Love Sick with Dorienne Brown
Posted on March 31 2019
Name: Dorienne Brown
Star Sign: Taurus
IG alias: itsdorieee
Laurel aka Kee Kee: Hey Dorie, how are you? I wanted to give our readers a little back story, we met working coat check in NYC and got along immediately. We learned a lot about each other really quickly, you’re LA born and raised then moved to NYC 5’ish years ago right? What’s the biggest difference between the east and west coast?
Dorienne Brown: Yep born and raised in LA. Inglewood specifically. I’d say the biggest difference is the grind. New York forced me to grow up. The energy of this city is CRAZY but in a good way. Everyone is hustling, everyone is on the go. At first, I thought everyone was rude. Coming from LA the vibe is a lot more laid back and chill people aren’t in such a rush. NYC is the TOTAL opposite everyone has somewhere to go. So many people working towards their goals FAST, no one’s chilling.
KK: So, your career has been in not for profit organizations, and while we’re still on the LA topic, I found your work in Inglewood, LA, really interesting. Can you shed some light on what your organization was doing?
DB: I worked at a nonprofit in my hometown, at the time I was doing PR and Media relations work for the organization but I realized I love working in the community and doing the organizational work more than my actual job as a media relations specialist. We were teaching the community of Inglewood the importance of urban gardening and eating fresh healthy food. Inglewood is a food desert, lots of fast food, but not many grocery stores with quality produce. Very common in most low-income black and brown communities. We were also sending black young men to college on scholarships too. It was great and so fulfilling to take part in uplifting my community.
KK: Why do you think the resources are so scarce in neighborhoods like this?
DB: Because they think we can’t afford healthy foods and they don’t care what’s going in our communities. THEY are the government. Policymakers don’t push for affordable health food stores to come to our communities. Racial justice and food justice go hand and hand. That’s why organizations like The Social Justice Learning Institute and The Campaign Against Hunger are so important to the communities of Inglewood and in Brooklyn. Teaching families to grow their own food or showing them how to shop in their local grocery store within their budget is helping the community take matters into their own hands. Helping them prepare healthy meal plans. It’s so useful to growing a positive healthy community. All we need is a little direction. Inglewood now has its first farmers market because of the urban gardening project that was started some years ago.
KK: What can the average person do to help out with projects like this in their city?
DB: Just be aware. Google community events. Find what’s passionate to you. I wasn’t necessarily passionate about healthy foods and urban gardening. I just knew I wanted to uplift and help people in my community. People who look like me. Working with organizations I’ve learned so much about their missions and how it elevates my people. It’s inspiring.
KK: Now that you’re on the East Coast, you’ve moved into a non-profit organization that specializes in aiding the homeless population of New York. What’s an average day for you, and can you expand on how this organization helps the city?
DB: So I work in development now. Non-profit development is fundraising. I’m literally strategizing and soliciting donors and writing grants every day. Sharing how we keep people off the streets and help them transform their lives. Development work is so important to me because, without it, nonprofits cannot sustain. Nonprofits are nothing without their donors. You don’t get in the nonprofit business to make a lot of money, you’re in it to help people. Hearing stories about young adults being kicked out by their parents and having nowhere to go, then entering our program and not only do they get housing but becoming employed, their making friends and developing new hobbies, it’s great! Giving someone access or just a chance can save a life.
KK: I love that you are so community-based, cities like NY need people like you, which is why your events are so important. What’s a typical Tribe Called West event?
DB: My baby. Essentially, A Tribe Called West is dope people getting together doing dope shit.
KK: What motived you to start your events?
DB: Being in NY I noticed you have to be really intentional about creating your tribe. It can be hard. Especially for people like me who are not from the city…transplants. I wanted to create a vibe where people can meet like-minded individuals. Space where people can feel supported. That was not always centered around just drinking or hanging out with your co-worker or roommate because of proximity. My events are for people that might be scared to put themselves out there but are also ready to get out of their comfort zone and try new things. I love it. I’m naturally always bringing people together. I love to get all my friends together to have a good time or connect people I think that have a common interest. So it was sort of destined.
KK: A Tribe Called West is also a podcast, you’re the solo host, do you have guests on and do you have a favorite topic you cover?
DB: It’s been so long since I’ve recorded. Horrible, I know but it’s coming back. My best friend and I started A Tribe Called West because people were asking us about NYC and wanted to know how we are making it? Are we scared to be so far from home? Telling us they want to move but don’t know how. So I said let’s start a podcast to answer all these questions. Much like my events we are just answering questions, putting people on the game and telling people to get out of their comfort zone. Telling them to make moves. Sharing our experience as a frame of reference. We talked about everything!
KK: How did the name Tribe Called West come about?
DB: We wanted something that represented LA and New York. We’re both hip-hop heads so A Tribe Called West fit, after the iconic group. It was kind of perfect. We could show our love for both cities and culture.
KK: You are constantly helping other people, the community, and with things like your podcast, the broader community. How do you find time for yourself and what do you do for your own self-care?
DB: Good question lol sleep in, watch an old interview of my fav artist and call my family back home…catch up on their lives. I love that. It’s hard being away so anytime I get to have an hour long convos with my fam it’s the best!
KK: Do you have any places in NYC that inspire you?
DB: The city as a whole inspires me. Seeing everyone moving with purpose is amazing. Sometimes I can’t believe I really live here.
KK: For our NY followers, where can we find your Tribe Called West events?
DB: The Corners in Bedstuy is where I’ve had most of my events. Dope bar and community space. The owners are super welcoming. They’re my family. It’s literally like the Bedstuy Cheers lol
KK: And, for everyone elsewhere can we follow you or listen in?
DB: You can find me on IG at itsdorieee & A Tribe Called West can be found on Apple Podcast and Soundcloud.
KK: Dorie, thanks so much for educating me every time we hang out and bringing so much light into the world. I appreciate all that you do. xx
DB: Kee Kee James, you are AMAZING sis! So talented. Glad we met doing our side hustle. Where the best NYC relationships start! Thanks so much for this and making me look cool in your designs, I loved it!