Denice Brooks Remembers Big Moments

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With her own band and as a participant in productions and tours organized by fellow artists, Denice Brooks lived through countless special moments. Some of those were captured on photographs. Here they are.

Some great moments in life just happen, without announcement. The main photo above shows one of them. In 1993, Denice Brooks was on tour with Dr. Alban in South Africa. In Johannesburg, someone told her President Nelson Mandela was at an event around the corner. She went to the location, but the guards did not want to let her in at first, until she sang a traditional South African song for the. It made them drown in their tears because her performance was so beautiful. So, she met President Mandela, sang for him at the reception he was attending, and he asked her to stay. Today, she says “I just took a chance because I am a pushy broad.” When Denice left South Africa, President Mandela said farewell to his “new found friend”.

Denice kills it at the Grosse Freiheit venue in Hamburg in 1989. Photo: Denice Brooks

Grosse Freiheit in Hamburg always was a great venue. Denice Brooks and her band raised its roof millions of times with stunning, energetic gigs. “Every time I performed there it was sold out” she remembers. “This was my late brother Jason’s birthday. People were standing in line, they had flowers, cake and other presents because I had announced we would be back on his birthday.”

Denice Brooks and her brother Jason were captured on film during a gig they did in Austin (Texas) in 2005. Photo: Denice Brooks

Here, Denice and her late brother Jason Brooks did ‘Ain’t Nobody’ by Rufus & Chaka Khan at a popular club in Austin. “This was in 2005. The club’s capacity was 300, but 700 people were there”, Denice says. She and Jason were accompanied by her full band, which included a horn section.

‘Nunsense’ was a Broadway musical production in Dortmund, Germany, which Denice Brooks was part of in the 1980s. Photo: Denice Brooks

“I was asked to join the cast for ‘Nunsense’ in North Rhine-Westphalia”, Denice Brooks states. “The play was supposed to run for two months, but it ran for six. And it was sold out.” These are her memories connected to the photo above. This obviously was a fun moment.

For a record cover, Denice Brooks became a panther. Photo: Denice Brooks

“Show Me the Animal” was the title of a song Denice recorded in Berlin in the 1980s. She remembers that one too: “It was so much fun to do this recording because the music was very African-oriented. That is why the makeup artist turned me into an animal of this kind.”

Here, Denice Brooks performed at ‘Joe am Kudamm’, a former venue in Berlin’s western city center. Photo: Denice Brooks

From 1981 to 1996, there was a venue called ‘Joe am Kudamm’ in Berlin’s Charlottenburg borough. “Every time we performed there we had that place sold out”, Denice Brooks says today, decades later. “People were standing on the sidewalks to get in. On ‘Cool Night’, everyone was asked to wear sunglasses.”

In the 1990s, Denice Brooks joined another musical production. Photo: Denice Brooks

In Dortmund (Germany), Denice became part of the ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ in 1998. “It was a great production”, she says. “They did a great job putting it all together, including the plant store. The theater held about 700 people. For eight months, it sold out every night.”

Denice Brooks performed at Berlin’s legendary Quasimodo with her brothers Billy and Jason in 1995. Photo: Denice Brooks

The Quasimodo in (West) Berlin was founded by Giorgio Carioti. It quickly became the club with the most stunning gigs in the entire city. Guess who hit its stage all the time. Here, none other than Denice Brooks performed with her brothers Billy and Jason in 1995. “That year, Billy joined us in Berlin. He came to visit, I brought him on stage and he ended up staying for three years. He met a woman, they got married and went to America later.”

Three beauties, including Denice Brooks (center), toured the world with Dr. Alban.

Denice Brooks and two of her gifted colleagues worked with Dr. Alban a lot, as backing vocalists. After a gig in Johannesburg, South Africa, this photo was shot. “We had just finished our performance and did six or seven encores. So, we were sweaty. We all lived in Berlin and were hired there.” This is what Denice still remembers.

In the 1980s and 90s, Jocelyn B. Smith (left) and Denice Brooks, two American Soul singers, lived in Berlin at the same time. (Photo taken from old Metropol booklet)

During the first half of the 1980s, three American singers moved to Germany. They were the late Queen Yahna, Jocelyn B. Smith and Denice Brooks. In 1985, all three of them were part of a ‘Christmas Show’ at the Metropol in West Berlin. “I went on stage first”, Denice told the author of these lines. “Queen Yana was second and Jocelyn third. The owner always came to see us at the Quasimodo. At the very end of the show, we stood on stage together singing ‘That’s what Friends are For’.” Queen Yahna passed away last year.

Denice Brooks (right) with Twanna Kilgore

This is yet another blast from the past. In 1976, Denice Brooks became Miss Black Texas. She and Miss Black America, Twanna Kilgore, were photographed in Amsterdam whilst on the USO tour. This year, in 2022, Denice will be part of the judges panel at the 54th Miss Black America pageant in Philadelphia. She will also perform the song “Four Women” by Nina Simone. The event will be televised on national television in the United States.

In 2021, before one of Denice’s gigs at the Antone’s venue in Austin (Texas), this photo was taken. Photo: Denice Brooks
Another pic from the ‘Antone’s’ shoot that was done in July of 2021. Photo: Denice Brooks
Denice Brooks was photographed at ‘Antone’s’ in Austin, Texas. Photo: Denice Brooks
Another stunning photo shot at ‘Antone’s’ in Texas. Photo: Denice Brooks

More information about Denice Brooks’ history can be found all over this website, including in her biography and in the long interview she gave in late March of 2022.

2 Comments
  1. Bridgett says

    Denice is such a fantastic performer that sings like the lord’s humming birds. Give us an update on her future tours, concerts, and guest appearances.

  2. Cassie says

    Not too many people had the opportunity to meet the late great President Nelson Mandela. You’re such a star and I’m sure he enjoyed speaking with you. What an honor!!!

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