Brittney's empowerment for women is contagious. She works hard to build a community for women of color. She's beautiful + resilient. Brittney is a women of many hats who wears each one of them proudly. She works hard to push others to embrace their own hats + wear them proudly.
What are the roles or hats you lead in your life?
For most of my life, I didn’t feel like I had permission to be a girl, and later, a woman of “many hats.” I took up a narrative placed on me, which didn’t allow space for multiple identities or various roles outside of that box. I had to be strong, but not too aggressive, free-spirited, yet never unconventional, independent, but not overly confident. I didn’t think I was allowed to hold multiple identities, to claim and embrace the dichotomies that makeup my personhood.
But I am in a season of uprooting—false truths and lesser characterizations that don’t serve my greatest purpose. I am reclaiming my divine narrative and reimagining the stories I hold and the hats I wear. I am creating space for my dichotomies to coexist. I am learning to revel in my variances and allow myself to uncover those hats that have been hidden and let their distinct details shine.
I am a discoverer in this season of life, but I’m also learning to see the beauty in planting my feet and taking root. I’m a supporter of myself, my family, and my sisterhood, yet I’m learning to let go of what was never meant for me to carry. I am resilient, but I also see strength in my weaknesses. At times, I am a loner and am walking a different path, but I am still reaching out and clinging to my community. I am allowing failure to be my teacher, yet creating space to celebrate my progress. I am embracing and dignifying the many hats I wear.
What hats do you find the most challenging, and what do you do to embrace them?
I am in a place where I am deconstructing different aspects of my spiritual walk and questioning whether my blackness is at odds with my faith. I’ve had to sit with this discomfort and allow it to teach me. I wish I could say that it was voluntary, but it wasn’t. I’ve felt forced into this space and expanding into it has been uncomfortable and confusing. I guess you could say this hat is the “woman of faith.” But it seems like it’s been decorated by fear and doubt. I’ve had to be honest with myself and others and say that I am in a place of uncertainty and, on some days, unsure of how to gain clarity. I’m having to relearn what it means to truly celebrate every aspect of who I am while adhering to Truth. However, redefining aspects of our identity is not a process that has been normalized or celebrated.
But I am slowly learning that this specific hat was given to me on purpose, for a purpose. It was made especially for me and belongs to me. Girl, it’s custom-fitted, and it looks good when I wear it. But some people don’t think so and want me to wear a different one. And I’m learning not to dwell on that or sway my decisions. This hat bears the image of the One who created it and is the embodiment of that essence and expression. Remembering that truth has given me the courage to embrace it more. The women who wear similar hats have been some of my greatest supporters and encouragers. They remind me of its significance—especially now. They help me better understand how to wear it and stay true to that knowledge.
Who or what inspires you?
Oh, wow. I love this question because I get to brag about all the bomb Black women and WoC who inspire me. I am in awe of their presence, grit, and softness. I am inspired by the Black women who continue to show up, even though every odd has been against them. I am inspired by the WoC, who create space for other WoC to rest, heal, and rise again. I am inspired by every PoC who has chosen to practice gratitude and claim joy in these trying times. I am inspired by all the non-PoC who get it and choose to enter a state of unlearning and practice radical accountability. I am inspired by all the outliers who continue to raise their voice and amplify the voices of so many that go unheard. I am inspired by platforms like this where we can trade stories, celebrate our differences, and uplift one another. These people and these platforms, they empower me. But most importantly, I am inspired by God—the Maker and Perfecter of our beautiful hats.
What “hats” are least known about you?
Ha! this shouldn’t embarrass me, but it does. I have recently discovered that I love birdwatching. Oh gosh, I know I am going to regret saying that. So I guess you could say a birding hat, but make it fashion! Anyway, let’s not dwell on that for too long. Next question!
What advice/ tips do you have for someone reading this?
I would say, don’t get caught up in what hats you thought you’d be wearing by now. But give yourself the permission and space you need to grieve those unfulfilled dreams. Name the hats you wish you had and the ones you lost. But then, acknowledge the one that has been given to you now and learn to embrace it. Figure out its purpose in your life and be okay with asking for help. Allow other people to show you how to wear it. Please don’t take it off because it looks different from everybody else’s or because it doesn’t fit as comfortably as you’d hoped. Don’t worry. You’ll grow into it. Give yourself time and space to look at it from every angle. If you do, I’m sure you’ll see its beauty and its worth.