Today we’d like to introduce you to Derek Brown.
Hi Derek, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO, and even as a small child. I always knew I wanted to be in entertainment (a stuntman, to be specific). Unfortunately, my city was not much of a hub for fostering and promoting performance-minded children. Nonetheless, my best friend Nazario and I still made attempts at becoming rappers (he was the DJ and I was the MC), since that was the thing to do in the late 80s/early 90s. We made demo after demo but could never get it in the right hands. Eventually, we just let that dream go. The only thing left to do was follow in the footsteps of generations prior… We got jobs. I was never really happy working a 9 to 5, but since that was what everyone else was doing, I just feel in line.
Since I was always pretty funny, at around age 21, I had some friends that encouraged me to try doing stand-up at a local comedy club. I was great until I got on stage. I forgot almost everything I was supposed to talk about. I didn’t completely bomb, but I did just bad enough to make me feel like I should probably not try again. Many years passed as I went on with life. My son was born and at age 25, I got into the electrical trade and became a union electrician. While in the apprenticeship program, I met one of my closest friends, Kelley. One Friday evening in 1996, he asked me if I wanted to go to an open mic poetry event to try and meet some women? I agreed and we headed over to The Backstage Bistro. We paid our cover, went inside, and got seats in the balcony section overlooking the stage.
Several outstanding poets came out and performed, but they were all doing these magnificent poems about change and revolution. The one thing I didn’t hear was any love poetry. I knew that would be my niche. I went home that evening and began to write. I wrote every day for almost four years and amassed hundreds of poems. At the same time, I was starting to perform at local open mics, mixing humor and love poetry and making quite a name for myself. That officially became the fuel for my newfound pursuit for performing again. By 2001 I had self-published two books and a third and fourth were on the way. However, I knew in order for me to really make it, I would need to move to Atlanta! After moving to the US Virgin Islands, first from STL in 2002 and then to Stone Mountain in 2006 and back to STL in 2007 and then to Mississippi in 2014, I finally moved back to ATL in 2018. Now, we are here to stay, but these last couple of years have been tumultuous for my family and me.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has not been a smooth road at all. I will admit, there have been some really nice peaks, but the valleys have truly tried to overshadow them. Since I have been in GA, I have lost everything I had left. I lost most of it in Mississippi, trying to build my video production business and other brands. This is why my family and I decided to move here. The ATL metro offered a bigger market and since there are so many black and minority-owned businesses, we figured we could network and thrive because I am great with people. Unfortunately, disaster struck before we could even get started. After moving to Alpharetta in May of 2018, the video work I came here for fell through, along with all but one of the filming projects I had lined up back in MS. This left me scrambling to find income.
Since nothing else was panning out, I started driving for Lyft and quickly began to make money, but there was nothing that I could do to catch us up since our leasing company wouldn’t allow partial payments. By October, my family and I were evicted. We spent the next 11 months staying in an extended stay hotel with me driving for Lyft up to 14 hours a day, plus driving my wife to and from work and my teenage daughters to and from school. With any time I had left, I worked on my brands. Sadly, I eventually had to pawn off all of my camera equipment and computers, so any work I did for my brands had to be done on my phone. Our car also broke down, which meant I couldn’t even drive for Lyft for a while. I had never in my entire life felt more defeated, but at the same time, I had never in my life felt more determined! This entire ordeal has truly pushed me to succeed and become greater than I could ever imagine!
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a comedian, poet, author, t-shirt designer, filmmaker, and YouTuber. I specialize in comedy. I have been known all my life for having the innate ability to make people smile and laugh hysterically. The thing I am most proud of is my YouTube channel. It encompasses everything that I am good at and enjoys doing. It also gives me a platform to share my gifts with others, which has been a lifelong dream of mine! It’s my own TV channel, you could say. I am also very proud of having shot and edited an award-winning documentary!
Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
Two of my favorite books are “The Game of Life and How to Play It” by Florence Scovel Shinn and “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie. I also enjoy watching Impact Theory on YouTube and TedX videos. They inspire me!
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.whoisderekandre.com
- Instagram: @iamderekandre
- Facebook: @whoisderekandre
- Twitter: @derekandre1024
- Youtube: https://youtube.com/c/DerekBrownTV
- Other: www.lifelongproductions.net