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Brooklyn White on Her New Release and the Art World

Brooklyn White is a NYC based artist and musician. She has been working on releasing a debut album in July of 2017.  Brooklyn White is New York-based polymath who has been a part of Dazed’s list of the Next Generation of Female Artists and has had work featured on Rookie’s website. With recognition from Erykah BaduJanelle MonaeBootsy CollinsJunglepussyKari Faux, and Missy Elliott, White continues growing as a person and an artist by taking on conveying her voice through imperializing on different branches of being a creative. She recently had my her work published on Noisey, Galore MagazineTeen Vogue, and Milk Studios, Solange Knowles’s cultural hub, Saint Heron, as well. Here’s to kicking off a summer of artistic discovery with Brooklyn!

Where did you first start making art and how did this place affect your art/ career?

I started making art in my hometown, which is Shreveport, Louisiana. I went to relatively small, performing arts schools that allowed me to explore the depths of my creativity, so I was exposed to greatness and afforded poppin’ opportunities from jump. I used to feel really isolated and hated my city (teenage angst I suppose?) but now that I’m an adult, I realize that Shreveport has a beautiful artistic community that rides for its own. If it weren’t for the training and love I received there, I would not be here.

What is the most difficult part of the NYC art scene? What is the best part about it?

The hardest part for me has been getting myself out there. I’m pretty confident in my content, but any of my close friends can tell you, I HATE going out. Shortie is a house kitty. But, stepping out is a big part of being in the scene; you gotta go to functions, meet new people, exchange ideas etc. I’ve kinda made it around that by making my presence like the wind (being felt without being seen), something that the internet has helped with.

The best part of the scene, or at least my zone, is my homies. I’m close to some of the coolest people out, like Sean-Kierre (@walkingregular on Instagram), Boogie (@metroblooming on Instagram) and Jasmin Valcourt (@jsmnvlcrt on Instagram). They are genuine, selfless people who are full of fresh ideas. I love them dearly.

What would you say is the most pivotal to the process of creating?

Positivity is key. When I’m creating, I usually have either upbeat, dance music or old school gospel playing. I also try really hard to be in a good space mentally when I’m working because I understand that a lot of my work is shared, meaning that the energy I put into it will be transferred to viewers. I don’t always hit my mark because I’m a human being with emotions, but I generally keep it jiggy.

What is your message for young artists, developing teenagers, and the world?

KEEP GOING. STAY ALIVE, DO GOOD, AND THRIVE. Let God/the universe/your highest spirit guide you. Know that everything will not always be perfect and there will be low points, but don’t let any of that stop you from doing what you feel like you were put here to do. Shout out to my artsy teenagers who are broke and feel misunderstood. There is a lane for you, you’re just in charge of creating it. @TheWorld, Let’s do better.

What do you hope to accomplish with your art and what do you say is art’s role in our social ecology?

I hope to make people feel something. Some of my art is a one shot deal where it’s pretty surface level and you understand everything the second you look at it. The majority of my pieces are more in depth though, and I think they make people think bigger and feel more intensely. I’d like for people to reconnect with their inner selves, which is often the beginning of truly connecting with those around them.

I wholeheartedly believe in the healing and unifying power of art. It’s added color to many people’s lives and adds a layer of beauty to the Earth.

Where would you say that your music stands in our pop culture?

I’m actually honored that you even mentioned my music! Wow, thank you. But I think it’s rather low key right now, because that’s how I’m playing it since I’m focusing on other creative outlets. In the grand scheme though, I know my work is the pulse of pop culture. As a Black woman, my words, rhythm, soul, and sounds are the blueprint for a lot of what the Western world (and the world in generally) looks to when they want that real. I am pop culture baby.

In your article “What Shaving My Head Taught Me About Religion and Femininity” (published on Teen Vogue), letting go of your hair is compared to letting go of the societal weight of insecurity. How has your fashion and appearance changed over the years, how did it reflect on you at the time? (Did you have an emo phase, a month where you only wore neon, followed fashion trends, etc.)

Yoooooo!!! I’ve gone through SO MANY style phases. I didn’t dress myself until middle school, but when I started, I came in hot n heavy with the Aeropostale looks. I just wanted to look like everyone else. But from 7th grade to the end of my high school career, I started experimenting with clothes, makeup, and my hair and didn’t care about my town’s trends as much. I remember painting and drawing on my shoes and getting looked at like “uhm…this girl is on one” in middle school. Quality experiences forreal. My mom took me shopping for my 12th birthday and I scooped an eyeshadow palette from Clair’s with the quickness.

I had an 80’s/90’s phase, an Urban Outfitters hipster phase, a Janelle Monae, pompadour phase and an Odd Future phase – I painted an “OFWGKTA” sweatshirt for my first day of my senior year of high school. In retrospect, I was really just expressing my emotions in a harmless way. I strayed away from that for a few years, but now I’m definitely getting back into it.

What would you say to your future self? Tackle the hardships that you have faced/ facing and about people you know/ knew)

-CHILL OUT B. You’re going to make it. Give yourself time and space to grow.

-Everyone in your life isn’t permanent. Accept that and move forward.

-You’re REALLY REALLY pretty. You don’t look like other people but that doesn’t matter. Your body is unique.

-Keep Larsson and Staveley in your heart/on your mind; they will inspire you for a long time.

-Don’t get a “real job”. Continue to search for opportunities in your fields. Don’t let anyone pressure you into getting a job you know you’ll hate.

-Olive oil is the key to life.

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Written by Kelly Chen

Kelly Chen

Kelly is a teen artist and writer from NYC, currently attending Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. She is vocal about the Asian American community, urban adolescence, and social effects of changing demographics in music. Kelly is a fashion forward punk rocker just trying to integrate functions in Calculus and sing songs about the Periodic Table of Elements in Chemistry.

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