The Optics Podcast celebrates, supports and amplifies professionals of color in the marketing communications and media industries by sharing stories of marketers, creatives and journalists who make things happen.
This week, Optics chats with Dede Brown, senior vice president of national publicity for Paramount Pictures, an American film and television production, distribution company and a subsidiary of ViacomCBS. Brown has more than 20 years of public relations, branding, and mainstream, multicultural marketing experience. She has represented brands including the New York Post, GQ, Universal Studios and the National Basketball Association.
Brown spoke with Optics Podcast to reflect on her career journey and her newest position at Paramount Pictures. Here are three things you might not have known about the princess of public relations.
Dede Brown was promoted to senior vice president of multicultural marketing and publicity. The executive in charge of national publicity started at Paramount in March of 2020 revealed she is now transitioning to multicultural marketing and publicity at the film powerhouse. For years, Brown worked in the multicultural marketing and publicity space, because she has always been interested in how the entertainment industry promotes content to people of color. “I’ve always thought about how we talk to Black and Brown audiences and why we were always so underserved in everything that I did. So, by default, I was always looking into that,” said Brown. “So, all of the jobs or projects that I take on, I always think, what’s the slant here from a multicultural specifically African-American or black perspective.”
Lack of representation in the media led Brown to represent the culture. “I always had a love for entertainment. I wanted to entertain and I loved movies growing up. One of our family traditions was to go see movies, and as I went I noticed there weren’t a lot of us [Black people] in movies or on television,” she said. Recently, Brown worked on some of Hollywood’s biggest films to date including “Coming 2 America,” on Amazon Prime and the Golden Globe-nominated “United States vs. Billie Holiday,” on Hulu. Both films have been hailed for representing and telling unique Black stories.
It took years before she discovered she wanted to work in PR. The University of Alabama graduate earned a degree in broadcasting but became confused after realizing she didn’t want to be a broadcaster. “I thought I was going to go into broadcasting, but I realized I didn’t want to go to Mississippi and report on the cat in the tree during the tornado. That’s just not for me,” said Brown. With a college degree and no real clarity, it wasn’t until Brown moved from her native Florida to Atlanta that she realized she wanted to work in public relations.
To learn more about Brown’s journey to Hollywood, her plans for Paramount and all of the celebrities she’s met to date, tune into The Optics Podcast. Available now on the Pod Digital Media app, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Rae Onwumelu is a correspondent for Marcom Weekly. Onwumelu's writing and reporting have appeared in The Huffington Post, Blavity and CityBeat. She previously served as a feature writer for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and content specialist for The Educational Theatre Association.