Courtesy of Brooke Obie

5 Questions With xoNecole's New EIC, Brooke Obie

"My goal is to build upon the legacy of sisterhood and community Necole and the xoNecole team have diligently created."


Brooke Obie is xoNecole’s new editor-in-chief, and this sister has the career receipts that prove that she’s set to take the platform to the next level. Let’s start with the proof of real skin in the media game: She is an award-winning journalist, whose work has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Essence, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and many more.

The Hampton University and Mercer University School of Law graduate has served as the co-editor of Roxane Gay’s The Audacity, the deputy director of Refinery29 Unbothered, Ebony.com’s first editor-at-large, and as managing editor for Shadow & Act. She is also a TV and film critic who has a voice and perspective to be reckoned with.

Her smart and thought-provoking film and TV insights and cultural criticism have had a viral allure, which is not surprising. (Just go read her telling commentary on the “zombification” of Whitney Houston, and you’ll see why.) Her critiques have enhanced the cultural conversations of shows and panels including NPR’s 1A Movie Club.

She also took her writing passions further with her debut novel Book of Addis: Cradled Embers, which was honored with the 2018 Accra International Book Festival Awards’ Independent Writer’s Award, the 2017 Phillis Wheatley Book Award for First Fiction, and the 2017 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Award for self-published Fiction.

“What began as a way to pay my bills while I finished grad school and my debut novel turned into the most fulfilling career I never could’ve imagined for myself,” Brooke said of her start in journalism in an interview with xoNecole.

Courtesy of Brooke Obie

In 2019, she was named one of The Root 100’s most influential African Americans in 2019 for her viral and exclusive interview with the family of Dr. Donald Shirley, “How ‘Green Book’ And the Hollywood Machine Swallowed Donald Shirley Whole." And she has interviewed icons of entertainment and media, from Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Maya Angelou to Ava DuVernay and Aretha Franklin.

Now that's she's adding xoNecole's EIC to her resume, we sat down with Brooke to ask five key questions about her career passions and the impact she expects to have in her new role. The multi-hyphenate gives insight into her hope for all Black millennial women:

1. How did you first find your purpose and passion in journalism?

"I’ve always been a writer and loved storytelling, but it wasn’t until I graduated from law school and began a career crafting other people’s messages and stories that I felt an overwhelming urge to find my own voice and help tell Black women’s stories. I started a blog about my life in D.C., which won a few awards and led to me being a contributor for the newly-launched Ebony.com. My first professional editing job came by chance when I filled in for my editor when she went on maternity leave and I’ve been an editor, writing and helping other Black writers craft their stories ever since!"

2. What do you wish to accomplish during your xoNecole tenure?

"My goal is to build upon the legacy of sisterhood and community Necole Kane and the xoNecole team have diligently created. I’m blessed to be among such phenomenal Black women and I want to continue to cultivate an environment where our audience and our internal team feel seen, heard, and empowered."

3. We talk a lot about self-care and work-life balance. How do you create that for yourself?

"I have a hard stop time every day and I reserve my weekends for myself and my personal projects. I respect other people’s work-life balance as well and make sure to schedule emails instead of sending them during times when I know people are offline. I also schedule breaks in between meetings so I can decompress. Prioritizing outdoor time is also huge for me. I hike on the weekends and jog or walk during the week to make sure I’m getting vitamin D. And I am in daily contact with the people I love and who love me.

"I believe in Audre Lorde’s definition of self-care as a community effort that works when we can all experience rest and take care of ourselves. I’m always looking for ways we as a community can help shoulder each other’s burdens so we can all be well."

4. How has where you've been in your career led you to where you are now?

"I’ve had many different careers and have worn many different hats over the years, but the one constant in all of them is storytelling. I started off in journalism as a freelance contributor and have worked every journalism job on the way to editor-in-chief. But what I believe led me here is beyond journalism skill and experience. My heart is for Black people and our stories—one of the most powerful tools we possess for our liberation. I’ve been so blessed to spend my career in Black media, amplifying our stories, cultivating emerging writers, and providing space for us to be challenged, to grow and expand in our imagining of what’s possible."

5. What do you think is missing in this space for Black women, and how do you seek to fill that gap?

"The beautiful thing about a community of Black women is how diverse we are. I want to create more spaces for Black women across the Diaspora, across sexualities, across sizes and shades, and beyond the binary to share their stories and experiences. I’m excited to create content and curate experiences for us to all learn from each other, understand each other better and grow together.

"More than anything, I want Black millennial women to be free and well. I hope that we seek out ways to get free and to free each other; to be well and lead each other to wellness; to love each other and love ourselves, every day. We deserve it all."

Featured image courtesy of Brooke Obie

The emergence of a week-long tension headache told me that I needed to figure out a way to minimize and relieve my stress. In addition to daily magnesium supplements and meditation, I also found myself wanting to orgasm (the health benefits are hard to ignore) and do so at least every other day.

I was determined to set the mood and engage in some erotic self-focus by way of masturbation, and I wanted to do so with a little more variety than my wand vibrator provides. My commitment to almost daily masturbation was affirmed even further with the arrival of what would become my new favorite sex toy, the viral Lovers’ Thump & Thrust Dual Vibrator.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

If there is one artist who has had a very successful and eventful year so far it’s Mary J. Blige. The “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” shut down the 2022 Super Bowl Half-time show along with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, and Eminem, she also performed at NBA All-Star weekend and now she is being honored as one of Time's most influential people of 2022.

Keep reading...Show less

These days it seems that we’re all trying to heal from childhood wounds, and though I’m a big advocate for cutting people off – family included – I’ve come to learn how challenging that actually is. But also, it’s not always necessary if you have a parent who is open and committed to doing the healing work along with you, a mother, for example, who is receptive to her truth. But this also means you are receptive to the reality that parents are humans who often take cake crumbs from their parents and so on. It’s not to say that you have to accept piss-poor treatment because they’re human, but if any of us are going to embark upon a healing journey, we must acknowledge even the difficult truths.

Keep reading...Show less

Queen Latifah is saying no to unhealthy and dangerous lifestyles especially when it comes to her career. Since the beginning, the rapper/actress has always been a body-positive role model thanks to the range of characters she has played over the years that shows that size doesn’t matter. In an interview with PEOPLE, The Equalizer star opened up about taking on roles that don't compromise her health.

Keep reading...Show less

When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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 Getty Images

Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts