09-23-2023  11:05 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4


What's Next in Major College Football Realignment? How About a Best-of-the-Rest League

Now that the Power Five is about to become the Power Four, the schools left out of the recent consolidation of wealth produced by conference realignment are looking at creative ways to stay relevant.

Oregon's Attorney General Says She Won't Seek Reelection Next Year After Serving 3 Terms

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, a Democrat and the first woman elected to the post, said she is stepping aside to allow new leadership, new energy and new initiatives to come to the Oregon Department of Justice that she has headed since 2012

Police Accountability Commission Presents Council With Proposed Major Overhaul

Voter-approved board for police accountability will have disciplinary power, ability to impact policy changes, access to body cam footage and more.

Oregon Judge to Decide in New Trial Whether Voter-Approved Gun Control Law Is Constitutional

The law, one of the toughest in the nation, was among the first gun restrictions to be passed after a major U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year changed the guidance judges are expected to follow when considering Second Amendment cases.


Rep. Annessa Hartman Denounces Political Violence Against the Clackamas County Democratic Party

On Tuesday, the Clackamas County Democratic Party headquarters was

Bonamici Announces 5 Town Hall Meetings in October

The town hall meetings will be in St. Helens, Hillsboro, Seaside, Tillamook and Portland. ...

Nicole De Lagrave Named Multnomah Regional Teacher of the Year

De Lagrave is also a finalist for 2023-24 Oregon Teacher of the Year ...

KBOO Birthday Block Party to be Held September 23

Birthday block party planned as KBOO, 90.7FM celebrates 55 years broadcasting community radio ...

Appeals Court Allows Louisiana to Keep Children in Angola Prison

The district court had ordered the state to remove children from Angola by Sept. 15. But the Fifth Circuit issued a temporary stay,...

Seattle police officer put on leave after newspaper reports alleged off-duty racist comments

SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle police officer has been placed on administrative leave after Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said Friday he listened to an audio recording including comments by the officer that led to the filing of a bias/hate complaint. “As I have said from the...

Biden deal with tribes promises 0M for Columbia River salmon reintroduction

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Biden administration has pledged over 0 million toward reintroducing salmon in the Upper Columbia River Basin in an agreement with tribes that includes a stay on litigation for 20 years. The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Coeur...

Missouri tries to build on upset of K-State with a game against Memphis in St. Louis

Memphis (3-0) vs Missouri (3-0) at St. Louis, Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU) Line: Missouri by 7, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Series record: Missouri leads 3-1. WHAT’S AT STAKE? Memphis won its first three games a couple of years ago...

Missouri quarterback Brady Cook endures the home boos and keeps the Tigers on an unbeaten roll

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri quarterback Brady Cook spent most of last season playing through a shoulder injury so severe it required offseason surgery. Yet because he never whimpered or complained, few outside the program even knew what he had to endure. All most people saw was...


Labor Day 2023: Celebrating the Union Difference and Building Tomorrow’s Public Service Workforce

Working people are seeing what the union difference is all about, and they want to be a part of it. ...

60 Years Since 1963 March on Washington, Economic Justice Remains a Dream

Typical Black family has 1/8 the wealth held by whites, says new research ...

The 2024 Election, President Biden and the Black Vote

As a result of the Black vote, America has experienced unprecedented recovery economically, in healthcare, and employment and in its international status. ...

Federal Trade Commission Hindering Black Economic Achievement

FTC Chair Linda Khan has prioritized her own agenda despite what Americans were telling her they needed on the ground ...


A Black student’s family sues Texas officials over his suspension for his hairstyle

HOUSTON (AP) — The family of a Black high school student in Texas who was suspended over his dreadlocks filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Saturday against the state's governor and attorney general, alleging they failed to enforce a new law outlawing discrimination based on hairstyles. ...

French activists protest racism and police brutality while officers are on guard for key events

PARIS (AP) — Families, community groups and far-left activists marched in cities around France on Saturday to decry racism and police brutality, putting authorities on edge at a time when French police are deployed en masse for a string of high-security events. Lingering anger over...

National Cathedral replaces windows honoring Confederacy with stained-glass homage to racial justice

The landmark Washington National Cathedra l unveiled new stained-glass windows Saturday with a theme of racial justice, filling the space that had once held four windows honoring Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. The new windows depict a march for justice by...


Music Review: Rootsy harmonies and spiritual uplift from Buddy and Julie Miller on 'In the Throes'

Buddy and Julie Miller have been wed for 40 years. Their latest album, “In the Throes,” celebrates the marvelous marriage of his rustic, raspy tenor and her eternally youthful alto. The 12-song set, which will be released Friday is filled with the Tennessee duo’s rootsy...

Music Review: The Replacements’ ‘Tim: Let it Bleed Edition’ captures the band’s sublime songwriting

Near the 40th anniversary of their fifth studio album and major label debut, “Tim,” The Replacements are releasing “Tim: Let it Bleed Edition.” The massive box set features a loving remaster of the original release of “Tim,” but the real value is in the live performance, the unreleased...

`10 Days in a Madhouse' opera premieres in Philadelphia, celebrating women's voices

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Kiera Duffy is disturbed by “10 Days in a Madhouse” as much as an 1887 public was outraged by the squalid surroundings exposed by trailblazing reporter Nellie Bly. “The idea of the hysterical woman trope really does persist today,” the soprano said ahead...


As the world's problems grow more challenging, the head of the United Nations gets bleaker

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — At the annual meeting of world leaders last year, the U.N. chief sounded a global alarm...

A month after Prigozhin’s suspicious death, the Kremlin is silent on his plane crash and legacy

Why Yevgeny Prigozhin's private jet plummeted into a field northwest of Moscow is still a mystery. The Russian...

Cracks in Western wall of support for Ukraine emerge as Eastern Europe and US head toward elections

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Once rock-solid, the support that Ukraine has gotten from its biggest backers for its...

Croatian police detain 9 soccer fans over the violence in Greece last month that killed one person

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatian police have arrested nine soccer fans sought on European warrants for...

A court in China sentences a famed Uyghur scholar to life in prison, foundation says

BEIJING (AP) — A prominent Uyghur scholar specializing in the study of her people’s folklore and traditions...

Niger's junta accuses United Nations chief of blocking its participation at General Assembly

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — The military government that seized power in Niger has accused United Nations...

Nikki Brown Clown
Bruce Poinsette of The Skanner News

A lot of people are afraid of clowns. Frankly, many Portlanders are afraid of Black people. Imagine if they saw a Black clown speaking Spanish.

That's just what Nicole X does when she dons her makeup and begins strolling. Clad in rainbow socks, a quilt-like dress, and green hair with a yellow bow on top, her style is as colorful as she is. She speaks with a Southern accent, exudes Nation of Islam inspired principles of self-sufficiency and gets down to Motown.

Not only are people not afraid, but children and adults alike gravitate to her.

"One of the things I love is that I'm an approachable clown," says Nicole. "I like to watch as people watch me."

Her character, Nikki Brown Clown, helps raise money for nonprofits through her business PDX Brown Clown. Wherever she performs, more people spread the word. The company's growing reputation has taken Nicole all the way to Chicago for The Nation's Savior's Day Convention.

Nikki Brown ClownAs a teen working at McDonald's and Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour, Nicole loved children's birthdays. She would dress up at every opportunity and started scheduling celebrations. It beat the boredom of working the counter and gave Nicole an outlet to be creative.

In 2011, her aunt, who worked for Wells Fargo, invited her to perform at the Juneteenth festival. The aunt recalled her filling in for a clown at a block party nine years prior.

Since this wasn't a makeshift gig, Nicole knew she'd have to get serious.

She went from store to store to find pieces for her outfit. By the time she finished piecing things together, she fooled many for a professional.

"It fit me to a tee," she says. "I'm not the biggest person. Nor am I the smallest but I am a particular size. To pull something off the rack—a $12 dress—you can't go wrong."

After her success at Juneteenth, other Black organizations began reaching out. She did events on short notice, mostly free of charge. She just wanted exposure.

Things got serious this past spring. Nicole took a three day, intensive workshop for the Rose Festival. After the workshop, she traded in her Mid-K makeup for professional grade clown cosmetics.

Nikki Brown ClownAfter becoming official, she registered her business with the state.

Now, nonprofits are putting her in their budgets.

It's important to her that the Brown Clown is separate from her job at Multnomah County. She wants to make sure she can share it with as broad an audience as possible. Specifically, she feels the character can be a tool to serve the underserved.

The business also represents self-sufficiency, a major tenet of the Nation of Islam.

"That is my goal. Be self-sufficient and show people that when you become self-sufficient you use your creativity," says Nicole.

The American education system only teaches people to be consumers and workers, she says. Nicole wants to demonstrate that there are more empowering alternatives. She notes that thinking outside of the box helped her make the most of her jobs as a young person.

Her hope is that kids see they can do their art however they wish. She told this to children at the Junior Rose Festival.

"They were like, 'You're a girl clown. You're a Black clown,'" says Nicole. "They had a look like, 'Oh, I can do something different.'"

Although the Brown Clown started with Black organizations, Nicole gets the full spectrum of clients.

Lents Founder's Day sticks out to her, as she reflects on the large, diverse Asian population that embraced her.

"You didn't have to speak their language. They got it," she says.

Nikki Brown ClownStill, she wants to expand her command of language. Her goal is to be able to hold short conversations with anyone she comes across.

In fact, speaking Spanish was part of her Rose Festival audition.

"I can come back with something that no one else would say," says Nicole. "Más o menos means neither here nor there and that's kind of funny when a clown says that."

Culture is a large part of her character's approachability. She bases Nikki Brown Clown on classy, Southern women she's met over the years.

Nicole's mother is from Virginia, her father is from Alabama and she spent three years in the South as an adult.

"I tease my friends that I'm bi-coastal," she says.

Whenever she gets a compliment, she gives it back, usually saying, "I'm a reflection of you sugar."

Older Black women, especially, take to the character. Nicole has met many who have never seen a Black clown before.

"Two or three older Black women had told me, 'I used to be scared of clowns but I'm not scared of you,'" she says.

Unlike others, she tries to show as much of her Black skin as possible.

"It's kind of like that auntie that everyone has that wears too much makeup but it's still gorgeous and you go, 'I'd still think you were beautiful if you didn't wear so much makeup but it's still classy.' And you go, 'That's just her,'" laughs Nicole.

For the most part, she strolls around events and makes sure people enjoy themselves.

Nikki Brown ClownSpecifically, she likes to keep the children active. Bubbles are her signature.

She also loves dancing.

"Usually if I bring the music, I bring Motown music because it's multigenerational," says Nicole. "And of course, a party's not a party without the Electric Slide and Cupid Shuffle."

This past February, she was honored with an invitation to perform at the Nation of Islam's Savior's Day Convention.

When she joined, she wasn't sure she'd be able to continue clowning.

Before the convention, word got out that the Children's Village was looking for volunteers. Nicole's sisters encouraged her to send a request. To her surprise, she got a response from Mother Khadijah Farrakhan's assistant, inviting her to Chicago.

"That was a dream come true," says Nicole. "At that point, it validated, solidified that I can still do this and be a Muslim at the same time."

She smiles when she reflects on the ballroom filled with bounce houses, choo choo trains and children representing everywhere from the countries of Africa to London. All of the children were polite, well dressed and well educated. Despite the seriousness of their lives, they were excited to see her.

One boy in particular stood out. Nicole says he was around nine or ten, the age where children start pulling away from clowns. Dressed in his suit, he walked over to Nicole and told her, "You know, I can tell you're a fun grown up. You know, you don't have to dress like a clown."

It took Nicole aback.

Nikki Brown Clown"Being a student of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, he would always say, 'Accept your own and be yourself.'

"That was one those moments where you're like, 'You're too smart. Just enjoy the moment,'" she laughs.

Nicole is proud that her character can transcend the lines of age, sex and race. In cases like that of the boy in the Children's Village, her tricks and charm don't always work. Ultimately, she's more concerned that people enjoy themselves.

"Most of the time, people won't remember what I did or what I said," says Nicole. "It's really how I make them feel."

For more information or to book Nikki Brown Clown, call (503)-954-9519, email her at pdxbrownclown@gmail.com or find her on Facebook.