MEMBER MONDAYS | Jeremy Rashad Brown
Jeremy Rashad Brown
is an actor, playwright, director, film and theater producer, singer-songwriter, entrepreneur and founder of Brown Boy Productions, LLC. Learn more about him, his latest project Rap Unzel, and his involvement in the creative community of ATX!
Obviously, the enormity of this question is kind of silly for me to ask, but in as general terms as possible, can you talk about your background? What brought you to Austin (or are you from Austin)? What ignited your interest to write and create art?
I am an actor, playwright, director, film and theater producer, singer-songwriter, and entrepreneur. Originally from Waxahachie, Texas, I moved to Austin June 2006 to start school at The University of Texas at Austin. Upon my graduation in May of 2011, I decided to stay planted here in Austin. The main reason why I decided to stay and not move to another metro-area that cradles Black American life and culture, such as Houston, Dallas, or Atlanta, was because I wanted to help create that life and culture here for Black Austin residents - especially in when it came to entertainment. That quest ignited my interest to start acting, producing and writing various mediums of art. It's been a long time coming, but after numerous years of purely acting and producing other artists incredible works, I decided to take the leap and start my own production company, Brown Boy Productions, LLC in January 2019 with Rap Unzel being the inaugural project.
Tell me about your current project, Rap Unzel. I’m so excited to go see it! What inspired you to write this screenplay? What do you hope attendees walk away with after seeing Rap Unzel?
“It became very difficult to edit these videos on my old MacBook Pro so, I decided to join the Austin Cinemaker Space to utilize the Motion Media Arts Center to be more efficient and productive in editing these videos. Not only have I finished editing all of my #BlackBoyJoy interview footage ahead of schedule, I now have the time to edit another project I have started working on!”
So, Rap Unzel centers around a little boy, Reginald "Rap" Unzel III, who is an optimistic little lyricist and rapper that personifies #BlackBoyJoy. The inspiration came from when I was going up as a little Black boy. My Mama was old school. When I was growing up, if I wanted to go out to a party or non-school related gatherings and my Mama didn't know the people there, I wasn't going. It was all to protect me and keep me from unnecessary trouble - especially since she was a single parent raising a young Black man here in America. My hope is that attendees actually do not walk away from this production, but rather carry it and this play's message with them and apply it out in the real world.
What would you say has been your biggest obstacle of this production as an artist?
Myself. I battled back and forth about some of the text that I wrote to put in the play. Some of the poems and writings that you'll hear in the play were written when I was 13 and 14 years old. I debated about sharing such deeply personal content in such a public and potentially critical way. But I am glad that I chose to share it.
What part of the production excited you the most?
The part of the production that excites me the most are the actors. GAH! They are flippin' amazing! As well as, the amazing music composed by, none other than the inspiring rapper with a message, Saul Paul! The talent on the stage embodying my words coupled with Saul Paul's moving and energetic music, take this production to an entirely different and Divine level! Also, seeing and hearing just how much little Black boys and girls are touched by the play...that's the most exciting component of all! The ones that I have had the pleasure of interacting with have freely expressed how they laughed, cried and related to the story. Plus they actually receive the message of the play!
How has being a member of Austin Cinemaker Space and utilizing the Motion Media Arts Center facility helped you?
In order to give the potential audience members of RAP UNZEL a little insight, I created a PR/marketing campaign about #BlackBoyJoy. I conducted film interviews with five (5) local Black men, who embody #BlackBoyJoy in their lives, to give their personal definition of the hashtag. It became very difficult to edit these videos on my old MacBook Pro so, I decided to join the Austin Cinemaker Space to utilize the Motion Media Arts Center to be more efficient and productive in editing these videos. Not only have I finished editing all of my #BlackBoyJoy interview footage ahead of schedule, I now have the time to edit another project I have started working on!
Do you have someone/something you look up to that pushes you to create?
My Mama, little sister McKenzee, and the rest of my family. I love it when I am able to produce art that not only resonates with everyone who encounters it, but when my family loves it...I know that I have done my job and that pushes me do more.
With that said, what piece of advice would you give young emerging creators?
Explore! Search of what your passion is, identify it, and hone it! But always remain open to different things and never cease in learning.
What are some of your favorite places in Austin to see art?
The Vortex Repertory Theater, Groundfloor Theater, AFS Cinema, & The Blanton Museum of Art.
Any projects up your sleeve for the future?
I have two short films slated to shoot June and August 2019, a feature film slated for next February 2020, as well as developing a streaming content platform. Keep an eye out for details!