Tabitha Brown is building an empire based off of authenticity right before our eyes. Just four years ago, Brown went viral for her review of Whole Foods’ tempeh tomato lettuce avocado (TTLA) sandwich on social media. Now she’s a best-selling author, actress, and entrepreneur with fashion, home decor, and seasoning lines.
In recognition of her feat, last Thursday, Hollywood Confidential honored Brown with its Trailblazer Award in what was a full-circle moment for the Internet personality who once performed at one of the events launched by producer and content creator Steve Jones.
“I wasn’t free then; I was still trying to use this voice that I thought they needed and trying to find the funny,” Brown told ESSENCE of her early connection to the brand. “It was good and people responded to it, but to come back now at this moment — Tab Tab is completely free. I will never be in that headspace anymore. It’s such an honor to be seen now. Then I was trying to fit in. Now I’m standing out.”
During the event, “America’s mom” chatted with surprise guest Lena Waithe, creator of the Showtime series The Chi, which Brown appears in and famously stated was a role she waited more than 20 years for. As for how it feels to be experiencing the things she was once manifesting, now Brown said, “I still wake up mindblown but I’m grateful that it happened now. A long time ago when I really wanted it and thought I could handle it, I wouldn’t have been able to. I wake up every day in a state of gratitude. I feel like this is what God purposed me for, for this moment, for this time and that’s more important to me than anything else. Everything else is the bonus.”
That night, Hollywood Confidential also honored up-and-coming stars Shaniqua Shandai of Harlem and 4400‘s Derrick King in what was another full-circle moment, as they both attended a Hollywood Confidential workshop with Brown in 2016. Their presence on stage was proof of a word Brown shared with us about professional perseverance.
“Live while you wait. Work while you wait,” Brown said. “Also don’t look at it as your waiting season. We don’t know when we’re in a waiting season. I thought I was still in my waiting season when I did the video doing the TTLA but I was walking into the season. I didn’t realize that. Sometimes we feel like it’s supposed to look a certain way. You don’t know. You may already be in your season. It just may not look the way you thought it would look so be alright with it.”