Jade Novah is an artist to keep your eyes on! She performed during the week of the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards in February, has amassed millions of YouTube views of her renditions of the lastest hits and has mainstream magazines and other stars such as Rolling Stone, Vibe Vixen, Ryan Seacreast and Chris Brown raving about the Cleveland Native. She has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. Black Fitness Today had the privilege of chatting with Jade Novah about how she balances her career with living a healthy lifestyle.
First, we want to say congratulations on winning the Hitlab Emerging Talent Competition! You were selected to perform at GRAMMY Week – that was great! What was that experience like? What was it like walking on the red carpet and performing?
JN: It was really an amazing opportunity to get a chance to network and be around other like-minded people. It was really motivating and a lot of great relationships were just birthed from being there that week. The best way to sum it up was ‘surreal,’ but I definitely took advantage of that opportunity and met a lot of amazing people and I’m just really grateful for that experience.
BFT: So how would you describe your musical style? We saw that your mission is to fuse the worlds of Broadway and R&B. What does that new world sound like?
JN: I grew up listening to everything; my father was in a rock band and he exposed my sisters and I to a wide range of music. My mother was really into Broadway and show tunes so it’s a mixture of all those influences. I love Disney, Broadway, Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland, Julie Andrews, Queen, Michael Jackson, and then of course growing up in the 90’s, you know the R&B music of that time, and just using all those together.
BFT: You’ve been doing your thing for a while. When did you start singing and acting and what motivated you to pursue this as a career?
JN: I’ve been doing music and acting for as long as I can remember. I’m the baby of the family so I was always kind of forced to be the free entertainment for my sisters [laughs], but you know, I always loved music and I’ve been pursuing this since I was a little girl. Nothing really fulfills me the way music does or being on the stage does and just entertaining, so basically my passion for what I do is my motivation.
BFT: Keyonce?! [Laughs] What was the motivation behind your spoof of Beyoncé? That was hilarious! It’s cool to see that you have a sense of humor.
JN: [Laughs] Thank you! I love doing impersonations, that’s actually going to be incorporated on my upcoming album as well. I’ve always been doing impersonations, but Keyonce kind of came about when I was doing my album ‘In Search of Me’ because it includes of skits and narratives and such, so she was a character that was created and I decided to bring her to life, and like you said, give people the opportunity to see that side of myself and the fun aspect. So yeah she just kind of happened. But I’m definitely a huge Beyoncé fan, I mean you kind of have to be to imitate her. [Laughs]
BFT: So in your cover of Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ We see you getting your run on! What type of workouts do you currently do, and then to ad to that, how do you adjust when you’re ripping and running and traveling?
JN: [Laughs] Wow, that’s really funny… the running in Diamonds. I love doing cardio actually…I’m kind of a little obsessive about it [Laughs] but right now I live in Atlanta and the pollen down here is so horrible and my allergies are so horrible in the spring time, so when I want to get a good run in I have to get on the treadmill. But I absolutely love it because it gives me clarity and peace. But lately, I’ve been doing a lot more weight training and trying to focus on my lower body, but I love classes like Zumba, Yoga and body sculpting.
When I was touring it was actually easy to workout because all of the hotels have gyms, but the hardest part about being on the road is mainly the food [laughs] because there’s not a lot of great choices and then being around a lot of people who are not necessarily making the same choices that you are [making] makes it a little easier to give into the temptation of eating bad.
I think it’s actually difficult as well with working weird hours, because when you’re in the studio it’s not like a regular 9 to 5. I can’t go home and cook my dinner. So when you’re in the studio at night and you get hungry it takes a lot of self-control. However, as of lately, when I know I have a long day of sessions or a show I try to plan my meals ahead of time and cook for the week so that I can try to stay on track with my healthy lifestyle.
BFT: As far as being physically active, were you involved in any sports or any other activities while you were growing up, and if so, what did you do?
JN: It’s crazy because I’m way more active now than when I was younger. But I ran track in high school and was involved in a lot of dance groups, drill teams and singing groups, so yeah I was pretty active but I’m way more active now.
BFT: What do you like to indulge in when you have those moments when you can eat whatever you want?
JN: My favorite indulgences are sushi, which isn’t that-that-bad [Laughs] but yeah, sushi, chicken wings, chocolate; those are the things that kind of make me a little weak, but I do think it’s important to indulge just from time to time, it keeps you happy.
BFT: So, another part of overall health and being able to achieve your fitness goals is the ability to manage stress. How do you relieve the stress that you may experience in your career and find the time to get centered again?
JN: I meditate, I pray and I write in a journal. Honestly, I try to meditate everyday because it really helps me relieve my stress and I’m all about positive energy and love, so I start my day by just thanking God for his blessings and writing down my goals and visualizing them. It really helps get my day started off with positive energy and happiness. So yeah, I definitely try to do that everyday.
BFT: What advice would you give to the Black Fitness Today audience on how to make healthy choices or how to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
JN: You said healthy lifestyle; I think that’s the key word because it has to be a lifestyle. So many people try to diet or take these extreme measures that can’t be realistically maintained so they end up backtracking and losing motivation. So I know for me, I gradually made choices that I could live with for the rest of my life, and that’s what makes it a healthy lifestyle, something that you can do for the rest of your life. For example, a year-and-a-half-ago I cut out beef so I don’t eat beef, I don’t eat pork and I just made the switch from dairy milk to almond milk, so it was just a gradual thing. I’m the healthiest I have ever been in my life just by making those subtle changes and it’s really all about doing things that you can do forever and not trying to take such extreme measures and saying things like okay, I’m never going to eat bread again in my life, and then next week you’re over- indulging…it’s important to visualize your goals and stay happy and healthy.
BFT: We know you have an Indiegogo campaign going on, which ends next week. So how can our audience learn more about this project?
JN: The Indiegogo project is a way for listeners to help bring my album and film, ‘In Search of Me,’ to life. I really want to stay independent with my first project because I want to build my artistry with my creative vision and maintain my musical integrity, because sometimes when artists sign to quickly, labels already have this pre-packaged idea of what they want you to be and I just want to make sure something like this is different.
The whole Broadway-element to my music is something that hasn’t really been done lately, so in order to maintain that creative vision that Devin [Johnson] and I have created, we’re just doing it independently so we did the Indiegogo campaign because there’s only so much you can do with just talent and our limited resources alone.
Watch the album teaser below:
Follow Jade Novah via social media or by visiting JadeNovah.com!
Youtube: JadeNovah | Facebook: JadeNovah | Twitter: @JadeNovah | Instagram: @JadeNovah
Future NFL Hall-of-Famer Edgerrin James Talks Running 500 Miles in 365 Days
No matter what he does, Edgerrin James knows how to lead. During his time in the NFL, James averaged 4.2 yards per carry and is one of the all-time leaders in career rushing yards. Although retired, these days, the future Hall-of-Famer also rushes toward opportunities to give back. A beloved member of the University of Miami community, James contributed the largest-ever donation of any former athlete that has ever attended. He is also the founder of the Edgerrin James Foundation and the Edgerrin James Youth Football Skills Camp.
Black Fitness Today caught up with James to learn about his recent decision to embark on a 500-mile journey this past year, and what set him apart in his training as a professional athlete.
Why did you decide to embark on your 500-mile journey across the country? What has the journey taught you?
I always like to challenge myself. Running is something I’ve always hated doing, so that made it pretty interesting! This experience has really pushed me because there’s no reward at the end of the [500-mile journey] except the fact that I did it and I was consistent. There were many times I didn’t feel like running, but once I agreed to do it, I knew I had to accomplish it.
Tell us more about your partnership with Adidas.
The Adidas partnership was good for many reasons. They provided some nice uniforms for my youth football team from top to bottom. That’s more important than anything — to lace a team of inner-city kids with custom uniforms meant a lot to me and the kids. Another reason is the relationship with the University of Miami; that’s my school and I rep the gear faithfully. So it’s only right I locked in with Adidas. I’m glad the deal worked out and look forward to building on that relationship.
You mentioned that you’ve always hated running. Did that have any impact on you while playing football in terms of how you approached your training?
Basketball was my go to sport. It is fun and exciting and also gets you in shape. I used playing ball as my running to get in shape.
What was your favorite off-season training routine?
I’ve always liked the late-night sessions in the off-season. I would train before going to the club or after leaving the club — sounds unusual but it was the best for me. I didn’t drink and was well-rested before I would go out. My training was always very quiet with no distractions. During the day I would go to the University of Miami and get it in with the younger guys in the hot sun.
In addition to your 500-mile journey, how else do you stay in shape these days?
I always work out three to four times a week. Nothing hard, but I consistently get some type of work in.
What role does nutrition play in your everyday life? What are some of your favorite healthy foods and foods you can’t live without?
I don’t worry too much about what I eat. I just make sure I maintain a certain weight and follow up any heavy eating with a nice workout to make sure I’m back on track.
Many people know you for your accomplishments on the football field, but many don’t know that you are also passionate about giving back. What are some of your initiatives? Why is philanthropy so important to you?
My purpose is to empower my people and all people that share stories similar to mine. Too many times, you see other cultures having success and wonder why not us. It’s up to us to look out for us and when you see examples, it makes it really real to the younger generation. It also gives them realistic goals to chase without making the excuses. I’m just trying to be an example that’s tried and true without any excuses. Just hard work and determination…
What advice do you have to young men who are looking to follow in your footsteps?
Learn as much as you can and just become a good example for the next generation, understand how this world works, and play the game of life to win!
What is the legacy you want to leave behind?
The legacy I want to leave behind is that I did things the right way and never tried to be anyone else except myself, that I showed people you don’t have to conform or be something you’re not to be successful, and just put in the right work and let everything else work itself out.
Carmelita Jeter Talks Personal Connection To Breast Cancer and Her Fight For a Cure
There’s still no faster woman alive than Carmelita Jeter. We will always remember her amazing achievements on the track as a world record holder with three Olympic medals. You may even remember her signature pink cleats she wore during some of her races. But the story behind them reveals an inspiring journey. In 2012, while training for the Olympic games, Jeter’s aunt — Brenda Washington — lost her battle with breast cancer. However, Jeter found new strength and turned tragedy into triumph. From partnering with NIKE to nonprofits, Jeter has become an outspoken advocate for breast cancer awareness and is dedicated to using her platform to fight for a cure!
In 2012 as you prepped for the London Olympics, your aunt, Brenda Washington, passed from breast cancer. And much like you did, people have to find the strength to pick themselves up, go to work and continue living after tragedy. How were you able to find that strength?
I was able to find the strength to keep going from my family, my coaches and my agent. At the time, I questioned my faith a lot. I just couldn’t understand why God would take her away from me. But I concluded that if my cousin Lachondra (her daughter) was able to be strong, I could not be weaker than her, for her sake.
What’s the best advice you can offer for supporting family members who are battling breast cancer?
The best advice I can give is to stay very close and experience moments with each other, even if it is just a small gathering at a relative’s house where everyone brings a dish. Also, never be afraid to speak about the person that is sick or has passed away. You have to keep their spirit alive.
You’ve partnered with various non-profit organizations to raise breast cancer awareness. Tell us a little bit about some of your partnerships including “The Pink Jet” with PINTRILL.
I partnered with Pintrill who made a Hot Pink Jet and a bracelet made from MyIntent with the words, “Mind over body,” inscribed. I’ve been the ambassador for Susan G. Komen’s Circle of PromiseInitiative that was based on African-American women getting tested more frequently.
In what ways did your aunt’s battle with breast cancer impact you on and off the track?
My aunt Brenda Washington’s battle made a huge impact on the track for me. Nike, my sponsor, made me my very own hot pink signature spikes in her honor. Every time I lined up to compete, I ran for her.
What advice would you give to African-Americans in the fight against breast cancer?
The advice I would give African-Americans would be to not give up, and remember to stay a unit.
What are some tips that you can offer in helping with early detection and decreasing the rate of diagnoses?
My major tip would be to stop thinking African-Americans don’t get breast cancer. Also, stop thinking that you have to be over 45 to get diagnosed with the disease. We need to be more educated on the topic and we need to stop being afraid to go to the doctor. Go to the doctor and get checked up regularly!
Keep up with Jeter’s work in the community and dedication to fighting for a cure!
WNBA Legend Lisa Leslie Talks Hall of Fame Inductions and Healthy Partnership with Boston Market
Lisa Leslie became not only the most recognized player in the WNBA, but changed the face of women’s sports. As a two-time champion, three-time WNBA MVP, four-time Olympic Gold Medalist and eight-time all-star it should come as no surprise that Lisa is being inducted into both the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on June 13th and September 11, 2015 respectfully. As a wife, mother, Olympic athlete, model, author, speaker, and businesswoman, Leslie is a true leader and pioneer. But part of her success and ability to be Superwoman is through smart choices and taking care of her health. Recently, she teamed up with Boston Market in celebration of National Rotisserie Chicken Day, June 2nd – to celebrate the healthier cooking method. Read our interview with Lisa as she discusses her upcoming hall of fame inductions, teaming up with Boston Market, and a list of her favorite healthy rotisserie chicken recipes.
BFT: Things have changed since 1985 when Boston Market first opened its doors, the obesity epidemic being one. As a spokesperson for Boston Market why did you feel it was necessary to join in promoting healthier eating?
LL: Absolutely. I feel like we are in a time where we can no longer accept the bad food that is bombarding our community. Boston Market is definitely taking a stand with the new brand promise, All Good. The fact that you can find fresh, never frozen chicken with no added steroids or hormones makes Boston Market a frequent stop for me. As a working mom, I understand the importance of healthy food and trying to make healthy choices for my family. The Boston Market Rotisserie Chicken is not only yummy by itself but can also be used to make a variety of other meals, salads, tacos and enchiladas.
BFT: We were surprised to learn that Boston Market offers more than 150 meals 550 calories and under! When you’re on the go what is your favorite menu option at Boston Market?
LL: My favorite is breast of chicken with a wing, the green beans, sautéed spinach, which is only available at select stores, and yams. I try to load up on vegetables.
BFT: What are some of your favorite Rotisserie Chicken dishes and recipes?
LL: I love to use Boston Market rotisserie chicken in many different kinds of recipes. First, it is great by itself with some healthy sides. Then I can use the leftovers for additional meals, like Chicken Wraps and a great Waldorf Salad.
BFT: As a pioneer of the WNBA, how does it feel to know that you are being formally inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in less than two weeks, June 13, 2015 in Knoxville, TN?
I am really humbled and excited to be a part of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. It took a lot of hard work but I did not get here alone. I had so much support from teammates, coaches and family. It seems unfair that only I get an award.
BFT: This September you will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, “the highest honor in Basketball.” Many players dream to one day be in your position. What type of work, training, dedication, support etc., did it take to get you to this point?
It takes an abnormal amount of focus and dedication to your craft; it takes about 10,000 hours of repetition to become good at anything. I had a great support system as well, from my mother to my family to the coaches and teammates I played with throughout the years.
BFT: When you think back on your career and your many accomplishments, what are you most proud of?
LL: It is hard to choose one thing: I am proud of being a mom. I am proud of being a wife and businesswoman. I am proud of my basketball career and philanthropic work.
BFT: What do you want people to take away from what you were able to accomplish during your career?
LL: I would love to be known as a person who really gave her all in everything she did, as a wife, mom, athlete, captain, teammate, businesswoman. Along the way, I have met some wonderful people. I have helped people and received so much in return. I am just thankful for the journey.
Here are the recipes:
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
1 whole Boston Market Rotisserie Chicken, picked and diced in small pieces
2 tablespoons canola oil
8 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup carrots, diced in small pieces
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup roasted peanuts chopped in half
1 head Greenleaf or Iceberg lettuce, separated into whole leaves
1 – 8 oz. pouch or 1 cup of your favorite Hoisin Sauce
Heat oil over high heat in large frying pan or wok
Add chicken, all vegetables and half of the peanuts, stir fry for two minutes
Add 3/4 pouch of Asian sauce, bring to a simmer, add green onions and remaining peanuts
Scoop the mixture into a lettuce leaf cup
Drizzle the remaining sauce on top
Waldorf Chicken Salad
1 Boston Market Rotisserie chicken, picked and diced
½ cup apples diced
½ cup celery diced
¼ cup grapes cut in thirds
¼ cup walnuts chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, chill and serve on bread, croissant or on a bed of lettuce. Serves five to six.
This recipe calls for one whole Boston Market Rotisserie chicken but if you want all white meat buy two whole chickens and use dark meat in another recipe.
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