Music is a universal language. We tell stories, understand emotion, and make sense of life with it. For singer and actress Brooke Simpson, music is a driving force, and it’s been a part of her life since she can remember. “All the emotion and adrenaline and energy that I bring on stage, that’s all rooted in my childhood,” she once said. Now, she’s ready to share that with the world.
Growing up in a tight-knit community of about 4,000 people on Haliwa-Saponi tribal grounds in Hollister, North Carolina, Simpson dreamed of being a pop star, but rarely saw entertainers like herself. “As a little girl, a lot of the pop stars that I looked up to, they didn’t look like me,” she added. So the young aspiring singer turned to the dynamic women around her for inspiration, and found her unique and powerful stage presence from them. “Instead of looking up to someone on TV, I just looked up to the women around me,” she admitted. Simpson pays homage to those women with her latest song, “Haliwa.” She sings about her strong roots and knowing who she is: A proud daughter, singer, and performer.
The song was released the same day as the Nike N7 “SEE ME SEE US” campaign, which features Brooke and other members of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe. The product collection featured in the campaign is set to launch in Spring 2022 and is inspired by rich textures like natural fibers and cork — paying homage to the Indigenous defense of Mother Nature’s biodiversity. Simpson is joined by Nike’s Sam McCracken from Fort Peck Assiniboine and the Sioux Tribes; and soccer player Madison Hammond from the Navajo and San Felipe Pueblo tribes as beacons of the campaign storytelling.
2022 will also mark Simpson’s Broadway debut, as she’ll be playing founding father Roger Sherman in a revival of the Tony award-winning musical 1776. Driven by creativity, a love of performing, and the support of her loved ones, representing her roots by opening the doors for future generations is what drives the talent. “I have gladly taken on the mantle and will make sure I show the next generation of Indigenous leaders we can choose our strength over our struggle because there is nothing impossible for us,” she said.
Like other trailblazers before her, Simpson celebrates every win but understands that the work is far from over. But you can’t look to the future without acknowledging your past, and for Simpson, her past is the roots of her tribe. Of her people. These roots ground her, tying her to a rich culture and a community that served as her very first inspiration. The women of her tribe and her family are what make Simpson who she is. “I know exactly who I am because I am my mother’s daughter,” she sings on her single Haliwa. Her soul is tied to her tribe, and that soul is full of music. The world deserves to hear the music inside of Simpson, and she’s ready to share it.