We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle “Yelly” Crenshaw and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danielle “Yelly”, where are you from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m originally from a really small town in Kentucky. It was a pretty good place to grow up but lacked a lot of what you would find in bigger cities like diversity. Everyone was pretty friendly, southern hospitality for sure. I think that impacted how am I now because I get along very well with people. I like learning new things and experiencing new cultures since I didn’t get that growing up. So when I first moved here when I was 19, I was super open to everything.
Please tell us more about your work. 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?
The main thing I try to focus on with Bad Kollective is giving up-and-coming artists a voice. They’re just starting out their career a lot of the time or choosing to take it more seriously and big names they wanna get recognized by aren’t really looking for the “little guys” until they have some clout. So, I’m trying to swoop in early like, “Yo, I’m already here because I care to know about you as an artist and as an individual and I want others to know about you.” I think that’s what sets Bad Kollective apart from others and I’m super excited to see where I can take it in the future.
I had thought on the concept of what Bad Kollective is today, back in like 2015, maybe even a little before then. It wasn’t as refined and I didn’t know how to execute the idea at first. I was new to Texas, to Houston specifically in 2014 and the first year I didn’t have any friends here or know really anyone. Then I started going to Texas Southern University in the fall of 2015. I met people, made friends. I had a professor, who actually was a director and shot loads of music videos for big artists we know and he used to show us in class and I would think like this is dopest thing ever. Then I was like I’m trying to work with artists for sure. I didn’t have any equipment that I needed or know anyone else that was doing what I’m doing with Bad Kollective. So like with anything I do, one day in 2016 I literally was like this is what I like. This is what I’m interested in, so I’m just gonna do it and not wait anymore.
It has not been easy. It’s gotten a lot easier now that I know more people that can help with specific things, but at first, it was a lot of figuring out things alone. I still do pretty much everything myself, but I do have some great friends that are also creatives that are helping with some of the projects in the future. I’m very grateful and excited about that. It’s hard to do it by yourself. I’m extremely independent so I have a hard time asking for any type of assistance with anything. I’ve learned that it’s okay to ask people to help you because no matter what you try to accomplish in life, you always need some type of help to do it.
Every experience I have, every city I move to, every person I meet…it’s all shaping me. There’s always going to be something new to expect. I always have a plan brewing. I want people to know that I’m always evolving as a person, as a creative, as a professional. You will see that reflected in Bad Kollective and my other personal brand projects I do. A lot of hard work, 4 a.m editing sessions, planning, and all types of stuff go into the finished products you see. I hope people can appreciate the work for what it is and what I’m trying to convey with everything that’s created.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m honestly almost always working on something, so I don’t know what’s going on half the time in the city until someone brings it to my attention. Google would absolutely be getting used every day of the trip to figure out what to do. If I was forced to plan a whole itinerary it would be 90% restaurants, because who doesn’t want to go eat? That’s like my number one activity here. I definitely gotta take them to the Galleria just for the sheer fact it’s huge. It’s odd that’s an attraction here, but it works. Axelrad is a must and Little Woodrow’s on Thursdays for turtle racing. Those have always been my two favorite spots in Houston when I have gone just because I like the atmosphere, it’s very chill. I should go more, but I work a lot. I really like museums but no one ever wants to go. All my friends like to do, the ones that would be trying to visit anyway, is go to clubs and bars which is not what I like to do often. If I can convince them of a museum visit for tourist purposes I definitely will.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My dad definitely is a big part of introducing me to the world of photography. When I was growing up he always had a camera and was taking pictures of like any family event and then also a lot of nature photography and entering those into local photo contests. He got me a camera when I was in maybe early middle school and from there I used it to take photos and make videos with my cousin and my best friend. So that introduction from an early age, to being a part of my high school’s student ran news show, to me going to college for a media-related degree all helped birth Bad Kollective.
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