There's something about sitting on the rooftop of a Hollywood restaurant that invites good vibes and even better conversation. Case in point, Logan Browning and I are tucked inside of a cabana-turned-seating area, sitting across from a skinny-dip worthy pool having casual girl talk about hair over our respective salads. She compliments my locs, I her beautiful mound of dark curls, which are currently slicked back into a ponytail, our conversation effortlessly flowing from relaxers to U-part wigs—black girl magic style.
But as exciting as it is to talk about our hair woes and glows, today I'm meeting with the 27-year-old actress to talk about something deeper. Sacrifices, success, and fearlessly pursuing a dream even when you don't have all of the same tools as your counterparts.
As one of the faces of the Netflix series Dear White People—a television adaptation of Justin Simien's film of the same name—she's finding a greater purpose through her voice. “What I do with my art and my platform I know needs to be bigger than me," she says, and in the satirical series, she's doing just that.
On camera, Browning plays the role of Samantha White, a biracial student at the prestigious and predominantly white fictional college Winchester University, who boldly addresses issues of racism on her campus radio show. Throughout the season, we watch as Sam and her fellow students of color battle against social injustices, creating a feud between the black student unions and supporters of the white-run magazine Pastiche, while juggling their own individual struggles outside of their fight for respect.
Dear White People
Off camera, Browning is equally as woke, participating in Black Lives Matter marches and being unashamed and unafraid to raise her voice on a number of issues from homelessness to the missing girls of color in Washington, D.C. Putting out that energy, she says, is what drew her to audition for the role of Sam.
“I was so active with marches and social media activism and doing my own research, so when Dear White People the series occurred, it felt divine," she says. “I just loved Sam's voice. I loved the way Justin wrote her, and the things he said, I was feeling personally. To be able to recite them as Sam and express them in the way that she expresses them was so liberating because not all the time do I have all of the answers and verbiage to really share how I feel about certain topics. To play a character who was so eloquent and so powerful, it was the perfect opportunity."
Opportunity didn't come without its share of hard work and sacrifice.Though she already had years of professional acting experience under her belt, Browning admits to having moments where she felt that she couldn't measure up to her counterparts who not only had work experience, but years of dedicated training in their craft.
“The wall that I met was during Hit the Floor," she says, referring to her role in the popular dance drama. "I was given a lot of difficult material or material that I didn't know how to handle so I felt like I didn't have the tools. A lot of my contemporaries their college experience was studying theater or they were part of a theater company so for a while I've felt a tinge of inferiority. I had that complex because I didn't have the same training."
Instead of being detoured, she let it empower her. What she lacked in educational experience earlier in her career she made up for in hustle. In between gigs she would take summer classes at UCLA, watch and study footage of performer's she admired, and developed a deeper appreciation for the art that she fell in love with years ago. Her dedication didn't go unnoticed. Amongst numerous submissions for Dear White People, she immediately caught the eye of the show's director.
“I remember seeing her tapes and being so blown away because her interpretation of that monologue felt so honest, and so Sam, but it also felt so singular," says Simien. “It didn't feel like her version of what Tessa did in the movie, it felt like something totally different and new, and she just knocked it out of the park the moment I laid eyes on her tape. "
Dear White People
Going above and beyond and making sacrifices for her career has always been a part of Browning's story. At 14, the Georgia native left her home in Clayton County and relocated to L.A. where she stayed with her godfather, and later her older brother, to pursue her acting career. She picked up reoccurring roles on popular teen shows such as Summerland and Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, but it was her feature debut as Sasha in Bratz: The Movie that proved her to be a breakout star. “I didn't know that it was a big anything to be honest. I knew it was a big deal and I was excited about it, but the scale of it was kind of lost on me because I was just a kid having fun."
After wrapping up her press tour for the movie in the U.K., Browning wanted to continue her studies in business and enrolled at Vanderbilt University, but only stayed long enough to finish out her freshman year before going back out to L.A. “Me and my dad took a meeting and my agents were saying you just did this film, if you want to continue to build on your career now is the time for you to be back out here."
The move proved to be risky. Though she had the success of an international movie, the writer's strike left her without a job in Hollywood for the next year, during which time she picked up a position at Kaplan Test Prep while taking summer courses in Ancient History at UCLA.
Despite her patience, the opportunities still didn't come knocking, and Browning reluctantly started making plans to move back to Georgia when she got a call from a producer at Tyler Perry Studios for a role they were casting for Meet the Browns. Booking the show, she packed her bags, moved back home, and studied Art History at Clayton State while juggling the set life.
After three years, Browning followed her instinct and once again left Atlanta for L.A., but she wouldn't land her next major role in VH1's Hit the Floor for a couple of years. Browning shares that it's not unusual to go to 10 auditions and only booking one role. It's during these times of uncertainty that she was often challenged and her true character revealed.
“I don't shy away from those darker moments. I'm not afraid to be worried and to self-doubt and to question what I'm doing because in those moments is when you come up with your next move, and a lot of times that next move is a big one."
"I'm completely okay with just easing into it. It's just like a rollercoaster, you just have to ride the wave."
As a seasoned actress, Browning has learned that not getting a callback doesn't necessarily mean you lack talent either, it could simply be that you don't fit the look they need for the role. “I think that's kind of how I was able to navigate that experience, understanding that everyone has a different journey, and that if I'm not getting a role it's not because I'm the worse actor in L.A. Understanding that keeps your spirits and your hopes high."
Having the faith that her parents instilled in her at a young age has also kept her afloat during hard times when the only thing she could rely on was prayer and the conversations from back home that reminded her that giving up was not an option.
“My manager gave me this metaphor once like Tarzan in the jungle. You're swinging from branch to branch and you're holding on to one branch and then you're jumping and reaching from the next one. And usually you're able to hold onto one while you reach for the next, so you always have the safety net. But there are going to be times you have to literally let go of one and there's going to be a moment when you're in the air and you're not holding onto anything before you grab the next one. Just do it, because the picture of you hanging on the other one, it doesn't look good either. You're just swinging in the wind holding on to one branch and then you lose your momentum and then what happens? You're not going anywhere."
"There are going to be times you have to literally let go of one [branch] and there's going to be a moment when you're in the air and you're not holding onto anything before you grab the next one."
Dear White People
In the case of Dear White People, it's her personal life experiences that have enabled her to fully transform into Sam.
She's attended a predominantly white college, where she found a safe haven on campus in the Black Cultural Center, and living in the south, it was impossible for her not to witness the nuances of racism in a city that to this day remains self-segregated.
“Growing up Black in Georgia, whether you are conscious or unconscious, you will experience racism. It's just a fact, and in America it's a fact. I've had personal experiences that I will constantly question if the person did it because of the color of my skin. To be honest, sometimes you don't know. And that's the problematic part because when you grow up as a black person or any minority, you are constantly asking yourself if this particular experience is racism."
Browning also acknowledges that like Sam, being of lighter complexion has afforded her greater privileges than her counterparts of darker complexion. It's something that hasn't been overlooked by viewers who've penned pieces pointing out the not-so-subtleties of Coco's character, played by actress Antoinette Robertson, versus Sam's.
“It's almost scary to me to label anything that I have as privilege," she says, her green eyes softening. “But I do have privileges—class privileges, the list is there. And we both feel caught between worlds of being so pro-black, but at the same time feeling like people may say you don't really get it. You think you get it, but you don't get the whole of it. Which is also true, there are experiences that I will not have because I'm not a certain shade of brown. So in that way, Sam and I, we're in the same shoes riding the same boat and just learning how to influence this ass-backwards society that we're in right now."
Regardless of the side of the color spectrum you stand on, you can't deny that the show, which aired April 28, door for a necessary discussion around racism, to the point that it sparked protests against Netflix in reaction to its 30-second teaser released earlier this year. “Sometimes I wonder if I have enough to say, if I have enough in my back pocket in terms of personal research," confesses Browning. “But all I can do is say that God put me in this position for a very particular reason. I have the tools already, and it's challenging me to continue to do my research, continue to read, be open to being wrong and being willing to be wrong, which is the journey that Sam is on, too."
As her purpose continues to unfold, Browning also sees a greater responsibility in the roles that she takes on and what she represents when the cameras start rolling. “As a black woman I have to be conscious of the roles I play because if I feed into stereotypes then young women who are looking at me see their experiences as limited, they don't see the full span of their potential so now it is important to me. I'm not always going to do politically charged art, and maybe I will do more. I just want to make sure I'm telling full and genuine stories that young girls can see themselves in or escape into."
At 17, Browning's gift granted her the opportunity to experience life on a larger level, and at 27, she's just now beginning to leave a mark through her life experiences. As we wrap up our conversation, I'm reminded that purpose is timeless, and that every experience, whether good or bad, paves the road for where we're going and what we came here to do, and that alone is worth fighting for.
Featured image by Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
- I Don't Have Pretty Privilege, My Truth - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Logan Browning On Dear White People Ending - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Giphy