UB Interview: Singer Shanice & Comedian Flex Alexander Talk New Season of Docu-Series – July 11th

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Shanice Lorraine Wilson Alexander was born May 14, 1973, better known as Shanice, is a Grammy-nominated R&B/Pop singer-songwriter. She scored the Top 10 Billboard hit singles “I Love Your Smile” and “Silent Prayer” in 1991 and “Saving Forever for You” in 1993. Hit single “I Love Your Smile” reached #1 in 22 countries. In 1999, Shanice scored another hit song, “When I Close My Eyes,” which peaked at number #11 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

Mark “Flex” Alexander Knox was born April 15, 1970, in New York City. Alexander, the son of Alethia Knox and Robert Whitehead, had a troubled adolescence, and has recalled getting into fights, selling drugs and carrying a gun before connecting to his calling to perform.

Alexander began dancing in New York clubs during his teen years. His energetic dancing style earned him the nickname “Flex” and attracted the attention of DJ Spinderella. When Spinderella began touring with the trio Salt-n-Pepa, Alexander joined the tour for a period of three years. Alexander also began choreographing dance routines for performers, including Mary J. Blige and Queen Latifah.

It’s always been about the voice for Shanice. Boasting a five-octave range, which she handles with beauty and ease, Shanice began her career scatting with the late great legendary Ella Fitzgerald for Kentucky Fried Chicken at the tender age of 8 years old. She went on to become the grand champion of “Star Search” at the ripe age of eleven. Her first album was released when Shanice was fourteen, but it was her worldwide smash, I Love Your Smile, a number one pop hit in twenty two countries, that brought her a Grammy nomination, Germany’s Golden Lion Award and international stardom!

With her phenomenal voice and delightful personality, Shanice has won the admiration of many of the music industry’s most respected names. She has collaborated with the likes of Kenny Loggins on his Live in the Redwoods Album, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds on his MTV unplugged project as well as performing the duet, “If I Never Knew You” in English and Spanish with Latin pop star John Secada, on the multi-platinum Pochahontas soundtrack.

Adding to her list of accomplishments is her thirty-year record breaking chart jump in Billboard with her first single on her album entitled “Shanice” which she recorded on LaFace records! But not only has Shanice made history on the recording end, she also became the first African American to star in the Broadway production of “Les Miserables” where she was widely received in her incomparable portrayal of Eponine!

“Every Woman Dreams,” on her own label Imajah Records (named for her two children), has sold over 200,000 copies to date. Thanks to technological advances, Shanice has remained widely visible, receiving close to six million hits from her youtube followers, prompting an article in Huffington post wherein she was called a marketing genius! Now ready for her major return to the stage, more talented, stronger and sexier than ever, Shanice has collaborated with writers and producers extraordinaire and has recorded a collection of irresistible hits which tell the stories of pain, love, loss and triumph!

In the late 1980s, Flex Alexander branched out into acting as well as dancing and choreographing. He began performing stand-up comedy and sought out film roles, appearing in the 1992 film “Juice.”

Alexander also began appearing on television programs in the 1990s. He was a regular cast member on the sketch comedy show “Uptown Comedy Club” and “Girlfriends,” and appeared on the short-lived sitcoms “Where I Live,” “Homeboys in Outer Space” and “Total Security.” He also guest starred on the popular shows “Sister, Sister” and “The Cosby Mysteries.”

Alexander left his recurring role on “Girlfriends” to star in the UPN sitcom “One on One,” on which he played single father Flexter “Flex” Washington. The show, which Alexander also created and produced, garnered nominations for both NAACP Image Awards and several BET Comedy Awards in its first year. “One on One” remained on the air for several seasons as one of the most popular African American shows in history.

After leaving “One on One,” Alexander returned to acting in motion pictures. He portrayed Michael Jackson in a TV biopic, earning another NAACP Image Award Nomination. Since that time, he has appeared in the 2006 film “Snakes on a Plane,” the 2007 horror film “The Hills Have Eyes 2” and Clement Virgo’s “Poor Boy’s Game.” He has also continued to make TV appearances in a guest-star capacity on series such as, Showtime’s “Masters of Sex.”

Flex is also currently a guest correspondent on “Entertainment Tonight” and has returned to his comedic roots performing shows across the U.S.

On Valentine’s Day 2000, Shanice married Flex. Together, they have two children, daughter Imani Shekinah Knox (born August 23, 2001) and son Elijah Alexander Knox (born March 5, 2004).

July 11th they return to OWN in the second season of their docu-seriesFlex and Shanice,” featuring them and their family. Aries from UrbanBridgez.com, caught up with his friends and favorite singer Shanice Wilson-Alexander and actor/comedian Flex Alexander for a new UB interview. The couple spoke about the new season of their docu-series and their dream project together, Flex shares his thoughts on returning to stand-up and what comedians are on his wish list for an ultimate comedy. Shanice dishes on her much anticipated upcoming album release, working with Ne-Yo and what she learned trying to manage herself.

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UrbanBridgez.com: Have you guys gotten used to being reality stars yet?
Flex Alexander: I don’t like the term reality star. We consider ourselves a docu-series, it’s just really our life. I don’t know, I just never dug the term reality star. It’s like how can you star on something that’s real? [all laugh] It’s just odd to me, but as for everything we’re enjoying it and thankful for it. So many people come up to us and say, that they’re so glad to see it and are inspired by it. That inspires us to keep pushing. So that’s really good and to just be able to tell our story.
Shanice: I love it, I’m having so much fun! With the public and the reaction we’ve been getting, like Flex mentioned. Some people have come up to us and said your show really helped me. I’m going through the same thing and lost everything, I feel like there’s hope. And that’s what it’s all about. It’s been all positive actually, it’s just been a great experience. the kids love it, of course Uncle Spirit. I get a lot of tweets about my Uncle Spirit [laughs]. About meditation and keeping your peace, so I’m glad his message is getting out there. It’s funny because seeing us on TV…on a daily basis I don’t see how I am as a person or whatever. But sitting back watching myself, it’s like wow I didn’t realize that I do certain things. Like for instance I didn’t realize that every time that I have some exciting news to tell, that I dance [both laugh]. If you notice, that through out the series that I dance every time I have something really good to say. And I didn’t know that until I sat back and watched the series. So it’s all a really good experience and not to mention being apart of the Oprah Winfrey Network. It’s still unreal to me and l know I’ve told you before that I had a vision board and I had her name on it. I had a check on it, that said reality show. It all still feels like a dream. I can’t believe all these wonderful things are happening now. I spoke it and here we are.

UrbanBridgez.com: It was meant to be! You mentioned Uncle Spirit and Imani and Elijah, what do you think to them is the best thing about being on reality TV?
Flex Alexander: I think for them, when people recognize the kids that’s when they get excited.
Shanice: They have always wanted to sign an autograph! Sorry Flex for cutting you off [laughs].
Flex Alexander: I don’t know if they fully grasp the effect that we’re having on people and even them. So they probably don’t fully grasp that right now because they’re just having fun and signing autographs. They just love doing a show and doing the actual work of it.

UrbanBridgez.com: Flex what was the hardest part for you getting back on stage to do comedy with TV cameras following you?
Flex Alexander: For me getting back on stage it was defiantly positive for me doing it on the show because when we started talking about my stand-up, it forced me to come out of that comfort zone that I was in. I was just sitting back and Shanice would always tell me that I should get on stage and I would be like ahhh. Then when we got a date and was told we’re going to be filming on that date, it was like okay I got to get it together now [laughs].
Shanice: I know it really happened that quick, we got the show and they were like okay you’re on stage! Flex is so talented and he’s so funny. When we first met we use to always go to all of his shows and I would sit in the audience and watch him. After One on One, he just kind of stopped and I was telling him you’re so funny. I get to have all of this entertainment at home, I was like you need to take this to the stage [laughs]. So I’m really glad he’s back up there.

UrbanBridgez.com: Shanice what’s the biggest thing you learned from trying to be your own manager?
Shanice: The hardest part for me…and this is something that I’m still working on. I can come across really shy, so sometimes I can have a hard time representing myself. I have a hard time doing that because I don’t like to hurt peoples feelings. You know, I’m a softy. Flex tells me [in her Flex voice], you say you want to be a business woman so you have to handle this yourself. You got to be able to talk to people and not be afraid, if you don’t like something you have to say it. Sometimes I hide behind Flex and he gets mad at me because I’m like Flex you tell them for me, if it’s something I don’t like. You talk to such and such for me [both laugh]. He’s like I’m not doing that anymore, so that’s something that I’m working on. See since a kid, I’ve always had everybody talking for me and I’ve always been like a really shy person. Never wanting to hurt peoples feelings, if I don’t like something I’m always nervous to tell someone I don’t like it. It’s because I don’t want to hurt them, not because I’m not an honest person. I don’t like confrontation, none of that. So sometimes it is really hard, but I think I’m getting better.

UrbanBridgez.com: Yeah the more you do it, you’ll realize how important and essential it is to be like that in business. Trust me!
Shanice: Oh yeah. And I always told Flex for years I don’t just want to be a Singer, I want to be a business woman. I want to run my own company, I’ve always looked up to the Diddy’s and Jay-Z’s and people like that. So I’m like this is my time to do it, so I got to suck it up and go for it!

UrbanBridgez.com: Tell us what we can expect from the new season of Flex & Shanice starting July 11th on OWN?
Flex Alexander: Now we can’t tell you too much [all laugh]. We can say that it has defiantly went up a notch for sure.
Shanice: And you’ll see a couple of the things we’re working on like Flex isn’t just doing stand-up. He created One on One and now he’s creating…we’re creating other opportunities basically. So you’ll see some of those this season. You’ll see more of Uncle Spirit, more of the kids doing their thing. You’ll be on another roller-coaster ride. It has it’s ups and downs.

UrbanBridgez.com: We saw you in the studio which is always a delight to see your favorite in the studio.
Shanice: Thank you!

UrbanBridgez.com: So we need to see more of that.
Shanice: Definitely, I’m not stopping. I’m not stopping until you see me up there getting a Grammy. Even when I get a Grammy, I am not stopping. I feel like this is a new beginning and I’m not giving up. Like I’ve said before, just thank you and the fans supporting me because that helps mentally. It gets frustrating sometimes in this industry, but like when I get on Twitter and seeing peoples comments like, when are you coming out? We miss you and all of that positive energy, helps me a lot. So thank you.

UrbanBridgez.com: Always my pleasure forever. You were recently in with Ne-Yo, can you tell us about that collaboration?
Shanice: Yeah I just did a song with him and I’m actually going back in with him soon to finish some stuff. It was such a great experience working with Ne-Yo. He’s a genius, like he’s so talented as you know. Just the way he writes and I have written with so many writers and producers. But I’ve never seen anybody write as fast as he does. Like he can write a whole song in 5 minutes, it’s insane. I was really nervous meeting him for the first time, but after I got in there and about 10 minutes I was like oh he’s cool. He’s really easy to work with, very down to earth and he knows what he’s doing.

UrbanBridgez.com: We know you’re doing the stand-up shows Flex, but a lot of us are waiting to see you back on TV in a comedy, can we expect that anytime soon?
Flex Alexander: I’m still working on that. I’ve developed another sitcom and a drama. I’m just going out there and just taking meetings and looking forward to showing my creative side. I’ve created a graphic novel, I’ve definitely wanted to be more on the creative side. But you know I love going out for a TV show, like with pilot season I love it. I only do it because I love it, during the frustration times I just had to keep pushing through it. Stay positive and that’s just really it. I’m just continuing to go out there and continuing to develop my stuff and hopefully they’ll all meet at the same time.

UrbanBridgez.com: What type of album do you want to put out this year, and what will make it different than past Shanice releases?
Shanice: I want to do real songs, the big ballads. You know my personality and know that I love to dance. I think it’s fun, so I will have some banging club records. You’ll have the up-tempos as well. I just want to have fun. I want to step out of the box. There’s sides to me that the public hasn’t seen. I know previously I’ve always been kind of like reserved and shy and stuff. I want people to see the fun and crazy side [laughs].

UrbanBridgez.com: Well alright now [laughs].
Shanice: But at the same time, I’m going to still have like the singy ballads. I like lyrics where I can help people through the song, if they’re going through hard times. I love encouraging people, so they’ll be lyrics like that but we’re going to get our party on also with the banging tracks also.

UrbanBridgez.com: You put out We Can Fly with B.Slade and Gotta Blame Me last year, do you have an estimated time when can we expect an official single?
Shanice: No I still don’t have a date yet, because we’re still recording. I’m probably going to record at least 40 songs in total before I’m done. Yeah, we’re going to do more than enough songs. We’re going to shape it up from there, but it’s definitely coming this year. When the show airs, I’ll start getting everything set up. Well hopefully around that time.

UrbanBridgez.com: Flex if you could actually do an action film that you helped write, and star in with two other comedians. Who would they be and why, like the ultimate comedy film?
Flex Alexander: It would be Kevin Hart and Eddie Murphy. Eddie Murphy because like so many others, he was the reason I started doing stand-up. When I saw “Delirious” I was like, that’s what I’m going to do. Kevin Hart, because he’s a friend and I’ve seen his struggle. And to where he’s propelled to now, he’s always been funny and a cool dude. I’m super happy for him and just that energy I think would be amazing.
Shanice: I could see you including Mike Epps also. I could see them two doing something for sure.
Flex Alexander: Yeah, that’s why it’s a hard question [laughs]. I have to add Mike Epps in there too. Because that’s my boy, I’ve known him for a long time. So yeah you’ll have to give me one more, so we can add Mike Epps to that movie.

UrbanBridgez.com: Now that is something I would love to see! Shanice, if you could form an LSG type of group with two other established R&B female singers who would they be?
Shanice: You know what’s so funny is years ago I tried to do that. Like I wanted to do a group thing, you know for like just a one time project. I reached out to every singer that I love personally and none of them really wanted to go that route. But I mean, I love like Tamia and Faith [Evans], Deborah Cox, Chante’ Moore, I love all of those girls. I actually reached to every last one of them [laughs]. But it didn’t work out and I understand, you know everybody has their own solo stuff and families. It’s kind of hard to pull that together but that’s something that I really wanted to do.

UrbanBridgez.com: Outside of the new music and next season of Flex and Shanice, what’s next for you two?
Flex Alexander: It’s like I want to say it, but I don’t. Because I don’t want to give anybody else the idea [all laugh].
Shanice: I don’t want to give it away either. But I want me and Flex to do a movie together. I think that would be dope!
Flex Alexander: Oh yeah!
Shanice: A drama and a love story.
Flex Alexander: Let’s just say it’s a classic…a classic!
Shanice: Aww, you and I were thinking the same thing [laughs]. Yeah I would love to do a movie with my husband.
Flex Alexander: Yeah I wanted to say it, but I just didn’t want to give the plot of it [laughs]. But outside of that I think one of the dreams that I know that I have and that we’ve talked about, is just putting stuff together and producing stuff. Like we did our docu-series and just continue to do stuff. We’ll have stuff that we’ll do separately, but we want to put projects together with her and I and build something. For our legacy, our family and our kids and their kids and their kids can continue on. But the sad thing that repeats itself in this industry is you make money, become famous and all of this stuff. But in the black family it doesn’t go down the lineage, you know it doesn’t go down to the great, great, great grand-kids. I think that’s something that we need to change.
Shanice: Yeah I want to have wealth and our great, great kids to be born into money. So they don’t have to struggle. And then, you know I’m all about putting things on my vision board. I know this is going to make you laugh Aries, I’m going to make you laugh real hard…but I’m going to win the Power-ball and the Mega Millions [both laugh].
Flex Alexander: Oh lord, her and her Power-ball [all laugh].
Shanice: Shut up Flex [laughs]!

UrbanBridgez.com: I believe in you Shanice, I believe in you [laughs].
Shanice: Thank you Aries!

UrbanBridgez.com: Do you guys have anything else you want to leave with your fans?
Shanice: Follow me on Twitter and Instagram, Facebook (ShaniceOnline). I will keep everyone posted on when I get a release date on my project. When I do, Aries you will be the first to know! We’re very excited about the new season of Flex and Shanice starting on July 11th!
Flex Alexander: I just want to say thank you to all of our supporters and the people who have hung in there with us over the years. It gives us strength and encourages us and we just thank everybody. We want to thank every single person.

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