It’s funny how you can grow up black in America but take a while to truly recognize the effects. I used to want a more “normal” name. I desired to shed my smart black girl label so I constantly worked to prove I was just as good as any white student. However when I started to learn more about myself and my REAL history, that became the furthest thing from my mind. My focus on escaping the limitations that come with my skin shifted to embracing who I truly am more than ever. It’s sad that in America this shift in my mindset is considered bold and brazen because it’s actually just self-love. Just as a blond-haired, blue-eyed white girl loves her features, I love mine.
What sparked my desire to create a clothing line? I don’t have a story about how it’s been a lifelong dream that I’ve worked toward forever. My answer is simple. I wanted a shirt that proudly displayed the word “melanin.” Unfortunately, I couldn’t easily find this shirt so I decided to create them. Then I realized the process of the designing the shirts was a creative outlet that reignited the sense of pride I found during my self-discovery.
So to me Brazen isn’t about putting anyone else down. It’s not about proving we’re better. The brand symbolizes the self-love I desperately wish to see in every person of color I meet.
— Ranesha Critton