Photo courtesy BrandenJames.com/Tour
You may remember Branden James from Season 8 of America’s Got Talent when he stunned the nation, not only with his operatic vocals but with his decision to be himself, to be bold and brave, to come out on national TV as a gay man living with HIV.
The world received Branden as a kindred spirit, someone they could identify with. That’s why for Pride this year, Branden James, along with his other half in marriage and in music, James Clark, are releasing a series of #5forpride videos on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.
Branden created the first video, “5 of My Proudest Memories,” to encourage younger LGBTQ people to be themselves and to embrace their own lives, choices, and mistakes. “I wanted to create something that was genuine and heartfelt and honest. We’ve all made mistakes in the past and done things we’re not proud of. With the advent of social media, there is such a societal pressure to portray our ‘perfect Facebook and Instagram lives’. This pressure is even more relevant in the LGBTQ community.” James says.
Other #5forpride videos also promote self-care, LGBTQ rights, and, of course, his beautiful relationship with his husband James. Some also feature their adorable pupper, which threatens a cuteness overload.
But videos are not the last of it. Branden continues to strive to be a source of inspiration and hope for his fans and kindred spirits. He has penned a memoir, Lyrics of My Life: My Journey with Family, HIV, and Reality TV which chronicles his time growing up in a conservative household, dealing with depression, the tumultuous time he contracted HIV, and suffering from sexual abuse—all while still identifying with the Christian faith. (The book, out in November, is available for preorder but for music fans, the couple is on tour now.)
Whether you read the book or watch the videos, his message is the same: Be bold. Be brave. Be authentically you.