A Step Towards Healing

A Step Towards Healing

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Picture this: your family is at the highest level of soul music. James Brown, the King of Soul, is your uncle. Your dad - William "Boy" Brown - is spinning records as a nationally renowned and award winning DJ at KJET radio in Beaumont, TX. Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin are part of your circle. One night, when you are 16 years old, your father is arrested on a non-violent offense. During the process he is paralyzed during a police choke hold. When he returns home from the hospital your mother becomes a full time caregiver for him and you, at age 16, become a mother figure to the 3 siblings in your household. Four years later your father dies. The resulting grief, anger and tears last for decades. This is the story of the early years of Billie Brown, now a 63 year old Black woman living in Edmonds, WA.

 William"Boy" Brown - like his brother James Brown - was passionate about music. He is credited with bringing Black music to southeast Texas and his dedication to the music industry and the local community were many. He was selected the most outstanding, influential radio personality of the year by the National Association of Television and Radio Announcers (NATRA) in the 1970's. He was host of the 'Jax Beer Radio Hour with Boy Brown', announcer for Bossett rodeo arena - where Black rodeos were held - and spun records at Studio A for Soul-a-Rama, which was the Sunday afternoon sock hop for teens to dance their hearts out while their parents got to take a break. His death, and the circumstances surrounding it, left a large hole not only in his family but also in the community and the music industry.

Now, after these many years, the Mayor and City Council of Beaumont, TX have announced the establishment of "Boy Brown Day" to honor Billie's father along with the original disk jockeys of the legendary KJET radio. A Proclamation will be presented on December 8, 2020 at the Council Meeting at Beaumont City Hall.

 As you can imagine, Billie is enormously excited about this event. In a recent email to the Mayor or Beaumont Billie wrote the following: "This recognition will bring some closure to Boy Brown's children, grandchildren and great grandchildren from the tragic event. It will bring healing and comfort to the music industry the Black community and still living friends of Boy Brown. It will also give cause for celebration recognizing that the City of Beaumont and Southeast Texas as a whole is growing, changing and moving forward."

Billie does not have the means to cover the costs of traveling from the Seattle area to Beaumont to be part of this historically significant event. We know there are many needs and asks of the community - especially at this time of year - but hope there is a way to cover the costs of this important journey.

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Donations

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  • Anonymous 
    • $500 
    • 5 d
  • Jordy Sigler 
    • $35 
    • 7 d
  • Mark Zacharia & Ami Samuels 
    • $100 
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  • Terry Randle 
    • $25 
    • 9 d
  • Stephanie Lawrence  
    • $100 
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Organizer

Friends of Billie Brown 
Organizer
Edmonds, WA

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