Firefox Presents: Redefining love and identity, one viral video at a time
Every Monday and Thursday, queer comedy writer and actor Brandon Kyle Goodman asks their 176,000 Instagram followers to tell them something good or messy.
People who tune into the Instagram Stories series, called “Messy Mondays” and “Thot Thursdays,” send in submissions that are indeed good, messy or both. Some share their kinks. Others inquire about techniques they want to try in bed. One asked for advice for people who struggle with getting in the mood. Another confessed to having slept with their therapist.
In turn, Brandon asks their own questions (“what’s your favorite phrase to tell someone you want them?”), shares musings (“I think ‘Babe’ was a gay movie. I think it was my gay awakening”), gives smart advice (“find a new therapist”) and does demonstrations. NSFW memes are deployed.
One can’t help but laugh along with Brandon, who also writes for and voices the queer character Walter the Lovebug in the Netflix animated show “Big Mouth” and its spinoff, “Human Resources.” They’re also the author of “You Gotta Be You,” part memoir and part humorous self-help guide out this September, that Brandon hopes will help people like them — who’s nonbinary and Black — feel less alone.
This intention is also what’s behind Brandon’s social media series, which, while irreverently funny, can also turn tender.
Once, Brandon’s husband made an appearance and shared his new fondness for being kissed in his stomach, an area he used to be sensitive about.
Sitting next to him, Brandon said “this is why I love talking about sex, because of the ability to reclaim your body and your sexuality.”
Brandon makes periodic reminders that their account is a safe space, where people can be joyous about queer sex.
The 35-year-old first gained notice on social media during a particularly dark time in the world. In 2020, the comedy writer had virtually gone back to work after a lunch break, during which they watched the video of a white police officer kill George Floyd.
“I logged back onto my Zoom and sat there for the next three or four hours pitching jokes with my non-Black and white colleagues,” Brandon said. “No one had mentioned it. It had just happened, and so they might not have seen it. But it was wild to me that I was sitting there, not speaking about it and continuing my day as if I didn’t just watch this Black man get murdered for nothing.”
Afterwards, Brandon posted a 7-minute video on Instagram addressed to “my white friends.”
“These are my thoughts and I hope it will compel you and yours to be ACTIVE in the fight for our Black lives,” the caption says.
Brandon went to sleep after making the video. When they woke up, the clip had nearly a million views. Their followers had jumped to 30,000.
“I remember being in my living room and feeling my grandmother, who was a minister, and feeling ancestors, whose names I don’t know,” Brandon said. “It was a question of, you can completely ignore this and go about your business. Or, you can step into this. I heard very clearly, ‘Step in. You can do this.’”
At first, Brandon hesitated identifying as an activist, “not wanting to take away” from organizers who march and lead rallies on the streets. But they realized that activism has always been laced into their work.
“Viola Davis said, ‘Me just showing up as a dark-skinned, Black woman on your camera is activism.’ I think that’s true, too,” Brandon said.
They continued to make videos for social media and started “Messy Mondays” because they needed a break from the heaviness.
“When you think about sex education, it’s trash in our country,” Brandon said. “It doesn’t include queer people at all. Here was this chance to redefine that.”
They added that when it comes to sex, it’s about the whole person.
“Your Blackness, your queerness, your womanhood, your nonbinaryhood, your manhood. It’s about you,” Brandon said. “This is part of my activism, my relationship to sex. And so for me to be a part of a collective of influencers and educators and activists and people who are boldly talking about it is so liberating. I wish that young Brandon had that.”
Brandon was raised by their mother and grandmother in Queens, New York. They attended boarding school in Georgia and the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a writing and acting career. They didn’t come out as gay until they were 21 years old.
“Growing up Black, queer, nonbinary, there’s so much messaging that there’s something wrong with me,” Brandon said. “That’s in addition to the fact that when you turn on TV or read books in school, there’s just not a Black protagonist, let alone a Black queer protagonist. So it became really important to reclaim and refocus and reframe that to ‘I am enough. There’s nothing wrong with me. Even if the world is not ready to see me or hold me, I have to see and hold myself.’”
Brandon said their mother, who became deeply religious after their grandmother died, could not accept their queerness. The two haven’t spoken in 10 years.
Blood family may not always be capable of taking you through your human existence, Brandon said. But they found their own family and community, including online.
The internet has its dark side, Brandon acknowledged, but it can also be a glorious place. Their advice: “Just remember that you are enough.”
Firefox is exploring all the ways the internet makes our planet an awesome place. Almost everything we do today ties back to the online world in some way — so, join us in highlighting the funny, weird, inspiring and courageous stories that remind us why we love the world wide web.