Remembering Brandon James Singleton

Brandon James Singleton

Brandon James Singleton

NOTE: Newly announced memorial arrangements listed at bottom (revised).

Over the years, I’ve worked with dozens of writers and freelancers. The best ones, you remember. And it was easy to remember Brandon Singleton.

Brandon and I were already Facebook friends when he messaged me in the summer of 2012. He was soon to turn 30, he told me, and wanted to write a series for our InstanTea blog: A kind of bucket list of things he wanted to accomplish before this milestone had passed. We worked out the style of the series together, picked a name — Tex’n the City, as he was a native of the Metroplex but living then in Los Angeles — and about every week for 13 weeks, we ran one of Brandon’s stories online.

They were marvelous. Brandon was introspective but not afraid to be upfront about his failings and superficialities. The series was as much an exploration for him working out his own preconceptions as it was a recitation of desires. He discovered, as we all eventually do, that what we think we want isn’t always what we need.

The series culminated with Brandon actually turning 30, on Dec. 15, 2012, and reflecting on what that meant. The series was full of promise and hope and honesty and good writing. I always wanted Brandon to write more for me, but he was busy and we never found the time. The last installment ran on Dec. 28, 2012.

Then yesterday, I learned that over the weekend Brandon died in Los Angeles. That’s all the information I have at this moment. He would have been 32 in just a few weeks.

I have to say, I find it almost painful to read Tex’n the City now: He speculates about turning 40 one day, and what his new set of hopes are. Knowing those will never happen is a lot to comprehend and cope with. But I do read them — and I want you to as well; I’ll put up a link at the bottom — because they also demonstrate what a sad loss the passing of this young, funny, smart, ambitious and friendly man is to all of us.

Brandon’s family is in the process of having his body transported back to Dallas for burial. They have told me they will share the details when they have been finalized, so that I can pass it along here. But until that day, let us all reflect not only on our own lives and dreams, but those on a fine young career-oriented man who had so many friends, and how he raised up those who knew him, and left a legacy that’s too brief but also too valuable to forget.

Here’s a link to one of Brandon’s last posts; there are hypertext links throughout so you can start at the beginning and read them all. Take your time. Savor them. And think of Brandon.

Wake: Golden Gate Funeral Home, 5701 Loop 820 South, Fort Worth. Dec. 5 from 7:15–8:15 p.m.

Funeral: Golden Gate Funeral Home, 5701 Loop 820 South, Fort Worth. Dec. 6 from 1–3 p.m.

Flower arrangements may be sent to the home.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tex’n the City: Doomsday

Our final installment of of Brandon James Singleton’s Tex’n the City.


6. DRAMA FREE/7. RESPECT. These two came about so easily and without me even realizing it. First, the people in my life don’t bring unneeded drama to me. And I now can settle with straying away from getting involved.

Does that mean we don’t share our worries and conflicts with one another? No. I’m still there for all of my friends. It’s just now, I know what I can take on, and what I can’t. And because they love me, I’m not even asked to take on more than I should. As for myself, one of my rules has become, “Don’t put anything out into the universe that you can’t handle coming back at you.”

Petty gossiping. Backstabbing. Lying. Manipulation. All traits no one wants in a friend. So, when you do those things yourself, you have to be prepared for someone around you to do it.

Easy solution: Be legit. All the time. To the people around you, and yourself.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tex’n the City: Epilogue

In late September, we launched an online series called Tex’n the City, where former Dallasite Brandon James Singleton chronicled the months leading up to his 30th birthday as a transplant to Southern California. He started with a checklist, then moved one-by-one through the things he wanted to accomplish before the big day: 1. Live in a dream home, 2. have a well-paying career, 3. get a hot body, 4. enjoy his social circle, 5. have a great boyfriend, 6. be drama free, 7. have “respect,” 8. have security, 9. have a BFF and finally, 10. be ready for the future. Rarely did what he think he wanted — or had — turn out to be what he imagined.

On Dec. 15, Brandon hit his mark. Here’s Part 1 to his post-script to the first 30 years.


I’ve compared life to the cinema a lot over the last few weeks. But just like the movies, sometimes when things look slim, that silver-lining comes from nowhere.

1. DREAM HOME. I am enjoying living on the West Coast more than any place I’ve ever lived. I love Texas. I’ll always love Texas. But being in Hollywood has forced me to grow up, in every way.

There’s an energy that drives people out here to go after what they want. And succeed in obtaining it. It’s one of the busiest places in the world. And it can feel lonely and make you feel insignificant if you allow it to. But it can also make you feel inspired and motivate you to rise up to the challenge and achieve your dreams.

I am in love with Hollywood. I was born here. It just took nearly 30 years for the prodigal son to find his way home.

2. WELL-PAYING CAREER. A few days ago, I get the call I’ve been waiting for since September: I was offered a full time position with one of the companies I’ve been interning for. Within the week, I was working on sets for Lifetime, Nick@Nite and NBC.

All of these months of hard work are paying off.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tex’n the City: Item No. 10 — Rounding the corner

Just weeks before his 30 birthday, Brandon James Singleton finally has a revelation that will prepare him for 30, 40 and beyond… 

“So here’s what you missed on Glee.”

Wait — wrong intro.

Earlier this week, I has another date with Remy, a new guy I’ve been seeing.

He had me at hello: Hot! Named Remy! An accent! As long as he’s not hiding some secret alcoholic or deep-rooted drug addiction, he’s in!

He took me to a restaurant in Huntington Beach. Going good.

Then he brought up Tex’n the City.

At first it was easy stuff, like when it started, what it was for, etc. Then he asked what he probably thought was another easy question: “How do you feel at this point with what you’ve done so far?”

Hmmm. I didn’t really have an answer. Then he asked, “If you hadn’t this, how do you think you’d feel now?

That one was easier: “Miserable.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

TEX’N THE CITY: Item No. 9 — BFF

When Brandon James Singleton began his list of 10 things he needed to accomplish before his 30th birthday later this month, the one thing he knew was already lined up in his life was having a BFF. But sitting down and thinking about what that means has its own consequences ….  

You remember the movie Now and Then with Rosie O’Donnell and Demi Moore? Oh yeah, and Tom Hanks’ wife …. About those four girls who became best friends over a summer and swore to each other they’d always stay in contact and return home for the most important times in each other’s life …. And when Rita Wilson’s character gets pregnant, they all show up for the birth of her baby?

No? … Well I love that movie. It was always like the foundation — the quintessential example — for what I thought friendship should be. And hoped it would be for me.

Well, it’s not.

I mean, I’m (surprisingly) still in contact with a few of the kids I used to play Red Rover with back in the day, thanks to Instagram and Facestalk … I mean Facebook.

I met my best friend almost seven years ago in New York City through a mutual associate and it’s been everything, even dealing with a jealous mutual “friend” who’s tried several times to turn us against each other. Fortunately, we always trusted each other more.

We’ve dealt with the difficulty of not living in the same city. But thanks to cells and social media, feels like we’re never too far away. And let’s not forget that crazy ex of his that threatened my life out of insecurity. Ohhhh, person who referred to himself as, “E-Dogg” — ya never stood a chance. Ha.

But a month ago, I almost lost him.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tex’n the City: Item No. 8 — Security

After taking off a week for Thanksgiving, Brandon James Singleton is back with his countdown to turning age 30. This week: He looks at what it means to have security in one’s life … and sees it’s not necessarily what he expected.

I’m trying to think of a song that can perfectly describe what I’m wanting to say. I mean, come on Katy Perry — you have one for everything from extra terrestrials to fireworks. You must have one for me.

I simply want some security. I wanna know that everything I’m doing now will lend to the goal of not having to worry when I’m retired in my villa off the island of St. Bart’s. OK, maybe I’ve been watching a few too many Real Housewives. But ultimately, I just want to know that my husband Mario Lopez and I, along with our eight offspring, will live comfortably and happy.

Right now, my savings account is sorta non-existent. Times are hard. Ya dip once. Ya dip twice. And ya go back a third time, and realize, ya should’ve stopped at once.

So I suppose it’s time to re-activate that account. But what’s gonna keep me from just repeating the same mistakes of my past? I mean, if Lindsay Lohan can’t even do it, is there hope for the rest of us?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tex’n the City: Item No. 7 — Respect

With Veterans Day just over, and his 30th birthday just a month away, Brandon James Singleton has been thinking a lot about respect lately — No. 7 on his checklist of accomplishments before the big 3-0. Here’s the latest Tex’n the City.

All my life I’ve been taught to show respect. Towards my elders. My fellow man. Really, to everyone I interact with.

As you get older, it seems to get harder. You throw in people with anger management issues, and some people’s personal beliefs and prejudices cause that respect to fly out the window.

But I gotta take my checklist serious, and No. 6 is “respect.” How do I get that in my life?

Ever seen a personality color chart? For the last few years I’ve structured my life around ‘em. The one I learned from has four basic groups: Red, Green, Yellow, and Blue. They all represent something different: “Reds” react without thinking. “Greens” have a logical explanation for everything — in their heads, at least. “Yellows” are always prepared.

And finally, “Blues.” Whereas Greens are all facts and figures, Blues are completely thoughts and feelings. They utilize empathy well. They adapt how they’re feeling to suit the energy of those around them. Plus side: It’s like having a mama or papa bear around. If you’re sick or hurt or feeling down, leave it to Blue to do whatever to make it better. Down side: They allow themselves to easily get taken advantage of. And sometimes, if there’s a lot of Red and Green personalities around in a conflict, Blue won’t be the one backing you up when you need it. Only because they don’t want to make the other party feel worse.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tex’n the City: Item No. 6 — Be drama free

This week, we waited until after the election results to run Brandon James Singleton’s latest entry in Tex’n the City. Why? Because this week has been too much drama … and Brandon is trying to be drama free before his 30th next month.

Let’s just get straight to it. We’ve all said those words before: “I. Hate. Drama.”

So why is it that we always seem to end up in the midst of it?

This Halloween was a great example.

Unbeknownst to me, I got off the train in Hollywood to the sounds of cop cars and ambulances. There had been a gunfight. (I know it’s rare to hear about public spectacles in such a laid back, quiet area as Hollywood, but I swear, it happened.) To get to my friend’s place, I had to walk the opposite direction. Head north three blocks then double back around before I could even reach his apartment.

Along the way, I witnessed a few more fights than I would have cared to. And no matter which side of the street I chose to walk on, I kept finding myself just barely dodging one.

When did it become so difficult for a twenty-something man, dressed as a four-year-old kid, to go and hang with a bunch of prisoners and mythological creatures, dancing and drinking the night away?

I felt like the drama was just following me wherever I went. Like I was the drama-filled destination locked in on everyone’s GPS.

I wish I could count how many times in my life I’ve felt that way. You plan for a good time, but somehow it all goes downhill.

Once we made it into what almost seemed like the Million Gay March that was West Hollywood I finally started to relax. Well, as much as one could relax with giant half naked people wearing animal masks coming at you from every direction.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tex’n the City: Item No. 5 — Find a boyfriend (potential future husband)

Brandon James Singleton faces a sad conclusion: Dating isn’t as easy as it was when you were pretending to be straight… and he may not check off all the items on his checklist after all. 

You know what really sucks? When people hop into short-lived relationships. Apparently, since they both have siblings, and both love Britney’s third album the most, and neither likes going out to bars or clubs (though that doesn’t include Wednesdays through Tuesdays) and both previously had bad breakups and think most gay guys are trashy (not them, though) … They instantly knew when they saw each other’s upper torsos on that handy business networking site for gays only, they were star-crossed lovers destined to spend their lives together.

You can tell ’em they’re making a mistake (again), but they swear up and down that “this one is different.” But they still find themselves single two or three weeks later because the person they thought they were “falling in love with” has somehow changed and lied to them about something and was just as trashy as the last bf.

Imagine that. “DtxFUNboiPartyAllNight8in,” the serious mature guy you’ve been talking to — your soulmate of two weeks — lied to you about something! I can’t believe it! I won’t believe it. Never!

Then you have to go out and get them drunk, allow them to be silly and stupid as they attempt to numb the pain … only to repeat the entire  process over the following week with their new soulmate, “DoggyWannaBone8in.”

But you know what else really sucks? Being single. Especially when you finally feel like you’re mentally and emotionally more ready than you’ve ever been to handle a true mature relationship.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tex’n the City: Item No. 3 — Hot bod

As Brandon James Singleton approached 30, he made a checklist of accomplishments. So far, he’s achieved Nos. 1 (dream home), 2 (career) and 9 (a great best friend). That still leaves a good social circle (No. 5), a promising boyfriend (No. 6), a drama-free life (No. 7), “respect” (No. 8) and even being ready to turn 40 one day (No. 10). But being a gay man, he has an even more pressing priority first: A gym body.


One chiseled, Roman-god-like muscle physique. Shade of mahogany.

Last seen with a set of washboard abs.

If found, please contact owner.

So, there’s clearly something in the water in good ol’ Cali. It’s like everyone has a perfect gym-body. I mean, what happened to the days when people used to go to the gym, hang out on the treadmill for 10 minutes, make a few rounds while pretending the machine you want to use is taken … then, while drinking the little plastic cone of water at the cooler, you toss it in your face to give off the appearance of sweat — you know, after pumping all that iron — then hit up the local Dunkin Donuts conveniently four blocks away, afterwards, as a good workout treat.

Apparently in Hollywood, believe it or not, people actually workout! Blows my mind! I miss Texas.

Anyway, so I’ve decided it’s time to do the unthinkable. I’m getting a gym membership. Help me.

My buddy Kyle lives in WeHo. He offered to let me tag along with him at his gym as his guest,  and see if I liked it and would join. His only advice, “Don’t let yourself get intimidated. Some of these people have been working out forever. You can’t expect the same immediate results. It’ll take time. But it’ll be worth it.”

Lacy, the front desk receptionist: Amazing! She gets my humor immediately. Future BFF, I’m sure.

We finish checking in, and Kyle goes off on his own gym regime, leavomh me on my own to explore.

First encounter: Blue V-Neck Guy. Hate him. And his boulder-size arms. He can suck it.

Second encounter: Yellow Shorts Guy. Hate him. And his thighs of steel. He can suck it, too.

I make my way into the open dance room. Dancefloor. Mirrors. I’m home! The Zumba instructor was just packing up his stuff. He jokes about how I missed his best class yet. He’s cute. I’ll play along.

“…Blah Blah Blah…I’m Brandon…”


“Blah Blah Blah…just moved here from Texas…”

“…Welcome to Cali…Blah Blah…”

We talk about how insanely in-shape everyone here in Hollywood seems to be. He found me amusing. He clearly didn’t get the memo I was completely being serious. Again, he’s cute. I’ll let it slide.

Out of nowhere, he goes a little Jenny Craig consultant on me. He stands me up in front of the mirror. He starts to compliment me and it’s only polite of me to stand quietly and let him continue. I mean, I don’t wanna be rude. Matt, hottie WeHo Zumba instructor, starts making me take notice of the attributes I should be proud of. Ummm, thanks for the unpaid therapy session, Stewart Smalley, but ummmm, no. Well if I hadn’t already mentioned, he is cute. And 10 more minutes together and I could consider this my first date in Hollywood, right? No. Suck it.

Anyway, Matt shares that once upon a time he used to be a bit of a porker. (ME, TOO! SOULMATES!) But funnily, he does help me with a little confidence booster. He makes me stand in front of the mirror, takes off his shirt and stands next to me.

“Want you to make me feel, like I’m the only gay in the world…”

Can’t lie. I couldn’t stop staring at his abs so I’m not really certain what he started saying. I came in right around the point when he said “…and everyone can pick out flaws and parts of their body that they would change if they could. No matter how they work to achieve their physical goals. When I moved here a few years back from Michigan, I was afraid to even go to any pool parties or to the beach just to avoid the embarrassment I put on myself. But what I had to do is look back and learn to appreciate what I DO have and no matterhow much I want to look like Black Bandana Guy over thereby the free weights, I don’t. I’m happy with me. And it made working out, no longer something I was dreading, but something that I started to enjoy. And little by little, I set little realistic goals for myself, and just keep reminding myself, it’s all worth it.”

I went back to Lacy’s desk and officially signed up for a membership. David Beckham abs, here I come!

It’s not like I didn’t know what Matt told me, but sometimes you just need a little reminder. And when the reminder is coming out of a really nice guy, it doesn’t hurt.

And, did I mention he was hot?

peace out xoxoxo



—  Arnold Wayne Jones