CCU alumna speaks and writes to battle bullyingby Russell Alston
Avette Necole Brown is only 26, yet she has published her first book, started her own company and holds inspirational speaking sessions out of town, all while working full time as an assistant registrar at Coastal Carolina University.
Prior to that position, Brown, a CCU communication graduate of 2008, was the senior transfer admissions counselor at CCU for three years.
Her book, “…Cause I’m Me!,” is a confessional, written in a mixture of African American English and standard English. In the slim volume, she details the cycle of bullying she endured, beginning at age 4 and continuing through her adult years. She describes what she did to cope with the torment, which included violence toward others, sexual activity at a young age and suicide attempts.
It all began when she was in kindergarten, where she was ostracized and excluded for reasons unknown to her. Later, in middle school, the taunts began. Brown was teased relentlessly about the color of her skin and the build of her body. Pretty soon, she was getting into physical altercations with her peers on a daily basis.
“It took me three years to mentally prepare myself to write this book,” says Brown, a native of Timmonsville. “I was concerned about how it would be accepted. When I finally did, it took three days to write it all out.”
That cathartic experience has Brown on a path of enlightenment, not just within herself, but also in her motivation to help other young women who are dealing with societal pressures of fitting in or being harassed for not doing so. Something that others would view as private and embarrassing is a source of pride for Brown. While all the travel and the multiple responsibilities can be, in her words, “quite draining,” it isn’t slowing her down in the least.
On weekends, she travels to Columbia or Florence to give motivational speeches for the company she started at age 22, Burgeon Empowerment. The company’s mission is the empowerment of women through inspiration, admiration and innovation.
“It’s a self-empowerment program,” she says. “There are 25 options to create your own program to better yourself.”
Brown is also in the process of writing her second book, along with a co-author. Their work will explore the theory that men and women are turning to sex, violence, alcohol and drugs to numb the daily pressures of life. It is a subject she experienced first hand during her high school years in Darlington.
“It makes me feel good, knowing my story inspires others to seek positivity and happiness.”
Brown also was recently invited by celebrated poet Nikki Giovanni to attend a celebration, co-hosted by Maya Angelou, in honor of Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison at Virginia Tech on Oct. 16.
“It’s an honor, because I invited her [Giovanni] to my event, and she extended an invitation to me for hers. It’s all very humbling,” says Brown.
With everything she has going on, Brown’s social life is limited. She does, however, enjoy spending time with her American pit bull, Precious, and is planning her parents’ 30th wedding anniversary party, set for July 21.
“They weren’t able to have a church wedding the first time, so my gift to them is organizing a renewal of their vows at the Center Missionary Baptist Church in Darlington. We’re calling it ‘Lasting Forever.’”
Brown doesn’t mind the lack of a social life. Her focus is and will continue to be her growing company and the work she is doing to educate young females on the effects of bullying.
“In 10 years, I hope to still be writing and continuing my work as a motivational speaker,” says Brown. “All of this is preparing me for a career working as an advocate.”
Her ultimate goal, however, is something she will be working toward for the rest of her life.
“Female empowerment. I want women to know that we do not have to be defined by society’s definition of beauty.”