Beauty of the Week

BB Girl Boss Exclusive: Vivian Billings Discusses Being A Girl Boss, Finding Balance, And Her Plans For CIAA Weekend

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Written By: Darshay Lampley

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Vivian Billings. For those of you who are not familiar with her, allow me to make the introduction. Ms. Vivian Billings is a well-known celebrity blogger and Hip Hop journalist. A few of her accomplishments include starting her own blogging site gossipviv.com (formerly known as hiphopgossip.com), hosting her own radio show on Power 104, corresponding for 50 Cent’s site ThisIs50.com, hosting a string of star-studded events, and starring in VH1’s reality show “The Gossip Game.” Vivian, showcased her bold personality and unapologetic personality on the show immediately intrigued me. She has earned my respect in more ways than one so when I was given the opportunity to interview her personally, I dove in head first. Here’s what she had to say:

How did you get started with your career? I know you told everyone during our #GirlBoss conference call that you were kind of the go to girl for all of the celebrity gossip; but what made you finally decide that this was going to be your career path?

I guess I decided that when I noticed that people were paying attention. When I initially decided to actually write about the things that I witnessed, I didn’t think that anyone was paying attention to me. It was just a hobby but when I realized that people started paying attention and I was getting all of these cease and desist letters because what I was putting out was actually true, that’s when I realized I needed to take this more seriously and start perfecting my craft.

What obstacles did you face while jump starting your career?

First of all, I’ve always had a regular job on top of working for this industry because all though I have a very deep love of Hip Hop, it just doesn’t pay the bills and that’s just straight up. I’ve always had a job so it’s basically a juggling act because I also have children. For instance, my website lacks because I can’t get on it everyday because I work, do events, and have panels that I’m apart of. Right now, I’m rebranding so I don’t have writers at the moment. Sometimes other things have to take the backseat.

How do you juggle being a #GirlBoss while also being a wife and mother?

I always try to make time for my husband. We always have our time. Sometimes that may only be for an hour once the kids are in bed and it’s just us. It may be when we do the dishes, talking at the table, or when we’re lying down; we always try to catch each other up on what we have going on. Our weeks are hectic so on weekends I coordinate with my older son, Kayden. If he’s off during the weekend I ask him to come over and watch the kids while I go out on a date with my  husband. It’s just making time to show that you love your husband. Which is why you make all them damn kids!

What are your plans for CIAA weekend?

On Thursday, I’m covering the Redman, Method Man, and Keith Murray concert for the “I Love New York” series. Then there’s also another concert that I would love to cover so I put it out into the universe that hopefully I’ll get the call for that. Nas will be in town and my friend, Special Ed, is hosting that. I hope that I’ll be able to have some sort of backstage access to do a little quick interview. Of course on Saturday we have The Literary Experience with the Blogging Beauties and I’ll be apart of that panel. Then I’m also hosting the grand opening of Studio Pink Beauty Bar with my girl Angela Yee from The Breakfast Club. After that, I might follow behind Angela and go to her day party because my boss, 50 Cent will be in Charlotte so I’d love to see him.

Since you’re around so many celebrities all of the time have you ever found yourself star-struck during your career? Have you ever had a complete fan moment?

You know what? I have not had that! I’ve had some moments where I’ve had to say “Yo! I used to listen to you when I was little!” Two of my major accomplishments I would say was I was asked to host in New York at the Westbury Music Theatre, where it was over five thousand people. I hosted an Old Skool Jam where it was Big Daddy Cane, Doug E. Fresh, Biz Markie, Slick Rick, Rakim; major artists. I hosted that and to me, that was a big deal because these were artists that I listened to growing up. I was kind of star-struck but I was there to do business so I didn’t really have time to be star-struck. And then, when I got to meet Rev. Al Sharpton. I actually won an award for my literary work, for being a gossip girl. I got an award from him and that was also major. I knew his daughters, but I never got the opportunity to meet him. There were surreal moments, but no star-struck moments.

Is there a person that if you had an opportunity to meet them, you think you may have a moment?

Absolutely, Queen Latifah! I haven’t met her yet but I would love to meet her!

What advice would you give aspiring entertainment journalists that are trying to break out into this industry?

Honestly, I would say to be consistent with your craft because just when you think no one is paying you any attention, that’s when something will happen. Definitely networking because if you’re not out there showing your face, shaking hands, and kissing babies then no one really knows who you are. Unless you come out with a super story, unless you have one of those moments, I would say be consistent with your work and go out there and let people know who you are and what you do.

I recently read that you decided to convert to Islam. Let me just say, congratulations on that. What made you make the decision to convert?

Thank you. My mother was actually Muslim back in the 70’s and then she stopped. My mother is so not a religious person. If you asked her what was her religion then she wouldn’t say Muslim, she wouldn’t say Christian, she don’t do none of that. I do know that she prays and that she believes in a higher power. For me, I believe in God but  going to Church, they made it seem like I had to go to a middle- man to get to God and I never understood that. Most people call it the Trinity, but I could never grasped the concept  of a Trinity. I didn’t understand why we gotta go through this person to get to God? If God is the highest form of everything, why are we giving him humanlike qualities? There were certain things that I personally didn’t understand. I was introduced to Islam by a couple of good friends and my husband’s family is Muslim. I just started studying and reading the Quran. I pray a lot anyway so to pray five times a day was nothing for me. But there are certain things that have to go along with your prayer; like washing yourself before you pray. Basically, I just understood it. It was just straight to the point. That’s why I converted.

I know you said that your husband’s family is Muslim, is he Muslim as well?

No, my husband is not Muslim. He grew up a Baptist but that’s his thing. He respects me and my decision and I respect him and his decision.

Lastly, is there anything you would like our readers to know about projects you are currently working on? I know you’ve been rebranding and you’ve changed the name of your website. Tell me a little bit about that. Where do you see your career going in 2016?

Well, in 2016 I have a lot going on. I did rebrand. It’s no longer hiphopgossipsite.com, it’s gossipviv.com. I wanted to put everything that people know me for under one name so it’s gossipviv on Instagram, it’s gossipviv on Twitter, and it’s gossipviv on my website. I just wanted everything to have one cohesive flow. I do clean gossip. I’m not trying to bash people’s families and I don’t talk about how people look because that’s just not where I am in life. I don’t get any gratification from doing that. If they say “Young Jeezy shot up 5 people and got arrested.” Of course, I’m going to report in that but it’s clean gossip.

However, if you want to hear me talk about what I personally think about certain rumors and gossip, you can always log on to power104.4fm.com and I have my own show each and every Wednesday from 7 pm to 9 pm. And there I’ll give it to you raw. On that show I curse, I give my raw opinion on things, I have callers, we play music, we have celebrity interviews, and I have a lot of great exclusives. Everyone has emojis like Kim Kardashian, and Fabolous has his own so within the next two months I will be coming out with my own emojis. But it won’t be pictures, it’ll be little sayings. That’s what I’ll be coming out with, which is a little different than what I’m used to doing. I’m just working on trying to let Charlotte know that I’m here. I might have some media runs. I did Power 98 but I have to get connected with the other movers and shakers in Charlotte because I’m not too familiar with Charlotte. I’m just used to the New York vibe.

Craving more of Ms. Vivian Billings? Vivian will be one of the ladies featured on the panel during our highly anticipated event, The Literary Experience: CIAA Edition. The Literary Experience will feature bloggers, celebrities, and authors in the city of Charlotte on February 27, 2016. Additional ticket information can be found on eventbrite.com

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