Briana Isaacs Opens Up About Growing Up Hip Hop, Family Drama & More
Growing up in the entertainment industry is difficult. For Briana Isaacs, daughter of Kendu Isaacs, music executive and former husband and manager of Mary J. Blige, growing up in the industry definitely had it’s ups and downs. She’s had some very public struggles that have played out before our eyes, including battles with drugs and homelessness. Briana has also had it out with her parents for lack of support, particularly when she was pregnant a few years ago.
Now, in a much better place, years later, Briana is back in the limelight, and on a reality show. The latest addition to the WE TV series, Growing Up Hip Hop, Briana joins a cast that already includes Romeo Miller, Angela Simmons and Kristinia DeBarge.
Drama seems to follow Briana Isaacs around like bad luck, so the season finds Briana in yet another difficult situation in her life, but once again she has over come.
We caught up with Briana Isaacs to discuss her role on Growing Up Hip Hop, the spousal support battle between her father and Mary J. Blige, her brand Truthful Teas and much much more. Check out the full interview below.
Original interview posted on http://theofficialao.com/ | Reposted with permission.
EJ: You are somewhat of a quintuple phenomenon in this business. Mixed Media Artist, Entrepreneur, Photographer and newest cast member of WE Tv’s, Growing Up Hip Hop, where do you find the time to get it all in?
Briana Isaacs: I’ve always been a busy body. When you’re busy with things you enjoy, it doesn’t feel like anything other than enjoying the life you live, you know? I’m also ridiculously good at multitasking.
EJ: Being the daughter of record industry executive, Kendu Isaacs, and step-daughter of Mary J. Blige, is it hard to live up to the expectations the industry must have for you?
Briana Isaacs: Absolutely. I never really know what it is that people expect of me before they interact with me, but I always get a surprised reaction. It used to really bother me that I wasn’t receiving the support I felt I should from my father with my own endeavors but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and hopefully smarter.
EJ: Your dad and step mom are really heavy in media right now, do you think that the media is blowing it up and treating your family unfairly?
Briana Isaacs: Maybe this is some grand life lesson from the Universe… for the both of them. I think that it’s interesting to me how people talk about my father like he never did anything. (Laughs) Like he’s begging for money out of nowhere. They were together for 17 years, he managed her career, I don’t understand why everyone is acting like he’s not entitled to normal alimony or maintenance. (Laughs) Seriously. I don’t know. I think people are weird. I never understood society.
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EJ: What is the one thing you want everybody to know about your family that they should be reporting on?
Briana Isaacs: I think everyone should be reporting on things that matter: that plastic pit in the ocean, the alarming rate of children with cancers, air and water pollution. Or even better: report on how to fix these problems. But again, I never understood society.
EJ: Switching gears, talk to us about the process; how did you first hear that you would be on the show Growing Up Hip-Hop and what was your response?
Briana Isaacs: Honestly, a good friend of mine called me one day and asked me to interview. I had previously turned down several offers from various realities shows, because that was never something I cared to do. As I favor to my friend I agreed to go on the interview and while there, they sold me a dream. I was actually supposed to be on a different show, don’t know how much I can say about it as it’s still in the works, but I felt comfortable with the producers so I agreed. While filming though, my whole world kinda fell apart, piece by piece so it probably makes for good entertainment. We shall see, I guess.
EJ: Are you used to the cameras following you yet and how does it feel being the star that you set out to be?
Briana Isaacs: I actually never set out to be a star! I just wanted passive income. I don’t ever want work to feel like work. I’m getting used to the cameras, but it’s not easy. I was completely uncomfortable the whole time and it probably shows in many of the scenes.
EJ: You are an amazing artist! How did that talent develop and what do you see for the future with your work?
Briana Isaacs: I’ve been creating since I could talk. It’s just who I am. I don’t know what the future holds and I don’t like to pretend to, but I can guarantee that I will not stop creating. To stop that would be to stop living.
EJ: Like many teens you experimented with drugs and alcohol and it had a real affect on your life, can you share some of that with us?
Briana Isaacs: I wouldn’t call it experimenting so much as jumping off the deep end. I was in a lot of pain, like my whole life, and I never really learned how to process what I feel. One day I found something that temporarily made it go away and I just got lost for a while. Very lost. I will say that I’m thankful for it. I got lucky, I still have all my teeth and most of my hair. Looking at me you can’t even tell and of all my cronies from those days, I’m one of only a few still really living. So I’m grateful. I’d be a waste of a testimony to not strive for success. I have to show my child what it looks like to get through the fire, you know? It’s still a work in progress though.
EJ: What advice would you give other teens that could give them some direction to replace substance abuse?
Briana Isaacs: I’d tell them to find an outlet. Art, poetry, music, sports, education. Focus your energy on productive things. Invest that energy into yourself and it will greatly pay off in the near future. Not everyone gets a second chance, and you don’t want to be one of the many who doesn’t. Art saves me. Every day.
EJ: You have your own brand called “Truthful Teas”, please tell us about that?
Briana Isaacs: Truthful Teas is a line of herbal, organic teas that I personally blend and sell. About a year ago I added bath and body products, and massage candles to the line up. Since then we’ve also recently added snack foods and such. I’m currently re-branding as I’ve acquired a new partner and I think we could use a restart.
EJ: Whats next for you?
Briana Isaacs: I’m currently working on a few projects: some apparel, maybe a book, we’ll see what I’d like to drop first. I’m just taking the paths of least resistance. Working on not stressing so much so I can live happier, longer.
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