Thursday, September 15, 2022

Rita Brent Sells Out Homecoming Show

 Rachel James-Terry authored the following press release for Jackson State University. 

Rita Brent is back and sold out. The multi-hyphenated comedian and Jackson State University alum has returned to the Capital City to host "Raised in the Sipp" Saturday, Sept.17, at Duling Hall. 

It is her first Jackson, Mississippi, comedy show after a three-year hiatus due to a pandemic that surprised most of the world. The show promises to provide the "ultimate comedy and musical experience for people of all backgrounds."

"I'm trying to make it as unique as possible because I'm trying to shift into the comedy music vein, where I'm not just doing stand-up comedy. I love doing stand-up comedy, but it's a bit limiting because I am a musician and a singer as well. And so that's been my big dream to mesh those two," shares Brent, whose most popular single to date is “Can you Rock Me Like a Pothole” a musical satire playing on Jackson’s streets.  

Saturday’s event will feature special guest performances by Merc B. Williams, Nardo Blackmon, John Uzodinma, Onika McLean of New York, and DJ Mr. Adams.

In 2019, Brent performed her last Jackson show, "Sipp on This Tea," where she announced her departure for New York, a hub for entertainment opportunities.  

Pivoting during a pandemic

"I got there. Things were going well. I had headlined at Carolines on Broadway," Brent says of the popular Manhattan venue for stand-up comedians. "Like things were on the up and up, and then the pandemic was like, hold my vaccine." 

Brent admits that she had not anticipated a global pandemic that would lead to her and her wife Freda quarantining in Mississippi for an extensive period. It was an abrupt change for the jokester, musician and military vet who tours as an opening act for mentors Rickey Smiley and Cedric the Entertainer.

Relying on her wit and creativity, the Jackson native pivoted to virtual comedy shows and continued releasing her funny brand of content. When the couple returned to New York, still battling the pandemic, Brent reveals that finances became challenging.  

"New York is an interesting place. There are a lot of opportunities. Doors open, but they don't necessarily pay you the most in stand-up. The value comes via networking and refining your material. There were times I was gigging 3 to 4 times a night. I became a better comedian in New York. More dependable income comes in the form of major writing jobs," Brent says before referencing her writing gigs with Comedy Central and Charlamagne the God. "But the rent was $2,100 for a 700-square-foot apartment. That was a huge shock for me coming from the affordable South."  

After the pandemic, Brent and Freda decided to relocate to Atlanta, where they currently reside. 

"It is important for me to do this show just to update people on what's been going on, how I spent the pandemic, and to really give folks some comedic relief because the struggle is still real. A lingering pandemic [and] death coming in many forms. It’s a lot to manage. People need an escape, as do I," says Brent.

"So, it is important for me to do this show. Just to update people on what's been going on, how I spent the pandemic, and to really give folks some comedic relief because the pandemic is not over, right? Folks are still struggling. Folks are still passing away. Now the monkeypox has come," says Brent in a humorous yet earnest tone. 

She emphasizes the need to finally tell her story, explaining that her time in New York included much defending of her native state and how people live in the South. 

"There's only one narrative; We're dumb, uneducated and racist. And while one of those things, uh, definitely has some merit, it is not the sum of who we are as a state," Brent says. "So, I want to talk about my upbringing and why I even have passion and pride about Mississippi because there's no shame for me about being from Mississippi."  

Brent asserts that the Magnolia state helped to cultivate her artistry and is a defining part of who she is as an individual. It is a perspective she intends to share during her show on Saturday. Brent contends that her platform is one of the more uninhibited and admissible ways to change the perception of Mississippi. 

"I fully realize comedy and music are the most practical avenues to share my perspectives and connect to people. Most can digest any concept or belief through the arts," she says. 

While Mississippi helped shape Brent as a person, she describes her experience at JSU as transformative. 

JSU is a village

"It was the first time I was in an all-Black environment where there were a bunch of doctors, which I hadn’t been exposed to before. There was Black excellence all around me. I knew then I could operate in this excellence too," says Brent about the abundance of professors at the HBCU. "Seeing that was encouraging being at Jackson State." 

Brent was further compelled by Dr. Mark Henderson, professor and coordinator of speech communication at JSU. His class eased her into public speaking. 

“He taught me how to correctly say simple words I had been mispronouncing my entire life. He educated and enunciated in a way that made me feel slightly ignorant, but he taught me a lot as well," she says, laughing. 

Henderson shares that one of his goals as a speech teacher is to teach his students how to use proper speech skills to be a player in the game of life and how to be a winner, and Brent clearly understood the assignment. 

"I was always impressed how she was able to take to the podium in class and master any diction exercise that I taught. Then she would come up to me after class and code-switch to that relaxed tone that was familiar and conversational. I shared with her once, as I do with all my students, proper speech will open more doors for you than a college degree; bad speech will close doors you never knew existed," says Henderson.  

Brent's willingness to embrace her talent as a speaker and fuse it with her creative gifts are the ingredients for what Henderson describes as the seasoned performer audiences see on stage today. 

"I am so honored to have had the opportunity to plant a seed into the soil of her success -- a seed that has now blossomed into the phenomenal entertainer we know as Rita B."

Working at the University's WJSU 88.5 FM radio station, under the tutelage of Program Director Bobbie Walker Trussell, helped develop Brent's presence and confidence. The alum says she learned how to use a microphone, conduct herself, and coordinate and facilitate an entire radio show while at Jackson State. 

"All of that was just preparing me for all the talking I would do as a comedian. You know, it's kind of in the same vein, right?" she asks. 

What is divine cannot be denied

As Brent approaches year 10 of her entertainment career, it is clear life has prepared her for the main stage. It is evident by her accomplishments and the opportunities she receives. 

Brent’s writing credits include the Academy of Country Music Awards, MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Joni Mitchell, and Stand Out: An LGBTQ+ Celebration on Netflix. 

She divulges that her most significant "wow" moment to date was writing for the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards. The job came by way of Cedric the Entertainer allowing the Jackson native to share the room with A-list celebrities like Angela Bassett, Catherine Zeta-Jones, LL Cool J and Gabrielle Union.  

When asked how she processes massive moments like the Emmys, Brent has a little saying.  

"What's divine cannot be denied. What that means to me is as long as I stay out of the way and don't interfere with God's plan and just let things happen wherever I'm supposed to get to, I will get to," she explains. 

So far, it appears Brent has been staying out of the way. 

When it comes to her dear ol' college home, the 2009 mass communications graduate is grateful for the connections she created at JSU. Brent says when she travels, she has a community everywhere she goes.  

"I did a show in D.C. at the D.C. comedy loft with Kym Whitley right before the pandemic. It was actually the weekend before the world shut down," she says. "There were so many Jackson State alums. They came to the shows. They fed me, put me up in a hotel, and it was just beautiful. I'm like, oh, this is a village."


Anonymous said...

“A pandemic that surprised most of the world…”

I’m guessing Fauci wasn’t surprised! After all, he did say that Trump would be seeing a pandemic coming very soon.

Anonymous said...

I'll summarize this for you all. "IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!! Local comedian is performing at Duling Hall. But the show is sold out. Oh, and Covid."

Anonymous said...

Will Rita sing her "Raw Boo Boo" song at her Duling Hall performance?? Asking for a friend.

Anonymous said...

My personal favorite is the one about the mayor, “Stop Smokin That Dope”.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen Brent’s hateful social media?

I will never visit a particular car dealership that pays her to represent their brand because of it.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Do tell, 1228

Anonymous said...

Hope she wears her "STOKES" hat.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS