July 17, 2008





Just like in one of her songs, there’s No More Rain these days for ANGIE STONE. This soul queen from Columbia, South Carolina had success with the groups Sequence and Vertical Hold before launching a solo career that led to hit albums Black Butterfly, Mahogany Soul (with the anthem Brotha) and Stone Love. That just wasn’t enough for the fickle music industry. So Stone kept busy in the studio and started acting (TV sitcoms, plays and the film The Fighting Temptations) before signing with the resurrected Stax label to release her latest smash The Art of Love & War.

We learned through her stint on VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club two years ago that she suffered from Type 2 diabetes. “[It] was brought on by Prednisone,” she told Tasty Clips. “I was taking some medication that saved my organs but enhanced the diabetes. I’m hearing that some research was done that said gastric bypass kills diabetes because the disease lives in your stomach. [It’s] under control because I don’t eat like I’m crazy and do what I’m supposed to do most of the time. When you’re a person on a steroid for medication a lot of working out doesn’t help you. It hurts you more than help you because you build muscle and mass. My regiment is joy and love and living life to the fullest. I go bowling two or three times a week and have a routine in my house. I clean instead of having a maid. If I stay active within the space I’m in I’ll be OK.”

These days, Stone serves as a spokesperson for the F.A.C.E. Diabetes campaign, which launched at Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church Children’s Ministry Building. Through a series of practical and sustainable programs in local communities, their goal is to help foster behavioral and attitudinal changes in areas critical to success in managing diabetes such as nutrition/cooking, physical activity, health and overall well-being.

Signing with a smaller label like Stax was a surprise. What made you make that decision? “Cause anyplace was better than J Records at the time. I’d had enough of [them] and I wanted a change. So I went and started from scratch with an independent label which eventually turned into another major situation.” Was J not giving you enough freedom? “Well I always had my freedom. It’s just that they start looking at you like they’re equal to you. When you become a slash artist/producer/mentor/and go-to girl for advice, you start to feel like an employee as well as an artist.” Are you happy with the way you’re being promoted? “Now. It’s getting better. Originally I wasn’t.” The Concord label is basically handling it. “[They’re] still handling it but I don’t think that they really have a clue, in terms of this level of success with an artist, of what to do.” Well, you seem to be doing an excellent job. “Guess what? The record is doing it because with very little presence I’m very excited and appreciative that [it’s] moving. Even though the pace is slower than normal, it’s moving nonetheless with very little awareness.”

How tough is it in the music industry now if you don’t have a certain look? “Well I think I look fabulous. Have you seen me lately?” I have. John Legend has a new artist Estelle who is considered difficult to promote because of her look. It really comes down to the music, doesn’t it? “It does come down to the music. We have to get out of this fairy tale guideline of looking a certain way. That’s not to discredit beautiful people, but God didn’t make us all look the same way. We all look the way we look. People need to recognize that in this world beauty is only skin deep. The industry is caught up in looks because that’s the way Satan has designed the game to control the mentality of the weaker species. I really feel sad because this young lady has a great record out and not even the relationship with [John Legend] can afford her a better outlook. It tells you that we’re in trouble.” There’s so much more to it and that seems to be gone. “Well, you know it goes back to the very beginning. If you were light skinned you were in, if you were dark skinned you were out. It very well works that way in the industry. You see very [few] dark skinned people on top of the game. Most of the superstars are very fair or mulatto people. You can check your stats. It works that way in the film world too. I have lost almost every single opportunity to star in a film to Macy Gray or Jill Scott because they’re light and I’m dark. I’ve been told so many times that it’s a certain look that they’re looking for. So you can’t even use weight anymore. You can’t use age because everybody’s over 35 that’s running around doing it. It comes down to what is more appealing. I’m only good for the pro political stuff that will afford all of my people from the hood to vote for the right president – or to support whatever because I’m more on their level, so to speak. So to me it hasn’t changed much. Slavery has just taken on a whole new different direction but it’s the same process.”

In addition to concerts, what can we expect from you this year? “I’m actually working on two books right now – [one is] poetry and [the other is] called Life and the Shadows of a Sex Symbol.” Is this biographical? “Hmmm. I won’t say that. There is some real stuff, then there’s some REAL stuff. You have to wait and see. I’m supposed to be working with Robi Reed on something and [also] Tracey Edmonds. I’m still working on a stage project and becoming a producer. I’m always ahead of the game. I have music in my back pocket.”

And apparently it runs in the family. Angie’s daughter Diamond Stone dubbed The Princess of Hip-Hop Soul is hitting the stage of Headliners on a bill led by southern Rock N Soul sensation Joe Tucker on June 14th. Diamond recently added a new title to Angie’s rep: Grandmom!

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