Cover to Cover | Essence Magazine June 2015 Issue

Welcome to a new feature to the blog called Cover to Cover, where I piece apart the best advice, new products, interviews, etc. from my favorite magazines.  What better issue to start this new feature with than the latest Essence (June 2015) with the stars of the hit television drama Empire each gracing their own cover, and sharing one together.  Other than a candid interview with these three rising stars, this vacation issue had a lot to contribute to your sexiest summer ever!  Let's check it out!

Cover Story

Onscreen we love them as Jamal, Andre, and Hakeem Lyon, but offset they are just as lovable as themselves: Jussie Smollett, Trai Byers, and Bryshere "Yazz" Gray.  This has to be one of the most sought after issues of Essence Magazine.  I know for a fact it is, because my friend went to five stores before she found the cover she was looking for! Here's what our favorite tv brothers are talking about:

Jussie Smollett

On how he became Jamal Lyon: "I jumped on Instagram and direct-messaged Lee and said, 'Sir I know you get this all the time, but I'm a singer, actor, dancer, songwriter and musician.  I am Jamal Lyon in more ways than one.' (After seven audtions) They put me through the wringer, but it was all worth it."

On losing his father: "My dad was a black man in a Jewish man's body...Some people say you become who you are going to be, fully, when you lose a parent.  I feel that's somewhat true."

On what this ride has taught him: "As a grown man, I can say without conceit, that I am very, very capable."

Trai Byers

On his views of Andre Lyon: Trai sees Andre Lyon as Empire's "most tragic character, at least in season one.  His mom was in jail for half his life and his dad focuses on himself."

On his relationship with God: At the age of 15, Trai Byers had a gun pulled out on him, causing him to dive deeper into his relationship with God.

On why he focuses on fitness:  "I work out for two reasons: one because I am an actor and two, because I am someone's [future] husband."

Bryshere "Yazz" Gray

On how he started his music career: "As soon as I decided that I was wasn't going to play (football) anymore, I started writing music and I just fell in love with it. "

On encouraging other young people: "I would hear things like, 'My dad was never in my life...' and my response was, 'Well my dad was never in my life, but I still felt wanted, I still felt like I mattered.  Don't feel like you don't matter.'"

On what's most important to him: "Making my mom happy is all that matters to me."

Articles to Read

  • Brown Skin Gets Cancer Too -  Great article on how to protect and save your skin from different skin cancers.  "'Many incorrectly think dark skin is immune to skin cancer.' (-Marcy Street, M.D.). That assumption can prevent us from taking precautions and may be why many African-Americans diagnosed with skin cancer get the news in the disease's later--more dangerous-- stages." - Tip: Wear a hat that completely shades your ears when you're outside, otherwise you have to apply sunscreen to them.
  • How to Handle an Office Bully - God knows that there are several in my office, but I digress.  This article offers tips on how to recognize office bullying, the steps to take, and when it's time to leave.  "It's a form of nonphysical violence where the abuser is on the payroll."  Tip: If you coworker is doing the bullying, keep a record of it all, noting who else was present and witnessed it.  

Health & Beauty Buys

  • Burt's Bees Renewal and Refining Cleanser - A complexion smoothing, gentle skin cleanser infused with hibiscus.  $9.99, Target
  • Alberto VO5 Shine, Glow & Go Beauty Oil - A head-to-toe, hair and body moisturizer.  $4.99, Walgreens

What to Watch

  • Dope (June 19) - A film from Rick Famuyiwa, the writer that brought us the timeless classic, The Wood.  Just like it's predecessor, Dope takes place in Inglewood, CA and follows a high school geek named Michael, and his best friends Diggy and Jib as they navigate through senior year and obsess over hip-hop culture.  Famuyiwa says this of the film, "I wanted to revisit Inglewood and show the point of the generation that came up after mine."  

What to Read

  • The Power Playbook: Rules for Independence, Money and Success by Lala Anthony - In her second book, Lala Anthony offers advice on balancing it all.  As a mother, wife of a professional basketball player, actress, and entrepreneur, it seems like Lala has the right formula to achieving success. 
  • I am Charlie Wilson - If you've ever seen Charlie Wilson perform live, you know that he can tear a house down, performing his catalog of music that spans several decades.  In this memoir he shares his battle with prostate cancer, being homeless, and addicted to drugs.  Charlie Wilson's testimony is truly triumphant as he has endured many battles and managed to overcome them.

For more on what’s going on with the stars of Empire, traveling advice, how to save your skin from the sun this summer, and more, pick up your copy of the June 2015 issue of Essence!

[All of the quotes and pictures in this post are from the June 2015 issue of Essence Magazine and I own no rights to them.]