Oscar Brown, Jr. had his first professional acting and singing debut on the radio show Secret City. At the tender age of 15, OBJ became the youngest and first “Negro” to co-star in a radio series that did not have the Black character play as the comic relief nor as a subservient in his role. Later, he would become one of the writers of the show.
Oscar Brown, Jr. was dubbed “America’s first Negro Newscaster,” when he became the host of Negro Newsfront, the nation’s first Black news radio broadcast.
Oscar Brown, Jr. runs on the Progressive Party ticket candidate for the Illinois Legislature.
Oscar Brown, Jr. began acting in the Black Radio Days series: Destination Freedom. A pioneering weekly drama series, written by Richard Durham, with scripts emphasizing the progress of African-Americans from the days of slavery and beyond to the ongoing struggle for racial justice.
Oscar Brown, Jr. runs as a Republican candidate for United States Congress.
Oscar Brown, Jr. is drafted and serves in the U.S. Army.
Max Roach releases the album he collaborated on with Oscar, We Insist: Freedom Now Suite, which celebrates the black freedom movement in the U.S. Both icons shared a commitment to activism. We Insist set the foundation for embodying the jazz tradition and engaging in social commentary.
Columbia Records releases Oscar Brown, Jr’s debut album, Sin & Soul. This album is regarded as a “true classic.” Brown began a trend of creating self-penned lyrics for popular jazz instrumentals, a style carried on by several major jazz vocalists. Sin & Soul includes “Bid ‘Em In,” Oscar's vivid re-creation of an auctioneer’s call at a sale of female slaves.
“Whereas 12 Years a Slave ran 134 minutes, and Django Unchained clocked in at 165, This song (“Bid ‘Em In”) manages to compactly convey as much impact in a cool 1 minute and 28 seconds.”
Oscar Brown, Jr’s composition Brown Baby is simultaneously released by Mahalia Jackson, who was also a Columbia label Artist at the time. As this song wishes prosperity, peace, pride upon all brown babies, this song became an anthem. It was later recorded by Nina Simone, Lena Horne, Diana Ross,Toni Braxton.
Oscar Brown, Jr’s major musical KICKS & CO. is mounted with preview performances at McCormick Place, in Chicago. Over $400,000.00 was raised when NBC TV host, Dave Garroway, turned over the entire 2-hour “Today” show for a virtual backers audition for Kicks & Co. Stage direction and production support were contributed by Lorraine Hansberry and her husband, who was a music publisher from New York.
Oscar Brown, Jr. appears in concert at Carnegie Hall. His first concert appearance in New York, OBJ was part of a show bill titled “Blues at Carnegie Hall.”
Columbia Records releases Oscar Brown, Jr’s second album: Between Heaven & Hell. Due to the overwhelming success of his first record, the label invested more into production on this second album bringing in Quincy Jones to arrange.
“All the songs are his own creations and he could scarcely ask for a better interpreter than himself.”
Oscar Brown, Jr. hosts and performs for Steve Allen’s syndicated TV series, “Jazz Scene USA.”
Oscar Brown, Jr. records his third release for Columbia Records: In A New Mood. As the name suggests, it is the label’s attempt at diverting from the social and political messages in Oscar’s original lyrics, and substituting them with cover tunes.
Oscar Brown, Jr. mounts a one-man show in London called: Oscar Brown, Jr. Entertains. His appearance at Prince Charles Theater was met with high critical acclaim: “Oscar Brown, Jr. arrives and lives up to that ‘genius’ tag;” “High Priest of Hip;” “Oscar is unique, hip and immediately worthwhile.”
Columbia Records releases what would be their final album: Oscar Brown, Jr. Tells It Like It Is. A return to using Oscar’s original compositions, but by this time, there were changes in management at the label. These consequently coincided with an end of support required to provide the bonafied star. Brown was told he is “too messagey” and his contract was not renewed.
“Undercelebrated, Oscar Brown, Jr. was a pioneer of early 60’s vocal jazz.”
Oscar Brown, Jr. creates a cabaret production called “JOY ‘66” at the Happy Medium in Chicago.
Fontana releases two albums: Mr. Oscar Brown, Jr. Goes to Washington. Oscar’s first live concert recording, which includes the sociopolitically charged: 40 Acres & A Mule.
That same year, Fontana released Finding A New Friend, a duet recording with Oscar Brown, Jr. and Luis Henrique. The two had shared a backstage dressing room while appearing at the Cafe-A-Go-Go, and ultimately developed a unique blend of the words and music of North and South America.
Oscar Brown, Jr. mounts his musical OPPORTUNITY PLEASE KNOCK, developed with and featuring the notorious street gang members of the Blackstone Rangers. Oscar’s intention to quell violence and influence self-sufficiency, by employing members of the gang to help them “come to their own economic rescue,” in his own words, this was a turning point in his life and career.
Oscar Brown, Jr’s success in working with urban youth gained the attention of then Mayor of Gary, Indiana, Richard Hatcher. Oscar accepts Mayor Hatcher’s invitation to conduct workshops culminating in a summer talent show that discovers the Jackson 5 and Avery Brooks
The Oscar Brown, Jr. musical adaptation of Joseph Dolan Tuotti’s, black power comedy, BUCK WHITE opens on Broadway starring Muhammad Ali.
RCA Victor releases the original Cast album “Joy.”
Oscar Brown, Jr. appears on The Dick Cavett Show
Oscar Brown, Jr. now signed to Atlantic Records, releases the album Movin’ On.
Oscar records his second album for Atlantic Records, called simply: Fresh
Oscar Brown, Jr’s final release for Atlantic Records is titled: Brother Where Are You?
Oscar Brown, Jr is awarded two Emmy Awards for his television special: “Oscar Brown’s Back in Town.”
Oscar Brown, Jr. mounts his verse musical adaptation of the book of Genesis. The play “IN DE BEGINNIN’” premiered at the Body Politic Theater in Chicago. Oscar’s daughter Africa Pace Brown, was the youngest actress to receive a Joseph Jefferson Award for best supporting actress in a musical, for her role as Eve.
Oscar Brown, Jr. performs in the independent film: Stony Island
Oscar Brown, Jr. hosts a PBS TV series From Jump Street: The Story of Black Music, which is a 13-part series examining the history of African American contributions to American music.
Oscar Brown, Jr considered his play, GREAT NITTY GRITTY to be his “miracle musical.” As he had done in the 1960’s OBJ found “gold in the ghetto,” auditioning and exposing the amazing talent among Black youth in Chicago.
Oscar Brown, Jr’s musical: JOURNEY THROUGH FOREVER, provides the inaugural performance, opening the ETA Theater on Chicago’s Southside with its.
Oscar plays a recurring role in Oprah Winfrey’s TV drama series, Brewster Place.
Oscar Brown, Jr. is cast in the PBS Special for “American Playhouse,” Zora Is My Name, which celebrates the folklorist, Zora Neale Hurston, and co-starred Ruby Dee and Beah Richards.
Oscar Brown, Jr. plays the role of “Coach,” co-starring with Marla Gibbs, in the movie: Up Against the Wall.
Oscar Brown, Jr. appears in a recurring role on the hit TV series Roc
After 20 years since Oscar’s last album, California based indie recording label, Weasel Disc releases Then and Now on CD.
Oscar Brown, Jr. plays the role of a store owner beaten for speaking up as a witness to a crime in the Original Gangsters movie with Jim Brown, Pam Greer, and Fred Williamson.
Suffers loss of one of his sons, and musical partner, Oscar Brown, III, who was tragically killed by a drunk driver, in a fatal car accident on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.
Oscar Brown, Jr records overseas for an independent German recording label. Minor Music releases Live Every Minute. Stanley Turnentine was a featured guest for what would be among the final recordings of both stalwarts of Jazz.
Oscar is invited to serve as Regents Professor at the University of California, Riverside. There he meets Neil Sopata, the artist who made the animated video for Oscar’s “Bid ‘Em In.”
Release of the last CD Oscar Brown, Jr. was to record. We’re Live captures Brown and his daughter Maggie Brown in a live concert recording produced and released on her Mag Pie Records. This production features the debut vocal recording of OBJ’s youngest daughter, Africa Pace Brown. The Browns’ made jazz history at the Hot House for International Performance, featuring Oscar’s lyrics set to Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk and Ellington.
Revival of Oscar’s “miracle musical” GREAT NITTY GRITTY
Oscar Brown, Jr. appears on Def Poetry, Season II, performing his poem: “I Apologize,” to a rousing standing ovation. Oscar was invited back several times, solidifying the newer hip-hop generation has some exposure and appreciation for the “Grandpap of Rap.”
OBJ was among the distinguished guests, handpicked for the opening of Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Allen Room, in New York. Oscar performed one of his poems together with Sonja Sanchez.
Oscar celebrates the release of Donnie Betts’ full-length, documentary film: “Music Is My Life, Politics My Mistress.” In February, 2005, Oscar Brown Jr. and family members attended the premier, which was sponsored by the Pan African Film Festival and screened at the Magic Johnson Theater Complex, in Los Angeles.