We had the good fortune of connecting with JaVonni Brustow and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi JaVonni, why did you pursue a creative career?
I have always been surrounded by the arts. I went to one of the top art schools in the country growing up, Davidson Fine Arts in Augusta, GA. I grew up under the wing of an uncle that’s a fiber artist that taught various classes from crochet design, cross stitch etc to which I’ve tried them all and sold work of mine as a teenager. I started web design the hard way back when we had to use html code for social media. I was an assistant choir director and over the years I came across so many talented people, I wanted to highlight them as much as possible, which is how my celebrity news site PopGlitz.com came about.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
PopGlitz.com and VM3 Media is dedicated to covering and promoting pure talent and those who deserve the spotlight and not just the ones who get it from shock value. As someone who grew up both as a choir director and concert producer, my view of talent’s a little different because the litmus test on talent in church is a little bit higher than the industry as a whole. I try to write with a purpose both with something to learn from the pieces we do and to interview people who have inspirational stories to tell or talent that deserves extra attention. I belive good karma comes from not being selfish. The more I’ve taken myself out of the equation, that’s when I’ve experienced the most success.
Has any of this been easy? Absolutely not. One of my earliest professional examples was Mariah Carey. And it wasn’t because I have a similar 5 octave range, but she’s a woman who was told she was done for and to retire at 30 and we saw her make a comeback 5 years later. Similarly around 20 I was voted out of the gospel production company I created over just suspicion of being gay at the time which was a very long and drawn out ugly fight. I simply quit all creative work for years. It was a time you probably wouldn’t have wanted to be around me. I reminded myself that if she was able to pull herself out of that rut, you can do the same. It also gave me a permanent soft spot for the underdogs.
What I try to remind myself is that pulling through is important because there is someone out there who can benefit from your story. I’ve encountered people over the years who gave up on dreams of theirs that try to project that same energy onto others that I’ve learned to tune out. So long as you are always working in the direction of what it is that you enjoy and are staying true to yourself, that is what matters. I’ve had countless friends I’ve been a reassuring voice to letting them know that people love them for who they are and that there’s no reason to conform to any stereotypes to fit in because it worked for others. Imagine a world where Lady Gaga, Lil Nas X, etc. all tried to fit in. And most importantly, when the safe choice presents itself when making decisions, whatever you do, run the opposite direction running and screaming. You’ll thank me later.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ve been in central Virginia the last 3.5 years from Washington, DC and with the community group Petersburg Solution that I helped create, I spend a significant amount of my time promoting the positives of my city of Petersburg, Virginia. One of the first interviews I did was with the owner of the coffee shop Sweet Blis Cafe. The owner, Amy Crump gets about 3 or 4 lattes out of me whenever I’m there. I just gave a former boss of mine a tour of the city and this is where we started.
Similarly, while showing family around my city recently, I took them to the soul food restaurant Ta Bon Fry which is shocking considering I’m not even a soul food fan. Their food will make you change your mind. Also, as a majority black city, a good amount of downtown isn’t black owned, so I was happy to see a black owned restaruant opening.
And lastly, jut a few minutes up the road in Richmond is Southern Kitchen Restaurant in the Jackson Ward neighborhood, also formerly known as Richmond’s Black Wall Street. The decor is absolutely gorgeous, and while dining with the owner’s son-in-law for a meeting, the owner, dubbed by some as the new Queen of Black Wall Street gave me a rundown of the restaurant’s history from being in what was the first black owned hotel in Richmond and other efforts she’s making in helping to revitalize the neighborhood. And while I’m a light eater, I couldn’t get enough of the food. It did not underwhelm one bit.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Aaron Myers is a DC area jazz singer I’ve known for about a decade who I will never forget shamed for writing for someone else and told me I needed to have a website of my own. He even said to either “sh** or get off the pot.” He asked what was I waiting for and when I went home, I stayed up and created PopGlitz.com that night. So he will forever have credit for helping give me that push. And from music to writing and politics, when I want a sane adult voice to go to, he’s one of the few I have on speed dial to call.
Photo Credits: VM3 Media