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Branjae, A Tulsa Singer Rises To Higher Ground
John Neal, All-Black Towns, Black Towns, Oklahoma Black Towns, Historic Black Towns, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre
John Neal, All-Black Towns, Black Towns, Oklahoma Black Towns, Historic Black Towns, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

Branjae, A Tulsa Singer Rises To Higher Ground

Branjae, Branjae Jackson, Intravibronic, Powersource, African American Business, Black Business, African American Entrepreneur, Black Entrepreneur, BuyBlack, All-Black Towns, Black Towns, Oklahoma Black Towns, Historic Black Towns, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, John Neal, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

ARTS & CULTURE


The video opens with a scene of the singer/songwriter Branjae coming home, tense and mumbling. She is finishing a drink when her explosive partner crashes through the door and threatens her. Her character finds the courage to see herself as the stronger, younger person she once was and leave it all behind to transform into her higher self, conjuring the support of a community waiting for her under the streetlight to dance and celebrate a walk into her higher self.  

This was the Billboard-showcased song and music video “Streetlight,” that Branjae produced in collaboration with Tulsa filmmaker Basil Childers. It brought a big slice of the Tulsa community together on a neighborhood street to support domestic violence survivors, to tell a story and inspire others. 

Branjae, Branjae Jackson, Intravibronic, Powersource, African American Business, Black Business, African American Entrepreneur, Black Entrepreneur, BuyBlack, All-Black Towns, Black Towns, Oklahoma Black Towns, Historic Black Towns, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, John Neal, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre
BRANJAE JACKSON, Tulsa, Okla. creative and music artist, during a 2023 performance. Photo Facebook

Everything about this absorbing narrative is classic Branjae:  

The Tulsa backdrop. The soulful voice. The uplifting ending. The Story. 

Those who know her best recognize her stories in the songs she writes. She is a storyteller as well as a gifted lyricist and performer. She is known locally for her rhythmic performances as a co-fronter with Count Tutu, high vibrational solo albums and music videos, on-stage dance energy, and multiple style changes during a performance. She brings the venue to life with every move and every word.  

Branjae is genre-fluid and flows from R&B to pop and synth/pop to funk/electronic pop. Her voice, resonant and alluring, is often compared to Indie Arie, Lauryn Hill, and Nina Simone. Her musical journey is also built upon her character and her process of self-discovery, gaining confidence, and claiming her power. 

As the second child born to missionary parents in Broken Arrow, storytelling and empowering others comes naturally to Branjae. As a child, whether singing and performing in the living room or in a church, Branjae grew into her passion. She spent hours watching videos to practice with her favorite musicals and study pop culture icons like Michael Jackson and Tina Turner.  Today her stage presence reflects the extraordinary work of those two influences.  

Branjae launched her career in Tulsa, working with singer and Full Flava Kings band frontman Charlie Redd. He ultimately persuaded her to strike out on her own. She formed Branjae & The All Stars, and by 2014, she had released her first solo album, Powersource, with some of the finest, most experienced session musicians in Tulsa. Through Powersource, Branjae invites listeners to join her on a path of self-discovery and growth. Her confidence in manifestation to chart her course as an artist and a businesswoman is what powers BranjaeMusic and her companies, Powersource Productions, and Powersource Properties.  She ardently works toward her goals, and once her missions are accomplished, through art, introspection, and action, she shares them with others to inspire them to reach a higher life vibration. 

Branjae’s story is a journey of how she uses her art, songwriting, and impressive live performances to give her the power to accomplish that herself. Her songs and her performances tell the stories that relate to others. Her songs reveal her path and how they evolved into her power.  She transcended toxic relationships and betrayal, experienced racism, became an activist, shared her mental health journey. Known to close friends as a private person, Branjae has a public persona as an accomplished artist, beloved entertainer, video director, storyteller and CEO. Branjae’s first album, Powersource, launches her story with “The Message.”  

“Listen to the words. Feel the spirit behind, and connect with the power that lies inside of you. You’d be surprised. You, too, can overcome. You’d be shocked by the strength of our natural selves. We can only focus on where we’re going and less on the mistakes of our past. Love a little more. Trust more than before, and breathe when things don’t go our way. My story is not your story. You own your own path, but I hope my story gives you the strength to make it through your current chapter. Find where, or your power source. And I beg you to max out in this lifetime.” ~ ‘The Message’ ” 

Branjae, Branjae Jackson, Intravibronic, Powersource, African American Business, Black Business, African American Entrepreneur, Black Entrepreneur, BuyBlack, All-Black Towns, Black Towns, Oklahoma Black Towns, Historic Black Towns, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, John Neal, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre
BRANJAE’S Powersource album cover, released in 2014. Photo Facebook

The first track on Powersource set the tone for her career. Produced in 2014 with 16 songs, including 15 originals, Branjae opens with a letter to listeners in the form of melodies and harmonies created from her own experiences. Having found the strength to reflect on her past and change her path, she invites listeners on a journey of self-discovery and growth. 

“The Message” segues into “All is Well,” where she sings of reaffirming life decisions, then leading into “Trust,” reflecting on vulnerability of trusting someone else with your own well-being and knowing when to protect yourself.  “Now it’s time for you to leave so I can finally be relieved.” The meditational poetry of “Breathe” reminds us all to take time for self without so much focus on selfish needs and “turn a smile on anxiety.”  

“Dream a dream of equality. And dream a dream of faith. Believe in the good of humanity. We can escape. We can escape. Everybody needs someone to love. Love somebody.” ~ “Everybody Needs” 

In 2018 with her first video release with award-winning Tulsa filmmaker Jeremy Charles and Fire Thief Productions (now Pursuit Films), Branjae’s lyrics on “Everybody Needs” uplifted her faith in humanity.  Flipping through a video gallery of human portraits, the video reflects on timeless themes of inclusion, love and equality.  

“It was a different time in life,” Branjae recalled. “It was a time of an election where people were tearing each other down, and the country was split. That person that you’re fighting is fighting for the same thing that you are, we all need the same thing. It was a time in my life where I was ready to talk about my situation with domestic violence that I had stayed quiet about for some time, at least musically. And it was the time to express that and share it and to work in the community.” 

“Found my way in, now I’m gonna hit reverse and back outta here. Rolling backward, avoiding hazard and checkin’ if the coast is clear.” Step it to chorus: “I’m gonna get way outta here…and find my way home.. before the streetlights come on…” ~ “Streetlight” 

In 2017 through 2019, Branjae expanded her portfolio and broke into new venues seen by wider audiences, playing at SXSW in Austin for three consecutive years, and performing at regional festivals, clubs, local parties, nonprofit galas, and fundraisers. Billboard Magazine premiered the Streetlight music video. She focused her activism on domestic violence working with Tulsa’s Domestic Violence Intervention Services, which held an exclusive screening for the community in partnership with theTulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts & Culture, and Circle Cinema. Branjae seized opportunities to collaborate with other musicians, increased her speaking engagements, and was asked to appear on the Emmy Award winning documentary series “Play It Loud.” 

“Eyes Wide. When it comes down to it…Coronavirus…this is how my city get [sic] down!” ~ Count Tutu & Friends Quarantine Party 

Then, in March 2020, something unexpected happened. The COVID-19 pandemic. Everything stopped as everyone in the world had to adjust to extraordinary change, isolation, and loss while coping with the devastating impact of a 21st-century international pandemic.  

Without the physical stage and audiences during 2020 and 2021, Branjae explored new ways to express herself and reach online audiences. She experimented with live performances, recorded music, and ASMR sessions online through social media platforms. ASMR, which stands for “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response,” is known for creating a positive impact on relaxation and mental wellbeing.  

During this time, Branjae appeared with Count Tutu & Friends Quarantine Party to co-create the Coronavirus Jam, an observation and real-life, virtual example of how people stayed connected using the internet, kept spirits lifted, and looked out for each other. 

“Trying to understand all this human behavior. Holding to the notion our beliefs might save us. Swearing by the ignorance just won’t change us. Canceling the scientist side-stepping evidence. Ima need the facts to set us free. ~ “Free Facts” 

Branjae released the EP and music video “Free Facts” depicting, as the video logline states, a future harnessed society governed by cyber technology, which observes and regulates the thoughts, actions and beliefs of its citizens. With the help of one true ally, a determined vigilante seeks liberation, but refuses to go alone. Just as when “Everybody Needs” was penned, the year 2021 was a time of questioning the world as Branjae observed it. 

“I was looking at the world and my opinion of the world and how information was rampant and wrong. People were grasping onto whatever ounce of information that helped their point of view without the full picture or the full knowledge, and so I felt like we were all trapped in the system of belief that wasn’t real.” 

Branjae describes “Free Facts” as a sci-fi-inspired story of a woman waking up and being in a place where everyone was locked into a system, expected to act in one way. It took just one other person to shatter her way of thinking, freeing her from the system so she could help other people liberate themselves.  

The music video begins with a spoken story, followed by a string of propaganda that rolls into the chorus: “I’m gonna need the facts to set us free. The facts will set us free. Do you want to be free?” 

Branjae, Branjae Jackson, Intravibronic, Powersource, African American Business, Black Business, African American Entrepreneur, Black Entrepreneur, BuyBlack, All-Black Towns, Black Towns, Oklahoma Black Towns, Historic Black Towns, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, John Neal, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre
BRANJAE’S INTRAVIBRONIC album cover, released in 2024. Photo Facebook

Resilience: Finding Strength  

Just as the pandemic ended, Branjae experienced great family loss upon the death of her longtime companion German Shepherd, Aja, closely followed by the passing of her mother, who was her biggest supporter, wardrobe handler and a joyous presence at Branjae’s shows caring for her daughter and the crew. As anyone can imagine, this threw her into a “walking depression.” 

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“I probably wrote two, three, maybe four songs. But I wasn’t a well of creativity. I write a lot, and I’m inspired a lot. I create things easily when I’m happy.” 

She wrote less and used the stage and her work to get through the grief until, one day, it all caught up with her. It led her to make significant life changes to reconnect with herself mentally and emotionally. She began seeking therapy, bringing her full attention to her health, craft, businesses, and then the community. 

“I felt like I needed to have a sober mind to really connect with who I am,” she said. 

If you think I’m too much, maybe go find less. Something you impress. Wishing you all the best.” ~ “Too Much” 

Branjae has reached new levels of growth since 2020, maturing in her approach to life, embracing the wisdom and experiences she has to share with others through mentoring, and re-establishing herself as a resilient, creative entrepreneur resolved in her ideas and commitment to her goals.  

That resulted in the album project “Intravibronic” featuring the single and video “Too Much,” directed by filmmaker Bobby Ross in association with Emmy Award-winning Pursuit Films. The video logline describes “Too Much” as an Electric-Funk, Synth-Pop focusing on self-empowering and radical acceptance by fully embracing self, setting boundaries, and refusing to “shrink down” for anyone. “This empowering anthem offers others the option to exit peacefully and positively.” 

“It is more of an inward perspective, with a purpose to inspire the folks outside,” she said.  

Intravibronic is a departure from her previous, more outward, observational lyrics. Intravibronic reflects her state of evolution and how she chooses to be inspired or empowered by her life experiences.  

A believer in manifestation, Branjae said, “I wanted to be able to sing these words and say these words back, and then be in the presence of those words, even though at the time I wrote them I was not feeling that way. I was not feeling empowered and inspired. But I wrote those songs because I wanted a high vibrational record. I wanted something to help inspire and empower myself even before it reached the ears of other people.” 

Taking Tulsa on the Road 

Branjae has toured the country, played at New York City’s legendary Apollo Theater, and performed at the 10-day South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin four times. She spends time networking with other music industry professionals and media, driving her business and showcasing Tulsa on the road. Her Tulsa experience will help her curate the same kinds of experiences in different cities as she expands her tours.  

“I feel like Tulsa allowed me to cut my teeth. It allows me to sharpen my performance,” she said. “Tulsa is a place where I know what it feels like to be supported and how to build a community. It’s a very good model, really, to take other places and execute what works. Though each city is different, people can be different in different places, but the formula is kind of the same, you know, support me and I -will-support-you-type of attitude when going into a new market.  

“Tulsa taught me that. Even if I have a part-time place somewhere else, Tulsa is definitely home, and the opportunities here are continuing to expand. Tulsa artists are starting to tour and go out to different places representing Tulsa music on the road with different audiences, and it’s being funded by Tulsa. It’s being supported by Tulsa. So that’s definitely a connection I’m not trying to sever, ever.” 

Branjae’s journey is still unfolding with vitality, including pursuing a dream artist-in-residence in a city well-known for attracting top talent. But that’s a story for another time. 

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