Author and speaker Devi Brown talks to us about crystals, spirituality, and being a woman of color in the wellness industry
In recent years, wellness has become a trend. Natural products, yoga, and vegan diets are now hip extensions of self. I’m not going to lie — you can get pretty far if you at least appear to be down (cue marketing campaigns geared towards “woke” people). But while spirituality is now mainstream, I know there are actually people who have long abided by these tenets, who are genuinely dedicated to being their best selves and utilizing physical tokens and practices — which have true meaning to the people who use them. (Crystals in particular are special items that possess healing qualities and can bring specific energy to the owner.)
In addition to becoming popular, the wellness industry is becoming overwhelmingly white.
In 2016, writer Salma Haidraini wrote in The Establishment that out of 27 issues of Women’s Health UK, only two women of color were featured on the covers. This doesn’t come as a surprise, though, if you consider the way WOC have been treated by government and health officials over the past few centuries. Non-white women have been experimented on and sterilized without their consent, and their bodies have been used in critical research postmortem — without consent from the deceased’s family. It can be argued that this historical violence against WOC informs the exclusion of women of color from wellness and spiritual practices, which effectively denies them access to information and opportunities that could enhance their lives, health, and well-being.
Enter Devi Brown.
The multimedia host and orator is a woman of color and a wellness hero, having gifted stones and crystals to SchoolBoy Q and Kendrick Lamar. Her book, Crystal Bliss: Attract Love. Feed Your Spirit. Manifest Your Dreams, is a guide for those who are interested in crystals and want to learn the ins and out of manifestation.
I had the chance to speak with Devi about the wellness industry, crystals, and more. Dig into our interview below.
HelloGiggles (HG): How did you get into crystals?
Devi Brown (DB): When I was younger, I was fascinated by crystals! I called them “colored rocks.” I would collect the little rocks and science kits, but I forgot about that eventually. I grew older and became more focused on personal growth after an illness, and I began meditating. Once I started meditating, it opened me up to so many other helpful tools, [like crystals].
HG: How do you feel about the current state of spirituality?
DB: Like with everything, there are two sides. Nothing is all the way good; nothing is all the way bad. It ties into the idea of yin and yang. So even though spirituality has become trendy and can be kind of surface-y, if even a handful of people are enlightened, then that’s more than there were before!
HG: Do you think wellness and spirituality is an innate part of the POC experience?
DB: Yes. A big part of being a POC is resilience [and wellness helps with that]. Resilience is a recurring trait that you see if you study the history of POC in this country.
HG: What are your top three favorite crystals?
DB: Citrine, black tourmaline, and chrysoprase! Citrine is for confidence and [harnessing your] inner power. Black Tourmaline is good for grounding and protection. Chrysoprase opens your heart chakra and allows forgiveness.
HG: Why is it so important that WOC are represented in the wellness industry?
DB: It’s monumentally important that women of color are represented in the wellness industry because we make up a vast majority of the earth! Wellness is for everybody, and that’s the thing that I think is really important to convey in this space — especially now. Wellness should not just be relegated to people with expendable income, [or] to people who have the extra time, [or] to people of only certain communities…Wellness is such a necessary tool for being able to move forward and create generational change. So wellness for communities of women of color is invaluable.
HG: What are steps that can be taken to make wellness more inclusive?
DB: I think what it really boils down to is us making ourselves more available and putting ourselves at the forefront of our own movement… If [businesses aren’t] open or welcoming to women of color, then we don’t have to go through those businesses or companies. We can easily start in our communities… If we feel like we’re not getting as many looks on mainstream avenues, let’s position ourselves to get them, let’s really speak more loudly and get in front of those movements… Let’s just create our own in our communities.
HG: Any closing remarks?
DB: People of color, even if it feels easier to keep things close to the chest, we must share our stories. There is freedom in sharing stories and experiences!