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Local Jewelry Designer Creates Bold Baubles

Bold and beautiful. It’s definitely the name of a daytime soap opera (that I indulge in from time to time!), but the words could also be used to describe the type of jewelry that Houston designer Jessie Dugan makes.

When talking about what inspired some of the best-selling pieces in her line, Dugan points to a rock collection passed down to her from an uncle.

“He left me his rock collection, and a lot of them were Texas-based rocks. I was always fascinated with that because I don’t think you really see that much natural stone,” Dugan says. “It’s got a little bit of glitz and glamor to make it more elevated, and it’s an easy way to make a statement.”

The statement Dugan’s jewelry is making seems to be pretty loud. Aside from her background in high fashion, she’s also got genuine rockers wearing her glitzy rocks! You can find out who and and read the full story on CultureMap.

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Brittaney’s Beat from Episode 10 of Medulla Talk

This week in Brittaney’s Beat, I’m talking about the cult allegations against R. Kelly and the implications of that, the meaning behind the names of Beyoncé’s twins and what rapper Kendrick Lamar did for one of his long-time fans in Dallas.

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Introducing Brittaney’s Beat

I’ve always loved everything about the communications and journalism field, whether it’s having the opportunity to tell Houstonians’ stories or seeing what new aspect of the industry I can dive into.

That’s why I’m excited to announce that I’m now part of the weekly radio show Medulla Talk. The show itself airs on Houston’s Afrovibes Radio, a growing online station that live streams content 24/7. Medulla Talk explores a variety of different topics like education, relationships, and societal issues with the goal of driving conversation and getting people to not only think, but meaningfully engage.

My segment, Brittaney’s Beat, comes in with the pop culture/entertainment angle. It’s a fun break from tradition for me in that I can really insert my voice into these pieces and give my take on some of the most-talked about stories in that genre. You can listen to the first segment I did below. I’ve also created a playlist on my YouTube page.

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Kind is the New Cool

We’ve heard about wearing your heart on your sleeve, but what about proudly displaying your kindness?

“Kindness” is one of the five values you’ll find at the core of Unitee, a kid’s T-shirt brand launched by Judy Le, a local leader and co-founder of the company, Take Root, and Ericka Graham, founder of the non-profit, Project 88.

I recently interviewed both women about their values-based clothing line for kid’s. Why so much focus on values?

The duo says the T-shirts are about highlighting the great things that come naturally and already live inside kids, such as friendship and the ability to reach out to others or getting back up and trying again, even after you fail. In addition, values are things we can all agree on.

“We don’t want to be a T-shirt company that is trying to tell parents how to parent,” Graham says. “We feel like the point of Unitee is to become aware and realize when kids are being kind because they already are or when your kid takes off the training wheels, you realize that as being courageous.”

To find out what inspired Le and Graham to launch the line, read the full story on CultureMap.

A (Rockin’) Night at the Museum

You normally wouldn’t go to the Museum of Fine Arts to stargaze but anything can happen during Super Bowl weekend. The kind of stars I’m talking about also aren’t typically seen in the sky. But they did shine bright at Rolling Stone Live!, the event I covered the Saturday night before the big game.

Once the celebrities hit the red carpet, it felt like the party had already started and that was before headliners DJ Cassidy, Diplo, Big Sean and Nas got there. You can read about the antics that ensued here or check out the full story under the pictures.

Stars clown around and put on a red carpet show at Rolling Stone Super Bowl party

We haven’t even made it through Super Bowl LI yet and already comedian JB Smoove had a suggestion for next year’s half time performer. “JB Smoove, of course. Next question!” Jokes, laughter and antics were just some of what could be heard and spotted on the red carpet at the Rolling Stone Live! party that had the atmosphere feeling more like a comedy club.

From NFL players Eddie Lacy and Brandon Williams dancing to Anthony Anderson breaking up Smoove’s interview (they hugged it out right after that), celebrities from the entertainment and sports world got things rolling early at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Saturday night.

In fact, former Bachelorette Andi Dorfman called out reporters for being too tame. “Why are you so quiet? Am I going to have to put on some music on my phone?” It might have been a little quiet on media row, but the evening’s performers would more than make up for it.

DJ Cassidy and Diplo were set to take the stage along with Grammy-nominated rapper, Big Sean, who stopped to take pictures and sign autographs for fans waiting outside the red carpet area on Montrose Boulevard, not far from Hotel ZaZa. It turned out to be a prime spot to sight celebs. Entourage’s Adrian Grenier ended up going over to meet fans, as did Houston Rockets star Sam Dekker when he arrived around midnight.

Busta Rhymes showed up later for a surprise performance with Diplo.

To be one of the main acts, multi-platinum artist Nas slipped onto the red carpet quietly, letting his jacket do the talking with the words ‘Unity Is Power’ on the back. He walked in around 10:30 pm and his name came up often when stars like Eddie George were asked who they were excited to see. “I’m ready to see Nas because he’s one of the legends. I’m a big hip-hop fan, so that’s what I’m looking forward to,” George said.

Appearances came early and often with Alyssa Milano, James Ihedigbo, Warren Sapp, NeNe Leakes, Cynthia Bailey, Cameron Jordan, Delanie Walker, Finesse Mitchell, Olivia Culpo, and Odell Beckham Jr. arriving within the same hour.

MFAH as party venue

One thought that crossed my mind was how the Museum of Fine Arts would be turned into the party venue that athletes including Ezekiel Elliott, A.J. Green, Antonio Cromartie, Jaelen Strong, Devon Still, Sterling Shepard, and Victor Cruz would flock to.

I got my answer when a mix-up got me inside about an hour before the event started. A huge DJ booth on the second floor lined a wall showing projection art. The space that normally has only a few seats for museum guests to watch the installation was filled with leather lounges and tables. Across from that, Mercedes-Benz, a sponsor of the event, had a convertible AMG GT C model on display.

White Mercedes-Benz sports cars were also parked outside the museum in contrast to the splashes of color being thrown onto the exterior of the building.

Back on the red carpet

Back out on the red carpet, expected questions surrounding the Super Bowl like “What do you think Lady Gaga is going to do during the half-time show?” or  “Who do you think will win?” dominated the conversation.

But you can’t talk about the big game without talking about the big city hosting it. “Houston is relatively easy to get around, hospitality has been great, the food has been excellent, and it’s been easy for a long week,” George said.

Minnesota Vikings’ Andrew Sendejo also praised the city, calling Houston his second home since he graduated from Rice University. He struck several fun poses on the red carpet.

Celebrities continued pouring into the party with Jerome Bettis, Chanel Iman, Darrelle Revis, Rashad Jennings and Caroline Wozniacki making it in before midnight. Fans who stuck around long after that were also able to see Gordon Ramsay, David Schwimmer and Adrienne Bailon.

 

 

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Demo: Deputy Darren Goforth Memorial

Deputy Darren Goforth’s death shook a community and I think you could really say — the nation. I’ve never seen complete strangers rally behind this man’s family the way the public has.

What was it that made everyone respond the way they did? Was it the way he was killed? The community’s outpouring of support has been stunning and it was clearly evidenced at the gas station the day this story was shot.

It was the first time that I’d been on a hard news assignment like this one. Even seeing the blue ribbons on the trees as we approached the gas station where the deputy was killed gave me chills. In that moment, everything that I’d heard about the story in the news (and written about it since I WORK in news) had become reality. The massive memorial was no longer just video or pictures used as broll for VO or SOTVO. It was live, right in front of me, with literally hundreds of people shuffling in and out, to pay their respects, take a picture, or just get a glimpse of it.

The ringing theme that stuck out to me from those interviewed was the deputy’s death was senseless. That was what the people we spoke to said repeatedly, bringing some of them to tears. It was difficult to watch them cry or feel that sadness. But it also gave me a taste of what I may experience as a reporter and further confirmed why I want to be in this profession – to do the stories that have value, give meaning and show we’re all in this together.

Take a look at my demo below. This did not air. I wrote the script.

 

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Beauty Collaboration

I’m working with beauty blogger Nicole Kestenbaum to produce beauty videos for her lifestyle blog Lipstick and Brunch. We just finished her first video featuring a beauty recap of Nicole meeting celebrity make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury, a look at her favorite lip color picks for spring and her review of the jewelry loan program, Rocksbox.

I’m excited to be part of this opportunity as an editor and videographer! We plan on producing more videos that include interviews, beauty event coverage, tutorials and product reviews.

Check out the first one below. I’m always open to feedback!