10-06-2022  8:19 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Vancouver City Council Bans Large Fossil Fuel Facilities

While new facilities that distribute, extract, refine or process fossil fuels have been temporarily prohibited by the Vancouver City Council since 2020, the council this week unanimously made the ban permanent

Community Group Meets to Discuss Vision for Albina Arts Center

Oregon Community Foundation is in the process of figuring out how to gift the building back to a Black-led non-profit that is willing to center arts, healing and intergenerational community-building within the space, in perpetuity.

E. Washington Rancher Sentenced for 'Ghost Cattle' Fraud

Cody Easterday was sentenced Tuesday afternoon in federal court in Yakima, Washington, for what U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Bastian called “the biggest theft or fraud I’ve seen in my career."

$40K Awarded to Woman Injured by Portland Police at Protests

Erin Wenzel sued the city for assault, battery and negligence, claiming that on Aug. 14, 2020, an officer “ran at her and violently slammed into her with a nightstick” while she was leaving the area as police had instructed. 

NEWS BRIEFS

Transgender Woman Assaulted, Cops Seek Help Finding Suspects

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Rosa Floyd Honored as 2023 Oregon Teacher of the Year

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Amazon to Invest $150 Million in Funds That Provide Underrepresented Entrepreneurs With Access to Capital

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Bonamici to Host Webinar on Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

On Thursday, Oct. 6 Congress member Suzanne Bonamici will host a webinar on the Biden-Harris Administration’s transformational...

SUNDAY: “No More Gun Violence” Block Party in North Portland

Event marks final in summer series aimed at bringing people together to reclaim their neighborhoods and fight for a future free of gun...

Fish and Wildlife shoots wrong wolf, more attacks confirmed

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Wolves from two packs in northeast Washington state have attacked more cattle, prompting the Department of Fish and Wildlife to consider whether to again try culling the Smackout pack after a botched attempt last month. Fish and Wildlife officials confirmed...

Nike co-founder now backs Republican in Oregon governor race

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Nike co-founder Phil Knight has donated jumi million to Republican gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan’s campaign, seemingly changing course after giving .75 million to a candidate unaffiliated with a major political party. The latest donation makes it...

No. 2 Georgia looking for return to top form against Auburn

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Don't expect Auburn players to empathize with concerns expressed this week about No. 2 Georgia's sudden dip from championship form. The Bulldogs, who play Auburn on Saturday, fell from the top spot in The Associated Press Top 25 this week after having to rally for...

No. 2 Georgia looking for 6th straight win over rival Auburn

Auburn (3-2, 1-1 SEC) at No. 2 Georgia (5-0, 2-0), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) Line: Georgia by 29 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Series record: Georgia leads 62-56. WHAT’S AT STAKE? Georgia will try to regain its momentum after...

OPINION

Democracy, Disasters, and the Black Vote

The Black vote has an opportunity to determine the outcome of the November 8 general election. Let's not be the only people who don’t realize our strength. ...

No Room for Black Folk

A recent interview with Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas and an associate professor, reveals the inability of certain white Americans to share the benefits of our society ...

The Cruelty of Exploiting Vulnerable People for Political Advantage

There is always a new low for Trump Republicans. And that is pretty frightening. ...

The Military to American Youth: You Belong to Me

The U.S. military needs more than just money in its annual budget. It needs access to America’s young people as well — their wallets, their bodies, and their minds. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Philadelphia apologizes for experiments on Black inmates

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The city of Philadelphia issued an apology Thursday for the unethical medical experiments performed on mostly Black inmates at its Holmesburg Prison from the 1950s through the 1970s. The move comes after community activists and families of some of those inmates...

Biden pardons thousands for 'simple possession' of marijuana

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is pardoning thousands of Americans convicted of “simple possession” of marijuana under federal law, as his administration takes a dramatic step toward decriminalizing the drug and addressing charging practices that disproportionately impact people of...

Federal judge halts key parts of New York's new gun law

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's latest attempt to restrict who can carry a handgun in public and where firearms can be brought was picked apart Thursday by a federal judge, who ruled that multiple provisions in a state law passed this year are unconstitutional. In a ruling that...

ENTERTAINMENT

Hilary Swank talks filming new series while expecting twins

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Jada Pinkett Smith has deal for 'no holds barred' memoir

NEW YORK (AP) — Jada Pinkett Smith has a lifetime of thoughts she'd like to set down. The actor, singer, entrepreneur and co-host of the Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk” has a deal for what Dey Street Books is calling an “honest and gripping memoir” that will cover her...

Silent films to live on in movie theater lobby card project

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — “Missing Millions" is a 1922 silent film with a darkly prescient title — like the vast majority from that era, the movie all but vanished in the ensuing century, survived mostly by lobby cards. The cards, scarcely bigger than letter paper, promoted the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Immigration will vex Biden no matter who controls Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — At a recent White House ceremony honoring Hispanic heritage in the U.S., President Joe Biden...

EXPLAINER: Russia's military woes mount amid Ukraine attacks

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Whistleblower: 665 left FBI over misconduct in two decades

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Argentine judge launches probe into Nicaragua abuse claims

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Iran airs video with 2 French citizens it claims were spying

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran on Thursday published video showing two detained French citizens...

Analysis: North Korean missile launches are a test for Biden

TOKYO (AP) — A drumbeat of increasingly powerful North Korean missile launches. A U.S. aircraft carrier floats...

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.

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