We had the good fortune of connecting with Janaya Britton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Janaya, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
My favorite affirmation is “I know who I am. I know where I’m from. I know what I know.” I created it after experiencing a hard case of imposter syndrome. The situation left me deeply questioning my truth, so I needed a constant reminder for myself. To me, the affirmation is a form of grounding. It reminds me that I am in certain spaces because of who I am and where I come from. I deserve to be in these spaces and I am more than capable of being successful. I am intelligent and iconic because it is in my bloodline. My family and my hometown are a huge part of me. It’s a boundary too. It’s me saying “You have no power over me because I know myself too damn well.” I own my narrative and I am proud of it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a jill of all skills, but to sum everything up? I am a cool black girl who creates cool things. I am a writer, creative director, stylist, model, singer, entertainer–I do it all. I’m also the Founder and President of Me-lationship which is an inclusive self-love organization.
I feel like what sets me apart is that I am me. My core self is still very true to who I am now. Some people become prone to want to fit a mold or completely alter themselves. I simply don’t care enough to exert energy into that. Even if I did, that’s not how God made me. I was born to stick out like a sore thumb. Being myself brings all of the joy and success that I desire in this life. I am not afraid to admit that I am not perfect or I sometimes don’t know what I am doing. I don’t always feel confident. I don’t always feel sure or in love with myself. I just know that being me is the best thing that I can be and I am meant to be where I am right now. My passion is fierce. Everything that I do, I care about it with every fiber of my being. I’m also a pretty good dresser :). I have a good eye and appreciation for things that may be unconventional or outlandish for some. My talent is making “weird”, old, or overlooked things look fly.
I have zero clue how I got where I am now…I just chuck it up to being myself and God’s grace. It definitely wasn’t easy. I fought with myself constantly. I had to make a lot of tough decisions. Sometimes I gave up because it was too much to bear at the time. I paused projects because I was emotionally, mentally, and physically drained. Honestly, it is still a challenge. Before this, I was in a state of mind where I was trying to figure out what I really want to invest my passion into. So yeah…I have zero clue what the TRUE formula is. I am still figuring it out. I’m just a young black woman wingin’ it. One thing I know is I am meant for something bigger than myself. I just gotta keep on truckin’, man.
One lesson that I’ve learned is that you can only focus on what you can control. My mother tells me that all the time. I can’t sit and be stressed about external things or how others may move or react. I can only control what I do moving forward. I can control how I carry myself, how I move through my emotions, and how I want to leave my mark on this Earth. That’s it. Another lesson is learning how to be in the now. I am either heavily reflecting on the past or fast-forwarding to the future. Sometimes I forget to take in what’s in front of me. That lesson is still a work in progress, but I’m learning. The last lesson is to be patient with yourself. Sometimes we can be too focused on age-defining goals or what others do, which can cause us to want to rush our process. You are you and they are them for a reason. Everyone has their own story and divine timing. Things might not come when you want them, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come. God is always on time, babe. Be patient and your manifestations will come tenfold.
A favorite quote of mine is “Honey, you’ve got a big storm coming” and I feel like that would be the perfect thing I would want the world to know about me. I am a force to be reckoned with. I have something to say and great things to contribute to this world. The wheels are already in motion. Whether you’re ready for me or not, I have already arrived. I’ll just get better and better with time. I’m that girl. Period.
I am here for the empowerment of myself and the black women and girls that are in front, next to, and behind me.
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?
I’m always trying to put people onto this vegan soul food truck called Lindiana’s. I’ve been a faithful customer for 3 years now and I still cannot believe it’s vegan, so we would have to start there. Another place that has to be a stop is Blck Market Houston. If you want the FULL experience of culture, food, shopping, art, and blackness? You have to go visit. Exchange to Change is always a go-to suggestion because they have dope, affordable pieces. Also, their events? Amazing. Cidercade would be on the list too because you simply cannot pass up $10 admission to play unlimited arcade games. A TSU tour would have to be included on the itinerary somewhere.
For a little turn-up? Grooves or Kamp. The food at Kamp is spectacular, we would have to get a loaded baked potato with smoked turkey. Honestly? The tour will consist of food and shopping.
Stuffed Baked Potato Factory, La Calle…the list is LONG, honey! Every person that visits Houston has to try Frenchy’s, whether you’re a chicken fan or not.
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?
I would love to give a shoutout to God. I wouldn’t even be here to share my story without Him. I want to give a shoutout to my family for believing in my crazy ideas and allowing me to be myself. Shoutout to my ancestors for passing down all the coolness and wisdom. Their resilience is why I am here and I am me.
Shoutout to my close friends and sorority sisters for inspiring me, cracking me up, and keeping me sane. They always show up and show out.
Jordan Carter, the QUEEN of Millennial Merch, is truly an icon. She reminds me that anything is attainable. Whenever she does anything, I instantly become a fangirl. I’m just so proud of her.
Miss Kaye, the owner of Washington Ave Vintage, is the most hardworking person I know. It’s been an honor to be under her wing and learn from her. She’s a super dope individual that has carved her own lane in the vintage world.
Nnenna and Jonay at Exchange to Change also inspire me because they’ve cultivated such a freeing space for creatives to be themselves. The shop has helped me grow in so many ways and they are another example that I can do whatever I put my mind to.
To the ILLUSTRIOUS Texas Southern University. My HBCU is dope, so I’m dope by association.
Lastly, shoutout to my mommu cause she deserves all of her flowers.
Angelek Jordan Jaya Nicole