Legendary Bay Area emcee Jay Payton (1925-2016) was born William J Payton on Oct. 29, 1925 in Asheville, North Carolina. Beginning
in 1972 Payton hosted the KEMO-TV music show “Soul Is” (later “The Jay Payton Show”), a weekly entertainment show on Channel
20 featuring national and Bay Area African American musicians and performers. The Jay Payton Papers consists of 2 quad videotapes
of “The Jay Payton Show” recorded in 1976, photographs of Jay Payton at various events and with performers on the “Soul Is”
and “The Jay Payton Show,” and certificates of distinction awarded to Payton for his contribution to Bay Area entertainment.
Legendary Bay Area emcee Jay Payton (1925-2016) was born William J Payton on Oct. 29, 1925 in Asheville, North Carolina. Payton
made his show business debut in 1947 as a tap dancer at the Apollo Theater in Harlem before serving in the Army during the
Korean War. After his service, he settled in Sacramento, California, where he worked as master of ceremonies at numerous music
clubs. He made his Bay Area premiere in 1954 at Music City Records in Berkeley as a member of the Sacramento singing group
the Rovers. While working as a dancer and emcee at the It Club in El Cerrito he met disc jockey and club owner Don Barksdale.
In 1959, he began as the emcee at Facks 2 on Bush Street in San Francisco, where he appeared on bills with such mainstream
acts as Billy Eckstine, Dorothy Dandridge, Della Reese, Johnny Mathis, and the Hi-Los. During the '60s, he was club emcee
at Barksdale’s the Showcase and the Sportsman clubs, and throughout his career he was a hosting fixture at such African American
clubs in Oakland as The Continental Club, the Paramount, Esther’s Orbit Room, Ruthie’s Inn, Ed Howard’s Place, and Jimmie’s
Entertainment Complex, as well as at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, Berkeley Community Theater, Paramount Theatre, and other
Bay Area concert venues, sharing stages with the likes of Count Basie, Redd Foxx, B.B. King, Lou Rawls, Jackie Wilson, the
Ballads, the Whispers, and Marvin Holmes and the Uptights.