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Jamie Foster Brown

Magazine publisher Jamie Foster Brown was born on June 25, 1946 in Chicago, Illinois to Mamie Lee and Peter James Foster. She graduated from Calumet High School in Chicago, Illinois and attended Roosevelt University. She later received her B.A. degree from the University of Stockholm in Stockholm, Sweden.

After graduating from high school, Brown worked for the Equitable Life Insurance Society and later worked at the Teletype Corporation. She was then hired as William A. Nail’s assistant at Zenith Electronics and later worked as a secretary at Foote, Cone & Belding in Chicago, Illinois. In 1972, Brown and her husband, Dr. Lorenzo Brown, moved to Sweden. Together, they managed a cleaning business while finishing their respective degrees. In 1978, they returned to the United States and moved to Washington, D.C. There, Brown founded the Washington Theater Group, an organization that marketed group ticket sales for theatrical performances in 1979. In 1981, Brown was hired as Robert L. Johnson’s advertising secretary at Black Entertainment Television (BET). From 1981 to 1985, Brown worked as an assistant producer of BET’s Video Soul and Video LP programs. She left BET in 1985, and was hired at Impact magazine. In 1988, Brown founded Sister 2 Sister magazine and later created a syndicated radio show, The Sister 2 Sister Celebrity Update. Brown also appeared as a regular guest on the Joan Rivers Show and on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. In 1998, Brown published Betty Shabazz: A Sisterfriends’ Tribute in Words and Pictures. Brown also appeared on an episode of E! True Hollywood Story in 2009, and in the 2012 film Think Like a Man. Later, in 2015, Brown appeared in the television series Unsung.

In 1998, Brown received the Midwest Radio and Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She was inducted into the National Association of Black Female Executives in Music and Entertainment, Shero Hall of Fame in 2002. She then received the Golden Scissors Lifetime Achievement Award and the Association for Women in Communications, Matrix Award for Professional Achievement. In 2008, she was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Bennett College. The following year, Brown received the Freedom Sisters Award from the Ford Motor Company.

Jamie Foster Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 5, 2007 and April 11, 2019.

Accession Number

A2007.046

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/5/2007

2/5/2007 |and| 4/11/2019

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Middle Name

Foster

Schools

Perspectives Charter - Calumet Leadership

Kershaw Elementary School

Francis W. Parker High School

Roosevelt University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Jamie

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BRO42

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Europe

Favorite Quote

What's That About?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/25/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Magazine publisher Jamie Foster Brown (1946 - ) served as assistant producer of BET’s Video Soul and Video LP programs and later founded Sister 2 Sister magazine and created the syndicated radio show, The Sister 2 Sister Celebrity Update.

Employment

Teletype Corporation

Equitable Life & Casualty Insurance Company

BET

Sister 2 Sister Magazine

‘Betty Shabazz: A Sisterfriends Tribute in Words and Pictures’

Washington Theatre Group

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jamie Foster Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jamie Foster Brown lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jamie Foster Brown remembers lessons from her father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jamie Foster Brown remembers her father's work ethic

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her parents' musical background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jamie Foster Brown describes the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her relationship with her father

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jamie Foster Brown remembers celebrating Christmas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her community in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jamie Foster Brown remembers Calumet High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jamie Foster Brown remembers her early work experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jamie Foster Brown remembers meeting her husband, Lorenzo Brown

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jamie Foster Brown remembers her husband's courtship

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jamie Foster Brown recalls her trip to Fairfield, Alabama, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jamie Foster Brown recalls her trip to Fairfield, Alabama, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her wedding

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jamie Foster Brown talks about her husband's academic career

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her sister's career at the Chicago Sun-Times

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jamie Foster Brown remembers living in Sweden

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jamie Foster Brown recalls the birth of her son, Randall Brown

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her early experiences of motherhood, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jamie Foster Brown talks about her relationship with her husband

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her early experiences of motherhood, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jamie Foster Brown talks about her experiences in Sweden

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Jamie Foster Brown remembers her interview at Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jamie Foster Brown recalls working with BET founder Robert L. Johnson

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jamie Foster Brown remembers hosting fundraisers in Sweden

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jamie Foster Brown recalls lessons from BET founder Robert L. Johnson

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jamie Foster Brown recalls becoming an assistant producer at BET

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jamie Foster Brown remembers interviewing musicians at BET

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jamie Foster Brown recalls her column for Impact magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jamie Foster Brown remembers founding Sister 2 Sister magazine, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jamie Foster Brown remembers founding Sister 2 Sister magazine, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her interview with Bobby Brown

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jamie Foster Brown describes the style of her interviews for Sister 2 Sister

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jamie Foster Brown reflects upon the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jamie Foster Brown talks about her interviews with hip-hop artists

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her promotions at Downtown Locker Room stores

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jamie Foster Brown talks about the Intergenerational Celebration program

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jamie Foster Brown recalls her awards and honors

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her book, 'Betty Shabazz,' pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her book, 'Betty Shabazz,' pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Jamie Foster brown describes the history of her home in Bowie, Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Jamie Foster Brown talks about her home in Bowie, Maryland, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jamie Foster Brown talks about her home in Bowie, Maryland, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jamie Foster Brown describes the Washington Theater Group

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her oldest son

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jamie Foster Brown recalls the shooting of her son, Randall Brown, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jamie Foster Brown recalls the shooting of her son, Randall Brown, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jamie Foster Brown recalls the shooting of her son, Randall Brown, pt. 3

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jamie Foster Brown recalls the community's support after her son's shooting

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her plans for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jamie Foster Brown shares her advice to aspiring magazine publishers

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jamie Foster Brown reflects upon her career

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jamie Foster Brown reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jamie Foster Brown describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jamie Foster Brown talks about her marriage and values

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jamie Foster Brown describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jamie Foster Brown shares a message to future generations

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Jamie Foster reflects upon the importance of history

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Jamie Foster Brown reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Jamie Foster Brown narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

7$9

DATitle
Jamie Foster Brown recalls her trip to Fairfield, Alabama, pt. 2
Jamie Foster Brown describes her interview with Bobby Brown
Transcript
Let me tell you, we, we're gone to the airport to pick up Kathleen Cleaver, who was traveling around--they were looking for Eldridge Cleaver and she was just traveling, so she was just decoying. So here we--now you know I'm not into the movement, I'm not list--I'm not really one of those people into the movement so I'm listening, we're in a car. We go pick her up and she's paranoid like, "Who are these people?" Now these--Willie Ricks [Mukasa Dada] who's from SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] is--knows her and he's the one hosting her and he's also the one hosting us. So he says you know he said, "Well these are students from Miles College [Fairfield, Alabama] and this is the Professor Brown [Lorenzo Brown] and all that." So they take us to this house, that's up in, in Birmingham [Alabama] up on a hill and its dark okay? We get to this house and we go inside and she sits the kids down, the students down in front of her fireplace and she's talking about the movement and the military, you know. I'm going, I'm in the bedroom, I see bullet holes and blood stains on the walls and stuff. I'm like how the hell I get here, you know and, and Lorenzo's friends are trying to hit on me while he's in there you know being educated by Kathleen Cleaver. On the way out I have a big afro and I'm skinny and I'm light skinned. Our car was parked half down the hill, her car was parked at the top of the hill. We get up and go get in our car, so there's two cars, there's another teacher you know--okay, two cars, two teachers, students. We go, I go get in my car and we're driving back to Atlanta [Georgia]--now from Atlanta to Birmingham. All of a sudden the, the teacher, the other teacher pulls his car over and Lorenzo pulls over too and he says, "We're being followed, we're being followed." Lorenzo says, "Yeah I know, just keep on going." I'm like, "Followed, what's going on (laughter)? Why are we being followed?" I get to his apartment and it's cold in this apartment. He's got blinds up, shades up that you could see in, but you can't see out. So people can look inside the house but you couldn't see outside the house, he had put 'em up backwards. I had to change clothes in the bathroom, it's just one room. Anyway I was so uncomfortable and I said, "Where am I sleeping?" And there's only one bed (laughter), I'm like, how, lord how did I get in this mess? Turns out that the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] follows me instead of Kathleen Cleaver thinking that I'm her, so when they realize that they followed the wrong person they thought was intentional and that I was the decoy. Well honey they were calling up the--my parents [Mamie Lee Harris Foster and Peter Foster], they were calling my sister, they were calling up friends of ours who were policemen, they called the school and everything. They wanted to have us front and center at Miles College that Monday you know. So when Lorenzo went in to, to school, they had the students, they had the other teacher there. The other teacher was, "Well what are we gonna do, what are we gonna do?" Their phones were tapped, his phones were tapped. It was so funny--they wanted me, and Lorenzo said, "Oh no, no you can't have her." They were listening to everything--that weekend they were listening. Lorenzo knew they were parked outside of his house and when he would call or talk to some of his friends he said, "Well Jamie's [HistoryMaker Jamie Foster Brown] down here," 'cause he had told everybody that he was in love with this girl named Jamie. Honey, he said, "You know the, the FBI's here and they're trying to follow us and wherever we go and, and they always lose us and just makes me lose confidence in my government." I mean he was irritated and he was egging them on and everything. They interviewed everybody, they wanted me, and he says, "No, she's my guest, I brought her here, I brought her down there, she wasn't a decoy. I'm not gonna let you talk to her, she hasn't done anything." In the meantime everybody's all upset. Only thing I'm thinking about is like daggone I'm down here and I'm not married (laughter), my parents are gonna kill me. Oh, my god how can I go back, and then the prin- my, my boss I knew he was gonna expect me that Monday and everybody's worried about that and the FBI and I'm worried about what my daddy gone say, okay, so. So I was pretty calm, I wasn't even involved with all this that was going on so Monday they took me to Lucius Pitts [Lucius Holsey Pitts, Sr.], he was the president of the college. Everybody says, "Oh, there she is, and she does African dancing and she's so cute and all that," and Lorenzo started looking at me like well maybe she's not so bad.$Who are some of the people that you profiled in there, and what was--$$T.I. (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) And who stands out the most to you?$$Well actually Bobby Brown, and everybody said, "Why you love Bobby so much" because in all the years I have been in this business, and I've been in it since like '81 [1981], he's the only artist that ever showed, showed concern for other people. We sit in front of these artists two or three times a year, they never ask you, "How you doing? How's your business, can I help you out," anything like that. Bobby did, Bobby Brown did--when, when he was cutting up, got married to Whitney Houston and cutting up in the hotels and they were saying he was out with other women and they was in the tabloids every week and Whitney's supposed to be mad about this, that and the other. Bobby never--he never answered any of the media, any of the rumors nothing like that, and we had to increase the circulation of the magazine [Sister 2 Sister]. We had to make it four, four color; it was only black and white with one color. We had to put more hips on the magazine, make it bigger. Well that costs a lot of money. Where were we gonna get that money from, you know? And because we always paid our bills, our credit was like through the roof, very high, our, you know, we were able to, but we always paid our bills. So there was a black man at the printing company where we worked that said, "You all need better terms than what you are--you all pay every month. You can talk to them about you know deferring some of that cost." So he was the one who hipped us that. We went there, renegotiated our deal with them in terms of the terms and like it was gonna be fifty thousand dollars instead of twenty-five thousand dollars but they were only gonna charge us twenty thousand dollars a month, and then they would defer the thirty thousand you know. That's like giving us a thirty thousand loan every, every month. That's because we had great terms, great you know, my father--my husband [Lorenzo Brown] would say, "Look we can't pay this right now but let's--this is the payment plan." He would always go to them, they wouldn't have to chase him down, he would chase them down. "Look we're having problems right here getting our money in from the record labels or whatever." So they--with Bobby when we had to increase the magazine and increase the cost of the magazine my husband said, "Why don't you get Bobby Brown to give you a story." I said, "Bobby's not talking to anybody." He said, "It won't hurt to ask." When I asked Bobby said, "Will this help your business," and I said, "Yes." He says, "Okay." He had been offered six figures to just talk to any media and had said no. With me--?