Brandon Bryant

Squarespace Site: https://wallstreetpaper.co/

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“My goal is to empower people of color and women through content and storytelling.”

Words by Justice Nnnanna + Photos by Mark Clennon

Brandon Bryant does a lot, and he does it with the same grandeur that he greets you with. His wide-faced smile and eagerness towards the future are qualities that surely have helped him Co-Found minority focused VC firm Harlem Capital, build a following of 200k plus, and support his “abundance mindset.” As a creative storyteller committed to empowering women and minorities, Bryant starts with himself—knowing that “it takes a full person to create a full life.”

For this ’Thoughts Become Things’ series, could you share a positive thought that you often have and a negative thought you often have?

Positive thought is to work harder on yourself than on your job.

The negative, often scary, thought is - am I doing enough? Is what I’m doing worth my time? What do people think? I’m finally moving away from those thoughts. In 2019 my mantra is ‘think less, do more.’ I’ve spent years thinking through so much and it’s paid off, but now I feel like I’m finally in the opportunity to be in offense.

James Baldwin said, “People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.” What history do you carry with you most as a contemporary creator?

I carry a missing history. Being Black and not having direct connection to my history is tough. There is history in us, but a lot of us African-Americans do not know that history.

How do you navigate working in spaces that don’t always feel supportive of you or in-line with your beliefs?

I was an investment banker for 3 years and had the chance to learn from the people who were the top of their class.

The way a white male whose 6 feet tall, who played Lacrosse at Harvard, moves through an Investment Bank- is crazy- the world is that persons oyster and nothing is there way. Anything that person has thought about is possible, will happen, is happening, or has already happened. So, that is now the way I move and the way I think about everything in the world.

You will realize that what Michelle Obama says in her book, “I’ve been in the rooms with everyone, and they’re just not smarter.”, is so true. When you figure that out it’s like ‘Wow.’ I have an advantage. I am a man of color who moves as if that doesn’t exist.

True or false? - “When they go low, we go high.”

It’s true.

How do you use your community to move your goals forward?

My goal is to empower people of color and women through content and storytelling. I just feel like the creative community I’m able to participate in helps influence what I do. Also, being in the financial sector where I’m able to put money towards folks I know will utilize those opportunities—it’s good.

Greatest challenge and greatest benefit of being a minority in a creative industry?

Greatest challenge is the scarcity mindset—that there’s not enough for us all. Greatest benefit is have an abundance mindset, if I’m a POC and everyone else in the room has a scarcity mindset, and I have an abundance mindset, then I’m going to potentially win every time. If they work with an abundance mindset, we can all win!

Imani Ellis