Like the previous Flesh Tone videos, “Brave” is a collaboration with British photographer John “Rankin” Waddell, who trades in Gaga-esque costumes and exotic locales to focus completely on the bold artist herself. Kelis looks stunning, wearing white against white, with a classy blonde ‘do and bright red lipstick that provides a splash of color in this otherwise muted video. Surely not every performer could get away with doing one long unbroken take for a whole video, but Kelis owns every frame with her emotive delivery and a sense of gravitas —she’s able to command the screen with just her emotive expressions and minimal movement. The shot remains fixed on her, though Kelis and Rankin do shake things up a bit by having the camera pulse to the beat — a nifty effect that livens up the video just enough.
This up-close-and-personal approach is perfect for this great song, since “Brave” feels like one of the album’s most open and intimate offerings, an unapologetic anthem about inner strength. It even features a shout out to baby Knight, who inspired several tracks on the album: “Had a baby, he’s amazing / He saved me and this time, it’s just us.” This video is just Kelis, and she owns it. True to the song’s title, this less-is-more approach was courageous, and “Brave” delivers.