Getting Up Close & Personal With (WETV) "Growing Up Hip Hop" Star, Briana Latrise Isaa
Photo Credit: Briana
Kamara (formally Isaacs) describes herself as a gypsy who spent years moving from city-city between the east and west coast. She said that she never got to know anyone while growing up because she traveled so frequently.
“In moving around a lot, you know how you meet new friends and reintroduce yourself? I started getting bored with the whole concept of ‘Hi, my name is Briana. Blah, blah, blah,’ and the whole repetition of repeating myself. So, I just started making up new stuff,” she laughed.
Kamara agrees that those far-fetched truths might’ve been a little too much, but it definitely had its pros and cons.
Kamara, daughter of label exec Kendu Isaacs, had a pretty rough upbringing. After turning 11, she started doing reckless things.
“My parents were very young when they had me. They didn’t know how to deal with the teenage version of me, when I was trying to find myself, and becoming a little defiant. I ended up doing what a lot of kids were doing... I did a lot of drugs and hung out. I ended up in some pretty unsavory situations, and I’m just blessed to be here,” she resounded.
“My mom and I bumped heads a lot and I ended up getting put out at about 12. I had to figure it out from there.
A younger Kamara
Until this day, we just don’t see eye-to-eye on things. We just learned to tolerate each other’s opinions and standpoints, by respecting one another. Back then, it was like two kids arguing with one another.”
Kamara moved to Miami when she was about 15, trying to escape her own madness of drug usage, by living with her grandmother…
“I thought I was getting away from my problem. I had a drug of choice which was methamphetamine. Anything that I could do, I would do…Once I got to Miami, I found cocaine. I also found ecstasy and a bunch of prescription pills. I didn’t know how bad it was until I was kicked out of school for the third time."
It wasn’t until she visited her mom some odd years ago, that she had a wake-up call.
“I realized that I didn’t have anyone and I was alone. If I had died that night, no one would have found me. So, I went home and knocked on my mother’s door. I rang the doorbell for about twenty-minutes, screaming her name, and she didn’t answer.
When if first walked up, I saw light, so I took a step back and looked. I went around, hopped the fence and went to the living room window, and knocked on the glass. I could see her and I knew she could see me, but she didn’t open the door.
Later in life, she told me that someone told her that I had to hit my rock bottom before she could help me.
That’s when I knew I needed to get it together."
Pictured with her "Boo."
Kamara is 30 years old, with a child of her own. She’s making many positive strides since her younger years of being the uncontrolled and problematic teen.
For instance, Kamara loves painting and she said that Bob Ross (with the psychedelic fro) was her favorite painter and muse.
“I would wait all day to paint those trees just like him,” she said.
“Those trees were inspiration for me. Well, I really couldn’t do those trees until the last decade,” she confesses with laughter.
In her zone
“I paint all day and when I wake up, I treat it like a job. I wake up, roll over, and I look at what the day has in store for me, and if there is nothing planned, I just start painting.”
Painting created during the wee hours
Kamara confirms that people expect her to be perfect, when life itself is the complete opposite of perfection. She also feels misunderstood.
“I think that my entire life, I’ve felt like an alien and not the way that the kids are saying it. I mean, literally, I’ve been trying to figure out where I came from; as far back as I cognitively can see the idea that I might be from another world,” she laughed.
"I’m so different from my mother that it irritates her, but in many ways that we are the same, we irritate each other. It’s just like my father... I look and move the same as him, but our thought process is the complete opposite."
With dad, Kendu Isaacs
Kamara said now that she’s a mom, being a parent is absolutely one of the most difficult things that she’s ever done in life...
“There are no manuals. What do you do?
None of our parents are perfect. Now, they can tell us what they did wrong if they’re ready to admit it. Until then, all bets are off.
I think that my trials made me stronger, but I don’t think anything prepared me for motherhood. I don’t think that anyone can prepare you for a kid… They are who they are and I can attest to that.”
And guess who this kid belongs to?
The multi-talented Kamara also writes business plans for people… “I help them develop their ideas, and that brings me ridiculous joy,” she coos with excitement.
“When you do what you love, you don’t really have to worry about anything else. Keep your faith and stay focused, it will all pay off.
You, do have to make some sacrifices, and it won’t be easy. It isn’t easy not working a traditional job, and thinking you are going to pay bills, but all you do is paint all day. You can make that your business.
People pay me to hangout at my house--- it works for me and I’ve found a way. I don’t like taking money for no reason, so they might pay me, and I cook, or I give organic jewelry that I’ve made.
“I don’t set prices. I gotta work on that. I know that’s not proper business practice, but I’m all about love,” she giggled.
As a photographer, Kamara said that she didn’t learn how to adjust the height of a picture until she was four-years-old.
Behind the lens-- her comfort zone
Kamara recently launched "Truthfull Teas," a new blend of herbal teas which is yummy to the taste buds and easy to digest.
Check out the gourmet tea and the many spices spread across the background/ In addition to her wonderful beverage, Kamara makes all natural Body Sprays, Massage Candles and healthy herbal foods, including kale chips, granola and cereals/ Be on the lookout for the online store.
“The highlight of my day, I’ve become such a homebody. When you’ve spent so many years running around chasing things that you shouldn’t be chasing, you really learn to enjoy your personal time. I will sit home and cook, while creating new dishes and meal plans.
I’m a vegetarian, so I have to get creative with new recipes and whatnot; going from eating meat and fish, to just straight up vegetables, beans and nuts,” she said.
Everyone had a favorite cartoon while growing up, in fact, many kids had a superhero that they identified with.
Kamara said her two favorite heroines were “Storm” and “Rogue” from the X Men. She identified with them because she loves women that are strong and because she was destined to be a strong woman as well.
“I don’t know how I like being a strong woman cause it just means you’re going to go through a bunch of crap repeatedly, but I hear it pays off later, so we will see,” she chuckled.
“I think like Storm--you should channel all that negativity into whatever it is you’re trying to conquer.”
Kamara said that if she could time-hop and see her younger self, she’d tell her, “Listen. Just focus on what you love and paint, paint, paint, paint! Stop smoking, don’t smoke, take your pictures and make your music!
Forget these boys because they will forget you, and even if they don’t, you will have forgotten them by the time they circle back and reach out to you…. Don’t think anyone is going to save you. You have to save yourself. Trust me, it’s every man for himself,” she said.
“Don’t forget to bring people with you along the way, but don’t expect for them to reach back when they make it.”
Fairly recently, Kamara found herself in the center of a domestic violence occurrence. Kamara said that it was habit dealing with the same kind of guy.
“I think when you deal with a specific situation more than once, you aren’t learning from the lesson,” she said.
Kamara is now an advocate for domestic violence victims.
“One of my purpose is to get out here and really express to these young women and men that I’ve been in a domestic situation more than once-- this is not the way.
I also want the young women to know that you do not have to do anything that you don't want to do, and if it doesn't feel right, then it's probably not."
Kamara at red carpet premier of WeTV Growing Up Hip Hop/ She said that she enjoys the show and her co-stars
To follow Karma's wonderful progress, artsy pics and her adventures in motherhood, please visit:
FaceBook/ Briana Latrise Kamara