My Origin Story: Brandon Anderson
Generation Titans' "My Origin Story" is part of ongoing series to feature talented, innovative, and dope entrepreneurs of color (EOC). We are providing a platform where founders and creatives can tell their stories in their own voice and in their own unique way. These stories are not highlight reels, although they do highlight success. Also, these stories are not focused on only the hardships, obstacles, and racial inequality that entrepreneurs of color face, although they do squarely address these challenges. Today, Generation Titans catches up with Brandon Anderson to hear more about his origin story and his journey as an entrepreneur.
Stories like Brandon's, are American stories that push the culture forward, spark conversation and connections in the startup ecosystem, and also inspire a younger generation of entrepreneurs. These stories and the founders are a counter narrative. Through "My Origin Story," Generation Titans is proving that the pipeline of EOCs exists--despite the media's prevailing deficit narrative about entrepreneurs of color.
WHO IS Brandon Anderson
I'm a social entrepreneur, former army engineer, and the oldest brother of four younger siblings — two sisters and two brothers. I like building community, writing about love, and having photo shoot for dogs. I believe in the fundamental human need to love, be loved, and have community.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
Oklahoma City, OK
WHAT IS ONE THING THAT SOCIAL MEDIA WON'T TELL US ABOUT YOU?
I was adopted and raised by my grandparents, who taught me the most about hard work. My father worked in a factory making tires, and my mother was a sales clerk for a rental car company for nearly 30 years. Coincidentally, my parents also taught me the most about love. They were married for 34 years before my mom passed. They both worked 12-hour days but still found time for their relationship, for each other.
When my mom passed, it was the first time I had ever seen my father cry. Ten years later, on the anniversary of her passing, for the first time in my life, my father and I cried - together. I don't remember a time where I felt as close to him or to myself.
I tell that story because it reminds me of the importance of hard work, but that our career should never get in the way of building community with others. And, I tell that story because it reminds us of the power of vulnerability - with others, but mostly with ourselves.
WHAT IS Raheem.AI AND HOW HAS YOUR Journey as a founder SHAPED WHAT YOU'RE DOING AS AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Raheem AI is a secure, anonymous, and easy way to report police interactions - good and bad. We're a nonprofit using technology to increase police transparency, accountability, and build a world free of police violence.
I struggled as a founder to find value in myself in a bay of tech startups that rarely include or engage black people. So, the first innovative thing I learned to do was value my work and myself in a world that reflected back to me all but that. Innovation, for me, was at the core of self-care.
WHAT HAS DRIVEN YOU TO DO WHAT YOU'RE DOING NOW?
I founded Raheem AI after losing my life-partner to police violence while serving in the military. His love was radical, unapologetic, and it changed my life.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
WHAT BOOK(S) ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
- Articulate While Black
- The Rise of Big Data Policing
- Taking Our Seriously & Getting It Right
WHAT ALBUMS OR SONGS DO YOU CURRENTLY HAVE ON HEAVY ROTATION?
Top Off [song by Jay Z & Beyonce]
Ctrl [album by SZA]
Blessed [song by Daniel Caesar]