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
November 2014 was the month/year my whole life changed. I woke up! The things I felt confused me and scared me. I realized I had been lied to my whole life about almost everything. I realized those lies subtly shaped how I felt about myself and everyone that looked like me, and I realized my dark black skin is not a bad thing. It is beautiful. Since this realization, I have strived to show every King and Queen that they too are beautiful in every aspect.
My life long goal has always been to simply help people. To get closer to this goal, I started coming up with ideas at the beginning of 2016. I wanted to do something I would be proud to put my name on, something that could reach and empower masses. That sparked the clothing line idea. Then Ranesha called me with the same idea so we decided to team up and make it happen. We chose to call our line Brazen Apparel. To me Brazen shows strength, power, and boldness. We could not have picked a better name to stay true to our ultimate goal: to encourage you to love and be proud of everything about you.
— Dezare Wonzo