One thing we've learned in this pandemonium is that we all need a little bit more laughter in our everyday lives. It goes without saying that rapper Saweetie has taken the lead in giving it to us. Between her culinary adventures and her hilariously familiar girl next door charm, everyone's favorite icy girl does social media well.
As with most things Black women make look easy, the rising rap star's meteoric viral content takes a lot of planning and hard work to execute, thankfully; however, she has the help of a remarkable visionary creative named Sabrina Brazil. Sabrina and Saweetie are both USC grads with an unlikely history between them as well as a shared dedication to making authentic moments that we can all relate to.
Talking to Brazil, you begin to realize that the platform she and Saweetie are building is all a playground for Sabrina's innate talent and fearless marketing ability as much as for the aforementioned rapper's continued dominance. I caught up with the NorCal native and mother to one-year-old daughter Diosa to talk inspiration, running the social media game, and how to create relevant content without trying too hard.
Iman Milner: While most people are familiar with the content yourself and Saweetie have been creating, people may still be getting to know you. So, who is Sabrina Brazil?
Sabrina Brazil: Well, I grew up in Sacramento. From there, I lived my best life and then went to school at USC and went on to get my master's in finance in Miami. I was already super business-oriented, but I also had a level of creativity that I never really got to tap into because I was focused on the other lane. I started a brand called Furléte, and that was very successful. I was a photographer for a while. I really just tapped into every creative outlet I was interested in, and now I'm here.
IM: How did you come to collaborate with Saweetie?
SB: Actually, our fathers were close childhood friends and were in prison together for some time. We knew each other back then, but during our college years, me and Saweetie got a lot closer. I just had a camera back then, and we had a super-duper vision for enhancing life. We had some setbacks in terms of trying to do other things that weren't on the path of what we actually wanted to do, but we knew we made a good team. She was my first model for Furléte—I sewed outfits for her back then. We were super content-driven even in those days. We always wanted to tell a story. It was then that I started learning my knack for viralbility. I went from about 500 followers to 50k in a couple of months just by really understanding the Internet.
Fast forward post graduating with my masters, Saweetie called me and was like, let's work. We'd worked together so closely before then, and it just clicked. She often calls me her second brain because we think very similarly. That's so important in the content world, especially with artists, to find someone who thinks like them. I came to work for her in the summer of 2019, and I started off on the merchandise side. That made sense because I'd had the Furléte business, but my skillset really aligned with content. So, last summer, I moved over to the content side along with two dope videographers Sean & Moses we hired to shoot—and from there, that's where you've seen the big blow up.
IM: How do you think your experience with running your own fashion brand helped with this journey with Saweetie?
SB: I was a one-woman show with Furléte—the photographer, the designer, the face, the customer service—literally everything. To make a brand successful, you have to sell. My first viral video for the business was just me and Saweetie laughing, but it was very intentional. It seemed like it was just a moment, but I knew what I was selling was unique. No one was doing full fur sets at the time. The last time we saw it was Lil' Kim, probably. Every show I did for Furléte was themed.
If I launched a new color, I had a new storyline. I would go wherever I needed to tell the story. And that's how we work now: what story are we trying to tell? Often, I run into creatives who just create, they don't have the business savvy, and you need both. To be successful on social media, you have to have a plethora of skills. You have to understand consumers. You have to understand marketing. You have to understand people. You need every box checked. I learned that from my first business experience.
IM: Can you give us three things that makes content impactful?
SB: First, you want to make sure the content is on-brand. I always think of Chick-fil-A, they have a clear mission statement, and everyone who works there buys into it. You can tell that's the case when you visit. It bleeds into everything. What are you trying to accomplish with your brand? The main step is to fully understand your brand, so whenever you do post, it should reflect that. You can just post content on your business page, but if it's not actually enhancing your brand story, it's pointless.
The second thing is quality. If you have to shoot 30 times, do that. People can get complacent and okay with mediocrity for their content. I don't allow "that's good enough" to be said around me. You should feel great about anything you have on your page. Blurry photos? Why?! The coloring should look good. The video should be crisp. A lot of the things you see on Saweetie's page, we may have made 10+ edits, and the video is only 30 seconds. But every edit matters. And then lastly, originality. I look at everything. I watch so much content. My thing is to always be new. Even if it's something that has been done before, do it better. Either make sure everything is totally fresh or be the best version of that thing.
IM: To that same point, how do you make sure that the content you guys create never feels corny? Trying to be funny can sometimes lean in a corny direction, you know?
SB: For sure. The main thing is to always be honest with yourself. Really ask yourself, "Is that really me?" We shoot a lot, and sometimes we don't put it out if it feels like it's not true to her. That goes for any content. Don't be so thirsty for a level of viralbility that you're willing to put anything out for views. If it feels forced, it can hurt our brand, and we can end up in a category we don't want to be in. The goal is not to be funny; necessarily, it's to be authentic. Saweetie and I are very honest with one another, so it's important to have a really honest friend who can tell you "that's not it."
IM: What's the next vision for Sabrina Brazil's creativity?
SB: Super growth. In the content world and the influencer world. The more I go down this path, I see how effective and powerful influence is—I mean being able to influence people. My background is entrepreneurship so, I want to do something large that no one's ever seen before. I think Saweetie and I are pioneering something that no one has seen done the way we're doing it. It's hard to explain because it doesn't exist.
The niche I want to create is a production house that creates social media content, but it's more intentional—this hybrid of artists and creativity in marketing. Before, an artist would go into a brand and just be the face. It's the opposite now. Brands come to artists, and the creative is responsible for everything. They need the artist now. So, it's harnessing that power and making things that feel real.