Image source: Riker Brothers
Quinta Brunson has had a formidable career as a producer, actress, and writer, and now she is adding a writer to her growing résumé. On June 15, the 31-year-old published a collection of essays about her life and career, perfectly titled You memes well. Although Brunson has drawn fans with her writing – including her Instagram series The Girl Who’s Never Been on a Nice Date and her various series on BuzzFeed – she was initially skeptical about sitting down to write a book. "At first I had the feeling that I wasn't talking about anything," she told POPSUGAR. However, after speaking with her publisher, she found that her experience with the Internet was "a unique experience for the age of social media sharing".
"My experiences in the digital world became things I wanted to talk about," she added. “Also, my unique experience as a young woman who switched from digital to traditional media, and also as a young black woman, and what that meant in this world too. Although the book is not just about it, it was built. ”From this idea, even with the title, You memes well, based on my experience of being a meme so many times, and that led to what is the idea of a meme? Share a moment. And that became the basic idea for a book that defines moments worth sharing in my life that I felt made me who I am. "
When Brunson started writing her book, one of the hardest parts was actually figuring out what message she wanted to send to readers. "What is it that I want people to know about me and my ideas about the world, and making sure I believe in what I'm putting out became really important to me," she said. "Which meant I had to check into myself all the time. It's strange. It's like therapy on yourself, which I think is a unique process."
Image source: Sela Shiloni
One particular finding that Brunson hopes readers will learn from the book is the importance of accepting evolution. "I just look at this book as another form of creative output," she said. "It's only more personal because it's specifically about me, but it's important and part of evolution to find the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it is. I really hope this book will appeal to young readers. I really wanted young people." , women especially, to embrace the evolution of themselves and know that they won't always be where they want to be, but as long as they stay focused they will get to a version of that career when I started thinking I would move on SNL, I thought I was going straight from an improvisation level to the SNL, and so it didn't happen. But I never got upset about it, I just embraced the changing tides and just kept with my plan of doing comedy. I want younger readers to see this. I think young people are under a lot of pressure to be extremely successful and to be that version of success that may not be realistic. What is realistic is that you allow yourself to grow into what you are supposed to be, and not a version of what you think you are. "
"A lot of what we do for social change takes place on the Internet and I don't want the history books to forget that."
In addition to discussing their personal development in the book, Brunson touches on the evolution of the meme and notes how they have sparked important conversations about politics and race recently. "I would be remiss if I didn't talk about what memes have done for our political movements, how much they informed people, and how much they mobilized," she said. “I often see the social media element being left out of the discussion about organization and mobilization, and I think that's so wrong. A lot of what we do for social change is happening on the internet and I don't want the history books to forget it because it's not easy to write about or because they want to ignore it. People still want to ignore the internet and it's like, "What?" It is more important now than television and film. We get our news from the Internet. I didn't want to do that in my book. I didn't mean to ignore what is a big part of how we have these changing days. "
Although the internet has done a lot of good, Brunson understands that there are two sides to the coin. "I saw how it turned out very positively and I also saw how it turned out very negatively," she said. “There was just a documentary about QAnon on HBO and you can see how social media fueled things for the worst, and then you can see how social media fueled things for the better. Our conversations about downtrodden people in America and other countries have changed so much because the internet gives us more information and that is absolute proof that people can now connect in additional ways than ever before. It's up to us how we want to use these vehicles, but we can't ignore the fact that social media is a big part of our social and political movements. "
Since the ongoing discussion about black creators is not receiving proper recognition for their work, Brunson hopes that black creators will not be discouraged from creating. "I have a thought that may not be popular," she began. "For me, I kept my blinders on and just kept moving. People don't even make this world, in the current state in which it is, on purpose, they just inadvertently don't write credit to the black creators. I don't know what it is, but there is this strong division. It's wild. I don't want it to discourage young blacks and other color creators or oppressed groups. I want them to move on. I want them to believe in themselves and They almost ignore them, ignore people who ignore them. You will find your way, you will find the people who support you and stand up for you. "
"I know it's hard not to be discouraged," she added. “It just happened to me at TikTok. Currently, people are using my voice on a TikTok that went viral, but credit to the voice is due to someone else who first used the TikTok presence. And what should I do about it? I could have a fit, I really could, but I just don't feel like it. I want to do the things that matter most, but what I want to do too is to give creators the space to feel the way they feel. If there is a Creator who says, "Damn it, no, give me my credit," then you will be fine with that. But I don't want it to keep people from leaving their mark. I want them to keep going because I think it's important. "
Image source: Riker Brothers
After the publication of her book, Brunson is still busy creating. In addition to joining the cast of TBS & # 39; s with Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi, their ABC comedy Abbott Elementary School – which she creates, writes, produces and in which she plays the lead role – was recently commissioned to series. The show is certainly close to her heart as she was inspired by her mother. "My mother was a teacher in a public school and I wanted to do a show about teachers," she said. “I introduced it to some producers as an animated show three years ago, but there were other projects, so we submitted it. Then they came back to me before the pandemic and said, "We think we will do this now when you are down." Then during the pandemic everyone started to appreciate the teachers [more] and the conversation about what teachers were doing came to the fore. Now I'm really inspired to tell the stories about what teachers in these schools are actually doing, especially underfunded schools I've tried to tell a lot of different stories but this one is the one I'm most emotionally invested in. I think this is the most important story I've tried to tell. "
Looking ahead, Brunson added that she doesn't necessarily have a particular career bucket list. Although she would like to write a movie that she is currently working on, she stated that she was "more of a life person than a career person". "I want to have a baby, I want to have a farm and then add to my career. I just want to have my family and also take care of my family and my community, which I think," I will be able to. For me, this show is part of nurturing my community where I come from and that is important to me. And not just in monetary terms, but also in storytelling. "