‘Tanae Speaks’ is an online retailer based in Illinois, committed to spreading messages of self-love and empowerment in underserved communities. Founded by Tanae B, born Brittanii’ Batts, ‘Tanae Speaks’ serves not only as a medium for Batts’ creativity, but as a tool for uplifting her community and allowing others to experience the healing power of the arts.
Batts holds a B.S. in Integrative Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an M.A. in Urban Planning & Policy from the University of Chicago Illinois. She strives to use her education to integrate her passion for poetry with her background in community development. While these distinct fields may seem like an unlikely pairing, for Batts they align perfectly in taking a holistic approach to both individual and collective well-being. Batts has been active in Champaign-Urbana and Chicagoland’s poetry community since 2012, performing in poetry jams, open mic events, and artists’ sessions. She has seen first hand the regenerative power the arts can have on a person’s well-being.
In June 2020 she published her debut collection of poetry ‘Joy and Contradictions.’ Written over the course of a decade, ‘Joy and Contradictions’ chronicles Batts’ journey from the ages of 18 to 27. These 30 poems focus on self-evolution and self-love. With each poem reflecting a specific mindset and the emotional landscape from a period of Batts’ life, this book is a time capsule for her personal development. It is Batts’ hope that through engaging with her work, readers can begin their own process of healing and transformation. ’Joy and Contradictions’ can be purchased on the official Tanae B website along with t-shirts featuring quotes from the book and affirmations.
Batts believes that through positive affirmations, artistic community strategy, and communication, the arts can have a healing effect on striving communities. It has been proven that incorporating the arts into education and community development can give participants a greater sense of purpose and increased self-esteem, allowing participants to then go on to be positive forces in their communities. In Batts’ workshops, attendees not only get to tap into their creative side by writing and sharing poetry, but take part in intentional healing exercises such as meditation and journaling. Batts plans on expanding this holistic approach to well-being by inviting health experts such as fellow artists, mental health advocates, and financial health advisors to speak to her students, giving them access to information they may not have otherwise.
Batts’ work is centered around the power of compassion, understanding, and collaboration. Practicing these steps individually and as a collective, she believes people can invest in relationships and strategies that will build equitable and sustainable communities. In the modern world, we are simultaneously more connected and more isolated than we have ever been. Batts’ work allows readers to reconnect with themselves, and in doing so, practice the skills they can then use to heal their communities. Batts reminds readers; “Your passion is not made. Your passion is found.” Through cultivating a rich interior life, healing can occur that allows individuals to treat others with the same empathy and generosity they would want for themselves.