IS THIS MIC ON CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER: BRANDI BARNETT

we recently spoke with BRANDI BARNETT OF BRANDI'S FOODIE DIARY  to learn how she is amplifying her voice through her brand. 

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My voice deserves to be heard because....

...My voice deserves to be heard because I am a woman who has been through the fire and come out a diamond. I believe that the only way people can see hope, is through their faith, and by seeing other people go through the same struggles we've dealt with and coming out on top. I've overcome a poor self-image, low self-esteem, and not really having much to being a woman who mentors children and females and shares my passion for food with the world. The reason why I chose food as my avenue to connect with others, that is something that transcends differences be it age, social class, ethnicity, gender, or any other dividers. Food is a place where everyone loves to connect and share their love.

When I finally gave my notice to start my own business, that's when I truly found my voice..

When did you find your voice?

Finding my voice is an on going process, and it comes in stages. I've never been one to follow a crowd, and as I was younger that caused me to spend a lot of time alone. As a result I grew depressed, but still didn't give in the peer pressure. Through college I learned that it was ok to be different, though I still struggled with wanting to be accepted for my being different. After college when I entered the real world I went through different ups and downs that caused me to find strength in the Lord and ultimately find love in myself. I gained the confidence I needed to not only pour into myself, but also have some left over to pour into others. I'm excited about the journey ahead.

Jordan Gill of The Kolada Group

Did your upbringing shape who you are today?

My upbringing certainly shaped who I am. Being raised by a single parent father, and coming from a family of single fathers or men who were married to their wives raising children, I had a very strong positive image of the black man. Society, media, and those around me would try to bash our black men and have people think that they are no good, but I never took on this opinion. I couldn't. Because I knew that this just wasn't true. Was this the reality for some? Unfortunately so, but it's not the case for all. If we pour into our young black men and give them mentors and change the narrative we can reverse this negative stereotype. Also growing up in a Christian family caused me to have morals and standards at a young age. I didn't fall into a lot of the temptations that my peers fell into. I struggled with my faith at the time, but I've grown to appreciate it and thank God for my grandparents helping me to find Christ at a young age.

Describe your journey? What was your defining moment?

I started sharing my passion for food through Instagram. It was a natural thing. I love food and wanted to share that with my friends and family on my personal page. People started noticing it and would ask me for recommendations for birthdays, anniversaries, and other celebrations. I loved when I would be able to recommend something to them, and they'd enjoy it. We live in an information society where people are eager for quick access to information that will help them determine what they should or should not do. I noticed a lot of the food bloggers I followed would rave about places, and then I'd get there and they would be blah. Nobody has time or money to be wasting, so I decided that I'd become an influencer and put a voice of truth out there. I also wanted to build that brand so that eventually I could start to connect people at the dinner table. Connect people who otherwise wouldn't know each other so that they could have conversations they normally wouldn't have. I'm not where I want to be just yet, but I've started my blog, I'm growing my audience, I've had my first event, and it's only up from here.

Advice to someone in search of finding their voice in the entrepreneurial, influencer and creative space.

You've got to connect with other creatives. You've got to find people who aren't hush - hush and secretive with what they're doing. That is our biggest downfall. There's enough support out here for us all to make it. Find people who are about building and not just about themselves. When you find those creatives who are open to you hold each other accountable and share your talents with each other. If possible collaborate on some things and help each other to grow.

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Who is_______?

I am Brandi and I am a social media influencer. I bring a voice of truth in the culinary world and share my journey one bite at a time.

How will you continue to amplify your voice?

I am hoping to take my voice to the next level by starting my own business. I'm praying to God on the direction of that business, but be on the lookout because it's coming.

Food photography by Brandi; Personal photo by C. Rene Photography