Vixens: Trae Harris A Universal Love

“ if you surrender to the air you can ride it”

What’s your name and where are you from? 
Trae Harris also known as Gypsybruja and I am from Baltimore Md, currently living in NYC!!!

 Let’s begin with your dynamic locs. How long have you been growing them? What even made you decide to begin to loc? They really are amazing…
Well, I always said I would lock my hair when I turned 40 until one day a friend asked me what I was waiting for, and I didn’t have an answer. So I just went for it, despite folks not being supportive at first. But it was a journey and a process. To this day I have never had my hair professionally done and I hope to keep it that way!

-  How has being natural affected your life? How do you feel about this natural hair “movement”?
 Well I have always been natural, in that I have never had a relaxer.  As a kid my mom barely allowed me to blow dry my hair or flat iron it. And when she finally did it was a bit of a disaster. One time, I wanted to show off for school picture day and my mom allowed me to blow dry my hair for the first time.  By the time I arrived at school, the humidity caused my hair to puff up and create the largest afro I had ever seen at that point. Luckily the lunch lady helped me out and put my hair in two long braids, it was humiliating lol but a lessoned learned.

 As far as the natural hair “movement”, I’m on the fence. While I think it great that women of color are embracing their hair in its natural state, it’s a trend, and trends do not last. Not to mention, from my observation, only certain types of natural hair are deemed cool. If you have a big curly fro and the hair gives you a certain exotic appeal than it acceptable. Yet I still see sistahs with the low kinky notty hair not being shown the same love. Basically it’s as if only certain types of natural are beautiful and that’s frustrating.
-  Do you have staple hair products? If so what are they?  
 I used Talia Wahid, whom I believe is a New York local, I love her products as well as Shea Moisture. But I don’t really use much in my hair. I have a friend who has a brand called Maat-ly and her essential oil spray is amazing, but in general I refer to nature. Avocado and olive oil are the best!!

-  Hard as it may seem how would you describe your hair and the regime you use to maintain it? 
I don’t really have one, I spend more time on my face and nails than my hair.

-  Your fashion is very tribal and “Gypsy” like.  You interview on Style Like U is my favorite to date. How did you come about a lot of your pieces?
The terms “tribal” and “gypsy”  can be dangerous when referring to fashion and style. I feel like those words have been used by oppressors to comidify people of color and their culture. Being a traveler I have been privileged to gather a collection that is both inexpensive and meaningful. Every place I go I am sure to get jewelry, fabric and some article of clothing. I just happen to travel to places that have lower cost of living and are more connected to tradition than western influence.

-  What IS fashion to you or FOR you?
Hmm, this is the question I always dred, I feel like I am not the most versed in fashion because I really do not care. I guess for me, fashion isn’t really much of a thing. But it is an expression. I use fashion to explore gender, class, culture and spirituality. But fashion is simply a vessel in ways, I use it, it does not use me. When I perform I use fashion to tell stories and explore characters and that is the time I feel fashion is most useful.

-  Where do you draw inspiration from? Not only for fashion, but your art,
music, poetry, ….life?
I am inspired by people who do not have a voice. I am inspired by those who do not use the internet much and those who do not live in big metropolitan cities. My art is often inspired by places, I personify places a lot. I take places and people and reimagine them and thus my inspiration is used to inspire others.

-  Sexuality is celebrated here on The Vixen Box through “The Clitoris Taboo” series on the blog, meaning women’s sexuality is a “taboo” subject . What IS sexuality?
Sexuality is the most natural expression we as humans have. It’s how we explore and negotiated our place and space in relation to the world. Women and our bodies are constantly being policed and hidden. I am dedicated to not following that narrative and creating spaces where our sexuality is praised. Spaces where our sexuality is free from labels and ideals and even free from ourselves.

-  Music is such a great medium? What and who 
are you listening to now? 
I’m listening to people I know like Josiah Wise, Mara Hruby, Jesse Boykins lll, Chris Turner, Melo X, Moruf, Iman Omari, Sza, Jennah Bell… the list goes on and on….

-  Although I only have one tattoo (for now) I am a tattoo aficionado.  Your tattoos are literally works of art. What is your favorite or more spiritual tattoo?
I like to think all my tats have spiritual meanings, namely because I only tattoo symbols. The way I see it, symbols help us evolve meaning. So over time my tattoos will mean different things depending on where I am in my life. My arm bands for instance get a lot of attention, people always want to know what they mean. I literally have told 7 different stories, all true and all valid depending on where I was in my journey.

-  Big tings a gwan are in the works for you. Congratulations on your film being in the Sundance Festival.  Care to talk about your movie Newlyweeds and your character Nina?
   Sure, Newlyweeds is a dark romantic dramedy that stars myself and Amari Cheatom and is directed by Shaka King. I was in awe working with so many amazing talents and veterans. The story is a coming of age narrative in ways for both character Lyle (Cheatom) and Nina (myself) that’s takes place in Brooklyn. The film has a very gritty authentic feel, it feels like Brooklyn. My character Nina is a flowerchild globetrotter. Shaka the director as described me as Nina 7 years later. Nina is a less evolved version of myself in ways which was very cool to explore. The film has be doing pretty well on the Festival circuit and will be in theaters in September.

-  You are trained in art, and focusing on your dancing… what kind of dance are you trained in?
I began dancing in the church where most things begin. Then I attended a junior high school where I focused on dance as well. There is where I began ballet, modern, jazz, tap and swing dancing. Then in high school I studied modern dance until I joined a company called Elifrey. There I studied ballet, modern jazz and Caribbean folk. I have always loved dance, and it will always play a part in my life!!

-  Here at The Vixen Box, health and fitness is major. I know for me I am working on getting myself right physically and emotionally by eating clean and incorporating exercise into my life. What do you do as far as health and fitness to stay or reach a level of good health?  
I follow basic health rule, minimal fried foods and no red meat, poultry or pork. I’m definitely a pescatarian, meaning I only eat fish an in moderations.  I juice and make smoothies. I practice yoga, but usually alone. In addition, I walk EVERYWHERE so I am always using my body.

-  Do you meditate? If so, do you mind sharing how often and what the benefits have been for you? 
I meditate and chant and I use meditation to help me focus and stay centered. I found that anything I do where I am still is a great workout for my mind.

-  Manifesting is an easy enough concept to UNDERSTAND but actually putting it to work “purposely” to obtain what we want can be somewhat hard. What tips or advice would you give for women who want to use the power of manifestation but seem to be having a hard time.
Best advice I can give is be purposeful and speak what you want into existence. Write things down, keep a dream journal and work on being aware of self. Knowing thy self is the key. And if you think it’s not working for you, than it’s not. If you know it’s working for you, than it is, it’s all about your mindset. This is your journey and yours alone, you create it.

- How can readers see your works in poetry, music, dance, film, and art?
You can always see what I’m up to by following my blog, Tumblr and my Facebook. Also my website!!

- You have traveled extensively. What is your favorite place? Where would you like to go?
My favorite place would be Cambodia because of Ankor Wat and the opportunity to see our people of the diaspora in Asia and really embrace that connection. Seeing people that looked like me in Cambodia opened my eyes to so much. The next place I want to go is India, I am working on manifesting that right now. India is calling me.

-  What makes you a Vixen?
To be honest, I’m not some free love flower child hippy, BUT I feel like I am a Vixen because I am dedicated to changing the world around me and spreading a universal love discourse in a practical way.

-  Favorite Quote: 
 “ if you surrender to the air you can ride it”

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