Brit­tney Chantele

Rap­per and ac­tivist

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - Sunday Magazine - — Scott Mervis, Post-Gazette

Brit­tney Chantele is a mighty force with a bull­horn, as she demon­strated while co-lead­ing the charge dur­ing the Ant­won Rose II protest marches.

She’s also a rap­persinger from the 1Hood Me­dia crew who can show a ten­der side, as she did last year on her de­but al­bum, “A Fire on Venus,” a de­par­ture from her ac­tivist lean­ings.

“I had a lot of songs re­lat­ing to love and queer­ness and even abuse within re­la­tion­ships,” she said. “I was a lit­tle bit hes­i­tant if I wanted to put that out there, be­cause a lot of peo­ple see me as an ac­tivist and an artist, and I was like, ‘Is this al­bum in the realm of ac­tivism? Are peo­ple go­ing to think I’m done talk­ing about real [stuff]?’

“It was sort of like a push and pull for me, but I’m happy that I did it.”

What peo­ple might not know about the 26year-old Ms. Chantele — who was born in Erie, raised in Oak­dale and now lives in Garfield — is that she spent seven years in the Army Na­tional Guard, af­ter sign­ing up when she was 18.

She’ll be ad­dress­ing some of the hard­ships she en­coun­tered there, no­tably sex­ual as­sault, on what prom­ises to be a po­tent sec­ond al­bum, “The Golden Op­por­tu­nity.”

Ms. Chantele — cit­ing her early in­flu­ences as Michael Jack­son, Nas, Amy Wine­house, Bob Mar­ley and Des­tiny’s

Child — be­gan work­ing on her own mu­sic in early 2016. Af­ter re­leas­ing an EP, she hooked up with Jasiri X and the gang at 1Hood Me­dia, a non­profit that sup­ports young artists with a so­cially con­scious out­look.

“1Hood has helped me in so many ways, not just mu­si­cally but also help­ing me with val­i­dat­ing me in my iden­tity as a per­son of color,” she said.

“I know my priv­i­lege in my skin be­ing white and me be­ing white-pre­sent­ing, but it’s been dif­fi­cult to re­ally dig down into my black eth­nic­ity and also be ac­cepted by the black com­mu­nity. Jasiri and 1Hood has re­ally af­firmed me and val­i­dated me as a per­son of color and they pushed me to tell my story.”

Alex Driehaus/Post-Gazette

Brit­tney Chantele reads a poem dur­ing the Pitts­burgh March Against War.

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