Brionna Taylor Interview
Respect: What sparked your interest to pursue a career in media?
Brionna: While other children were watching cartoons and Disney Channel, I spent my time watching documentaries and talk shows. I watched everything from The Oprah Winfrey Show to Planet Groove on BET, and The Bonnie Hunt Show to Kris Jenner’s Talk Show. There was always something with storytelling that resonated with me. I quickly saw that there were a lot of unique and powerful stories out there that the media often ignored or overlooked.
One of the main reasons I pursued a career in the media was to help give a voice to the voiceless and the many undeserved and overlooked communities. You don’t have to have a big name to have a significant story. I’m here to find and showcase those powerful stories. This purpose is what has driven me throughout undergrad, graduate school and my career. This is also part of the reason why I created the talk show E-Koh (pronounced echo), where celebrities, rising talents, and locals are invited to a platform where they can share their unique stories.
I have always been an old soul. People often ask me how long I’ve been in my career as a journalist and multimedia storyteller. I tell them my whole life. I have always observed and listened to the world around me. I love listening to people and hearing their stories. Starting when I was 10-years old, adults would always converse with me as though I were the same age as them.
On many occasions, I even found myself giving life advice and relationship advice to adults well into their thirties. After these conversations, they were always taken back that they really had opened up to a child. But, in a unique sense, I could tell by sharing their stories and having someone to really listen to them, it created a greater sense of healing and peace in their lives. This always stuck with me and played a major role in my career choice.
Respect: How did you get your start in media/journalism field and why music specifically?
Brionna: I can truly say I have been in the world of journalism my entire life. I was born a journalist. That was then maximized in undergrad when I became an official NCAA sports reporter and videographer and then starting my junior year in undergrad I became an official photographer for the Dallas Cowboys and AT&T.
Very early in my career, I was afforded amazing opportunities to be trained by many Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award-Winning journalists. By working under these amazing professionals and teachers, it played a significant role in how I view the world of journalism and the media. While just in undergrad and all before age 23, I broke exclusive sports and music stories for top publications such as ESPN, AfroPunk, Okayplayer, D Magazine, World Boxing News and more.
I specifically take interest in the music side of journalism and the media because music is a universal language. When you really break down everything from the lyrics and all the way down to the instrumentation and video treatment, it’s storytelling at it’s finest. By showcasing artists and rising artists it helps to further allow individuals who haven’t always been able to share their stories with the masses to finally be heard in a universal way.
I always say I want to use my platform to help bring healing and music aka universal storytelling is able to do that. When you look at it deeper, you don’t even have to speak the same language to be affected by a powerful song or piece of music. It breaks all barriers because it can immediately touch the soul.
Respect: When did you catch your big break?
Brionna: I caught my big break when I broke the story on Zach Witness featured in D Magazine. He was formally known as DJ White Chocolate and was a musical prodigy. Zach even produced Erykah Badu’s latest album, But You Can’t Use My Phone. My first article was not only in a major magazine, but it was also on the shelves of Barnes & Noble, major newsstands, and convenience stores such as CVS in the U.S. This story ultimately helped launch my career as a storyteller, and things began to take off for me like a domino effect.
Respect: What was the inspiration behind starting your own television show?
Brionna: I always wanted my own talk show and I quickly saw that there was a huge gap in the industry. A lot of people with great stories were being overlooked. This is also part of the reason why I created the talk show E-Koh (pronounced echo), where celebrities, rising talents and locals are invited to a platform where they can share their unique stories.
Additionally, a huge inspiration behind starting my own talk show was I wanted to bring back true journalism and storytelling that’s past tabloid and gossip tv. It is my main goal to help expose my generation as well as others to true storytelling in a fun and modern way.
Respect: How important is it to you to have a voice as a black woman in the media as you use your voice to provide new opportunities for talent?
Brionna: As a black woman, diversity is very important. I have made it a point to tell stories from a diverse group of people and they’re worth hearing no matter what ethnicity they may be. Every culture and individual has a special influence on society and offers something different. When you really look for good stories, you end up with diversity. That’s what makes a story unique and powerful.
I try to give opportunities to all people it doesn’t matter whether you’re young or middle-aged nor a gangster or janitor. In my career and with my platform, I’ve sat down with a monk one day and a gangster the next. There are so many unique stories out there. I want everyone to have an opportunity for black and other ethnicities.
I have even traveled to India and saw how heavily Hip Hop and Black culture has influenced their various forms of storytelling. It’s a great thing when we can blur racial lines and come together and collaborate to tell our stories. I hope the doors that have opened for me will help inspire others to pursue their dreams and maybe even enter the world of journalism to make their special impact on the world.
As she continues her reign on the industry, be sure to follow Brionna Taylor on instagram @brionnat_.
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