Former AFRO editor and reporter Janice Brown passed away from lung cancer on Aug. 20 at Washington Hospital Center.
Brown, described by AFRO publisher Jake Oliver as a “ball of energy” touched the lives of whoever she met according to her friends. Longtime colleague, Carl “Doc” DeShazior met Brown in 1987 when they worked at WUST 1120 AM in Washington. He said you’ll never meet anyone who loved life more than Brown.
“[She was] the most joyful person you ever want to meet in your entire life,” DeShazior said. “It seemed like she never had a worry in the world.”
Brown began her broadcast career with WUST on the station’s morning drive show with Lou Hankins. She was his sidekick, adding bringing traffic reports and levity to the broadcast. She would once again hook up with Hankins at WPFW 89.3 FM in Washington, D.C. where she created her most recognizable work.
However, despite her accomplishments as a journalist, Brown’s friends describe her passion as being a jazz singer.
Brown was a regular at the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival where she was once again scheduled to perform in 2012. Brown’s resume also includes performances at the East Coast Jazz Festival, Takoma Park Jazz Festival, Columbia Station, and Washington City Club. Brown also frequently performed at Vicino’s in Silver Spring, Md., where she last performed this past June.
DeShazior said songs from Brown’s album, Two Shades of Brown, would get airplay at WPFW and the station would get calls from around the world from people raving about Brown’s music.
At the time of her death, Brown was serving as a visiting professor of mass media and journalism at the University of the District of Columbia.
Brown was remembered in an obituary in her hometown Newspaper, the Wilmington Star News and in a statement by officials at Fayetteville State University where Brown’s sister, Dr. Harriet Davis, is associate vice chancellor for development in the Division of Institutional Advancement.
Brown was laid to rest on Aug. 25 at Mt. Carmel AME church in Southport, N.C.