Christina S. Brown: “America needs to see a little black girl from Queens”

You might’ve seen one of her contributions to Essence Magazine, the accolades dubbing her a “Blogger Month” honoree by Black Enterprise Magazine, her recent collaboration with Dove, or bumped into her hanging out with her long-time friends, sharing high school memories. The latter, is in fact, how I met Christina Brown years ago. We had a mutual close friend who invited me to hang out with her friends. That meeting led to many and since then, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Christina’s passion blossom into her full-time (and extremely successful!) career. She is a digital influencer, brand consultant and creator of LoveBrownSugar.com, a lifestyle brand. In other words, she creatively empowers thousands of women of color to love the skin they’re in when they would otherwise be underrepresented.  Let’s get into it.

Christina 2.26.16

Shaloma: As a full-time blogger, mommy, stylista, friend, traveler, how do your balance your priorities? Is there a pull and tug with what to choose and when?  

Christina: I am consistently prioritizing and re-prioritizing with my lifestyle. In general, the same order of importance applies. My family always comes first, then comes work, then comes leisure/play. When all is said and done, there’s no such thing as the “perfect balance.” You will always do more of one thing than another at any given moment. It’s whether or not you feel happy about your choices that really matters.

Shaloma: What does an average day look like for you? Or let’s say 2 days since 2 days would probably be vastly different.

Christina: I get up around 7am to get the little one (and myself) ready for the day. I typically pack her a few snacks and refill her little school bag before hopping in the shower before she wakes up. I make her breakfast, wake her up, get her and myself dressed and we head off to her school. From there, I typically take a conference call or two in the car on the way back to my home office. Depending on the agenda for the day, I may be heading into the city for a client meeting, off to a magazine photoshoot or packing for a few days of business travel. It really depends on the day or week! By midday, I break for lunch and this is when I typically post on social media and catch up on the daily pop culture news. By afternoon, I’m prepping blog posts for the following day, finishing up on projects and prepping dinner before it’s time to pick up the little one. I pick her up around 5:30pm and we spend mommy & me time together eating dinner, watching Elmo DVDs (her favorite) or reading books until around 9pm when she’s bathed and off to bed. At 9pm, I’m finishing up projects from the day, answering last minute emails and by 10/10:30, I’m pooped and ready for bed! The next day could be drastically different – just depends on my week!

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Shaloma: How do you handle social media? So many of us get caught up in mindless scrolling and neglect our own goals and priorities while admiring those who accomplish theirs. Do you deal with that? If not, how do you quell the desire?

Christina: It is TOUGH. Because social media is essentially how I make my money, it’s impossible for me to avoid it completely. Yes, I have staff members who help with managing my social pages, but in general I need to be on there to speak to my readers, ask them questions, tell them about exciting news, and so on and so forth. I limit my time to “working periods” and I avoid scrolling through feeds that will suck me into the trap of being bitter, jealous or obsessive. At the end of the day, you have to remember that what God has for you is for you. If you’re spending more time dwelling on what other people have, you’re missing your own blessing. (UHM PREACH!)

Shaloma: I have had the privilege of watching you rise to success, and I’m sure that has come with lots of learning lessons. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

Christina: Probably my biggest business lesson has been learning the importance of outsourcing. I used to be a hoarder. Not a hoarder of things, but a hoarder of tasks and responsibilities. I would NEVER allow other people to help me because I was a) scared of what would happen and b) not mature enough to see that a business cannot grow with ONE person doing everything all the time. If I could go back and do something sooner, it would have been asking for help and allowing people who are brilliant at certain aspects of my business that I am not, to help me build.

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Shaloma: What is your why that keeps you going in the “messy middle” between projects? In other words, why does Christina and LoveBrownSugar matter? 

 Christina: My why is really my readers and women of color everywhere, honestly. Every now and again I’ll receive a comment on social media or an email in my inbox from a reader who was inspired by my work – whether it was a blog post or even an event I hosted. Knowing that my work is having a positive impact on the perceptions of women of color everywhere, is really what keeps me motivated. I can’t stop, because someone else in America needs to see a little black girl from Queens thriving and breaking glass ceilings and making a name for herself. So that those preconceived notions of little black girls from Queens change. So that we have more open doors. And so that some little black girl from Queens, who is my age in 20 years or so, will be able to walk with authority and pride in who she is and where she came from.

I’m inspired, I’m conscious, beauty and otherwise. This is all so fitting as Black History Month comes to a close. Ready to break some glass?! Get connected with Christina on her site, where you’ll also find links to her social media pages. And check out one of my favorite projects that she’s involved in: The Style Influencers.  Such a meaningful way to pay homage to our trailbalzers. #weareblackhistory2016. 

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Let’s chat: How are you break the limitations of your world, whatever they may be?

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