Baristanet Profile: Monifa Brown

Name: Monifa Brown

Where do you live? Montclair, NJ

When did you move there? I moved to Montclair in 1998.

Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in an interracial family in Brooklyn. From going to the school in the Village and later LaGuardia High School (Music & Art) at Lincoln Center, my world centered around multiculturalism and the arts.

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion?

I have been blessed to do what I love within the entertainment industry as both radio broadcaster and record label publicist for over two decades. This year marks my 25th Anniversary as host of WBGO’s “Saturday Afternoon Jazz” every Saturday from 2-6pm and online around the world at WBGO.ORG. I also head the PR department at a major independent and NJ-based record label, Shanachie Entertainment. We’re purveyors of great music working with internationally acclaimed artists in such eclectic genres as World Music, Jazz, R&B, Gospel, Reggae, Folk, Blues and beyond.

Coffee, tea or … ? Definitely a good cup of Chai, Chamomile or Peppermint tea.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? Sunny blue skies, good music and the beach with my family will always be my recipe for a 5-star day. We’ll see how this goes with my son’s new puppy in the mix!

What’s your favorite local restaurant? I love T.S. Ma, and their veggie dumplings are heavenly. They are always consistent and delicious. On special occasions Mesob is an exquisite and favorite treat.

What’s on your nightstand? Shhh, don’t tell anyone…The Meaning Of Mariah Carey!  What can I say?! Also Barack Obama’s A Promised Land and Deepak Chopra’s The Secret of Healing: Meditations for Transformation And Higher Consciousness.

What are you listening to? My own playlists of course! My desert island artists right now are Horace Silver, Bob Marley, Aretha Franklin, John Coltrane, Kirk Franklin, Betty Carter and Pharoah Sanders. My alter ego also loves 80s pop.

What are your current indulgences? One of my favorite indulgences is Ava DuVernay’s “Queen Sugar.” Everything about the show is beautiful from the cinematography and actors to the well-developed story lines. So glad the new season is finally here!

What talent you would most like to have? I wish I were a marathoner. The NYC Marathon used to pass by my house growing up, and I would wait outside until the last runner came by and wildly cheer them on.

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? I’m not quite so sure this is a secret, but Montclair is home to so many incredibly talented musicians.

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral?

When all is said and done nothing will mean more to me than having been the best mother, wife and daughter possible and to have lived with an attitude of gratitude, sprinkling light and love wherever and whenever possible.


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