Flex and Shanice season finale is a must see. Enjoy our Exclusive interview with them as well as a sneak peek from the Season Finale episode that airs on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) tonight Saturday Dec 20th 10pm EST.
Sylvia: Well, hello, Flex and Shanice. It’s such a pleasure to have you as our special guests for segment of Prestige Magazine.
Shanice: Hello, nice to be talking to you.
Sylvia: Yes, we’re very excited for you guys. So, what we want to do is get a little background information on who Flex and Shanice are, just a little refresher for our readers.
Flex: All right, well I am Flex Alexander, actor, stand-up comedian, used to be dancer way, way, way back in the day, and father, husband.
Shanice: And producer.
Flex: Yeah, produce, yes.
Shanice: And I am Shanice, singer, Grammy-nominated, Broadway, I was the first African American to be 53. Ebony in Les Misérables on Broadway, actress, mother, proud wife, and, yeah, businesswoman.
Sylvia: Okay, so we know that Saturday marks the season finale for the Flex & Shanice show on Oprah Winfrey’s network, so if we can digress just a little bit more to the beginning of the show and if you could tell us about the events that sparked this whole journey to the Flex & Shanice show.
Shanice: It starts off, I don’t know, it’s starts off talking about what happened to my career. I don’t know if you saw our sneak preview thing that we did before the first episode with Babyface and the pilot, I sit down and talk to him about what happened because I used to be signed to his label, and another guy who worked at the company blamed my mom for my career ending the way it did. And Babyface went on doing the show, I said, “No, that’s not what it was.” So, throughout the season you see me telling my mom what was said and how I have to find new management and it’s time for me to move on and try new things.
Flex: The overall overview is what we went through as a couple and family, making money and then things kind of hitting bottom and really just kind of starting all over, and just the support and the love we got from family and friends and we just continue to push on because at the time when things were going well everybody’s there, and as soon as things kind of tail off people disappear. And it was just a really tough journey back and we’re thankful to have pulled through everything, but the overview of what we’ve gone through is literally what 90 percent of America is going through with this financial climate. We’re just showing it, we’re human just like everybody else.
Sylvia: Okay, so how was it having to deal with those upsets and downfalls with your family and what methods were put into place to make sure that the family bond would not become unglued?
Flex: We just prayed and we just said, “Hey, we know this isn’t going to be forever.” And when you love each other you just got to push through, you fight through it and, really, that’s what it was. It was just a big love movement, really, you know?
Shanice: Yeah, we just had all come together and helped each other through our hardest times and we were just all there for each other and that’s how we made it through, and like you said, lots of prayer.
Sylvia: So you’ve allowed us, the fans, and the public into your private spaces and you’ve made us feel as if we were a part of the struggle, like you said, most of America are experiencing these types of struggles. And you also allowed us to see the joyous moments. Was it easy making the decision to let others into your private space and to see what was transpiring in your lives?
Flex: It’s never easy, but I think we agreed to just do it.
Shanice: And then it made it all worth it hearing the comments like people Tweeting us saying, “Wow, this helped me through my hardest times.” And the fact that we were able to by giving our testimony we were able to help others, so it made it all worth it, but in the beginning I was a little nervous because I didn’t know, it’s just scary for the first time telling the world your secrets. So, in the beginning I was a little nervous about it, but after the first episode and just hearing the comments and hearing how people said it helped them. I said, “Okay, I see why this was meant to happen, but not just for our own good but to help others.”
Sylvia: Yes. So, we’ve seen that there have been some great support groups, family and friends like you said, but was there ever a time when either of you felt as if there was not enough support there or if there was not enough from those who you’ve given to or supported during their struggles? In other words, were there many fair-weather friends that came about?
Flex: Yeah, there were many fair-weather friends. There were too many fair-weather friends. Our family has been there, been solid, but there were many fair-weather friends and it hurt, but the other thing is it taught us who was really true and who wasn’t.
Sylvia: And now that those struggles are becoming less and less do you see some of those same people that were not so supportive, basically your fair-weather friends, trying to make their way back into your lives now?
Flex: Oh, yeah. We see some of that.
Shanice: Yeah, we see some of that, but it was to be expected. I mean, we’ve been in the business long enough to know when things are good everyone is around, and when things kind of slow down everyone backs way. This isn’t the first time that I witnessed this. After 101 ended, Flex’s show, we had a bunch of people around us and then when that show ended we noticed right away people backed away, and even with my career. When my career slowed down I noticed people backed away from me and then when I met Flex and he had a TV show, then I had those same people trying to come back around. I’m so used to it, but it’s to be expected. But we know who are real friends and aren’t and we know what to look out for.
Sylvia: Okay. So, Shanice, on the season finale with the previews we’re seeing that you’re flashing that beautiful smile, that’s the way we, the public, know you, that we’ve experienced over the years and it seems even more radiant now. Would you attribute that smile to being in your element? I mean, you’re singing, you’re recording, and being able to record with your friend Elvin Ross, and basically kind of being the stability of the family really coming back together again.
Shanice: Oh, absolutely. Well, you know what, even during our hardest times, even when I wasn’t doing a whole lot I always tried to keep a smile on my face. I tried to smile through the pain, and Flex is a comedian so we laugh and make jokes and try to make things as fun as possible. Yeah, but it does help because I sing and what I believe is God put me on Earth to do is to sing, and I started singing melodies when I was a baby. So, I’ve been able to do what I love to do all over again and that puts even a bigger smile on my face, and working with some of the amazing producers like you mentioned Elvin, it’s a dream come true. It’s like starting all over again, it’s like a new beginning for me. So, yeah, that definitely puts an even bigger smile on my face.
Sylvia: Flex, you’ve also been able to re-enter the world of comedy now embarking upon your tour. What kinds of emotions are you feeling and are you able, by being able to hit the stage again, and most important of all for your beautiful family after such a big struggle?
Flex: It’s exciting to get back on the stage and just share my life and take people on the journey with me that have followed my career for years. So, it’s exciting for me, it’s an exciting time, and it’s given me so much material and stuff to talk about. I’m just excited to take people on this journey and to get back to doing what I really love.
Sylvia: Like you mentioned before we know that team work and the love that you guys have for each other, we can see it and it is very evident throughout your family. I know that that bond has been tried and tested, you going through the thick and the thin, but I know that’s been able to keep you focused as far as moving forward, so now as the season finale approaches, and we’ll get a chance to see it on December 20th, 10:00 o’clock for most of us I think, so as that approaches is there anything that you want to let the fans and the readers of Prestige Magazine know about what’s going to be transpiring without giving everything away?
Flex: It’s going to be a love fest, get your tissues out, that’s all I’m going to say.
Shanice: Yeah, you’re going to laugh, but you’re definitely, like you said, it’s going to take you on a little emotional rollercoaster ride, so get your tissue ready, that’s all I have to say also. I don’t want to give it away! But as you see on the preview my mom talks about possibly moving out of the house, so that gives you a little hint there, but it’s going to be something else, definitely get your tissue ready.
Sylvia: Also, we know that, Shanice, you’ve been working on your music that’s possibly going to be used for The Haves and The Have Nots, and we’ve also mentioned that Flex is getting ready to do his tour, but are there any other new projects you’re working on or future projects that you would like to share with us?
Shanice: Well, I have a new onesie line coming soon, that’s in the works because I know on the show I told everybody I’m addicted to my onesie that I sleep in. So, I started this whole new onesie movement, so I’m working on a line, and just more music. Next year, definitely a whole album. I put out two singles, “Gotta Blame Me” and “We Can Fly” is on iTunes right now, but it’s definitely more music and some touring. I’m going to be doing some live dates.
Sylvia: Very good. And for you, Flex?
Flex: Just looking forward to getting on the road and I have a sitcom that I’m developing, and those two are really the main things that I’m focused on, my stand-up and getting my sitcom done and sold. So, you’ll be seeing that journey as well.
Sylvia: Okay, very good. And just a little recapping, we’re so proud of you guys and we really enjoy seeing your story unfold so far up until now for the season finale, and you’ve also shown us that you are no different from the rest of us. Everybody will experience some type of struggles in their lives and it takes the prayer and the commitment to be able to move through those things. So, one of the very things that Prestige Magazine readers and your fans would like to know is how can we continue to share in your lives like through social media? Would you like to give us a website, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter so that we can really keep up with you?
Flex: You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter. It’s FlexAforeal for Twitter and Instagram.
Shanice: And you can follow me on Twitter, Shaniceonline. Instagram, Shaniceonline, and then Facebook is Shanice Wilson.
Sylvia: Okay. And finally, is there anything else that you would like to say or reiterate for the fans of Prestige Magazine and the readers?
Shanice: I just want to thank everybody for supporting us and for supporting the show and we’re just so excited to share our story with everyone. And keep pushing through! Don’t let nothing stop you, nothing. Did you have something you wanted to say, Flex?
Flex: Just as well to keep pushing through, keep pushing through, and in time just smile through the pain, but you’ll get through it.
Shanice: And just know the storm doesn’t last forever, you’ll always get through a storm. You never stay in a storm forever.
Sylvia: All right, so thank you once again so much for affording us this beautiful opportunity at Prestige Magazine. And we just pray for you guys, we pray for all of your endeavours, and we just wish you many, many, many blessings abundant as you continue to press on through your careers.
Shanice: Thank you!
Sylvia: And just, Shanice, just continue to sing for us. Flex, continue to make us laugh, and we will be continuing to support you and follow you throughout your careers.
Shanice: Thank you!
Flex: Thank you.
Covid-19 cases rise aboard first cruise to resume sailing in the Caribbean
So far a total of seven passengers have tested positive for Covid-19 aboard the SeaDream 1 cruise ship docked in Barbados, according to two passengers on the ship.
Passengers who have tested negative for the virus will be able to leave the ship and travel home, Gene Sloan and Ben Hewitt told CNN on Friday. They are both among a handful of cruise journalists and bloggers on board.
The SeaDream Yacht Club cruise was the first to return to the Caribbean since the coronavirus pandemic shut operations down in March and was meant to demonstrate that increased safety protocols, including regular testing aboard the ship, could allow cruise voyages to take place during the pandemic.
Instead one passenger fell ill on Wednesday, forcing the SeaDream 1 to return to Barbados, where all 53 passengers and 66 crew were tested.
Hewitt said the crew had informed passengers that everyone who had tested negative twice would be allowed to disembark the ship and fly home on Saturday.
SeaDream Yacht Club said in a news release Thursday afternoon that “guests” had received “assumptive positive” results to preliminary rapid Covid tests, but did not specify the number who had done so.
SeaDream was asked to confirm the exact number of positive results.
SeaDream responded “We are working closely with local health and government authorities to resolve this situation in the best possible way,” said SeaDream‘s Andreas Brynestad, in the SeaDream release.
Intercom announcement of positive test result
Sloan, who is a senior reporter for cruise and travel at The Points Guy, reported that the Covid scare started when the captain informed passengers of the preliminary positive test over the ship’s intercom system shortly before lunchtime on Wednesday.
Passengers were instructed to return to their cabins and remain isolated there, he said.
The ship, which was in the Grenadines at the time of the first preliminary positive test, docked in Barbados Wednesday evening.
“It’s not a great development for the cruise industry,” Sloan told CNN via email on Wednesday from his cabin on board. “I think the hope had been that the rigorous testing that SeaDream was doing would keep Covid off its ship.”
Multilayer testing for Covid-19 has been an integral part of SeaDream‘s efforts to create a Covid-19 negative bubble aboard its ships.
Passengers were tested in advance of traveling to the ship and also before boarding the ship, Sloan said.
“And SeaDream also was testing passengers four days into the trip,” he said. “We were scheduled to be tested again today. That’s a more rigorous testing plan than most lines had been discussing for the restarts.”
The protocol is due in part to the strict testing required by Barbados, where the ship will be based for the season, Sloan noted.
“I think what this shows is it’s going to happen. And until there’s a vaccine or herd immunity, when cruising starts up you’re going to see things like this happen. The question is how often and how big?”
Voyages from Barbados
SeaDream‘s winter voyages from Barbados started on November 7 with the sailing that has now been cut short.
These new Caribbean sailings follow a successful summer season for SeaDream in Norway, which the company said “resulted in zero positive cases during the entire Norwegian summer season.”
“After completing a successful summer season in Norway, we implemented even stricter health and safety protocols for our Barbados winter season. All guests were tested twice prior to embarkation and we are in the process of retesting guests,” said SeaDream‘s Andreas Brynestad in the statement released on Thursday.
Ben Hewitt, host of Cruise with Ben & David on YouTube, expressed his disappointment and frustration with the virus in an interview Thursday from his stateroom.
“It’s just so disappointing that this has happened because everybody has their hopes up high, and we can’t see anything more that they could’ve done,” said Hewitt.
“It’s just such a horrible virus, it just gets everywhere even with the constant testing.”
The use of masks on the voyage has been far less stringent.
Sloan told CNN that initially no one was wearing face masks, not even the crew. Crew members told him they weren’t necessary since the ship was a Covid-free “bubble.”
Then a few days into sailing, SeaDream instituted a mask policy but didn’t offer an explanation, he said.
Fewer than 250 guests
SeaDream‘s ships, which the company refers to as “superyachts,” have 56 staterooms, with a capacity for 112 guests and 95 crew.
Carrying fewer than 250 guests outside of US waters allows SeaDream to operate outside of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s orders around cruising.
The CDC recently issued a “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order for Cruise Ships.”
The order, which applies to cruise ships in US territorial waters that have capacity to carry at least 250 passengers, is considered a tentative step toward the resumption of cruising.
Trade group Cruise Lines International Association said it will work with the CDC to resume US sailings as soon as possible, but that its members would continue a voluntary suspension of operations through the end of 2020.
On Friday, a letter signed by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) called on the CDC to reinstate its no-sail order for cruise ships and reverse efforts to restart the industry’s US operations.
The letter cites the outbreak aboard SeaDream 1.
Despite precautions, “the virus was still able to infect multiple people on the ship, with the possibility of more confirmed cases emerging as passengers and crew are retested,” the letter reads.
“Unfortunately, this troubling development is not surprising and reaffirms the need to exercise extreme caution before sending passengers and crew back out to sea on cruises.”
Obama Rips Trump For Refusing To Congratulate President-Elect Biden
Former President Barack Obama is reminding the nation he congratulated President Donald Trump as soon as he won the election … a courtesy the President’s refusing to extend to President-Elect Joe Biden.
The former president ripped Trump for failing to acknowledge Biden as president-elect with so much as a congratulatory phone call in an interview with “CBS This Morning,” telling Gayle King Trump is damaging our democracy with the way he’s eschewing what’s traditionally been a peaceful — and cordial — transfer of power.
Obama recalled election night 2016, saying he stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to phone Trump and congratulate the president-elect. Obama says he was doing what presidents do, just as George W. Bush graciously did during Obama’s historic 2008 victory.
Trump’s refusal to concede and call up president-elect Biden is clearly not sitting well with Obama.
As you know … Obama previously chided Trump and the GOP for continuing to make baseless claims of election fraud in an interview with “60 Minutes,” telling Scott Pelley it undermines the country.
Obama points out Biden and 2016 Trump will end up with the same number of Electoral College votes, 306, but says half the country likely won’t take that into account if they keep consuming conservative media … which Obama says presents voter fraud allegations as fact.
Bottom line. Obama explains why Republicans can’t stop Biden and Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris from being sworn in.
Joe Biden wins the 2020 US Presidential election
Following a tense week of vote tallying, Joe Biden won the state of Pennsylvania and vaulted ahead in the race to become the next president of the United States. Biden’s win in the critical state put him over the threshold of 270 electoral votes, cutting off all avenues for his opponent.
Biden prevailed by flipping key states that went to Trump in 2016, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Trump again won in Florida and Ohio, but in the end was unable to chart a path to an electoral victory. Biden also leads by millions in the popular vote, with a record number of votes cast this year, many through the mail.
As his vice president, Kamala Harris will make history in myriad ways, becoming the first woman — and the first woman of color — to occupy the office. Harris, a California senator and the state’s former attorney general, built a career in the tech industry’s front yard.
Shattered barriers aside, this year’s election will likely go down in infamy for many in the U.S. The race was the strangest in recent years, characterized by rising storms of misinformation, fears over the fate of scaled-up vote-by-mail systems and a deadly virus that’s claimed well over 230,000 American lives. Biden’s campaign was forced to adapt to drive-up rallies and digital campaigning instead of relying on door-knocking and face-to-face interaction to mobilize the vote.
The circumstances of the election also created the perfect ecosystem for misinformation — a situation made worse by President Trump’s false claim of victory early Wednesday morning and ongoing claims of Democratic voter fraud. Trump appears to be in no mood to concede the election, but in the end the vote is what it is and Joe Biden will take office on January 20, 2021.
While a sitting president rejecting that unwritten democratic norm would be alarming, Trump’s decision will have little bearing on the ultimate political outcome. Whatever the coming days hold, the U.S. is entering into a new and unprecedented phase of uncertainty in which misinformation abounds and political tensions and fears of politically-motivated violence are running high.
The former vice president’s win brings a four year run of Trumpism to an abrupt end, though its effects will still reverberate throughout American politics, likely for decades. It also ushers in a new era in which Joe Biden plans to draw on the influence of an unlikely coalition of Democrats from across the political spectrum. The Senate still hangs in the balance with two tight races in Georgia headed to January runoffs.
Biden has laid out plans for sweeping climate action, and a healthcare extension that would cover more Americans and provide an opt-in Medicare-like public option. But his ability to enact most of those grand plans would hinge on a Democratic Senate. While either party was likely to continue pursuing more aggressive regulation for the technology industry, we’ll be watching closely for signals of what’s to come for tech policy.
But even without the Senate, the president-elect may be capable of making a swift and critical impact where it’s most needed: the coronavirus pandemic. In the continued absence of a national plan to fight the virus and a White House that downplays its deadliness and discourages mask-wearing, COVID-19 is raging out of control in states across the country, signaling a very deadly winter just around the corner.
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