Teyana Taylor- VIBE Magazine Interview

März 10, 2008

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“Who’s that big-haired girl?” a young man asks, pointing toward Teyana Taylor, who’s being swarmed by teenagers snapping photos as she departs a celebrity basketball tournament in Brooklyn, N.Y. “I know I’ve seen her face before.” Teyana’s debut, From A Planet Called Harlem (Star Trak), a savvy mix of breathy singing and coquettish rapping, won’t be out until later this year. But the 16-year-old has already got fans stopping her in the streets. “She’s Pharrell’s new artist,” a bystander affirms. “You know that girl who jumped out of the Barbie box on MTV’s My Super Sweet 16?”

“Harlem is a fashion show,” says Teyana, who’s been catching people’s eye since she was a little girl in Harlem. Her mother, Nikki, got Teyana her first fur coat — a blue fox — when she was just 4. Her first mink came a few years later. “Uptown got that swag,” Teyana says casually over postgame Sunday brunch at Junior’s.

Fashion has always been crucial for Teyana. Though her mother decked her out in Coogi sweaters and Gucci shoes, she now prefers an ’80s-inspired tomboy look — dookie ropes, hoodies, and sneakers galore. The day she auditioned for Pharrell at New York’s Four Seasons Hotel, they clicked instantly because both were sporting the same pair of red-and-pink Ice Cream sneakers.

Though she’s always well put together, four years ago, Teyana was falling apart on the inside. Homemade card in hand on Father’s Day 2003, she learned her stepfather had been murdered. “I know he’s looking down, he’s proud of me,” Teyana says. “But he wasn’t there to see me run track, to see me play football with the boys, volleyball, basketball.“

To cope with the loss, she played sports, learning discipline and hard work. Now her athleticism is everywhere: She was one of the originators of the Chicken Noodle Soup dance. She choreographed Beyoncé’s “Ring the Alarm” video. And now she can be seen dancing in Jay-Z’s “Blue Magic” clip.

When she met Jay on the set, he sat back in his chair and put Teyana to the test. “You ain’t no superstar!” he taunted. Teyana shot back with a look that made the swagger master think twice. “Damn,” Hov said, “Maybe you are a superstar.”

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