Name: Brittany L. Marshall
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La
Occupation: High School English Teacher
Photo: Leslie D. Rose
Brittany Marshall believes that if her Blackness is not visible than neither is she. The recent LSU graduate who is set to start her first full year of teaching high school English lives out loud with a self-described “sassy” mouth. “I speak my mind when necessary. However, I don’t say that to say living ‘out loud’ is merely reduced to a flippant mouth. For me a part of living ‘out loud’ is allowing myself to be loud in places that only want me quiet. Also allowing myself to be loud amongst people who only recognize bodies and minds like mine if they’re quiet” says Marshall.
As a poet, she credits the role of literature and voice being the most important part of her personal narrative. “I find myself internalizing a lot of what I read, therefore I read literature that was written for people like me and by people like me. This way not only am I gaining insight to my history and culture, but I’m carrying those stories and those people and those images in a body that maybe a little unlike those stories and those people and those images. I like to think I’m adding to history, and literature–especially poetry–helps me do that.” Marshall says. The multilingual educator has many facets to what she describes living an out loud life including being fluent in Spanish when it’s least expected and generally doing things outside of what may be society’s comfort zones. “Sometimes it’s me wearing big hoop earrings and a taper fade because women are expected to have long hair. Sometimes it’s speaking AAVE (African American Vernacular English) when I know I should be code-switching. Sometimes it’s me being the only Black person in an all white place. Sometimes me living “out loud” is wearing men’s clothing, which calls attention to myself and I enjoy that because look at me damn it. Look at me! Anything I can do to require or FORCE people to look at me is me living “out loud.”
Brittany Marshall takes pride in the diversity of her Blackness and the way it is distinctive from other folks around her. That celebration of self is not a one-dimensional identity and is what makes her uniquely singular as well as a part the cultural collective. “My Blackness differs from my friend’s which differs from my family’s which differs from my colleague’s so in centering my own version of Blackness, I’m also centering possibility and authenticity and freedom.”
And with that Brittany Marshall is undoubtedly BLACK OUT LOUD!
Black Out Loud Conference
August 10-12, 2018
Baton Rouge, La
Register at www.blackoutloudbr.com
Words by Donney Rose