2024 NAACP Image Awards: Who Is Brooke Payne?

Here are 5 facts you should know about the backbone of New Edition.

In order to know Brooke Payne, one must first know New Edition. The iconic group formed thanks to Bobby Brown and Ralph Tresvant in the late 1970s in Boston, MA. Once Michael Bivins, Ricky Bell, and Ron DeVoe joined the group, they were officially the start of the “boy band” concept, crooning and dancing to love songs that felt like pop records. This is also when they first started working with Payne.

By 1982, New Edition caught a big break. They performed at a local Hollywood Talent Night held at Boston's Strand Theatre by singer/producer Maurice Starr, who scams the young men. They didn’t take home the first place prize, which was $500 and a recording contract. However, their stellar performance caught the attention of Starr, who invited the youngsters to record what became “Candy Girl,” their debut album. The album went to #1 in the United States and the UK. However, the boys infamously returned home with $1.87 each and excuses from Starr about budgets. New Edition learned early that their talents could get them very far, but the snakes in the industry could stop their ascension.

2024 NAACP Image Awards: Gear Up for the ‘Legacy Tour’ With These Classic New Edition Songs

This lesson helped the boys cling to people they could trust, like Brooke Payne. At the “2024 NAACP Image Awards,” New Edition was inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame, and DeVoe took to the mic to thank Payne for his dedication to New Edition for over 40 years. DeVoe said, “Gifts and talents, it’s like coal. Without someone to refine it and put the pressure on it, it doesn’t turn into the diamonds that we are standing before you guys, so we thank you Mr. Payne.” 

So who is Brooke Payne?

  1. Unc

Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET

Brooke Payne is Ron DeVoe’s uncle and manages New Edition.

  1. The Name

Brooke Payne is credited with coming up with the name New Edition. Their name is significant, as they were intended to be the new edition of the iconic Jackson 5. 

  1. Making Moves

Once all of the original New Edition was put together (Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike and Ralph), Brooke Payne stepped up as their choreographer. He can be seen in New Edition’s “If It Isn’t Love” video, urging the boys to rehearse as they’d perform.

  1. The Glue

Brooke is the unofficial but official 7th member of the group (Johnny Gill was added after Bobby Brown’s departure) and is known as the glue that holds these men together, even after all these years. Payne told VIBE, “Everything I saw in them has come to life. When I think about obstacles, hurtles, achievements and triumphs…I know it all is a part of God’s plan. New Edition is a brotherhood. I guess I’m the big brother. I’ve only tried to pull out of them, what God put in them. We don’t always agree, we don’t always travel the same road. But one thing that is undeniable, the destination of this thing of ours. 40 years later, we are all still here, six original members and me. God never fails.”

  1. Feminem

Payne’s not done making musical history. He posted a tease for the world to prepare themselves for the new girl group, Feminem, and follow his journey with the R&B/hip hop trio.

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