In honor of International Women’s Day, Sources chatted with the March 2017 cover star, Brandy, about womanhood, motherhood, and the definition of a strong woman.
I’ve been a fan of Brandy since her kohl rimmed, almond shaped eyes first graced the cover of Seventeen magazine. Seeing a girl who looked like me was encouraging–at the time, seeing brown skinned girls grace popular magazines was a rarity, but her presence encouraged me to embrace all that I was, fully. I mimicked her style of dress, and soulfully danced to her “I Wanna be Down” video. Brandy was, and still is, a young woman killing it, making significant strides in television (Thea, Moesha, The Game) and music (she has sold over 40 million records worldwide, making her one of the best selling female artists of all time). It was more than a joy to have the chance to chat with her about identity, overcoming hurdles, and the strength of a woman.
The singer, actress, and producer has been through quite a few challenges in her career, from growing up in the spotlight to most recently suing her record label. She offered, “[The Definition of a Strong Woman is] when you can hold your ground and you can be firm about your life and the things that you want and the things that you deserve; [It’s when you know] what you’re worth and how you value yourself. Having that kind of poise and having that kind of strength. I’m so glad that I’ve been able to find my own strength because it hasn’t always been like this. I’m thankful that I’m very very strong. I wouldn’t lose that for the world.”
She continues, “[I’ve been through so many] challenges, so many different ups and downs. [I’ve been able] to see I am more powerful than my circumstance. While the circumstance is still gone because you have overcome it, you are the one that is still there. When you look back with your hindsight, you can see that, ‘This is what I’ve Come Through? I’m a Beast, I’m Amazing. I can beat anything.’ I think over time, it’s a gradual build of your strength and your muscles.”
She cites her mother, Sonja Norwood as an example of a strong woman in her life. She explains, “She has always been there for me. She has always shown so much strength in so many different circumstances in both of our lives together. She’s always tried to remind me that I’m here for a reason and I’m here for a huge purpose. [She tells me to not] let anyone try to diminish just why GOD created me. It took me a while to really get that. But, I have it now. I am grateful, and humbled and thankful to her for waiting for me to get to this point. Because it’s hard to watch your daughter go through things and then watch her have to be strong for herself. And then when [I] finally get that strength and get that power [I’ve] been working so hard to get, it’s a relief for her. She can exhale knowing that I have my best interests at heart.”
In addition to having a wonderfully strong mother, Brandy is also a mother herself to a 14-year-old daughter, Sy’rai. She says, “Being a mother has completely turned me into an example. You can’t be a hypocrite. You can’t teach your children anything if you’re not doing it yourself. I lead by what I do. I remember what it was like to be a child. Mixing those two things together means you can get a great relationship with your children. You can help them to be strong and help guide them. One of the things I teach my daughter is that her life is not my life, it’s her life. Her intuition is something that she’s gonna have to learn how to trust. It’s my job to help her to trust and to love herself by using examples of what I’ve gone through and then using examples of what she’s gone through to help her make the best out of her life. I’ve gone through so much and she doesn’t have to go through it because I’ve been through it for her. I just want to continue to be understanding, not abuse my authority, but still be firm enough to check her and help her go down the right path.”
In fact, she credits motherhood as one on her life’s greatest achievements. She offers, “My daughter has really turned everything into me being the greatest version of myself. I strive every day to be the greatest version of myself because of her existence. I don’t think I would be here today if my daughter didn’t come into my life when I was 23. She made me see what was real and what was not. I am so thankful for her life. And I’m so equipped to be everything she needs me to be for her life because she’s done so much for mine. I’m just gonna keep going and going and keep showing her to never give up on herself.”
EIC//Interview: Claire Sulmers @ClaireSulmers
Editorial Director// Michael Mann @michael.mann
Photographer: Tyren Redd @tyrenredd
Fashion// akixmann @akixmann
Hair: Dr. Kari Williams @drkariwill
Make-up Artist: Gaby Torell @makeupartistgaby
Video Edit: Will Sikora @sikoraent
Location: Concrete Studios LA @concretestudiosla