We had the good fortune of connecting with Lynae Vanee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lynae, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
In my very first session with my therapist, she dropped several gems. One stuck with me the most, she said “Remember who you are, because this world will make you forget.”
I’m sure she’s not the first person to say this, and I’m sure I’ve seen different iterations of it before this particular session, but I so needed this statement in that exact moment. I love this quote because it reminded me that I don’t need to second guess my talent, my content, or whether people will like my new ideas. The proof is in the pudding, and I have evidence to show that my intuition is all the confirmation I need (with a lot of direction from God lol but you get my point).
As a social media influencer and a content creator I often find myself holding back from releasing new types of content because I am worried about how it will be received. And in doing this, I subconsciously slow down my own track toward success because I wonder if people will unfollow me or become disinterested.
But what I must remember, and what anyone who creates or takes risks on themselves, must remember, is that if you have evidence that you have a good thing going, the people who need to believe in will believe in it. – But only if you believe in first.
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My poetry, my comedic timing, my poetic method of articulation, come together to form what I consider to be protest art. Yes I talk about black issues, but I also I connect the dots across race, class, gender and barriers of sexuality to reveal a bigger picture for all races to discover what black experiences really entail.
My art aims to demystify systemic oppression, to deconstruct whiteness, and to dismantle American lore – all while making people laugh and cry happy tears. But ultimately my artistry is about making people feel seen, and therefore, in and of itself my art is a protest to erasure.
I am extremely proud of the growth my platform has experienced in less than a year. In 10 months I’ve gone from maybe 2.5k – 185K followers on instagram, accrued 115k on Tik Tok, and though I haven’t built a strong following on my YouTube and Facebook pages yet, I’ve accumulated over 7 million views across platforms. It was certainly a period of rapid growth, with a couple of stints of going viral, but by no means has it been easy. I quit my job as a high school teacher in September of 2020 to fully dive into this work, but staying disciplined has been a constant effort. I’ve also had to develop patience, increase my expectations of rigor for myself, and just continue to show up for myself everyday.
Beyond going viral though, what I am most proud of is the actual change my content in making on the world. I am making my mark sure, but to hear the feedback I get is really what makes me work feel like a success. I’ve received testimonials in my DM’s, people have shared how their families sit down to watch my content or their work friends wait together on Friday for me to post so they can discuss. This content is starting the conversations, breaking down those walls, and getting such important messaging out to even the most unorthodox viewers. Black, white, hispanic, asian, indigenous, Greek, Italian, Australian, Caribbean, South American, Russian!!!…people of all kinds are learning more of what it means to be black in America. And because of this I think my forefathers and ancestors would be proud of me; proud know I’m still pushing for them to get their flowers and for us to get them while we are still here.
I’ve also had to adjust to the fickleness of the internet. It can be an awesome tool, but it can also be a trap. It can leave you vulnerable to attack and being pulled into the superficiality of it all. As a consumer of social there were a couple of rules of thumb I came in with like “only say what you can back up.” “don’t argue with people in the comments,” “don’t read the negative comments,” “don’t post what you have going on every five minutes.” And while some of these I’ve been able to stick to for the majority of the time, I realized it’s different when you are on the other side. So I;ve had to adjust and gain clarity. It hasn’t been perfect but there’s definitely been a learning curve.
I’ve learned so much about myself in this process as well. I’ve learned that things I thought at one point would break me have only made me stronger. But most, I’ve learned that everything I’ve wanted or dreamed that I could become is becoming, and what’s more that I deserve it.
What I want people know most about my brand, is that I am who I am today, I am who I’m becoming, because I decided to be who I needed. I decided to fill in all the gaps I was missing as a young girl, and as a young girl in grown woman’s body. (Because if you know anything about black women we are constantly fighting for or because of the little girl in us).
People always asked me who was my idol, or what woman I looked up to the most as a young girl. I could say Brandy’s Cinderella, Penny Proud, or even Beyonce, but if I’m being honest I could never pin point one person. And now at 26 years old, I think that’s because that woman, wholly and completely, hadn’t been invented yet. I had to become her, for her to exist.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
So I’m definitely taking her to Stockyard Burgers and Bones in Vinings. They have this burger with gouda mac and cheese and apple butter bbq sauce that is to die for. Then I’m taking her to Tin Lizzy’s downtown for a cantina skillet. Oh and then Pappadeaux off Windy Hill Rd. Clearly I love food. And if there isn’t an American Deli where she’s from, that’ll probably be what I send her on the plane with. There’s also a cute candy shop in Phipps called River Street Sweets. We’ve gotta go there for a Carmel apple covered in pecans!
As far as things to do I’d recommend the Center for Civil and Human rights, The SpoCha/Round 1 at Cumberland (or Main event if she prefers later tag), and I’m not much of clubber so I’d be no help there. But if she’s looking for a good Brunch I’d send her to Icy’s in Decatur, Simons on Juniper St, Negril on North Ave, Thumbs Up on Edgewood if she’s looking for something chill.
Look at me, talking about food again. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I just want to shout out my mama, who “always knew I was destined for greatness.” She tells me this everyday on the phone lol.
I want to shout out my family, my boyfriend of 4 years/photographer, and my friends who all believe in me, lift me up when I need it, gas me up when I deserve it, and keep me grounded when I need it.
I want to shout out all the praying women in my lineage who willed my path into existence.
And lastly. I want to thank Dr. Brittney Cooper, who helped me discover my own superpower after reading Eloquent Rage.
Kyle Woodruff Julian Williams John Diere Aaron Walton