Kizzie Brown Duah is a serial entrepreneur in fashion, real estate, and the film & entertainment industry, diving deep in her role as a director of Indie Night Film Festival and co-owner of the Privélege with her husband, Kingsley Duah, a Lifestyle Brand and Real Estate Company. Her brand, Privélege based in Brooklyn, NY provides custom and ready to wear apparel and accessories for any occasion. On the side, she adds to her empire as a real estate broker to the people of New York City for The Privélege Group. Pride in elevating Black businesses exudes from Brown-Duah as well as her motivation to work harder as a self-made woman in business. This Women’s History Month, she sees the impact that women, including herself, have had on the world and wants to see that increase along with celebrating the success of black owned business owners year-round.
Brown-Duah has impacted the film world by participating in the film festival over the past ten years alongside her brother, Dave Brown, founder of Indie Night Film Festival and mover and shaker in the film and entertainment industry. With the Indie Night Film Festival going on the road, she expresses how excited they are to give opportunities to amateur filmmakers across the country. Brown-Duah shows a true love for wanting to see independent creatives succeed in Hollywood. Brown-Duah is also charitable, as her lifestyle brand recently participated in a show dedicated to fighting pancreatic cancer, the coveted Blue Jacket Fashion Show founded by fashion designer Frederick Anderson and marketer, Laura Miller, the annual event unites the worlds of fashion, entertainment, sports, healthcare, and media to openly discuss prostate cancer, with an emphasis on racial disparities and underserved communities. Kizzie, as well as her husband and business partner, are eagerly looking forward to planting several fertile businesses and charitable causes under the Privélege umbrella.
Brown-Duah is a graduate of Spelman College and daughter to Minister and Civil Rights Activist, Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, Pastor of Third Baptist Church of San Francisco and her mom, Jane Brown, a Real Estate Broker in San Francisco. She is a proud mother herself to Victoria and Elijah Duah and her stepdaughter, Aaliyah Duah.
Being the Director of Indie Night Film Festival, you are exposed to a ton of great films from artists all over. Are there any that have stuck out in your mind?
There are several films that have impressed me, however the film that stands out in my mind is one we highlighted and awarded in our top 12 films at Indie Night in 2000. The short film was titled “Flipped” and was written and directed by a team of Hampton University graduates. The film, after its name’s sake, flipped the script on race relations in America. A Caucasian male with a promising future was admired by family and educators until he died at the hands of police brutality. In this case, the officers were black and non-white completely shifting the narrative of policing in America. The white citizens bore an ancestry of enslavement and the black population held the power in America. The film was well written, thought provoking, and addressed the racial injustice in America.
What do you feel that women specifically bring to the Indie Night Film Festival?
As women, we bring depth and emotion telling our stories and it is always from a lens that reaches the soul of America. I have seen so many incredible women come through Indie Night. We always highlight the women who showcase with us throughout the year and especially during women’s month.
As co-owner of the lifestyle brand, Privélege, you are an avid supporter of all independent Black businesses. Why do you feel it is important that the Black community creates these avenues?
There are few African American design houses recognized for their notability and influence in the luxury market. We want to increase that number and representation within the black community. We believe strengthening and growing our businesses whether small or large is important to the economic stability of America and in closing the wealth gap for African Americans. African Americans continue to contribute to building America, not only as employees but as those who employ. Our community must strive for a more diverse marketplace while increasing our knowledge and access to the information that leads to better capital acquisition. It is so important that we have representation in every market we patronize including the luxury markets.
There is a prestige that comes with being a client of Privélege. Who are your ideal clientele?
Our ideal client is someone who takes pleasure in looking good while doing good throughout the world. We appeal to individuals who invest in themselves through their daily work, activities and lifestyle.
Privélege recently partook in the Blue Jacket Fashion Show that was charitably created to benefit those suffering from prostate cancer. Do you have any other philanthropic ventures you have done or are looking to do?
When we were first introduced to the Blue Jacket Fashion Show I was reminded of the people near and dear to me who have survived prostate cancer. The Privélege brand supports all things good and participates in any opportunity that helps the brand live up to its ethos “Looking Good Doing Good”. The Blue Jacket Fashion show is an example of when those two principles collide. The future plan is to eventually create a Privelege Foundation to support and participate in causes such as Health initiatives, family stability, and financial and economic empowerment in urban communities.
It’s Women’s History Month, set to the theme “Embrace Equity”. As a businesswoman, what does this month mean to you?
This month means everything to me. Women, especially black women, have been leading our families, communities, and now our own businesses. Alongside my husband, I have grown into my own leadership roles and spearheaded numerous ventures. My husband will tell you he defers to me when it comes to what I am strongest in and that’s partly why we are still married!!
It makes me feel good to know Americans are embracing gender equity and equality. While there is still some strides to make in equity, I am glad to know some corporations have made meaningful changes. Women throughout the U.S are demonstrating their power in the workplace as leaders, creatives, and team members. My husband and I are an example of how power positions can be shared and equally wielded within business.
Do you have any other projects you would like to share?
This year, as we grow the Privélege brand in apparel, we will increase our presence in real estate sales and project management. This will be for deals suitable for renovation and interior design, building a viable real estate company under the Privélege umbrella. It will eventually lead us to the potential development of launching a home goods line for the homes we sell and develop.
Also, Indie Night Film Festival will be going on the road this summer, landing first in Atlanta, Georgia. The festival founded by my brother, Dave Brown has always been envisioned as reaching filmmakers from all over the world and building a bridge for independent filmmakers to Hollywood. The Atlanta project is on its way to launch in June 2023 to screen films monthly. We are excited and calling on the East Coast and Atlanta Georgians to submit their films! Submissions are open year-round at indienighttf.com or Filmfreeway.com.