Hi, I’m Jeremy Rashad Brown. I am from Waxahachie, Texas.
Seventeen years ago, I went to UT where I majored in American studies and music business. And upon graduation, since I thought that, you know, money was the goal to live, like, a nice soft life, I got this very corporate job that was so rigid. So I have gotten this job that I had been at for about two years at this point. And so since I was a natural food grocery representative, I would have to go into a lot of the natural grocery stores.
And so there was this buyer that I had to meet with for the very first time that I had not met before. So I went into his office really gung-ho and this buyer, who pretty much holds the cards for my quota, is saying language that just didn’t hit with me and actually was quite harmful.
He’s just liberally throwing around the F-word in front of me, not knowing that I am a queer man. Then directly talking about how, basically, I’m a credit to my race. He didn’t say that verbatim, but he implied it.
I just felt sunken because I couldn’t move, even though I really wanted to. I couldn’t move. I had a job to do. So that wasn’t just one off example. That was indicative of the environment and the industry I was in.
When it came to be around, like, year six within my eight year career there at the company, I just went ahead and I started to find ways to try to get back to who I was and my core and myself. And that was being a very creative person. So I actually started to take acting classes. From acting classes, I started doing some film work, being on sets, learning sets and things of that sort. Got into the local Austin, Texas community theater scene, which is vibrant, talented, and brilliant and so nurturing, safe and accepting. And it was just another world.
But it wasn’t until a huge industry shakeup for the natural food and grocery industry, which is when Amazon bought Whole Foods, that started to make me kind of think that my department, my role was in jeopardy. And it wasn’t until February of 2018 where I got the call from my supervisor, his immediate supervisor and an HR person, and me, just me, on a phone, a conference call because they were doing away with my department.
I thought I was just going to get completely let go, but when they offered me the lateral position in that moment, I said, Okay, well, no, I don’t have to go. So yeah, I need my benefits. I need to eat. I want to have a roof over my head. But then on the other side, I was like, No, this is the opportunity. This is it. It’s a confirmation for you. Do this for yourself and just go for it.
I need my benefits. I need to eat. I want to have a roof over my head. But then on the other side, I was like, no, this is the opportunity. This is it.
And so I took a leap. I saw that as my opportunity to go ahead and see what being an artist is in this world, and even more specifically within the city of Austin. I liquidated my 401K, and I lived off of that for about a year to figure out what my next moves would be. And it didn’t take me long because around the third month of being “unemployed” or being a full-time artist, I became an entrepreneur.
And so June 2018, I formed my now production company, Brown Boy Productions, in order to uplift the marginalized voices and the historically underrepresented with the recounting their own stories. Nowadays, I reflect back on that meeting with a guy just freely throwing around the F word and having a lot of racial microaggressions toward me. Now, the meetings I have and the conversations that we have and the non-harmful language or the consensual language that we have within our conversations, it’s like night and day. And so sometimes I look back at that me and wish that this me, the one currently sitting in this chair, was able to even peek his head around the door and just give a tiny whisper of It’s going to be all right.
Protect yourself. Continue to love yourself, and keep pressing forward.