Streamer IamBrandon Is Leaving His Mark on Twitch and Beyond

He’s more than just a streamer

Before Brandon Stennis became IamBrandon on Twitch, he was a blogger with a passion for gaming that led him into the video game industry and beyond. Now, he sits between his pale blue and white lights, drawing in an audience of 40,000 followers to watch this variety streamer tackle retro classics and modern giants. 

Brandon Stennis, Twitch streamer IamBrandon.

IamBrandon

"I always made sure that my voice was included because I wanted to make sure there was someone like me they could see—someone representative of them as a person," he said in a phone interview with Lifewire.

Starting in 2014, he's seen Twitch grow and change. More importantly, he's been a part of that change and wishes to continue making the platform a better, more accessible place for gamers of all kinds. 

Quick Facts

  • Name: Brandon Stennis
  • Located: Chicago, Illinois  
  • Random Delight: After his blogging years, he worked briefly for small video game publisher, Versus Evil, where he helped create multi-platform indie games including At Sundown. Stennis has worked in nearly every sector of the video game industry. 
  • Quote: "This too shall pass."  

Rev Your Engine 

His biggest motivation throughout his life has been his mother. The child of a single mother in the heart of Chicago, Stennis cites his mother's influence as the driving force behind his commitment to his dreams and goals and staying out of trouble during his formative years. 

One of the constants to keep him on the right track was video games. An unknown Atari system decorated his grandmother's house, and it served as the young streamer's introduction to the virtual world. Eventually, he would consistently find solace in gaming with some classic titles, Streets of Rage, Resident Evil, and fighting games. 

His life would eventually come full circle as, through his career as a streamer, he would find himself working with Capcom, the company behind his favorite titles. However, his path to the world of streaming was unconventional.

Originally, hoping to make it as an English teacher, the cards weren't in his favor at his alma mater, Northern Illinois University. He switched to focusing on communications with hopes of breaking into the field of journalism. But that did not work out either. Stennis, however, was never one to give up. He couldn't land a job in the field, so he made his own lane. 

"I’ve fought very hard throughout the years to make sure my voice was important and impactful."

"I started doing reviews and putting it on social media to get it out there. I created this whole cool network of gamers," he said. "I was eventually able to bring on a staff of people to create content for the website…it was quite the time of my life, I'd say."

From Twitch to Infinity

To promote his growing blog, Stennis turned to Twitch. When his employee eventually left to stream independently, the soon-to-be streamer decided to take the reins himself. While not the optimal way to promote his blog, he did discover something more valuable: his proverbial tribe. 

Now, over seven years since he hit the LIVE button, he’s cultivated a community of supportive jokesters and retro enthusiasts. He’s created a niche, and not just for himself. The ripples of his impact can be seen all across the platform.

“I’ve fought very hard throughout the years to make sure my voice was important and impactful. So, to see now years later how many Black and LGBT faces are around doing their own thing is incredible to see,” he said about spearheading the push. “I don’t credit myself enough, but I did a lot of fighting [and] it’s been so wild because it’s changed a lot over the years.”

"I always made sure that my voice was included because I wanted to make sure there was someone like me they could see—someone representative of them as a person."

Hate is a common part of his reality on the streaming giant. Last year during the height of the Twitch hate raids organized by a collective of anonymous users and bots, this became more evident. It served as a reminder that while much has changed, front side, on the platform, there is still an underbelly to remind marginalized people that their treatment is conditional. Still, he’s never allowed it to deter him from his path. 

“No matter how much I do or how successful I get, they’ll always be those people who want to antagonize me because I’m Black or I’m queer. That’s why I have always been very adamant about never being quiet about anything because that’s what they want,” he retorted. “They don’t want to see us in this space. Way too many people want to keep it that way, but I will never allow that.”

Stennis doesn’t bark or bite–he just does the work. From working with big brands to production companies like RoosterTeeth and G4, his career is on an upward trajectory. Stennis is leaving his mark on this industry. 

“One of my biggest motivations in life is when people tell me I can’t do something because then I want to prove them wrong,” he said. “And when I do, that’s the best thing.” 

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