Mm. Scott McCary says what's interesting is Jay-Z somehow concludes that we all dislike Lavar Ball because he had a vision of his own and that's nuts. He missed the mark. Very very interesting. Thank you so much panelists for joining us. Now coming up Yara Shahidi is here and we're going to get the scoop on how she's balancing her new Blackish spin off with her real life as a freshman at Harvard. But first, are you looking for some inspiration for your end of summer wardrobe? Essence editor Joiee Thorpe. has some tips on how to rock matching sets and style goals. Watch. [MUSIC] Hi Zue your fashion editor at essence magazine. And today were talking about matching set I love them because they take your look from day to night with literally no effort. [MUSIC] First up is pajama inspire set is comfy and chic at the same time. It's long sleeve but light weight and super cool for summer. [MUSIC] I love this monochromatic set because it's. Super cute and also Dramatic. And this summer, you have to show a little leg. [BLANK_AUDIO] Too much ruffle ain't never hurt nobody. I like this, it's flouncy it's fun, it's summery. Pair it with a strappy heel, and you're good. Opt for matching sets this season, they're easy, they're cute. I'm obsessed. [MUSIC] So my life, I'm an open book. I just, I want, I'm doing a show called Marlon. For once in my life, I can express who I am. As flawed as I may be, I know that I've a great heart. And I mean well but nobody's perfect. Yeah. [MUSIC] You're watching Essence Now, I'm your host Makho Ndlovu and joining us right now in the studio is a young woman who is everyone's black girl magic girl crus. Seriously she's Essence's family at this point. Please welcome Yara Shahidi to the show. Hey Yara. Hey. How are you? Good, good- You look fantabulous, as per usual. One of the reason we love you so much is that you're an activist. You're regularly standing up for what you believe in what is right. And your latest project the hashtag LikeAGirl campaign, with the brand Always. Speak to us about that and tell us why you wanted to get involved. I mean I've always been a fan of the campaigns and always have been running for the LikeAGirl campaign, and it really does speak to this idea that. So many times around puberty, girls lose their confidence. And it affects us going forward, and it's really important to have certain messaging that allows us to really embrace failure and get rid of the stigma around it. Especially because this is a crucial time in our life in which we're making big decisions about who we wanna be and we wanna allow ourselves to really, fully experience the world as we want to. And a lot of that is being able to get rid of any barriers that we deal with about tackling our goals. And so important. So how do people get involved with the hashtag? How should they use the hashtag? I mean the hashtag is perfect for social media purposes of course. And so you can always spread love, whether you are some daily inspo of something, like telling a story of what you've tackled or conquered or a fear that you got rid of, using the LikeAGirl Campaign. And even if you just want to reach out and look at the hashtag for support or daily inspiration, it's a great way to just get in touch with your fellow peers.>>Okay, well- Yeah. I'm definitely going to use it. Now, we know your family is really instrumental in keeping you grounded. But how do you avoid peer pressure when your family is not around? I mean, I think they really instilled in me this idea of not even knowing who I am, but also understanding what my values are. And so while Yara may change, my values remain the same. So what is really important is that one, I surround myself with people that even if we aren't the same person because the goal is not to have a ton of clones of myself as friends, but to really have people that respect your values. And so [MUSIC] If anything, you grow together, rather than having to deal with peer pressure. And I know it's something that so many girls deal with. Yeah. And so many people deal with. And so it's important to build a support network. And so it may be of friends. It may be of teachers, of family members, of. People that you meet through Instagram or whatever it may be but I our support network has been really instrumental and really solidifying where I stand how I wanna operate in the world. Right, that support network is extremely important. Mm-mh.>> So how you stay grounded though? I mean, with your family and your mom and your Support system. How do you stay grounded? It's pretty easy I think. What's nice is that, I mean, yes of course I work, but I think what's funny is that acting is something I do, it's not something I am. Even if my title is actor or actress and it's allowed me to live my life and so yes, I work 60 hours a week and yes I have a crazy schedule but I still get those moments of hanging out with friends, doing Other things, I'm really having that balance. And so what's funny is that when you really get down to the core of my life or just what I go through on a day to day experience. It's really no different than a person with a full school schedule, a person balancing towards a person. Like Any other kid would be with the full schedule. We're all dealing with especially now. Mm-hm. Such full schedules and balancing everything that we want to do. And so what's funny is there are really not that many differences. Between you and a normal kid. But I'm so glad you brought up school. You're going to college. Soon and your character Zoe is also going to college and Grown-ish. Are there going to be parallels between Black-ish and Grown-ish? How would you describe the show? The way I describe the show is, of course were in pre-production phases so there are no scripts So I can give you an inside scoop on but our end goal. No inside scoop? I'm sorry. Okay, yeah. I don't have the scoop yet. But, I mean, the main goal of the show and what we've really discuss with the writers and [INAUDIBLE] is to portray college In its most authentic form. Of course like in Black-ish some things are exaggerated for the sake of comedy. But it's really based in a sense of reality, and I think that's what we really want for Grown-ish. [MUSIC] This ability to tell a story. Now of course, there will be a lot happening to the main character that. Yes. May not happen to every student. But we want to address the issues that students deal with. Whether it is, of course, like you're saying, peer pressure. Or figuring out who you are, and figuring out. I mean Zoe is a big fish in a small pond and so there is this. What you notice even in that first episode when she goes to visit her college is that she is unsure of herself and it's one of the first time you see her unsure of herself. And it's important to not gloss over that. As like yeah well she'll be confident again-- All the time. Right. Telling the story of what it means to be a young girl. Of what it means to be apart of Gen Z. And what it means to be on a college campus for us right now. Do you feel any pressure? Because Black-ish does such a great job of tackling issues. Much like it sounds like Grown-ish will do. And such a great Funny responsible way. Do you feel any pressure to live up to the success? Blackish, I mean, what's lovely is that we still have the same amazing team behind it. Of course it's a different writers room. But I really don't feel the pressure, because what I love is that, of course. Grown-ish is an extension of Black-ish, but at the same time, it's gonna have a different feel. And, I love this idea that in all of the writer's mind, they want to make it relevant, because that's what has made Black-ish so crucial to just the TV landscape, this idea of It's a telling of our reality, in that it's based in what's happening now. Mm-hmm. And so, I think that's something that we all are very aware of walking into this. Mmm. Speaking of what's happening now, what are your thoughts about like the current events, and what is going on, particularly in light of what happened in Charlottesville? Yeah. I mean, you've been so vocal about the Muslin ban. Yeah, I mean, of course I've been vocal about this administration in general and I think it is definitely deeply personal Specially being half black, half Uranian and having many peers who are directly affected. I know there are plenty of people who are directly affected and what is it I'm not even experiencing, so it's important to spread love, And I think that was why it was even crucial for me to be a part of this like a girl campaign because, In this moment we are depending on this generation to be the change-makers, and a part of that is making sure that they have the access and the personal confidence and tools to go Tackle those rules and to really be that kind of change agent that we need.>> Right, right, right, but on a lighter note, away from the events of the past week. So you're going to Harvard soon? Yeah! How excited are you? I'm so So exciting. Yeah. How do you feel about going? And are you nervous? Can you feel any pressure? I mean, of course I'm nervous because it is a new adventure. And much like so, it's a world I've never been a part of. Mm-hm. And so, I'm entering a whole new landscape and It is this crazy new adventure of mine but at the same time, college has been something I've had my eye on for the entirety of my life and so to be able to go in study what I want and have the support of professors already and of family and of my blackish family too. Yeah. Is so amazing. Do you know what you wanna study. I am double majoring in social studies which is interdisciplinary sociology, anthropology. Economics and philosophy. Mind blown. And my second major is African-American studies. That is amazing. Yara, how are you gonna have time for all of that? [LAUGH] You know, I love how you spoke about earlier about vulnerability and exposing that and showing that. Is there a biggest failure that you've had and how did you recover from that? I mean, there are multiple points in my life, and I'm constantly going through moments of I call it personal evolution [LAUGH], is how I like to brand it in my head. Because I think what I've realized overarchingly is that I have such a fantastic support network of people around me that even if I fall, I'm not falling far I love that. Yeah, and that's the same goes for any girls. And I think it's about one, finding a support system, and getting rid of the personal fear of failure. I know, for me, there are moments in my life of whether how seriously I take my academics. I know A lot of times whenever I've done poorly on anything I've taken it so personally, as like a deep reflection of who I am, and my potential and I've really let it define me. And there are other moments, even as somebody whose a rock Climber. I've gone up across challenges where, I've been the only girl in this gym, and i'm like i'm not going to, there is no way I'm reaching the top of that wall. So much of it is about just kind of that, That personal fear of failing. And that personal fear of not making it, versus one, getting rid of this idea of perfection, and two, really accepting and celebrating every step up that you do make. I love that. I don't think we can end the show on a more perfect. [LAUGH] Yara, you're amazing. Best of luck with the campaign and with Harvard still. Will you come back and visit us? Thank you so much. Of course. Of course! Yay! All right guys. Make sure you follow Yara Shahidi on Twitter and Instagram. She's amazing, more ESSENCENOW is up next. Thank you Yara. Get ready, get ready, get ready! I am headed to Essence festival South Africa. Yes I am coming and I will be there. I wanna give a shout out to all of the entrepreneurs. If you will join me on Saturday morning, I'm gonna teach some principles that will escalate your business, your faith, and put you in alignment so that you can have a systematic pragmatic approach to taking your business to the next level. So, all you entrepreneurs, whether you're in business, or about to go in business, I want you to join me on Saturday morning. And then, Sunday, That's right, we're gonna get our church on. So I want you to come ready to praise the Lord, because I will be preaching. Durban, hey, I'm coming. Love you. [MUSIC] As essence [UNKNOWN] lit, you're watching Essence Now, I'm your host, Makho Ndlovu, it's time for our black girl magic solute, which this week goes to 7 year old Jordan West. Get this, Jordan raised $10,000 to host a princess for a day party at Disney World for girls in foster care. A selected group of 14 girls received the royal treatment complete with princess gowns and rise at magic kingdom. To raise money, Jordan enlisted her mom's help and held garage sales, sold lemonade, and even wrote a book. Here she dropped a few jams for other young girls. Be brave. Be confident. Be a giver. Be diligent. Last but not least, you gotta be positive. Do you think it's easy being a princess? If the crown fits, just wear it. [LAUGH] Be positive. Too cute. To you Jordan, you are a real life princess and we salute you. Remember, you can watch even more inspiring stories of black girls doing great things in our original Black Girl Magic docu series and essence.com/BlackGirlMagic. Kayla, Kayla, how cute was that story? Adorable. My God. But people are still talking about Tina Fey [LAUGH]. [LAUGH] Okay, what are they saying? Okay, So we asked earlier if the recent S&L skit with Tina Faye eating a shortcake in response to all the protests is indeed funny, or did she miss the mark? Michael Davis says, Lord, pretty soon you're not going to be able to say anything to anybody. Let's talk about the folks who have no water, the kids who need supplies, school clothes. Let's do that. Anita Paris says this is the epitome of white privilege. But, Janice Jones says it's just a joke. Quit making it more than it is. Eat the sheet cake. And shout out to Crystal Scretching, who says, loving this new format of Essence Now, great job. Looking into this. Aw, yay. Now okay, before we head out let's shout out a couple more people watching on social media. Kayla what are the shout outs? Give me some more shout outs. So many people are talking about the Tina Fey that it would have been inundated. A couple of more comments on Jay-Z. People not understanding why he's supporting LaVar Ball, saying he missed the mark. There's a couple of more from [INAUDIBLE] saying she was super shady. And we're just standing by for more comments. You know what's really sad is that I thought we had moved past this. Like [INAUDIBLE] and. Story. It looked like a happy story in the words of our black girl magic salute. Think positive! Agreed. Thanks to Yara Shahidi and all todays guests for coming through. Remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see all of our videos And tune in next Tuesday at 3 PM Eastern for an all-new Essence Now. I'm Makho Ndlovu. Bye-bye, friends. [MUSIC]