Dallas-based TikTok creator DeAndre Brown amplifies LGBTQ voices in the corporate space

There’s one moment that DeAndre Brown says will stick with him for the rest of his life.

During his sophomore year at Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, his teacher asked the class to stand up one by one and say what they wanted to be when they grew up. When it was Brown’s turn, he told the class he wanted to be an actor.

His peers erupted in laughter.

Those classmates would be really surprised to see where that dream has taken him.

Brown, who turns 23 on Sunday, is known as the “Corporate Baddie” to over 560,000 TikTok followers. He creates entertaining content to inspire young people in the corporate world as they encounter everyday challenges.

“I didn’t expect things to blow up like they did,” Brown said. “When I got on the app, my main focus was to originally give back to people, minorities specifically, and provide them with opportunities to get into corporate America.”

Brown, who’s originally from the southern suburbs of Chicago, says he was really successful in college at finding internships, and he likes to give his followers advice about how to make themselves stand out. As a Black and openly gay man, he says he’s motivated to inspire underrepresented identities in the corporate space.

The path to TikTok

That moment in high school discouraged him so much that Brown completely changed his mind about his career path and decided to study law. In the summer of 2018, he was a judicial intern for the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, which made him certain that he didn’t want to become a lawyer.

“I absolutely hated it,” Brown said. “I came back and I said, ‘Hey, what can I do to embrace that creativity in me?’ †

He shifted gears into business marketing, which he studied at Morehouse College in Atlanta, graduating in 2021.

He took a job after college in Dallas at Citibank as a global consumer banking analyst. Dallas was brand new to Brown, and he didn’t have any friends here.

So he got out his phone and made a TikTok.

Soon, he was getting hundreds of thousands of views. At first he just talked about his new job, but gradually he started to address tricky or challenging scenarios he experienced as a young person in a corporate setting.

Brown says his inspiration comes directly from his followers who can relate to a lot of the things he experienced in corporate life. That’s how he created the Corporate Baddie persona.

DeAndre Brown, the TikTok creator known as the “Corporate Baddie,” is shown at LA Pride 2022.(Cristine Jane and Aaron Requena/)

“I made a video about just slacking off at work,” Brown said. “People were in the comments like, ‘Oh, you’re a corporate baddie,’ ” Brown said. “I was like, ‘Why don’t I call myself that?’ †

A couple thousand followers turned into a couple hundred thousand, and now Brown sits at a growing following of a half a million.

Brown is quiet and even calm in person. But it’s like turning on a light switch when he goes to work — his energy level soars and his voice is animated as he becomes the Corporate Baddie. He wears business professional clothing — sometimes decked out in a Patagonia sweater vest, a button up and slacks, complemented with a pair of black sunglasses. He sometimes brings in family for his TikToks or his dog, Harper — or the influencer dog, as he calls her.

He places his phone on a tripod — a gift from a previous partnership deal — and reads off a script he creates on his MacBook. In five to 10 minutes, he has made his daily TikTok.

Some of his most popular TikToks are about how Gen Z views the workplace and making fun of generational stereotypes. He asks his employer, “Jack,” about ‘life/work balance’ rather than ‘work/life balance’ in one TikTok and pokes fun at how corporate employers treat their Gen Z hires.

Creating content for the corporate world

While he’s funny and even over-confident in the videos, Brown admits that he’s braver on TikTok than he is in real life.

For instance, he posted a video recently mocking an employer asking him to do an extra assignment outside of his regular assignments.

“While I actually would be the person to say ‘yes,’ I deep down will always want to be like, ‘No, I actually don’t want to do that,’” he said.

It’s an escape for Brown and his followers.

“It’s super important to set these boundaries because I wasn’t setting those boundaries,” Brown said.

In May, he created a YouTube video on his channel talking about his coming out story, telling his family and coming to grips with his own sexuality. He said he always felt like an “outcast.”

Now he’s been creating his own version of motivational videos to add to the mix.

Brown began posting in August, and he’s branching out some, doing “car talks” and sharing more about his life, including his love of espresso martinis.

When he’s not making TikToks, he’s on TikTok looking at dogs, comedy creators or GRWM (Get Ready With Me) videos.

DeAndre Brown, a Dallas-based TikTok creator with more than a half million followers for his...
DeAndre Brown, a Dallas-based TikTok creator with more than a half million followers for his “Corporate Baddie” videos, practices recording a post for the app.(Liesbeth Powers / Special Contributor)

Brown says he’s even getting recognized in public these days and has been called out in public spaces as the Corporate Baddie.

He makes more money now than he did at his previous job, mostly from sponsorships with companies like Microsoft, Google and LinkedIn. He partners with companies and makes ads in his downtime, which generates more revenue than he makes with TikTok. A slow day on the app can generate a mere $30 in a day, he said. According to Medium, the top TikTok creators are likely making $50,000 to $150,000 per year with sponsorships.

Navigating the corporate space

Growing up Black and gay, Brown said opportunities to get his foot in the door in the corporate space were hard to come by.

“My whole point of all of this was to put us at the forefront,” Brown said. “As somebody who is both gay and Black, I was able to achieve so much and at a young age, and I just want it to be a beacon of hope.”

DeAndre Brown posed with other 2022 LGBTQ TikTok trailblazers.
DeAndre Brown posed with other 2022 LGBTQ TikTok trailblazers.(Cristine Jane and Aaron Requena/)

According to his Instagram, Brown snuck out to his first Pride parade during his senior year of high school because he was afraid his mother would not let him go if he asked. Flash forward to now, when he hosted this year’s LA Pride pre-show on TikTok.

And “now being able to host Pride Festival means so much to me,” Brown wrote to his 108,000 Instagram followers. “I am literally walking in purpose and am so blessed to have so many people who support me and just want to see me succeed.”

He’s promoting his message everywhere he goes. Brown was named one of TikTok’s 2022 LGBTQ trailblazers for his platform that sheds light on how Gen Z has changed corporate America. He joined a group of LGBTQ content creators for LA Pride, from June 10-12.

“I want to see other people in these spaces, specifically diverse people, because our voices matter,” Brown said. “Not only do our voices matter, we also bring unique perspectives to certain rooms.”

Brown said he could envision himself taking his advice a step further by doing consulting for corporations. He wants to help companies change their corporate culture.

“Everyone that works there needs to feel valued and not feel like they’re just a number,” Brown said.

His number one piece of advice for young people entering a corporate job? Set your boundaries.

“Know that you are a valuable asset to the company and make sure that you always feel like that,” Brown said. “Don’t feel like you’re being taken advantage of.”

Brown doesn’t see himself returning to the corporate space anytime soon, but he does see a move to Los Angeles or New York City in his future. He said he hopes to be a TV personality one day.

He can’t reveal what his plans are but says he’s excited for what is to come. He said he is going to continue to speak out about accessibility to the corporate space and bringing in more diverse minds.

“I’m young, I have a new perspective,” Brown said. “It’s super important for me to really hone in on the misconceptions and make sure that that doesn’t continue as we progress as a society.”

Pride celebrations kick off across Dallas-Fort Worth

Leave a Comment