This CNN Hero solves an often invisible problem by providing ‘Undies for Everyone’ and a ‘No-Collar’ clothing line, through the partnership of local community organizations and a local homeless shelter.
Bobby Brown Jr. was just a kid who dreamed of becoming a singer for a hit song. While working with Bobby’s father, Bobby Jr. discovered what he wanted to do with his life.
Bobby Jr. and his younger sister, Debbie, opened a clothing store, which would allow them to pursue their dream of becoming successful singers. The store would eventually be called Brown & Root and would go on to acquire a national retail distribution.
In 1995, Bobby Jr. had enough money to retire and to purchase a home in the Washington, D.C., area. Shortly after, Bobby Sr. died from brain cancer, leaving Bobby, Debbie and their children, Bobby Brown III, Brandon Brown, and Kimberly Brown, with their parents and numerous siblings, in a financial crisis.
“I never made it to work until I was 33 years old. We had a lot of issues with the IRS until it fell apart,” Debbie Brown told CNN. “We took a hit from that, we then took a hit from that. Eventually, we started losing our home to foreclosure. My father passed away, so all my siblings were homeless and couldn’t pay their mortgage. At this point, Bobby Jr. was almost 60 years old, and he was on the point of retirement. His income was also in decline because of medical conditions. There’s a lot of things that go into a person’s life that they think they have control over. When you’re faced with losing everything, it can become very stressful.
CNN: How did you find the idea to start a clothing store? What was the inspiration?
Bobby Brown III: I grew up in the same neighborhood my family goes to. It’s where all the people I grew up with go to