Current Location: Crown Heights, Brooklyn Hometown: Sacramento, California Professional Position: Founder, CRWN Magazine
What do you do or create?
CRWN Magazine — A print magazine about natural hair. We’re starting the conversation on hair, but it’s a Lifestyle brand.
What inspired you to start CRWN?
It started out as a conversation around ownership and impacting the community and how to do so. We identified a void and then specifically wanted to do something to fulfill it.
What kind of person is a New Yorker?
Crazy…….You have to be kinda crazy to leave wherever you’re at, live in a little apartment and pay way too much rent. Hustler doesn’t define it. You have to be willing to sacrifice everything to really live here, thrive and make it worthwhile. I think the New Yorker is innovative and motivated and focused.
Why put up with the hardships of living in the city? And, is it worth the rent?
I think it’s worth the rent if you have a plan and purpose to be here. If you’re just here chilling, go chill somewhere else. I think it’s worth it because you can accelerate what you’re doing so much more. People can just latch on to an idea and you can find people that can help you bring it to life. And, you can touch the bigger people within the media and pop up on them at an event. Which I have done. And, of course, if you make it here, you can make it anywhere. If you crack the code of New York, you can do it anywhere.
How do you contribute to your community?
I’ve always tried to make my work meaningful which is why the concept of CRWN spoke to me so much. I always say the quote — ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ I believe in uplifting women and minority communities. It comes down to seeing that there are options and that you can achieve certain things. For CRWN, you’re not limited by your hair texture or type. You don’t have to walk around feeling like your less than because of something you're born with, something that’s beautiful. My job is to create ‘positive propaganda.’ I want to deliver culture in a beautiful way — a way that beautifies and edifies women. It’s all about a subtle shift.
What would you tell a young lady who aspires to be the next Lindsey Day?
Be strategic. So many people say follow your passion and it’ll work if you work really hard. No, you have to work really hard and really smart! Map out a plan of action that you’re able to iterate and adapt. It’s business, what are your revenue generating activities? Focus on the bottom line. If it’s business, it’s business. If it’s a hobby, it’s a hobby, but make sure you know the difference, because if you don’t know, New York will let you know.
How would you describe the current place you live? Is it a home, a transitional spot, etc?
This is more of a landing pad in this phase of my life because I’m so busy. It takes so long to transition into New York, so I've been subletting and hopping around for a little less than a year.
What's the most sentimental piece in your home?
In my room, I have letters from my grandma. We used to be pen-pals. I grew up in Sacramento, she was in Fresno all throughout high school and college. So, it’s all about my grandma’s crazy wisdom. She encouraged me to go to Spelman for all the hunks down there. She thought I was going to be a doctor, but dropped nuggets like ‘only you know your calling, and no one can tell you what you need to do.’ That’s what I have framed on my wall as a reminder, now that she’s no longer with us.
How does your apartment represent who you are?
I feel like it’s practical. Has the things I need. Not extra. I’m pretty low maintenance. I’m not a crazy organizational freak, but I still like things to have order, so there’s not much clutter. There are functional areas where I can make it look clean if I need to. Just hide everything in there…
What's the most important room to you?
This room. The living/kitchen/dining/office. This one room is everything. This kitchen island, for example, is my desk, an entertaining space, Taco Tuesdays, hang out late and have a glass of wine while exchanging ideas. This is where we started writing about CRWN and what it could be. It’s multifunctional, super small, but it’s New York so everything fits in a small space.
I also love my rooftop. I feel like rooftops in Brooklyn are an iconic piece of the experience. Barbecues! I mean...every time friends come over we end up on the roof, and we congregate.
How do you maximize your space to maximize your work output?
My real answer is whack…The real answer is — ‘I’m not good at this stuff.’ I had a roommate when I first moved in, she had this exact same setup and everything was already on the walls. When she moved out I was like just leave that. I’ll buy you new ones. When she left, it was already laid out in a nice way, so I just kept the layout and added my own little touch.
What's the one thing Crown Heights offers that nowhere else in NYC does?
I love Crown Heights. It's so different from California or anywhere I've been. I’ve enjoyed seeing the juxtaposition of so many different cultures and people from different backgrounds. You have the West Indians on Nostrand. Then you got the hipsters, ‘well, now Nostrand is becoming hipstery too.’ It’s so interesting because you’re looking at people like ‘Do you mean to be here?’ But, everyone coexists, comfortably.
It’s just a young artsy feel. I think the mishmash of cultures is something unique to Crown Heights. It’s called Crown Heights and my company is CRWN. You can’t find that in too many places…also the Brooklyn museum is a 3 block walk. Eastern Parkway has the trees in the fall. It feels like a family. I see neighbors all the time and we’ll chat.
What's your favorite Crown Heights' gem?
I have a new one. Normally, I would have said Mayfield. It’s a restaurant….My answer is going to be food. I like to eat. I recently started going to Cafe Rue Dix. It’s Senegalese cuisine, and it's black owned. It’s bomb and everyone in there is too.