By Emily Davenport
Actor and writer Brandon Kyle Goodman is not taking a back seat in the fight for equality and has been using his platform to help others understand why black lives matter.
Though he was born and raised in Queens, after graduating from Tisch Scool of Arts at New York University and spending some time in a sketch comedy group with fellow NYU alumni, Goodman found himself moving to Los Angeles, where he lives with his husband. These days, Los Angeles is facing similar unrest surrounding the murder of George Floyd, with protests taking place daily.
“It was crazy for a couple of days here,” said Goodman. “They lifted the curfew last Wednesday. A friend of mine lives out in Santa Monica and their curfew was at 4 p.m. They decided to change it in the middle of the day at one point – my friend’s husband is bi-racial and was still working when the change came. I think it’s been madness just trying to figure out the information.”
As a black gay man in Hollywood, Goodman felt it was important to use his platforms to help “move the needle forward” and educate the public. He began posting videos to his Instagram (@BrandonKGoodman) explaining his experiences as a black man in America.
“For me, the thought was ‘I can’t sit here and do nothing,’ so I began researching, reading, donating so I can begin to educate the people in my life,” said Goodman. “I hope that I’m adding to the conversation.”
Since he began posting the videos, Goodman has watched his Instagram following grow by over 40,000. One video in particular addressing why white people might be feeling guilt, shame and embarrassment at this time amassed 2 million views on Instagram:
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“I had a friend come to me saying that her husband watched my video and finally understood his privilege,” said Goodman. “The videos are helping people piece it together as well as piecing together white privilege and allyship and showing up for black lives.”
Goodman is starring in the new movie “Feel the Beat,” which is set to premiere on Netflix on June 19. The film follows April, an out-of-work actress played by Sofia Carson, who returns to her small hometown after failing to find success on Broadway and is soon recruited to train a misfit group of young dancers for a big competition. Goodman stars as April’s neighbor Deco, an outspoken queer man who shows April support as she readjusts to her new life.
For Goodman, the character helped him grow and be able to become more vocal in the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Deco is so fearless in a way that I have never been in expressing his blackness and his queerness,” said Goodman. “I took that fearless he had with me. That’s why I’m speaking out, I’m still so inspired by his fearlessness.”
Goodman also appreciates the representation that his character will bring to the screen, citing that he never really saw black, queer characters in media when he was growing up.
“In the movie, it’s never acknowledged that he’s queer or black, he’s just there,” said Goodman. ” I hope it means a lot to people, especially for everyone else who is struggling to find diversity and representation. We have this black, queer character in a kilt in a family film. I wish I could have seen that growing up.”
However, there is still a lot of work to be done to make these characters more three-dimensional and give them more leading roles in the media.
“I hope that these characters can get the opportunity to have the main storyline,” said Goodman. “As a queer black man, there are other facets of my existence besides my race and sexuality. I hope that we can start to see that in film and on TV.”
Goodman has also found success writing for the popular animated Netflix series “Big Mouth.” Goodman and his literary rep had been shopping around a pilot that he had written about his own life when it landed in the “Big Mouth” writer’s room. After meeting with some of the “Big Mouth” team and Nick Kroll, one of the show’s creators, Goodman was given a spot writing for the cartoon’s fourth season.
“It was the best Christmas gift that I could have received,” said Goodman.
Given the length of time to makes a season of “Big Mouth” (animation takes about a year and a half to complete), Goodman says that the new season, which is set to release in 2020, may not address current events around the Black Lives Matter movement right away. However, Goodman says that there is an episode that explores Missy, a young bi-racial character in “Big Mouth,” coming to terms with her own blackness and what that means for her.
“There’s a special episode in season four where Missy is starting to reckon with questions like, ‘What is blackness?’ and what her blackness is for her,” said Goodman. “The episode deals with things like code-switching and looks at some interesting things inside of race. The episode was written by Jak Knight and it’s going to be so healing and refreshing and beautiful to see. Given everything that’s going on, it’s going to be a special episode.”
To Goodman, it’s important that people speak out more now than ever before, and actively participate in knowing that black lives matter.
“We need to do everything in our power to amplify that message and get into all the actions needed to take to make sure that black people are not murdered in this country and our lives matter,” said Goodman.
For more information about Goodman, visit www.brandonkylegoodman.com.