Brandywrites: One of Wattpad's Most Controversial Writers is Back, But Has Anything Changed?
Popular writer and former Wattpad Star Brandy Davis—previously known as brandywrites—has returned to Wattpad following a controversial exit in 2020.
Who is Brandywrites?
Author Brandy Davis, once known to her Wattpad fans as "brandywrites", is a former Wattpad writer and Star who at one time had amassed a following of over 19,000 readers. At one point, her most popular book, Write Me Off, had over 6-million reads. But, following a series of reader complaints and clashes with fellow writers, Brandy left the platform entirely in November of 2020.
The controversy around Brandy stemmed from complaints of tokenism and limited diversity in her books. Specifically, readers questioned Brandy's use of DACA and immigration as a plot point in her novel and asked why so many of her characters were white.
Many users were unsatisfied with her responses and continued to raise issues, at which point critics claim she started blocking them and/or removing their comments. This was seen, in general, as silencing the critiques brought by her readers of color.
[ For full coverage of the original incident, read: Brandywrites Sparks Wattpad Stars Conflict Following Accusations of Racism and Plagiarism ]
Other Allegations Surface
When the spotlight focused on Brandy, other users came forward to share their own experiences with the author. Complaints ranged from bullying and manipulation to plagiarism (which we've discussed separately). The conversation devolved into arguments, with Brandy's close friend Miaya Lynn lobbing multiple personal attacks against her detractors.
An Apology and a Quick Exit
After the ensuing Twitter firestorm, Brandy went to Instagram to share an apology.
Here is the full text of her apology:
Critics immediately took issue with Brandy's words, which many saw as focused on her own feelings of victimization.
"I have a gut feeling that this isn't going to go well. And that's going to suck, because this is as vulnerable and authentic as I can possibly be. But there's a lot of people who are hurt. Who find comfort in hating me because it's easier than the alternative. There's some who found enjoyment, entertaining [sic], excitement in hating me."
Many also said that she failed to take responsibility for or acknowledge her most problematic behaviors, including censoring critical comments from people of color. (At the time she posted her apology, several of these people were still blocked on her social media, so they wouldn't even be able see it.)
The focus on "moving on" seemed to some as a way of sweeping the problem under the rug. Others thought that the apology put too much responsibility onto the people she was supposed to be apologizing to.
"I want to try to mend this. ... It's not just me owning up to how I let you down, but you being open to receiving that."
Brandy posted a series of tweets to say she was "moving forward" following her apology. Shortly after, Brandy disappeared from social media, pulling down her Twitter and Instagram accounts. The star icon on her profile was unceremoniously removed and she removed all her books from the platform. Eventually her account was removed entirely.
Fallout for Wattpad Stars
With the drama a big topic of conversation in the Stars community, a private discord channel became the venue for a conversation about racism and representation on Wattpad. Following the private discussion, many unsatisfied stars resigned from the program. Popular authors Arden Hall (aka YABookPrincess), Ivey Choi, KR Wright, Milo Nelakho, Simone Shirazi, and Emily Slough all publicly announced they had left the Wattpad Stars program over what they considered poor treatment of creators of color.
Brandy Returns to Wattpad
Despite saying in November of 2020 that she was no longer using Twitter, Instagram, or Wattpad, Brandy popped back up on Instagram shortly after as @BrandyDavisAuthor. She then self-published her book Write Me Off in July 2021. On August 5th, 2022, she announced her return to Wattpad under the name @coastal-skies.
The news was celebrated by her fans. She started posting her work-in-progress Draw the Line, and has promised to post her most popular work, Write Me Off, soon. She didn't seem to address the controversy of her past, only briefly mentioning that she had been "writing offline".
While writing offline has taught me so much, it has also been so lonely. It has made me appreciate the experience of writing online — of sharing my work in real-time and seeing your reactions to how the story is unfolding at each plot twist and emotional turn.
Meanwhile, Brandy is returning to a community where she had left most of her previous conflicts unresolved, and not everyone has been so ready to welcome her back.
Time will tell how much the Wattpad community is really willing to forgive and forget.
How do you feel about Brandy's return? Tell us in the comments...