Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO

How Quinta Brunson Went From Meme To Screen Queen

“It was time to leave when my ambitions became different than just working a 9-5."

Culture & Entertainment

Quinta Brunson is finally getting all her things and we love to see it. The 32-year-old comedian is the creator and star of her own ABC comedy series Abbott Elementary, which has received a lot of praise on social media. AbbottElementary focuses on a group of teachers working in an underfunded Philadelphia public school while trying to make the best of it.

The show is considered a “mockumentary” and has often been compared to The Office. Alongside Quinta, the series also stars Sheryl Lee Ralph, Tyler James Williams, and Janelle James.

Quinta explained her direction behind the hit comedy show's humor and the decision to stay away from heavier topics in lieu of focusing on the mundanities of life as a teacher. “Our task was always to say, ‘What is really happening in the day-to-day lives of these characters?’ From talking to friends, from talking to my mother [who was a teacher], it’s still the mundane. It’s how funding affects whether or not they can have a music class and what that means for them, like, ‘Oh my god, I won’t get a free period’ or, ‘I was going to get my nails done during their time and now I can’t.’"

"I have no interest in trying to get dig humor out of places where it isn’t. These teachers are still people who have lives, who have relationships, who have fun, who laugh. They deserve to be seen in that light without being bogged down by our stratosphere of otherworldly issues," she continued.

During her recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Quinta revealed that her show was actually named after her sixth grade teacher, Ms. Joyce Abbott, and the host surprised the actress with a virtual visit from the teacher.

But before having her own show, Quinta was a meme legend. Check out the the trajectory of Quinta’s career.

He Got Money Meme

Quinta first went viral a few years ago after she posted a sketch called, “The Girl Who’s Never Been on a Nice Date.” In the sketch, Quinta is on a date at the movie theater and when her date ordered multiple items including a large popcorn, she was taken aback and yelled out “he got money.” Speaking to Seth Meyers, she revealed that she didn’t expect her sketch to become a meme and that she was just “playing around.”


After receiving viral fame, Quinta began producing and starring in short videos for Buzzfeed in 2014. Some of her videos included "Rap Fans Vs. Everyone Else," "You Might Be a Sagittarius If," and "Being Friends With Your Ex: Expectations Vs. Reality."

She then went on to create her first series called Broke, which focused on three friends trying to make it in L.A. The series was produced by Buzzfeed and it was also picked up by YouTubeRed. However, she left Buzzfeed a few years later. “It was time to leave when my ambitions became different than just working a 9-5. Requesting time off to do things like write on a TV show, that conflicted with keeping a 9-5 job,” she said.

'A Black Lady Sketch Show'

The actress went on to costar on HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Showalongside Robin Thede, Gabrielle Dennis, and Ashley Nicole Black. While she only appeared on season one of the sketch comedy show, she was very passionate about working on a show that highlighted Black women in a new way.

"My hope is that even though it's on HBO, younger women are watching who are somewhere thinking, I don't know if I can do comedy. I don't know if I fit in any of the boxes,” she told Nylon. “We'd like to make it so there is no box anymore.”

She reportedly left the sketch show due to scheduling conflicts with her new series Abbott Elementary.

Featured image by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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