I was scrolling on Instagram as I normally do after a long day of juggling telework, business emails, my pending website launch, virtual learning, and a sugar crazed two year old. All of which has been a twilight zone sort of experience might I add. Any who, I ran across an online boutique, fittingly named, “Not Your Average Mama”. The name alone made me feel an instant connection to Elle’s brand as if I didn’t already know her in real life. I had followed the account months prior after discovering it belonged to Elle Morgan, whom I had worked with on fashion content years ago with my first online business. My heart sent an instant message to my brain that said “buy something” before my eyes even fell upon what I knew was the next reason that I would get out of my bed at half past midnight to walk across the room to grab my credit card out of my zipped purse to support this brand. Ya’ll know you have to really want to complete that purchase to make that long haul across the room to spend money that nine times out of ten, you didn’t even plan on spending before you seen the thing that tugged at your heart strings.
After stumbling back across my dimly lit bedroom, I sat back down in my bed with my laptop purring in anticipation and my loaded credit card in hand. I decided on getting myself “The Blogger Fedora”. I hadn’t purchased a hat in a while and I’d been seeing them a lot on Fashion Bomb Daily lately, so “They must be on trend right?”, I thought to myself as I started entering my information into her website. My mind then did what it does and I felt like Alice and Wonderland when she was deep into that dreamy state that took her from reality to some parallel whimsical third dimension. I started to think about how many hats I wear. Not literal hats, but roles I operate in day in and day out without giving them much thought. As my mind wandered down this rabbit hole, I recognized that I couldn’t just buy one. I needed an array of hats in different colors to represent the different roles I operate in from day to day.
The days went by. I often found myself revisiting the different hats that I wear in my home, in my business, and in my life as a whole. It was like I was exploring the inside mazes of my own brain, like in that one episode of Netflix’s “Locke & Key” where the kids found the key that unlocked the door to their mind and gave them full access to watch all of their memories. It was at that exact moment, that I had a creative epiphany. I wear all of these different hats, but I benefit from them all sitting on top of the same brain!! Let me explain, because you may be like, “ugh Brandy...that doesn’t sound like an epiphany”, but it was. You see, I was always the kid who couldn’t really stick to one thing. I wanted to try everything. Seeing “it” was never enough. I had to touch it, smell it, and experience it any and every way possible. I would fully emerge myself into a thing, learn it, and move on. Being a child, it was always noted, but it was never really frowned upon or something I felt scolded about. I remember being about 8 years old. My parents bought me a keyboard for Christmas. I would lock myself in my room using the keyboard as a makeshift sound board. I would pretend that I was the local radio station DJ. I would record my show on my little tape player. I would collect the tapes and listen to myself for hours and hours. Mimicking myself and practicing speaking with enthusiasm, candor, or any necessary emotion to move my imaginary listeners. When I reached high school, it became obvious to me or at least it was impressed upon me that this trait of mine was a negative one. It got so bad that I remember there became a time that I started to feel shame, doubt, and insecurity about wanting to try something new or just about deciding that “that thing” wasn’t for me and on to the next I went!
As a young adult, I started to realize that my skill set was not like everyone else's. Because I ventured out and just tried when others were too scared, unqualified, or whatever, I possessed experiences on top of experiences. I remember meeting new people and hearing the surprise in their reply that a black girl from the South had been bold enough to have collected such a catalog of experiences. Those responses definitely left an impression on me and made me constantly think about societal norms, cultural inheritance, and the question that I still ask myself daily: Who Am I?
Normally when asked, “Who are you?” people rely with their name and a title. I always wanted to dig deeper, think harder. Who am I at the core of my humanity? Why was I given these titles and roles? What is my purpose? Different hats. Same brain. That’s it! That’s the epiphany!! We go through life operating in different roles and titles gaining experience to be applied to our actions which affects other people and ultimately leads us to our purpose. All these years, I had been trying so hard to master something! I wanted so badly to be the greatest at one thing versus just being good at many things. The negativity and lackluster aspirations of others had warped my sense of reality and had me going against what was natural for me: curiosity, the ability to pick up any skill that I studied, and exploration. I remember being called a “copycat”, a “flake”, and other terms that I now classify as derogatory in reference to my rejection to boredom and anything less than satisfying. My need for exploration and self discovery was attacked for some time before I recognized it was eating away at my creativity. Years later all of these memories, attacks, and self deprecating talks came front and center during a late night Instagram scroll that led me to my new collection of “The Blogger Fedora” in the hues of mint, black, hot pink, blue, and camel.
Why should you care? Not about me, but about YOU and your hats. This rabbit hole led me to a familiar space that I could only trace back to my childhood. It was a place where boundaries didn’t exist. Where coloring outside of the lines was a form of expression instead of a test of accuracy. It was my imagination. It was total freedom to be whoever I want to be. No matter what part of your journey that you are on as an entrepreneur, mother, business owner, or what may have you. No matter what opinions other people may have to offer. The hats that you wear are necessary parts of your journey. Embrace them. They are preparing you for your purpose. The nights I spent locked in my room filling up imaginary airwaves as a 8 year local radio DJ, prepared me to get on stages and fill the ears of eager entrepreneurs ready to be good, great, or masterful with this marketing thing. This campaign is dedicated to anyone operating in a space that they have yet to reach. You are never starting from scratch. You are starting from experience. I will meet you in the clouds.
Produced By Brandy Kennedy
Creative Director: Brandy Kennedy
Videographer: London Mahogany
Audio & Audio Selection: London Mahogany
Creative Assistants: Eddie Weaver III, Kieana Mainor
Branding (Consulting): Natasha L. Hall
Photographers: Yasmine Watts, Gary Jackson, Kieana Mainor, Cedric Searcy, Ayana Rome, Terrance Flowers
Photography Studio: My Studio, Columbus, GA
Graphics: Brandy Kennedy
Hair: Brandy Kennedy, Taniesa Taylor (Braids)
Makeup: Brandy Kennedy
Wardrobe: Brandy Kennedy
Product Placement: My Networking Apparel, Not Your Average Mama, Pretty Mink'd Out, Lexis Styles