Darmirra Brunson Darmirra Brunson

Vixen Chat: Darmirra Brunson Talks Comedy, YouTube Show & More

Darmirra Brunson may not be a household name just yet, but give her some time and this budding comedian will be sure to take over your laughing chords. The Baltimore, MD native and Los Angeles transplant always had the gift of comedic relief, naturally following in the footsteps of her father fellow comedian Darryl Brunson.

The 25-year-old ventured into the realm of YouTube to display her talents for the world, birthing the popular YouTube channel The Darmirra Brunson Show. Itfeatures popular videos such as “Shit Beyonce Says” and “Shit Rihanna Says” and has over two million page views and 40 thousand subscribers to date.

Vixen caught up with the aspiring actress/comedian to talk about her sketch comedy channel, her future aspirations and her original character Gretchen Murdle.--Johnathan Cruse. Photography by Matt Stasi.

When did you first realize you had the gift of comedic relief and voice impersonations?

It really came from my dad and just growing up in the house with someone who is constantly making you laugh and you realize how much of a gift that is and you just naturally take that on. And as far as the voices go, I was always really heavily involved in the performing arts and just playing different characters and different roles. It really allows you to see what your voice can do and the range you have. As far as the celebrity impersonations go, I didn’t tap into that until about few months ago. I recently auditioned for In Living Color and one of the people they wanted you to impersonate was Beyoncé. I remember trying it and the people were like, ‘That’s pretty good.’ So with that, I said I will continue to run with it and see if I can get better with it.

How did the idea of having your own YouTube channel come along? Did you have any personal influences that pushed you along to create one?

I actually had a YouTube channel up for two years and one of my most notable videos that was up on that YouTube channel was the ‘Chris Brown and Rihanna Fight Night Scene’ when we are in the car together and we basically re-enacted that night. Now my old YouTube channel was not nearly as successful as this one is and a hacker chose to delete that channel. So when I started my new channel in February and when I released my second video “Shit Rihanna Says,” that video went viral and it made people ask, ‘Where did she come from?’ when in reality I had been there all along.

Tell me about the character Gretchen Murdle and how she came about? 

I created her when I was a junior in high school, and one day my dad was doing some projects for BET and he brought these weird glasses home and I put them on. The minute I put the glasses on, I just transformed into this character. [My mom and I] went out on the street and we were driving around and I was just like yelling at people as this character and people were laughing. My mom was like, ‘You should call her Gretchen Murdle,' and we kind of just went with that. I took Gretchen Murdle to a competition and competed in high school and I won first place; I got all types of prizes and scholarships. She was the first character I ever created, so I wanted to present her first on my new YouTube channel which is The Darmirra Show. So far, I’m getting a great response and she loves it. [Laughs]

Quite a few of your videos feature spoofs of Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Beyoncé. Are these musicians that you like personally? How do you choose the people you wish to spoof?

I naturally go for the people who are heavy-hitters right now because I am naturally trying to reach that level of success for now and people want to see you emulate the people who are already hot, so I go after those people first. And then naturally all of those girls have such distinct personalities especially Nicki Minaj so as a comedian it gives you so much to play off of. So if you have a distinct personality that I feel like I can tweak and have fun with you are going to get spoofed. [Laughs]

To date your video "Shit Beyonce Say" has had the most views on YouTube. What was your favorite video to make thus far and why?

I guess I actually have to say now that it is the Sophia Grace and Rosie one because it was so much fun to be kids and do that accent. I think so many people can see that I really let loose, because that’s what I am, really wild. Those little girls are hilarious and when it comes to my spoofs I just do what I know everyone is already thinking in their heads.

What's next for The Darmirra Show? Any expansion ideas? Will we see you in film or on television?

Get ready for a lot more original characters such as ‘Gretchen Murdle Goes to Hollywood,’ which will be a web series on The Darmirra Show. I want people to know that I am more than just a girl that does celebrity impressions; I really am a creator because I look up to folk like Tracey Ullman, Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball. They were creators, so I want to show people that. So get ready to see impressions you’ve already seen taken to another level. I never really know exactly what I am going to do it all depends on what’s happening in our world, and I just go for it.

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34 black female cadets from West Point's Class of 2019 pose at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.
Cadet Hallie H. Pound/U.S. Army via AP

Black Women Cadets To Make History At West Point Graduation Ceremony

A record number of black female cadets are set to graduate from West Point (The United States Military Academy). After completing four years of education and "testing their limits," 34 black women will be walking across the stage at the 2019 commencement ceremony for the first time in the school's 217-year history.

Earlier this month, the black female cadets came together for a pre-graduation group photo. Little did they know, the photos of them in traditional Old Corps uniforms with ceremonial sabers would make their rounds on social media.

“My hope when young Black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability an fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with,” shared one of the cadets, Tiffany Welch-Baker, in an interview with Because Of Them We Can.

Although West Point admitted its first black cadet until 1870, the academy didn’t graduate its first black cadet until the Reconstruction in 1877. In 1979, Vincent K. Brooks was made the first black captain of the Corps of Cadets. In 2017, Simone Askew became the first Black woman to lead the Corps of Cadets.

Senior cadet Stephanie Riley told The Associated Press in another interview: “I just showed myself and those who thought I couldn’t do it initially that yes, I can. And not just, ‘Yes, I can.’ I can show other little girls that yes, you can come to West Point. Yes, you can do something that maybe the rest of your peers aren’t actually doing. And yes, you can be different from the rest of the group.”

The class of 2019 includes a total of 223 women, another milestone since the first female cadets' graduation in 1980. The total number of graduation African-Americans doubled to 110, while the number of graduating Latinos became the largest, 88, in the academy's history. West Point also appointed Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams as its first black superintendent in July 2018.

Not only will West Point be graduating its 5,000th female cadet, but it will also have its highest number of female Hispanic graduates, 19. The commencement ceremony is set for Saturday, May 25, with Vice President Mike Pence delivering the commencement speech.

Congratulations to the black ladies of West Point's graduating Class of 2019!

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A Brown Girl's Top-Down Spring Cleaning Guide

Oftentimes, the phrase “spring cleaning” is immediately associated with a weekend-long spree of knees-on-the-floor scrubbing, sorting, tossing and rearranging within one’s home, but it should be a little deeper than that. Yes, pristine living quarters are an ideal way to step from one season to the next, but that same fixer-upper dedication should also be applied to the self.

Self-care in 2019, especially for women of color, has become paramount. Audre Lorde said it best back in 1988 within the pages of A Burst Of Light: And Other Essays: "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare."

In addition to caring for their well-being in terms of personal space, it’s also important for women of color to take care of their bodies and rejuvenate them from the top down as they would their closets before the summer sun hits. We tapped four experts in hair, skincare, fashion and fitness to offer nuggets of advice for how to spring clean their habits to get to their brightest, boldest, healthiest and happiest selves for the rest of the year.

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Hair, as told by celebrity hairstylist Ursula Stephen

 

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A post shared by Ursula Stephen (@ursulastephen) on Apr 9, 2019 at 12:07pm PDT

If you have shrinkage, you might as well embrace it in heat and humidity. You can't fight Mother Nature, but it's very important to invest in products that are geared towards shrinkage because they are making a lot of things for that. If you keep trying to make it be the thing that it's not, your hair's going to get depressed. You need to give it the love that it needs for what it's going through at the moment. Just like with your skin, your nails, it changes every season. It often changes every couple of years. I think it's a matter of paying attention to what your hair is doing and rolling with it. You have to grow with your hair and learn to understand it and work with it. Invest in a good diffuser. If you have shrinkage, after you pull out your twist outs or your braid outs, what you can do is, after you shake everything out, you unravel it. What the diffuser does is it helps to stretch the hair. It doesn't put direct heat on the hair. It doesn't move the hair around. That's another way of combating shrinkage. Another thing is just embracing it.

Don’t be scared to decorate and accessorize your 4C textured hair. I think accessories are a big deal. I think I've been pushing accessories for years, I've been trying to get more red carpets and now finally people are using a lot of accessories. I think it's another way to excite yourself about your 4C hair because people are going through a lot. I know girls with shrinkage, [and] I think adding accessories, headbands and scarves is a way to accessorize it and also get excited about the hair. Dress it up for the summer time.

Staple braid looks can lead to more fun, bold protective styling. If you feel like it's something you really can't deal with [shrinkage] visually, the summer time is an amazing idea to do alternative styles like braids, and weaves, and getting extension pieces to extend your top knot. You can't hack Mother Nature, so you have to figure out how to work with it. I think long, box braids are a great way [the warm up to protective styles]. If you do long ones, and you're not used to wearing long weaves or whatever, that's your segue into your long hair but it's still keeping up with your natural self. I think doing something like braids, like long braids, or crochet braids, that still gives you movement are a good way to trick your mind, or slowly getting to a different look. I think braids are a good segue into long, box braids. You always notice girls that have long weaves, they're attached to their weaves and you know they're nervous to take it out, they always go to braids. It still gives them the natural feel, but also gives care, so it feels alright.

 

Skincare, as told by aesthetic medicine specialist Dr. Barbara Sturm

 

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A post shared by Dr. Barbara Sturm (@drbarbarasturm) on Mar 4, 2019 at 8:51am PST

When seasons swap, switch it up with skincare. The misconception is that darker skin is bulletproof. The reality is the Achilles heel of darker skin is a greater sensitivity to the inflammation cascade. Inflammation can be easily triggered in darker skin, so it is essential to avoid inflammation triggers, such as aggressive ingredients in skincare, lasers, acid peels, inflammatory foods, smoking, sun and pollution exposure, and excessive drinking. Women of color need to remain vigilant against inflammation and all its triggers. This means in summer, or confronted with inflammation-inducing sun exposure, it is important to wear a high SPF sunscreen. I recommend a good Anti-Pollution serum year round, but springtime is filled with a natural air pollutant: pollen, which is inflammatory and can wreak havoc on unprotected skin. In warmer months, I recommend using a lighter formulation of moisturizer. In colder months, strong barrier protection is needed against harsh elements that also trigger inflammation. A higher lipid content moisturizer is recommended during the cold season. Strong anti-inflammatory skin care is required 365 days a year, and lasers and acid peels should also be avoided year round due to their inflammatory effects.

Spoiling yourself with facials is more than okay, but quick fix skin regimens can make matters worse. A facial is a luxurious necessity. In the right hands and using the right ingredient science, a facial cleanses, nourishes, and awakens the skin, while reducing inflammation and hyper-pigmentation, evening out irregularities in the skin, and strengthening the skin matrix. The ideal everyday skin maintenance regime improves the skin matrix and avoids the need for too much “corrective action,” which if aggressive, can trigger inflammation. I would never use a peel with any skin type, but darker skin needs to be especially careful to avoid post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and other dysfunction that can result from these “quick fix” approaches. I do not ever recommend a chemical peel for darker skin. A mask can be healing, hydrating and full of antioxidants and nutrition, and should be used several times a week as a skin corrector. Serums, like my Darker Skin Tones Hyaluronic Serum, are one of the most essential elements of my regime, and corrects the skin immediately while combating inflammation and oxidation.

It’s still possible (and preferable) to glow without a full makeup beat. Summertime skin care means high lipid-content moisturizers can stay in the cabinet. A lighter formulation is appropriate for the warmer months, and depending on one’s own sebum production and the climate, my serum may suffice as a moisturizer, which also contains Lumicol, a complexion brightening and skin evening ingredient. I am a fan of healthy skin that doesn’t require too much makeup, and makeup itself can contain aggressive ingredients triggering the inflammation that darker skin tones is uniquely sensitive to. To make my makeup pop or even instead of makeup on a hot summer night, I use my Glow Drops, which provide both anti-inflammatory anti-aging benefits and shimmer particle-delivered glow.

 

Style, as told by supermodel Chanel Iman

 

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A post shared by Chanel Iman (@chaneliman) on May 10, 2019 at 8:52am PDT

Revamping your wardrobe is a lot simpler than you think. I always keep my favorites. I always put them away when it’s wintertime, then bring them back for the spring, and then mix-and-match with different accessories. That’s what I do to make it look new again. Try it with a different shoe, or instead of wearing a heel or a tennis shoe with it, try to make it different than how I wore it the last year.

 

Fitness, as told by STRONG By Zumba co-creator Ai Lee Syarief

 

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A post shared by Ai Lee Syarief (@chopsueylee) on Mar 6, 2019 at 1:01am PST

Despite the heat of summer, sneak in fun ways to stay active and healthy. I think the most important thing is that you do something where you have fun. Don't do something where you think, I have to do it because everybody's doing it, or it's like, Oh, I heard this is good. Let's just try it. In the beginning you do it, but if you don't have fun, if you don't really enjoy it, you wouldn't do it. Make sure you do something where you have fun. Make sure you do something with your friend because if you're two, if you're three, it keeps you motivated. If you're only, "OK, I'm at home I'm doing a workout," and then today I'm like, "Aw, should I do it or not?" Or "should I go to the gym?" Make sure you have somebody, friends, do something you really love, too. And you know the whole package—workout, good sleep. Sleeping is very, very good. Make sure that you have a really good, balanced nutrition, and then I think you're going to be fine for summer.

Pushing through crappy weather days to get a quick sweat in is a motivation booster. Even on the bad windy days, I don't feel like it's something bad. I mean, I love fresh air. For me even if it's windy, let's just go out. Be motivated and do something you love. That is going to push you very much. I think that STRONG by Zumba, what motivates you is the music. Find a factor that you really love. When results come, whatever the results are, you will get even more motivated. You do it, you love it, you see your results whatever they are and then you go like "OK, let's push through."

Additional reporting by Desire Thompson.

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City Girls Get "Careless" In New Music Video

In honor of the one-year anniversary of their debut project Period, City Girls has dropped a music video for their song "Careless."

The video stars the rap duo, Yung Miami and J.T., the latter who is currently serving a two-year sentence in Tallahassee. The visual directed by Gabriel "Video God" Hart, features the two rap divas sporting their iced out Quality Control chains rapping in the streets of what appears to be Miami. Both Yung Miami and J.T. are donning the same outfits, distressed jean shorts-underwear, a cropped Miami jersey with a white turtleneck underneath and the classic Timberland boots.

City Girls are showing exactly what they're made of as they rap about "living life so careless," and "h**s [being] so mad it's evident" with an entourage of women behind them. The short clip is full of fun-filled energy as the hot rappers bounce from location to location. Whether they're in a hotel room sipping on some Hennessy, in a store copping a couple of things, they still manage to get their bars off.

The visual is a good representation of what fans can expect from the rap duo, even more so if they see them in concert. Most recently Yung Miami performed the girls' big hit, "Act Up" at Rolling Loud with the help of Lil' Yachty, their co-collaborator on the song. Next up for Yung Miami is the Hot 97 Summer Jam on June 2 at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Make sure to check out their music video above and stream Period in celebration of its one-year anniversary.

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