Former Houston Rockets dancer and aspiring singer Brittny “B. Benai” Smith is a magnet for the spotlight. She started her road to stardom at the age of nine, appearing in national commercials at age nine, was signed by Matthew Knowles (Beyoncé’s father) as lead singer of a girl group and co-starred in Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming alongside Pooch Hall and Teyana Taylor.
Since going solo last year, the Southern belle has been touring and writing songs for other upcoming artists while pursuing a Master’s degree in Education. But don’t let her full schedule scare you. She describes herself as incredibly single and is looking to get snatched up. The multi-talented beauty took some time out of her busy schedule to tell us about dating life, NBA players’ attraction to her and why she likes to bring food into the bedroom. —Calvin Stovall
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GOV’T NAME: Brittny Smith
REPS: Houston, TX
STATS: 34, 26, 40
XXL: How long have you been singing?
Brittny: I was about nine, and started singing at church. My mother was a jazz singer, and my grandfather played saxophone for Lena Horne. So I had kind of a musical background there. One day my mom showed me the movie Sparkle, they played Donny Hathaway’s “Giving Up” in that movie. I loved the song, so I made my mom go buy Donny Hathaway’s album. I fell in love with wanting to be a performer after watching Sparkle at about nine or ten.
XXL: When did you start dancing for the NBA’s Houston Rockets?
B: That’s another something that I’ve always done. I went to a performing arts school on the weekends as a child, I used to act as well… Dance was intertwined in that. I went to Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA on a dance scholarship. [But] I transferred schools, came back to Houston and I tried out. I made the team with the Rockets my first year. I danced two seasons. I loved it! I ended up being MVP… I wasn’t the most technical dancer— I’m very abstract, very hip-hop— I was young. I was 19 or 20 when I got on that team. My very first game, we played Denver. The whole experience was crazy. That was the best experience ever.
XXL: So you like the spotlight. Were you ever shy?
B: Never been shy.
XXL: Does that lack of shyness translate to the bedroom?
B: No. I think if people know me outside of dancing and music, I’m a different individual. I’m not a person that really talks about sex much. So it’s always surprising behind closed doors. Like, “Dang, you do that?” It’s always like that. So it’s very much the whole “lady in the streets…” that whole cliché there.
XXL: How have you surprised partners in the past?
B: I always have really long term relationships. So, I can honestly say my sex life hasn’t been incredibly eventful. I’ve never had a one night stand. I’m actually pretty lame in that regard. But I can remember one time for Valentine’s Day – it was my boyfriend - I learned this whole (dance) and said, “I want to embody a stripper.” I never even had any stripper friends. People that kind of know me outside of dancing and singing think I’m silly. And not necessarily quiet, [but] just not anybody that would be into certain things especially sexual. So I was like, That seems like it’s the most far-fetched thing from my actual personality. I went and got this whole outfit, cooked all this food and just had candles all over my apartment. And he’s really just thinking we’re about to go out— you know, it’s Valentine’s Day. That ended up being a pretty wild night!
XXL: Do you like to be surprised?
B: I’m gonna be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever been surprised. Ever! I’ve had good sex before, but I can’t say that I’ve ever been completely surprised. It’s usually me with the imagination because of my whole performer background. I’ve noticed that the guys that I’ve dated don’t necessarily do that; they don’t really step outside of the box. But if I wanted to be surprised, I would want it to be a little more romantic than buck wild.
XXL: Do you write your own songs?
B: Yeah, I have a really vivid imagination. I always say I’m a self-proclaimed weirdo. I consider myself pretty unconventional in just the way I think. At school I remember things by making rhymes out of them, so songwriting always came easy to me. I always like to think, “How can we use this same concept, but say it differently?” It’s really easy to talk about love or male-bash or talk about going to the club. But how can we move people? How do we get away from, “I’m with my girls and I’m at the club?” That’s too easy.
XXL: Can you elaborate on why you call yourself a weirdo?
B: Just because there are different things that I think about that people don’t. Especially as it relates to songwriting and stuff like that. Even right down to the stuff I eat. I mix food together and people are like, “You eat that?!”
XXL: What’s something weird that you eat?
B: Tuna and grape jelly. That sounds so nasty, I know.
XXL: How did you even experiment to find out about that?
B: [Laughs] I figured that out one day messing around and I dropped some [jelly] in [tuna] years ago – like middle school or something – and it was really good. So I’d start putting it on crackers and toast and stuff. I would go buy the tuna and put it in the refrigerator and put grape jelly in there. My mom would come home and thought it was mold [and] threw it away. I was pissed! I was like, “How you gon’ throw away my tuna?” She’s like, “are you pregnant?”
XXL: Have you ever experimented with food in your sex life?
B: I think that’s probably where I’m not weird [but] I’d like to be. I’m sure [open to it]. I’m an adult. I didn’t lose my virginity until sometime in college, anyway. So I always [had] a halo around my head. I wasn’t really doing nothing crazy in high school or anything like that. But you know a relationship, [if] I found one where I’m in love, I think there would be a whole lot of weird stuff going on. But he has to be open! I think the whole conventional strawberry, whip cream, chocolate stuff would be really dope. I just never have. I never brought anything like that to the bedroom, but neither did the guy.
XXL: You’re studying for your Master’s in Education. Do you plan to be a teacher later on?
B: I used to want to be a professor. I used to love my professors back at Texas Southern University [in Houston]. And a lot of them were young and you’re able to implement your own brand of teaching. So I actually want to be a professor.
XXL: As an aspiring teacher do you prefer to mold your partners in the bedroom? Or would you rather be the student?
B: I definitely think it’s a two-way street. I don’t want to do all the teaching. But the beauty of sex to me is learning your partner. It’s not necessarily just the act. Anybody can have sex. That’s the easy part. But learning your partner, figuring out what they like and don’t like, making the experience more heightened – that is really dope to me. We can both mold each other.
XXL: Were you ever approached by any players when you were dancing for the Rockets?
B: Yeah, I think we all were to be honest. Me speaking personally, nobody was seriously persistent, I never dated any of ‘em. So I don’t have any crazy stories about them buying me stuff or anything like that, but you know we’re the dance team. We have on short skirts, these little tops [and] there are attractive girls on the team. [And] these guys are attractive. Sometimes someone may say, “So-and-so is kind of eyeing you.” And it was up to you [but] the rule is we can’t date them. Not that people haven’t because we all know that goes down, but I didn’t have any Kobe Bryant’s rolling up on me or I haven’t caught any dates with ‘em.
XXL: Do you have an NBA crush right now?
B: We’re strictly talking about looks, right? ‘Cause you gotta remember I was a ball player, so I’ll almost think about their game. I actually pay attention, and I think Derrick Rose. It’s an easy choice, but he really is killin’. I think that he does well on the court, and he’s so young and humble about it. It almost makes him look diligent and human, not arrogant… I think that makes him incredibly sexy. And oh, Tyson Chandler. If we’re just talking about looks, straight looks. I think Tyson Chandler is incredibly handsome. I’ve never met him, but (he’s) just sexy. And I like tall guys, too. So I think that Tyson Chandler is the business.
XXL: Is arrogance a turn off for you?
B: Not really. I actually like confidence a lot… I actually have arrogant homeboys. I do have a lot of guy friends that I’ve never slept with. I had the same boyfriend all through college, not only was he three-and-a-half years younger than me, but like really quiet and sweet and country. Jackson, MS kind of country. I gravitated more to those guys who were a little more humble and not in the limelight, which is why I never had an NBA boyfriend or anything like that.
XXL: Three years younger in college? How did dude swing that?
B: That’s a great question. One of my friends that went to college with me just told me, “I never understood how y’all dated each other.” He was 19 and I was 22. So everybody was like, scratching their head like, “I would never pick him for you.” But I think I’m won over by nice guys. Not necessarily softies or anything like that, but I like genuine guys. More than, “We goin’ out and poppin’ bottles.” That’s actually the biggest turn-off ’cause I feel like you’re a whore then.
XXL: So you’re a cougar?
B: [Laughs] I just told my line sister yesterday that these young boys are gonna be the death of me. Funny thing is, I like ‘em old. I always think that men get really sexy after 30. [There's] something about the scruffy 30 year-old man. Something about him and people like him really, really turn me on.
XXL: You decided to leave your three-girl singing group to go solo. Are you open to reviving your trio days with a threesome in the bedroom? Or would you rather remain solo?
B: I’ve never done the group sex thing; I’ve never even had a threesome. So absolutely, positively solo. I don’t even think I’d bring another person into the bedroom. I used to [tell] my friends I’d probably have a threesome for my husband. I feel like I can hold it down by myself. There’s different things that I have in my head that I wouldn’t mind getting at with my husband or somebody that I’m in a great relationship with. But as far as groups, I’m jealous and I’m selfish in the bedroom.