What if you discovered and uncovered the works of a poet the likes of William Shakespeare?
The thing about Oscar Brown, Jr. … he was so prolific! He was such a deep thinker, that he not only thought about our people, Black people of African descent, he poignantly wrote and composed about humanity and the human condition. He saw and observed the state of our nation throughout his lifetime, and wrote essays, plays, songs, lyrics, poems, and sonnets illuminating the insanity our country is currently experiencing and projecting right now. All in poetic, hip form!
Sadly, the vast majority of his works were not published during his lifetime.
We are BootBlack Publishing. We are Oscar Brown Jr.’s children, grandchildren and other descendants. We own the rights to licensing all of his works, and our mission is to release all of his works; sharing his words, wisdom, talents, and ideas with the world!
We grew up learning and understanding the struggle and injustice our people have had to and continue to endure throughout our nation’s history. Our Grandfather, Oscar Brown, Sr. accomplished a great many things, an attorney who opened a law firm in Chicago after graduating from Howard University, led the Chicago-Chapter NAACP as President for a term, opened one of the first Real Estate Offices in Chicago’s South Side that focused on increasing land ownership for African Americans, being a part of opening one of the first Black-owned banks in Chicago, and Dad’s impact on our communities and the vast body of work he created.
You will hear many of his contemporaries mentioned by name. Gwendolyn Brooks, Sonja Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Amiri Baraka, Margaret Burroughs, and lately even Haki Madhubuti. They are all thought of and remembered well when we acknowledge the contributions of Black artists, writers and performers from our past. This is great! Sadly, Oscar Brown, Jr.’s name is often not mentioned with his peers, these accomplished artists and talents, and is usually implied in one simple sweeping statement, “among many others.
Early in his career, Oscar Brown, Jr. coined a term, “Edutainment.” Edutainment is something that uplifts and informs.
He absolutely proved “Edutainment” helps progress our people, particularly our youth. In 1967, OBJ went into the Woodlawn neighborhood on Chicago’s Southside and worked with the Blackstone Rangers, creating the critically-acclaimed OPPORTUNITY PLEASE KNOCK. Then, in the 80’s, he decided to hold auditions in the Chicago Housing Projects for his newly created miracle musical, the GREAT NITTY GRITTY, proving again there is “Gold in the ghetto” in terms of an abundance of talent. He knew what was there waiting to be activated.
There are many more examples of these grassroots efforts. Efforts which, if continued and supported, will absolutely put our people on a different trajectory than what has resulted due to a lack of interest in the positive investment in Black people by the leadership in this city, state & nation.
In 2026, October 10th will be Oscar Brown Jr.’s 100th birthday. We are currently 2+ years out from that date and we want to reveal this in a big roll out that year. In 2026, we will be taking the opportunity to celebrate an unsung Chicago hero/treasure/icon. He is the “original jazz rapper” and certainly should be considered a “Grandpa of Rap,” and so much more. Oscar desired, and his family is dedicated to, using his works for the good it will do in the world.
We need to partner with you to make a whole lot more of this powerful material. Without question, it truly does deserve that. Not only for the financial empowerment it will generate, but more so for the spiritual upliftment of you, me and all people. That is what Oscar was about. He said: “All I had to do to receive this gift is pay attention. If I get paid what I paid, I will be well paid.” He never liked the entertainment industry’s commodification of his artistic expressions. He continued to appreciate his gifts without entertainment industry support.
He left a treasure that we need help with turning into accessible tools to do what he desired to be done with it: Help our people come to their own economic rescue using their talents. There are endless possibilities of what can be done with it all. Remember, the vast majority of his works went unpublished during his lifetime!