Dance Diva Cheri Dennis: "It’s All Love!"

by Clay Cane

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday February 25, 2008

You may not know her by name, but Cheri Dennis is nearly a veteran in the music industry -- without releasing one album. She's worked with hip-hop royalty like The Notorious B.I.G., Missy Elliot and R&B songstress Faith Evans. Signed to Diddy's label, Bad Boy, back in 2001, Cheri Dennis is finally releasing her long awaited debut album "In And Out of Love."

Surely, you've heard her song "Portrait of Love", which has been blazing clubs with its cool mix of catchy beats and Cheri's milky voice. To celebrate, on the release date, this Tuesday, Cheri will take it to the gays and perform at Club Splash in New York City.

In a one-on-one interview, a sassy Cheri Dennis rants on the new album, gay rumors, Diddy being a diva and much more.

EDGE: What can folks expect from the new album "In and Out of Love," which is in stores February, 26th?

Cheri Dennis: The album is about emotions in relationships. It's definitely of a personal nature. Anyone who knows my story knows that I've been coming along time. This is not so much about my personal journey, it's definitely about the love and the love lost while waiting for this album to come out.

EDGE: You were signed to Diddy's label, Bad Boy, back in 2001; this album is 7 years in the making. Did you ever feel like you wanted to leave the label -- what made you stick it out?

Cheri: Good question... have I ever felt that I wanted to go somewhere else? Definitely. Why didn't I leave? I don't know, I would've felt slightly like I'm failing. I wanted to see just where this would take me and then, you know, once this album comes out on Bad Boy, wherever God leads me is where I'll end up. But, to quit and go somewhere else before I actually see what this could be, it's kind of like failure to me.

EDGE: The first time I heard "Portrait of Love" was in the gay clubs and you'll be performing at Club Splash in NYC on Tuesday, the day your album is released. Why is it important for you to reach out to the gay community?

Cheri: They buy records and they love music. I don't care what your preference is, I don't care what your orientation is, if you love music then I'm your girl! I support whoever supports me.

EDGE: The gay community is very supportive of hip-hop. However, why does it seem like the hip-hop community doesn't want gay support?

Cheri: It's just a hang up that they don't understand. I think that the gay and lesbian community as a whole is misunderstood. I think they don't realize just because you let someone be themselves doesn't mean that you're condoning what they're doing, but we all need to be tolerant.

EDGE: Do you have a lot of gay people in your inner circle?

Cheri: I have a lot of gay people in my inner circle, I have a lot of straight people in my inner circle -- I love people, I really don't judge people on who they're sleeping with. It's not my concern because I don't want anybody worrying about who I'm sleeping with. I just love people. If you're gay, if you're straight, it doesn't matter to me. If you do your job good, if you're a good friend, I don't care what your sexual preference is.

EDGE: Speaking of who you're sleeping with -- there are rumors popping up on the Internet that you're bisexual. What's your reaction to that?

Cheri: What is my reaction? Oh my God! Are they talking? I love it! I love it! I love it! I have a boyfriend, but I love that they talk, it's all good. If the lesbians love me and they desire me -- beautiful! If the gay men want to be my homegirl or want to be me, it doesn't matter to me -- that's beautiful! If they think I'm bisexual -- great! As long as they think I make good music -- whatever!

EDGE: Have you ever had a sexual experience with a girl before?

Cheri: Have I ever had a sexual experience with a girl? [Laughs] Uhhh -- that's very cute, but, no...

EDGE: You haven't, okay; this is for gay press, so you know --

Cheri: It's all love! No, I laugh because I'm tickled by it, it doesn't bother me at all. I definitely am tickled by the question. But, no, get back to me in a year -- you never know!

EDGE: I like to call Diddy the drag queen of hip-hop because he's so dramatic and over the top. Is he as flamboyant in person?

Cheri: Honey, do you have two eyes?

EDGE: [Laughs] He's that flamboyant in person?

Cheri: Yes, very much so.

EDGE: Have you ever seen Diddy have a diva moment?

Cheri: Oh my God, Puffy has diva moments all the time. He is a "divo". He is everything, he is all of that -- you know what I mean? He's always having a diva moment. He likes things the way he wants them, he's a perfectionist. I don't think there are any outrageous diva moments. I think he's a diva in a true sense of the word. He likes what he likes when he likes it and that's just him. I think he's always a diva, I don't know if he has moments.

EDGE: Where will Cheri Dennis be five years from now?

Cheri: Hopefully, Cheri Dennis will have another album out. I would love to do Broadway. Hopefully, have a shoe line because I live for shoes. Continuing to solidify myself as a quality artist and hopefully more fabulous than I already am!

Click here to purchase In And Out of Love.

Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer and publishing his first novel Ball-Shaped World, a fictionalized account of the black/Latino ballroom subculture. Visit his pop culture/social commentary web site at