Rapper Da Brat’s 25-year journey in coming out
When Da Brat came out publicly last March, it ended so much speculation about the rapper while fulfilling a 25-year journey for herself.
Brat had posted an Instagram post in March confirming her relationship with Kaleidoscope Hair Products CEO Jesseca Dupart.
Dupart had elicited the post from Brat after giving her an early birthday gift, a white Bentley tied with a red bow.
Da Brat on being with The One
In an interview with Variety, Brat said that despite preferring to stay quiet about her personal relationships, she couldn’t do so with Dupart, especially since she’s ‘the one.’
“I’ve always felt like being private is the better way to go, because then you don’t have so many people in your business,” she said.
She added, “I was fine staying quiet, but my partner is a social media mogul– that’s how she became who she is.”
“And when you get with somebody, you have to meet in the middle. So to me, the middle was just letting everybody know: ‘Hey, she’s the one’,” she declared.
She further admitted that she hadn’t planned to come out, such that she hadn’t even notified her longtime manager about it. But it was her decision to stay private, not her managers or the industry.
That’s why when Jesseca posted the picture, Brat said: “I was like, ‘Oh s—! I just came out after 20-something years!’ But it feels good to share with the world when you’re happy.”
From church choir to a rapper’s mic
Born on 14 April 1974 in Joliet, Illinois, Brat– real name Shawntae Harris– was raised on the West Side of Chicago.
She attended church service four times a week, singing in the choir and learning how to play piano and drums. She said: “All that musicality from church plays into who I am as an entertainer today.”
The strict dress code and traditional ideas about gender roles also had a strong influence on Brat as she grew up.
She learned to play different brass instruments at Kenwood Academy during her sophomore and junior year, but she also ran track and played basketball.
She graduated from the Academy of Scholastic Achievement, a continuation charter school that caters to at-risk students in 1992.
A female rapper breaking the mold
Brat got her big break in 1992 when she won the grand prize in a local rap contest backed by Yo! MTV Raps and she got to meet the young rap duo Kris Kross, who introduced her to the producer, Jermaine Dupri.
Dupri went on to sign her with his So So Def Label and tagged her as the “female Snoop Doggy Dogg,” one of the first female “reality-based” rappers.
Her first album, “Funkdafied” in 1994, made her the first female rapper to go platinum as she sold one million copies. During her career, she garnered two Grammy nominations.
Presently, Brat is getting a lot of airtime– but as a radio personalty and as a television co-host. She’s on the nationally syndicated “Rickey Smiley Morning Show” in Atlanta, and she’s part of Fox’s syndicated “Dish Nation.”
She’s also doing a tour with the “Set It Off” stage production, based on the 1996 female heist movie that starred Vivica Fox, Jada Pinkett, and Queen Latifah. Brat is cast as the lesbian character, Cleo.
Da Brat on coming out and her family
While public support has been overwhelmingly favorable, Brat admitted her coming out will be challenging given her church background.
She said, “Oh, my God, the reaction made me feel like, ‘Why didn’t I do this s— years ago?’ I got so many positive messages, phone calls, and I had at least 1,500 texts. My DMs were flooded too.”
However, she said her mother isn’t “like, jumping for joy. She’s not going to condone it, but she loves me unconditionally. No one in my family has said anything bad or degrading.”
Though she had dated both guys and girls before, she felt for a long time that she was bisexual. But with this admission: “Now I know it, and I’m able to say it. I did this on my own terms.”
And as she celebrate Pride this month for the first time loud and proud, she said: “To me, Pride is loving myself and not making excuses for anything: Live in your truth.”