OSCAR BROWN JR
actor - singer - songwriter - poet - playwright - activist
“My mission is to shine a light on the world that brightens the human condition.”
“My works can now be shared and my mission finally accomplished. This is the result hoped for from the postings on this website.”
About Oscar Brown, Jr.
Oscar Brown, Jr. was an Actor - Lyricist - Playwright - Director - Singer - Songwriter - Television and Radio Host - Essayist and Activist. He coined the term edutainment, and that is what he used to conduct his revolution.
The result of a writing career that spanned over half a century, Oscar Brown, Jr. found inspiration in an astonishing variety of subject matters. He penned over 1000 poems and wrote more than a dozen musical stage plays, several of which are written entirely in rhyming verse. He is said to be one of the most prolific poets and lyricists of the 20th century. Oscar Brown, Jr was the original rap star and he was a forerunner of the political & social consciousness that would become predominant in soul, funk and hip hop in the decades to follow.
Oscar Brown, Jr. spent several years as the first and youngest newscaster to bring “Negro” news to the nation. In 1960 he raised $400K when NBC's entire Today Show was turned over for a backers audition for Oscars’ original musical KICKS & CO. During a high point in his career, OBJ turned his attention to work with the Blackstone Rangers-a notorious Chicago street gang-to help quell violence and expose their talents, amid the height of the Black Power Movement. Brown cast heavyweight champion Muhammed Ali, in the lead role of his musical BUCK WHITE, when the icon was banned from fighting for refusing the draft. His portrayal of Black culture in music, poetry and theater had an indelible influence on the Black Arts Movement.
Toward the end of the 1950’s and at the top of the 60’s, Oscar Brown, Jr. started out songwriting, developing his talent for setting swinging, intellectually impressive lyrics to classic tunes by some of the most renown jazz musicians. Brown is so well versed, his catalog reveals a thoughtful and versatile wordsmith. Whether amusingly illustrating biblical characters or urban folklore as in “The Snake'' and “The Signifyin’ Monkey;” or setting poignant, potent, english lyrics to songs translated from famous French and Brazilian tunes. He may be found recorded on around a dozen albums (many out of print), including three CDs which were captured after a 20 year hiatus from the recording studio.
His songs have been recorded by Mahalia Jackson, Diana Ross, Barbara Striesand, Phillip Bailey, Erykah Badu and Gregory Porter to name a few.
In his own words . . . .
I wish, as best I can, to influence the character and quality of current entertainment and literature by offering my words and music, and trust that their appreciation will result in popular support to further our creative projects and productions in the future.
While the heights of his talents were suppressed by an entertainment industry in fear of Oscar’s “compulsive truth-telling,” the good news is: most of his magnificent catalog is unpublished and waiting to be utilized. Oscar’s family has control and knowledge and wants what he wanted: to share it all!