In Tinseltown, where Ferragamo shoes, Montblanc sunglasses and Patek Philipe wrist watches are donned to impress, independent film producer Steven J. Brown opts for jeans, a simple off the rack t-shirt and a practical and comfortable leather jacket.
Hollywood is a town chock full of glitz, glamour and gluttony. So here, Mr. Brown is a stand out—not just because of his unorthodox wardrobe, but because of his dedication to impacting social change and helping those who often don’t get much attention.
“While many producers pursue fame or money, Steven Brown has dedicated his career to the progress, prosperity and advancement of minorities within the motion picture industry,” says African-American award-winning director/writer Greg Carter. “The bigger picture is important for Steve. He makes that his business.”
As Hollywood heavyweights at times lament a lack of diversity in blockbuster and mainstream films in the independent film world, Steven J. Brown is a well-known champion for African Americans, Hispanics, Gays and Lesbians. And his resume demonstrates a commitment to underprivileged actors, directors and writers.
Steven Brown’s Back in the Day is a 2005 crime drama starring Ja Rule and Ving Rhames and directed by James Hunter. The film was introduced on May 15, 2004 at the Cannes Film Festival and was released a year later in the U.S. on May 24, 2005, about a young man who is lives with his father to avoid violent gang activity that almost killed him as a teenager. But when his father is murdered, he slips back into the life of crime.
And 11:55, about a US Marine who returns to his hometown and finds himself trapped by the violent past he had tried to escape.
“His (Steven J. Brown’s) films explore social themes and these films are often filmed in fiscally challenged towns with the purpose of creating new jobs and opportunities,” says Youngstown, Ohio filmmaker Leone Marucci. “He’s constantly searching to make a difference.”
Steve Brown was born in Queens, New York where his single mother gave birth to him 3 months prematurely and she always reminded him of medical care he received due to low income programs developed by Lyndon Johnson for the poor. Instilled with a relentless work ethic, Mr. Brown was a diligent student who earned an Academic Scholarship to Western Illinois University where his studies in US History and Civics led him into the teaching profession.
During college, Mr. Brown worked for Democratic Senator Alan J. Dixon performing constituent services. He transitioned into a life of service, spending many years working with labor unions to promote and cultivate working families in their quest for a higher standard of living, something Mr. Brown says is in his blood.
“I saw my mother struggle. I saw families around me struggle. That shapes how you view life and people no matter how successful you personally become,” says Mr. Brown. “I have always been for the worker and for the family trying to succeed sometimes against the odds.”
He officially worked for and advocated for the International Union of Operating Engineers and the AFL-CIO in their fights to preserve working families’ rights.
Steve Brown was instrumental in pushing back against corporations seeking to destroy the American worker.
Mr. Brown was recognized for his efforts in championing the rights of sexual assault and rape victims worldwide. Renowned child sexual abuse prevention nonprofit “Lauren’s Kids” and the Miami Dolphins honored Mr. Brown as their 2016 ‘Man of the Year’ for his tireless service supporting the cause. He continues to be heavily involved in the cause.
Mr. Brown’s previous films tackled this often taboo subject of child sexual abuse and predators including Loving the Badman and Our Fathers. His forthcoming feature film Frenzy will explore the psychological consequences of such heinous activity.
“It’s about making a difference in the world and through films I do my best to tackle tough subjects that are designed to entertain, educate and provoke sometimes intense thought,” says Steven J. Brown. “My only regret is my beloved mother never lived long enough to see it materialize.”