“I locked my keys in my house.”
It’s a common mistake that most people make, but if anyone has a legitimate excuse for the miscue, it’s Raianna Brown. Not only is the 22-year-old student in challenging courses at Georgia Tech, she also runs her RAIIN dance company that she co-founded in January. A combination of the two result in many late nights that now have more company with another added role of being a viral internet subject. So having to wake up again after another night with only a few hours of sleep to do another interview before the usual day of class and rehearsal makes it completely understandable why Brown locked her keys in her apartment on Monday morning.
Last season for the Yellow Jackets, Brown, then a member of the school’s dance team, decided to support Colin Kaepernick and protest racial injustices in America by kneeling during the national anthem before a home game against the Miami Hurricanes. Brown said she explained to her coach ahead of time why she wanted to kneel and the coach was fine with the decision.
“I was freaking out. I was shaking in my boots. Literally, we wear boots, so I was shaking,” Brown jokingly said while reminiscing on the first time she kneeled.
She continued to kneel for the remainder of the season. After President Donald Trump’s comments on the protest became the biggest story of the blended world of politics in sports, Brown posted the photo again and the internet loved it. Some of the biggest publications in the country covered Brown’s viral moment and suddenly the working student had to balance a new responsibility of receiving a massive amount of emails and social media notifications.
Brown’s always been on the more outgoing side of activism. Her parents made her and her siblings participate in community service events as kids to the point where they had a natural desire to serve as young adults. She served as the president of Georgia Tech’s Black Student Union last year, where she was very passionate in not only raising awareness of racial inequality on campus but helping the surrounding communities in Atlanta as well.
“I think for non-people of color, I think it’s really important — actually whether or not you agreed with the photo, but especially the people that say, ‘I stand and support you. I really appreciate this, this means a lot’ — to bring action to your activism, because it’s very different to like a picture on Instagram or to put the praise hands up and be like, ‘Whoo, good job!’ Then to like, be a good ally. So that means like educating yourself on the origins of the national anthem. Like before I kneeled, I made sure to do my research on what the full anthem actually is; a lot of people don’t know that. Also why it’s sung or played at sporting events, the history behind the police system in general, like, what are its actual origins? So, do your research on stuff like that,” she said.
Brown’s next event to publically promote her activism is on Nov. 17 at the Robert Ferst Center for the Arts, where she’s debuting her show In Human, which will describe many racial injustices through dance.
See the video after the break.