Faces of the Goddess – Krystal Joy Brown
October 5, 2020
Krystal Joy Brown is a multi-talented Broadway actor. In 2020, Krystal appeared on Broadway as Eliza Hamilton in the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning mega-hit musical, Hamilton. Krystal has appeared on Broadway in Rent (Mimi), Hair (Dionne/Abe Lincoln), Leap Of Faith (Ornella), Big Fish (Josephine) and Motown: The Musical (Diana Ross.) In 2018 she starred in the Huntington Theatre production of Man in the Ring, directed by Michael Greif and written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Michael Cristofer. She is a two-time Fred Astaire Award nominee for her performances in Big Fish and Leap of Faith. Krystal Joy Brown voices the character of Netossa in the DreamWorks/Netflix animated series, She-Ra Princesses of Power, and will be will be seen in the upcoming Disney+ live-action feature film Magic Camp with Adam DeVine and Gillian Jacobs. Krystal has guest starred on NBC’s Law & Order: SUV, Hulu’s Deadbeat, ABC’s Castle and Disney’s Sydney to the Max. She also starred in the Nickelodeon TV Pilot Storyforia! As a songwriter, Krystal’s original music has been featured on ABC’s The Neighbors & Mistresses. In 2019 Krystal made her directorial debut with the short film, Reddy Records. She is the co-host of the podcast How We Do This. Krystal Joy Brown is an avid activist for mental health, wellness and social justice initiatives and resides in New York City.
1. Who and what is foremost in your heart? (Who and what in your personal life is most important to you?)
My family. My mom, sister and grandmother. The women who raised me and inspire me daily. The women in my life who have known me and grown with me, my best friends-Karen, Brooke & Natalie, who support me and have been my best friends since college. It’s the incredible women in my life that show me what unconditional love is and push me to be strive for better, always. Also, my puppy Ajay. He’s such a joy to have through everything. So precious and reminds me to play, be present and don’t take anything too seriously.
2. How would you describe your work? How does the work you do impact consumers / environment / world?
I feel like I work so many jobs but at the heart of it all I am a storyteller. I have those jobs that pay me and those jobs that feed me mentally and spiritually. Pre-pandemic, I was starring as Eliza in Hamilton on Broadway. Being a part of that show has been profound professionally and personally. I watched audiences being transformed, empowered and proud. Being in that connected space with everyone sharing a once in a lifetime moment, eight shows a week, is an extraordinary and transcendent thing. It means so much to me to be a part of art that inspires people to be better, learn more, and get active. I know Hamilton actually changed lives, gave hope to many and also revived the Broadway theatre community. It reminded us that the best art is the most inclusive and audiences respond well to diversity and non-traditional storytelling. I am actress, writer, director, voiceover artist and activist. I believe acting is just psychology, the study of human behavior and the way the mind works and why we do what we do. I think we love theatre, film and T.V. because we are trying to figure out how our emotions work. How do we behave in complicated situations. We take ques from the media we ingest to try to better make sense of the world. I hope that the storytelling I get to apart of invokes conversation and connection. I think representation matters, so the world seeing people of all backgrounds being excellent should move & inspire us all.
3. What are you most proud of?
I have been in 5 Broadways show, in TV shows and on film but I can easily say my proudest moment happened just recently, for the first time ever I created and organized a protest in June in alliance with the Black Lives Matter Movement and Global Gay Pride. I wanted to lend the incredible talent of Black Broadway to the BLM movement as well as amplify the voices of those most marginalized in Black Society, our Black Trans siblings. It was a joyous event that was a celebration of life, self-expression, self-love and to support for those who need it most. We even had free Covid-19 testing, free HIV-testing, voter registration, performances, drummers, dancers, spoken word and heartfelt speeches. The whole day was beautiful and full of hope and love. I am so proud of what we created, and I know that moment has changed me forever and how I will approach life, well, everything I do, forever more.
4. Which is one cause / organization you want us to know about? What would you like to see happen?
It is so hard for me to choose one! Mental health is very important to me, particularly in Black society, so supporting organizations like Black Women’s Health Imperative, The Okra Project and Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective is important to me. There is so much healing to be done and we really cannot start healing the world until the internal work is done. I truly hope that all the momentum the BLM movement is getting right now translates into people really taking a look and swift actions to correct systemic racism. In the past I have lent my voice to raise awareness and solutions on Prison reform, wage gaps, global women’s rights, health care, sex trafficking, homelessness, LGBTQIA rights, child welfare and the child and mother mortality rates in Black Women. We can live in better, more equitable society and we deserve to create that for ourselves and the generations to come. I am also passionate about the environment and especially our consumption of single use plastics. I believe there are so many eco-friendly plastic alternatives out there that new need to turn to in order to start reversing climate change. There is simply so much work to be done but I believe we can be the change.
5. What are you most passionate about sharing with others at this time?
VOTING! We must all participate in our democracy and that means voting and being active in our government on every level. For all the beautiful and impassioned protests, we see, I hope we get people as excited to vote and engage with our governments and legislators to make the changes we want to see for our society.
Getting To Know You, the GoddessName – Krystal Joy Brown
Nickname – Ginger
Hometown – Alexandria, Virginia
Current Location – NYC
Vocation – Performer/Artist/Creator/Activist
It’s 3:30pm, what are you drinking? Fresh made juice I made myself
Favorite place you’ve visited? Tulum, Mexico
Currently Reading – On Earth We Were Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
Currently listening to – Podcasts nonstop, I love podcasts. But for music it's Jessie Reyes & Black is King - Beyonce
Favorite Sustainable Fashion Brand – Brother Vellies...AMAZING SHOES!
Who was / is your favorite pet? Ajay- my dog (current) & Lucky- my cat (passed)
Next destination on your list? South Africa with my grandmother
What is one of your superpowers? I try to engage people in meaningful ways that can lead to them opening up. I am terrible at small talk.
What was your first job? Or what was your most random job? I worked at clothing store at 13. Most random job: Go-go dancer
Who introduced you to your industry? My big sister, Katrinah
Best advice you’ve been given? You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
Best advice you give? Never be afraid to live as fully and as boldly and wildly unique as you can. Life is short.
Current pleasure? My weekly family zooms and my WOC book club
What is something or someone you’re coveting at the moment? Beyonce’s vision, self- expression and ability to uplift Black society.
What is one sustainability practice you incorporate in your work/life? It is important to me to me give my emotions space, so I have learned/been working on acknowledging my issues, pain, disappointment, anger allowing them to exist and then letting them go so I don’t get wrapped up in addictive trauma practices. It is easy and many times comforting and familiar to luxuriate in the negative and I literally started setting 15-30 minute timers on how long I could vent of complain about something. Then I need find solutions or do something that makes me feel good that isn’t self-destructive. Life is too short to focus on the negative. Process it and let it go. And: Play. Things, life needs to be and feel fun. I have to incorporate play into my life to make sure I am enjoying life and not taking things too seriously. Whether its games with friends, playing with my dog, traveling, hiking, drawing or bowling, I have to take time to laugh and rejuvenate my spirit as fun, loving person. This world can easily make you hard, depressed and serious, we have to combat that with playing like a child & finding moments of unadulterated joy.
What is one part of your process that surprised you when you started?? It quickly became easier to make issues “right sized” and not harp on the bad stuff. I am here to cultivate joy, love, creativity and positivity and that focus makes me feel much more align with who I truly am. And playing allows my brain to think outside the box, restore and rebuild a better, more positive rewards system for myself. Playing allows me to free myself and it translates in my work and relationships. Both things allow me to problem solve better and communicate better with those around me.
Who is a thought leader you admire? Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – reading black feminist literature has opening myself up to a radical self-love and self-acceptance I didn’t even know I was missing in my life.
What / who represents Beauty to you? Self-love represents true beauty to me. If you love yourself, you can probably love others better and that is a beautiful thing.
What does Beauty mean to you? To me, beauty means radiating life.
What is one Self Care practice you enjoy? Meditation. Been pretty sloppy and inconsistent about my practice lately but that’s the beautiful thing about mediation, its personal and you can always restart when you're ready. It’s like a bath for your brain...warm & cleansing.
What is one change you hope to see in the world that you make an effort to embody? Authentic self-love and expelling limited, lack-minded beliefs. I think so much of the world’s problems come from our inability to love and care properly for ourselves and that in turn translate to everything we do and how we care for the world. It’s not vain, narcissistic, self-congratulations but an internal fire of love that makes you demand better for yourself, your treatment and care and in turn you see that that is what everyone deserves. We can’t live in a lack-minded space for an ever- expanding universe. We have to expand our thinking and knowledge to know and believe there is enough space and resources for everyone. We don’t need to hoard anything, “the world is wide enough”. (Hamilton reference, Ha!)
You’ve been given a magic wand, what is your first spell? End poverty.