NEW YORK - Nichelle Brown, better known as the rapper “Browneyes,” has been appointed Senior Program Manager of the All Stars Talent Show Network in New Jersey, where she will expand the successful after-school youth program in Brick City. The All Stars Talent Show Network in New Jersey, which has been producing hip-hop talent shows with the youth of Newark and surrounding areas since 1999, is part of the All Stars Project, Inc., a 30-year-old community-based non-profit organization which sponsors free after-school development programs for thousands of young people in Newark, New York City, Chicago and the San Francisco Bay area.
A young single mom, surviving on welfare in Far Rockaway, Queens in 1991, Browneyes became the only rapper, male or female, to ever win the All Stars Project’s National Finals at the historic Town Hall theatre in Times Square. Browneyes went on to become an illustrious volunteer organizer for the All Stars, taking the talent shows to the mean streets of Far Rockaway, one of New York’s poorest and most neglected communities, bringing over 300 young people into the program and popularizing performatory development as a way out of the destructive traps of ghetto life.
Browneyes’ work with the All Stars in New York City has been featured in Newsday, The Daily News, and on NBC 4’s Positively Black. For her work in the roughest New York City neighborhoods during the 1990s, Ms. Brown was award a prestigious Point of Light Award by President George H. W. Bush in 2002.
Her signature rap, Ain’t I a Woman, inspired by Sojourner Truth’s famous speech, inspired hundreds of urban young women of color to improve their lives. Browneyes has also been active with the Castillo Theatre, an experimental, socially engaged theatre in Manhattan where she helped to pioneer what has since come to be called Hip-Hop Theatre. At Castillo, she appeared as Carmencita in the 1995 rap version of Carmen’s Community by Fred Newman and in the ensemble cast of Crown Heights. A unique crossover artist in the Castillo genre of fusing hip-hop with the avant-garde, she has written raps for and appeared in Castillo productions of the German playwright Heiner Müller—Hamletmachine in 2002 and Playing With Heiner Muller in 2010.
In 2003, Browneyes moved to Atlanta, where in addition to her job as a bus driver, she helped build the Atlanta All Stars.
The All Stars is excited about its growth possibilities in Newark with Browneyes coming on-board as Senior Program Manager. Pamela A. Lewis, the All Stars Project’s Vice President/Youth Programs, said, “Browneyes is a talented artist and a dynamic organizer who grew up with the program; she is equally at home on stage and on the street. She has twenty years of experience with us as a performer and volunteer and I couldn’t be more excited about her taking leadership of our Newark program.”
Founded in 1981, The All Stars Project is a national leader in creating innovative after-school programming based on a model of youth development through performance. The All Stars Project’s core program is its All Stars Talent Show Network created, produced and performed by young people. Funding for All Stars programs is generated through a partnership between young people, volunteers, and philanthropists and supporters who invest in human development for inner-city neighborhoods.