Rapper and activist
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.”
Brittney Chantele reads a poem during the Pittsburgh March Against War.