Ivirlei Brookes says a person's commitment to 'dismantling racism and white supremacy' becomes their identity
In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), the actress turned business and mindset coach elaborates on how White people can be better allies to the Black community
Actress turned business and mindset coach, Ivirlei Brookes recently went viral across social media for her honest and informative video on how non-Black people can become better allies to Black people. In the emotional video, which was uploaded to Instagram, Brookes did not indulge in any blame game but provided a constructive and realistic path as to what White people can do to make a difference. The video, titled 'White Women who Truly Want to Help: Here’s how', talks about how one can help make a change and how one needs to be very committed to doing that.
While speaking to MEA WorldWide exclusively, Brookes said, "The commitment means that you are not just caring because its a trend or caring cause it's on social media but you are really taking the time to reflect." She added that one must think of how they have contributed to what the world has become. "You are taking as your own personal responsibility to change it. So that means, doing your own work, your own self-reflection, your own personal work as well as stepping up and trying to make a change not only in your circle or among your own friends and family but in your community and the world. So, it is being committed to doing that," Brookes added. In the video, she also speaks about how one has to figure out how to change what they identify with and what their identity is. "All of us have a sense of our own identity and that includes all the things that make us who we are (where we are from, our family, how we look, our skin color) and a lot of times, we don't identify with other groups because we don't deal with what other groups deal with."
"And so, being a person who is committed to dismantling racism and white supremacy means that it's a part of who you are now, it's a part of your personality. It is a part of how you operate in the world and that may be very new to some people so it is an act of changing or improving what you would call your own identity," she revealed. Brookes highlights the importance of having a voice and using it to speak up against racism and racial discrimination. In the 12-minute long video, she speaks about how a White person really has to commit to being a very vocal friend no matter what that means.
According to her, if someone overhears a person making a racist comment, it's not enough to dismiss them for being racist or ignorant and just move on. One should take that moment to use their voice to be an example of change. While speaking about what drove her to make the video, Brookes shared, "I was feeling very down that day and feeling very sad. As the protests were starting and the violence had begun, I felt very down and exhausted. When I went on to the Internet and saw many of my friends feeling the same way -- my friends, who are Black, feeling the same way, exhausted and very low -- I said, 'Okay, let me try to make something that will ease the burden for people who look like me'."
"If someone is asking them questions, just send them this video. So, I really made it for Black people to use as a tool so they wouldn't have to exhaust themselves explaining everything and I got on Instagram Live with a total of 11 people there," she added. "I wasn't going to post it but my fiance said, 'You really need to post that video, I think it will resonate'," she revealed before adding she hesitated but did end up uploading it after which it went viral.
Brookes who is now currently working on a book on re-shaping identity received an overwhelming response to the video which has seen many grateful social media users thanking her for sharing it.