Bri Steves is out to smash the creative game by not letting there be any barriers in her way when it comes to expressing herself creatively. She’s a woman on a mission, a woman of subtle power, and a woman with a drive that’ll outwork your toughest day. She is at best described as being an “Artist” (music artist, writer, fashion model, etc.) from Delaware and puts in most of her work in The City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia, PA).
In this brief interview, we managed to capture her story to share with all of you Champions. Find out what her thoughts are on the Black Renaissance in Philly, being a woman in the industry, and how she overcame her fears to perform and share her musical talents at shows. After checking out her story out def be sure to follow her for updates on her music and next moves. Def be sure to check out her remix to Right On Time by Joey Badass.
Check out the full interview below all of the amazing photos were shot by the champion, Bola ‘Primo’ Okoya.
What is this Black Renaissance you see taking place in Philadelphia? Who’s a part of it?
A term I use to refer to this generation’s young black aesthetic people. It’s a new era, and expression in its many forms defines our generation (generation Y). I believe that young black people / black culture hold a significant weight on what’s popular culture in American society. We are the main trendsetters, and our artistic talents (i.e. music, fashion, art) are a new movement. I can’t really define the artistic feel that our generation’s movement gives me, all I can give is an adjective: aesthetic. I’d like to call that movement the ‘black renaissance,’ because we literally are a cultural rebirth. We are redefining black culture as we go and in turn are redefining popular culture. And luckily, I’m glad to be a part of it.
How are you redefining being a black woman in entertainment and fashion industry?
I’m redefining the stereotypes, basically. As far as entertainment there seems to be two types of female artists (that are black) that’s typically associated with those that rap. Either she’s a hood chick, or she’s OD sexual. I’m neither extreme. As an artist, I preach authenticity, and whereas every woman has an edgy side or a sexy side as a rapper, it’s not a box that you need to fit into. I want to crush the boxes and make way for more lanes. As far as the fashion industry, I’m all for bridging the gap between urban and the professional market. Why does a black woman (who is already stereotyped by the world to be sexual) have to wear turtle necks or show no skin basically to get respect?
I’m all for taking full control of your image to assert your respect. Whether you’re in sweats, a bikini or whatever, as a black woman I want that respect. I also really want it to become a normalcy for wearing street wear in a professional setting, just like having piercings or tattoos or even dreads become a normalcy in the professional workplace and not a strike against you.
Your blog is setup as if your interviewing yourself to share your thoughts. Why is that?
Because I know people have questions. And most of the time I know what they would ask because if I didn’t know me…looking at my site I would ask the same thing. So to save some people the trouble, I answer it for them.
What inspired you to create the alter-ego of Bri Steves? Who is Bri Steves?
Bri Steves isn’t an alter ego. She is me. I am Bri Steves. A nicknamed version of my full name Brianna Stevenson (because there were too many Brianna’s where I’m from), I took it on to give a name to my style, music and everything. What you see is what you get. You wouldn’t question Nicole for going by the name Nikki… I am who I am. An artist, musician, model and many other things. But first and foremost I am an artist.
What are you currently working on?
WORLD DOMINATION. No, but seriously I’m working on taking my music to the next level, as far as working on my sound, creating a collective, and overall just improving me as an entertainer. I even take vocal lessons. I’m serious about my craft so I’m working on getting better.
Define your style.
I’m more (dress wise) a tomboy basically. Heavy influence from the 90’s, I’m more of a no bullshit kinda girl when it comes to wearing what I want that’s comfy and just chill all the way around. My style is sporty chic sometimes, but always edgy and 9/10 I’m wearing black.
What’s your long-term plan with music?
Long-term I want to get into engineering, producing and mixing on a high-quality level. With my personal music, I want to get bigger like every artist does. I want to touch people with my lyrics, effect them on a high level at shows and grow. I want to progress to a point where I can seriously live off of my talent. I’ve always aspired to be someone who gets paid doing what they love to do.
What kind of look did you decide to go with today?
I’m wearing gear fromWisdom ATL, an Atlanta-based street wear brand with army fatigue BDG pants, army fatigue jacket and new balances. I went for the look I’m always in: I’m comfortable. Still urban but comfy.
What would be your message to a young woman that admires you?
To a woman that looks up to me I’d say just find out who you are and what makes you who you are and run with it. I can’t stress how important it is to just be yourself and take confidence in that. So many people turn their backs on their dreams or are too worried about what others think. I say just do you and work hard at being you, and don’t worry about what anyone else says. Everyone will be on your top later with fake love anyway. Express yourself!
What grants you confirmation that your doing the right thing?
The feeling in my chest when I get excited about a new verse. The joy I feel listening to new heat on my phone. The way I effortlessly exert my time, effort and money into my crafts without a second thought. If I didn’t really want to do what I do, I would’ve stopped a long time ago or would be whining the entire time. But I genuinely love what I do. That’s how I know I’m doing something right.
Tell us a story about overcoming something in your life?
I remember having to overcome the fear of exposing my talents for the world to see. It takes guts, being able to put who you are out there for the world to see. Overcoming the initial fear of what people would think when I first released my single Twinz about a year ago was a pivotal moment for me, that lead to my site, led to me dressing how I wanted and led to me looking the way I do. Overcoming self-doubt in that moment is something that helped me tremendously, I just decided: fuck it, you are who you are… be you.
What’s your overall goal in life?
To spend the rest of my days doing what I love to do.
Who inspires you?
Young Mary J (411 version), J. Cole, Alealimay and Marvin Gaye… and duhh my mom.
What do you want people to know.
That nothing is impossible. That wearing black should be a law. That being black is a privilege. That girls can like sex and not be a hoe. That the world we live in is bananas. That I just used Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl to spell bananas. And that if you want to get anywhere in life doing anything… invest in yourself.