My Favorite Moments of 2014

My Baptism
While most people get baptized at a young age, I took my plunge at the age of 25. I am really glad I took this step in my faith, I did it when I was ready and able to truly understand what it means.

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My Weekends/Holidays Off
I had a normal work schedule this year that allowed me to network, meet new friends and explore the City.

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Natelege Whaley’s Heart Converse: #TheKickback
I trekked all the way to Brooklyn in the cold to support my friend’s website Heart Converse. She created it while we were students at Howard and now she gets invited to speak at panels. I’m so proud of her. She hosted her first event where her website’s followers came together to discuss matters of the heart. The three questions asked during the evening were: 1) Would you rather be single for the rest of your life or settle for just okay? 2) Have you ever felt you had to compromise your culture to fit into mainstream society? 3) Are Black institutions still needed in society, when many people have broken the glass ceilings in many industries? Why or why not?

Here is a video of the event:

Make sure to RSVP for #TheKickback II on January 31st from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

kickback

My First Major Press Hit
When I started my first full-time PR job, I gave myself 6 months to secure a media placement. I did just that! This is a piece that I will always be proud of on ABCNews.com. I was the only one in my department to secure placement in notable publications and later gained placement in USAToday.com and Chicago Tribune.

ABCNews.com
Kiri Davis’ Just Us Project’s Our Lives Matter PSA
I ran into my award-winning Howard classmate while chasing down the Harlem protest for Mike Brown. We later stood in the streets for about 30 minutes and she caught me up on what she was working on. She later sent me an email and asked me to help her with a PSA. I help her gather neighborhood boys to create target signs for her PSA. It felt good to volunteer and it felt good to contribute and bring awareness to this issue. Thank you Kiri for letting me be a part of this.


Be on the lookout for her upcoming documentary or black males and law enforcement. Meanwhile check out what The Root had to say about the Our Lives Matter PSA.

My First Major Byline
Merry Christmas to me! I was published on Essence.com and I claiming that in 2015 I’ll have an in-book feature.

Essence Smartphone

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I am a Warrior with a Warrior spirit

Sometime  in 2013, I attended a service at First Corinthians Baptist Church and the phrase, “I am a warrior with a warrior spirit” was preached to me and it replayed in my head the entire day. I had to write it down and post it by my door so that I could read it everytime I left my apartment to face the world.

That phrase feels so powerful to me.  I feel that whenever I say it, I am affirming and equipping myself with the tools to get through anything. 

I think about my post-grad journey and how I am still able to stand after facing several internal and external battles of life.

Right now, I still do not know the reasons why I went through this storm, but I do know that every has one.  I do believe that we all bear difficult times to witness God’s mercies and His blessings. 

I learned incredible life lessons last year that have helped me grow into the woman I am:

I finally stopped comparing my journey to other people’s and I hope this year people will stop expecting my experience to be like theirs. 

I learned the power of hope will keep you going, even when your dreams may haunt you at night.  They can come true.

Padre told me at some point last year that I should just be content with the hospital job and that the real world is not as glamourous as I thought it would be.  He said it would be all that I could expect from life. I told him that I refused to believe that I was not destined for more than this.  I have too much potential to trek along all the days of my life with mediocracy. The day he told me that , I learned the power of knowing my worth.  I hope this year the generation who raised us will try a little harder to understand our ways and what we believe in.

Toward the end of last year, I ran into a Howard colleague who came off rather brash, disappointed and judgemental when he learned that I did not have a career as of yet.  Pretty much the typical response I get from other Bisons which is sad. He then proceeded to tell me what I need to do to get my career going, which I was already doing plus more.   Then the thing that I will remember is that he told me that I was too introverted and that is why I am not successful.  Everything he said was a lie.  He thought he knew my story, but never tried to take the time to listen to my story.  I learned on that day to not let the things people say about me hold power.  They do not know the truth and they do not know me.  I hope this year that the arrogant humble themselves, because this world is fair game.  Never count anyone out because God will give and take away.

Lastly, I learned what faith is really all about. Even though my friends and family tell me how strong and resilent I am, I did not feel that way.  But when I look back, it was all faith.   I learned how to lay my burdens down and I finally admitted to not having control and submitted myself to be driven by Him.  It took many late nights, many tears, many let downs and many opportunities to reach my breakthrough.  On December 26, 2013, I received a call that changed everything.

I am so excited for this year and all that is in store for me.  I waited a long time for this moment… for this chance.

I am truly a warrior with a warrior spirit. 

Breaking Barriers With Web Series

In today’s economy many young adults are unemployed or underemployed.  Young adults have a degree, but are having a hard time breaking into the competitive job market.  Especially those who want to break into the entertainment industry.  Sometimes you have to take matters in your own hands and do things your way.  There are people who are brave enough to make their own opportunities rather than wait for an offer letter.   Issa Rae and other black web series creators have done just that.

I remember the summer of 2011, and all of my favorite shows were on their hiatus.  There was nothing to watch on TV, but one day Stacia suggested I watch “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” online.  I decided to check it out and I fell in love with it like the rest of Black America.  I waited every month or two for the next episode to premiere to see how the main character, ” J” would handle her next awkward situation.  I thought the idea of a web series was brilliant.  It is brilliant because there are an underwhelming number of scripted television shows that have black producers, directors, writers and actors. Issa Rae, the creator of “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl”, I believe is successful because she decided to tap into the underrepresented audience of media consumers.  She is authentic and hilarious which is a great combination. Since starting her web series, a production company and partnerships with Pharrell Williams and Tracey Edmonds, Issa has garnered over 20 million viewers.  Within a small amount of time Issa Rae’s popularity grew and her “Awkward Black Girl” brand began to trend.  Next thing I knew several series were popping up that feature characters that I could identify with.  She started a movement of the Black web series and set a precedent of how to market and grow an online brand.

Here are some of my favorite web series that I think you should watch and support:


ROOMIELOVERFRIENDS

Roomieloverfriends is created by Dennis Dortch and Numa Perrier and produced by Issa Rae.  This web series is about a roommate situation that turned into a complicated relationship.


HELLO CUPID

Hello Cupid is created by Dennis Dortch and Numa Perrier; Produced by Brian Ali-Harding.  This web series is about two friends who get caught up in an interesting online love triangle.  This show stars Ashley Blaine Featherson, who is a Howard alumna.

 


QUARTER CENTURY

Quarter Century is created by Shayla Racquel. This web series follows six college graduates as they endure their own personal quarter life crisis. This series features many of my Howard classmates.

 

TWENTIES

Twenties is created by Lena Waithe and produced by Queen Latifah.  It is not a web series but a pilot presentation that is set up like one. This series also features Ashley Blaine Featherson and follows young black adults in their 20s as they try to discover themselves.  This is a really creative way to gain momentum for a project.  Lena Waithe is not new to using YouTube to start a movement, she wrote “Ish Black Girls Say” and dropped the concept trailer for “Dear White People”. Its popularity helped raised enough money on Indiegogo to begin filming the movie.

 


THE CHOIR

The Choir is created by Issa Rae for Tracey Edmond’s online network called, Alright TV.  Alright TV is a faith-based online network that features content and web series on relationships, health, wellness and comedy.  You might even catch a sermon from one of your favorite Pastors on the channel.  Tracey might not have a television network yet,  like Oprah or Magic Johnson but she is taking her own steps into creating something similar online.

The Genuine Me: Who Am I?

Sunday at church, the pastor did not use a scripture but he wanted to have a discussion on Dr. Howard Thurman’s 1980 commencement address at Spelman College:

Dr. Howard Thurman: The Sound of the Genuine

(Excerpts from Dr. Howard Thurman’s Baccalaureate Address – Spelman College, May 4, 1980. Edited by Jo Moore Stewart, Editor of the Spelman Messenger).

“There is in every person something that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in herself…

There is in you something that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. Nobody like you has ever been born and no one like you will ever be born again – you are the only one. And if you miss the sound of the genuine in you, you will be a cripple all the rest of your life, because you will never be able to get a scent on who you are.

Do you remember in the Book of Mark, Jesus and his disciples were going through the hills and there appeared in the turn of the road a man who was possessed of devils as they thought. In the full moon when the great tidal waves of energy swept through his organism and he became as 10 men…screaming through the hills like an animal in pain and then he met Jesus on the road. And Jesus asked him one question, “Who are you, what is your name?” and for a moment his tilted mind righted itself and he said, “That’s it! I don’t know. There are legions of me and they riot in my streets. If I only knew, then I would be whole.”

So the burden of what I have to say to you this afternoon is: “What is your name? Who are you, and can you find a way to hear the sound of the genuine in yourself?” There are so many noises going on inside of you, so many echoes of all sorts, so many internalizing of the rumble and the traffic, the confusions, the disorders by which your environment is peopled that I wonder if you can get still enough – not quiet enough – still enough to hear rumbling up from your unique and essential idiom the sound of the genuine in you. I don’t know if you can. But this is your assignment. ”

Tara Rodden Robinson explains in her blog what the genuine means to her:

“…Way back when I was still a nurse, I had a profoundly deep desire to realize my then undefined reason for being. I knew I was supposed to be doing something and I had no idea what that was. Looking back on it now, I believe that yearning was coming from the something in me that was waiting and listening, straining its ears, parched and starving for the sound of the genuine in myself.

I think this something that waits and listens for the sound of your genuine is the Real You. I mean, really, by the time we’re adults, we’ve put on layers and layers of protective clothing. We’ve had to hide our real selves so we can stay sane and whole and functional. The world is a pretty cruel and prickly place, after all. And it’s sometimes totally necessary and desirable to put the Real You into protective custody. Unfortunately, however, the Real You can get misplaced. It can be frighteningly easy to forget who the Real You is.”

And for me?…

It’s almost two years and I  still have an unsettling spirit.  It’s yearning for something.  It’s anticipating something.  I, too, have felt that there is a greater purpose for me living in New York.  I always had the option to leave, but something keeps me here.  Even though I may not have my dream job or the man of my dreams, New York just feels like my dream.   Whatever reason I was lead here, I feel like I am close to a revelation.

When I moved up here two years ago, it did not take long before I began to feel lost when things were not going to “my plan”.  I looked around and it seemed as though “my plan” was working out for everyone but myself.  I felt out of place, alone and misunderstood.

This year has taken a positive turn.  I am learning how to courageously  live in the now.  Because what is happening to me now is helping me discover who I am.   I don’t want to miss out on the “genuine” Brittney.  I don’t want to be suffocated with societal pressures and opinions of who I should be or where I should be or how I should live.  I want to genuinely become Brittney.  I was lost but I am slowly finding my way.  The little light of mine is shining a little brighter because I am listening to the genuine me.  It’s the best thing that I could do for myself!

My Favorite Things of 2012

Happy New Year everyone 2013 is here!   I’ve had a hectic schedule lately and I meant to share this post with you awhile ago, but I wanted to share with you all some of my favorite things of 2012.

 

When it comes to style there were a couple of trends that stood out.

Braids

This summer was the return of the braids.  Many ladies rocked the box braids or the “Poetic Justice” braids.  I loved this style because it gave my hair a break from the flat iron.  It also gave me the chance to play with different styles because of the length.

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Ronesha and I rocking Box Braids and Senegalese Twist

Ombre

The ombre effect was a head turner this year.  Although I did not get a chance to wear this look, it was definitely a trend that I loved seeing.  From  Keke Palmer to Kloe Kardashian, women around the globe rocked the ombre.

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Check out Tayla’s Ombre Hair Coloring Technique video.

 

Sneakers

This year was the return of the sneaker.  Ladies everywhere were rocking the causal look with a wedge heel sneaker.  Beyoncé made this sneaker popular in her “Love on Top” video wearing Isabel Marant.  However, this style has been made affordable for people like me and you. Now just about any shoe brand has a wedge sneaker.

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Leather

Leather has returned, but not just in jackets.  Leather pants, leggings, skirts, dresses and shirts were the new craze this fall.  The popular material accented even jeans and pea coats.

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Kim in a red leather skirt

Tailored Pants

Colorful tailored pants caught my eye this year.  Whether it is straight or wide leg this look is great for the workplace and a night on the town.

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Designer Rachel Roy wearing different colors of this trend.

 

2012 was a great year for television.  I believe scripted television made a comeback.

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ABC’s Scandal promo

Scandal premiered in the first quarter of 2012 and became an instant Twitter favorite.   Shonda Rhimes out did herself with her third primetime show.  Every week there is another jaw dropping twist that keeps you wandering what could possibly be next.   With a history making diverse cast that featuring Kerry Washington as the main character, you must tune in next year to this great addition to the Shondaland franchise.

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Oprah’s OWN Network is still trying to find it’s place in the market, but one gem that this network possesses is Oprah’s Next Chapter.  I believe this show is popular because it is similar to her talk show.  What better formula than to have celebrities in their environment answering Oprah’s tough questions.  Some of Oprah’s best interviews of the year include Rihanna, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Justin Bieber and she did a great interest piece on Hasidic Jews.

ABC Family’s Switched at Birth and VH1’s Love and Hip Hop Atlanta are honorable mentions.  Switched at Birth is a great family drama about two families whose world turns upside down.  I love the character development on the show and I love plot’s twist and turns.  And of course Love and Hip Hop Atlanta has capture my inner ratchet.  This show reminds me of the some people that I grew up with in Tennessee.  The Southern mentality and the hustle of the show was quite the Internet craze this summer.

Music

I did not do a great job with keeping up with the music scene.  However, I listened to a lot more rap than usual.  Mostly, mainstream.

It was The Weeknd’s year.  Sold out tour and millions of downloads later he has become a household name.  You have arrived when I hear your music playing on a Nashville radio station.  I’m looking forward to what is next for this artist.

It was also Frank Ocean’s year.  He released what many people claim is the “Best Album of 2012” .  He leads in Grammy nomination.  Like The Weeknd he sold out his concert tour.  Frank’s stand out quality is his honesty after revealing is sexuality to the world.  He is smart brave and creative and that combination will get you far.

The Made in America was a great addition to the festival scene.  Thousands of people crowded Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia to hear the likes of Jill Scott, Janelle Monea, Pearl Jam and Jay-Z.  The crowd and the music reflected the uniqueness of our country.

Reneeka and I at Made in America Festival.
Reneeka and I at Made in America Festival.

I’m loving the cliques.  G.O.O.D Music and MMG had a great year.  The two music groups were everywhere especially this summer.  And MMG’s Meek Mills and G.O.O.D’s 2 Chains had great debuts  this year with the help of their clique.

G.O.O.D Music
G.O.O.D Music

 

 

Rihanna and Beyoncé impressed me this year.

Rihanna is the girl that I have a bittersweet taste for.  She’s like sour punch straws.  The first bite makes you frown and then you get over the sour and you just can’t stop.  She is that for me.

I frown at her interaction on social media.  The pictures are too much and her Twitter content is too.   She just does not care about what people think or feel about her actions.  I personally feel that with celebrity comes responsibility;  I feel she could use her platform for good.  I’m not a fan of Chrianna and I hope it goes away in 2013.  They can do what they want but I just don’t want to see it all over Instagram, Tumblr and whatever blog I’m reading.

Despite the disappointments, this woman does something that makes me like her.  I loved how vulnerable she was on Oprah’s Next Chapter.  I connected with her  during that 40 minute segment and it changed some of my opinions about her.

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Rihanna’s GQ cover

 

Rihanna is BAD.  She slays.  Did you see the GQ cover?  If you got it flaunt it and that is what she did.  I love the sex that oozes from her.  When so many people believe that women should shy away from their sexuality, she proves that there is nothing wrong with showing skin.  She is the total opposite of me and I think that is why I like her.  The BAD that I tame inside of me is living vicariously through her.

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Bey’s Instagram Picture

Beyoncé did not release any new music and she did not tour, but she did sting us with the launch of her social media pages.  The Beyhive was created and everyone had to see what King Bey was up to.

Beyoncé is notorious for keeping a private life.  However, in 2012 Bey started to let us in little by little.  She started a Tumblr and then she sent out her first tweet this year.  This fall she set up an Instagram.  Her influence is powerful.  For example people were rocking box braids and high buns all year but when King Bey rocked them it became a revolution no matter where you turned a bun was around the corner.

Her publicist and team always impress me because Bey has always been able to control what information we receive.  No longer do we have to wait for E! News, we can just go to Tumblr to see how much Baby Blue has grown. Her social media interaction definitely changed her brand.  I’m looking forward to how her partnership with Pepsi plays out in 2013.

My favorite moments of my life in 2012

My trip to the Bahamas earned me my first passport stamp.

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Boarding a plane to Freeport

Homecoming this year was my first trip back to the Mecca as an alumna.

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Reunited with some of my friends at Homecoming 2012.

Nielsen because I feel steps closer to my dream.

A reflection of the 2008 Election

In 2008 on Election Day, I worked with Howard University’s News Service to capture the voting experience in Washington, D.C.  I arrived at Gage Elementary School, which is now closed and turned into a dog park (gentrification of course), before the polls open to interview the line that waited outside.  The line consisted of blacks, whites, college students and retirees.  Vans even unloaded voters who needed assistance getting to the polls.

It was a beautiful day and I witness people go through great lengths to cast their vote.  It reminded me of people who went great lengths to have the right to vote during the Civil Rights era.

After I gathered the information that I needed, I sat in the lab and wrote two articles about Election Day 2008:

Military: Political Views Not Uniform

Reflections of the Dream

Later that night I went to the Blackburn Center at Howard University to watch the election results.  There was an air of nervousness 45 minutes before a winner was declared.  I stood with my friend Erica holding her hand tight waiting for the announcement.  When they announced Barack Obama was the winner a deafening noise of celebration rung through the campus.  We chanted with the rest of the student body and sung songs like “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “We Shall Overcome”.  Tears of joy ran down our faces it was a great day!  It was a day that I will always remember and I hope today will be a day just like it.

The videos below are great representations of my 2008 Election Day experience, I make a 10 sec cameo in the ABC clip (3:30 mark).

4 Years Later

In four years I’ve witnessed and experienced many things that influence the choice that I made today.

No everything is not perfect but we are on the right track and I think it would be a shame to steer off course now.

I’ve been a victim of this cruel economy that undermined my skills and collegiate education.

I’ve been poor, unemployed and then underemployed.

But with the rain, I’ve seen a promising rainbow.  I’ve seen an increase in jobs and an increase of my peers obtaining them.

I’ve seen my friends return home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I’ve seen my immigrant friends attend four-year universities.

I’ve been able to maintain healthcare benefits even when I was not working.

I see progress but it takes more than four years to turn this economy around.

I want us to move FORWARD as a country and I pray that you all make the decision to keep our President in the White House and allow him to finish what he started.

#AugustWritingChallenge – Day 24 – Courage

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

Maya Angelou

It is courageous to tell the truth.  It is always easy to tell a lie, but to be honest is extraordinary.    I love honest people.  I love their ability to be honest with themselves and with others.  I especially love those who have the courage to me different but honest with one they really are, honest with what they believe and honest with with what makes them happy.  They never conform to what people think they should be or do what everyone else is doing.  I wish I had that courage,   like those men and women who decided to be openly homosexual in the United States military.  Or what about the college graduates who start up their own entrepreneurial endeavors instead of working for “the man”.   And just like the 18 year olds who leave their hometowns to live in a new city or country with no family or friends to support them.  Not too forget all the young lovers who do not see age or race, but only see the person that makes them happy.  And I have a special place for the active citizens in this world who serve their communities without gaining a dime and who are passionate in taking a stand for what they do and do not believe in.

I love witnessing this courage.

#AugustWritingChallenge – Day 23 – Envy

There was a girl that I called my best friend at one point in our lives and one day she pulled me to the side and told me that she envied me because I was smart.  I blamed myself for her feeling that way and I tried everything in my power to make her feel special for her individual talents.  However, deep down I knew we would never be best friends again, because no matter what I did she would always feel that way.  To this day, I do not think she realizes why our friendship did not work.  We have not been friends for years now and there is a strand of envy still standing between us.

Envy is the root for most teenage drama.  It is what made my middle school and high school years one crazy ride.  What I could never grasp is that everything that people envied me for they could have obtained on his or her own.

The green-eyed monster comes out of most teenagers and some people seem to never shake the monster out of them, as they become adults.  It can become quite tragic.  Envy is a terrible thing to hold in one’s heart.  Just let it go.

#AugustWritingChallenge – Day 22 – Crime

I am a victim of theft.  It’s happen to me twice personally and several times professionally.

I never could wrap my head around why people steal.  I believe that if you live right and work hard, you will be blessed.  Very simple, indeed but in the world of instant gratification people will go great lengths to get what they want or need.

My parents are hard working people.  They never cheated the system and they were always fair.  I am a hard worker and I never cause them any problems therefore whatever I want or need they provide for me.  It seemed simple to me until I was exposed to a different reality when I left home.

Growing up in Clarksville, I heard about my peers robbing houses or stealing from the mall.  They would take things like underwear or jewelry from stores like RAVE or Claire’s.  From houses they would steal shoes and electronics.  What was interesting about the kids, who stole, was that their parents worked hard and if they asked for those items they would get them.  I, also, worked at a store in the mall and I witness men and women scheme to steal from my store.  There was a time when I chased two women out of the mall for trying to steal.  Why spend so much time on becoming a professional thief, when you could use that time to go to school or get a job? I just did not understand. Then I left Tennessee for D.C. and noticed that people started stealing lives.  Killing is stealing to me and not only was it prevalent in D.C. and other major cities, but my hometown started to see a lot of it, too.  Then I left D.C. for New York where corporate America was stealing from the rich.

Stealing has no ethnicity, religion and no economic disparities.  Many people are doing it and for all the wrong reason.

Below you will find the video for “Stole” by Kelly Rowland: