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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Jay Payton papers
    Dates: 1955-2003
    Collection number: MS 205
    Creator: Payton, Jay.
    Collection Size: 1.75 (2 boxes + 1 oversize box)
    Repository: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
    Oakland, CA 94612
    Abstract: 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 next hit 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.
    Physical location: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.) Oakland, CA 94612
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Access

    No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.

    Access Restrictions

    Materials are for use in-library only, non-circulating.

    Publication Rights

    Permission to publish from the Jay Payton Papers must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.

    Preferred Citation

    Jay Payton papers, MS 205, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated to the African American Museum & Library at Oakland by Larry Payton on August 16, 2016 and April 13, 2017.

    Biography / Administrative History

    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.
    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 previous hit musicians next hit and performers. The show also acted as a platform to promote performers from the Top Star Awards, an annual music award show produced by Payton for Bay Area African American R&B previous hit musicians next hit held at the Showcase, Bimbo's 365 Club, the Claremont Hotel, and other venues. For 29 years (1968-97) the Top Star Awards served as a counterbalance to the better-known Bay Area Music Awards, or Bammies, which in its formative years largely ignored rhythm and blues acts.
    Other notable highlights of his career included acting as technical advisor, along with Barksdale, for the 1973 blaxploitation film The Mack directed by Michael Campus and starring Max Julien and Richard Pryor. The film was produced in Oakland and written by Payton’s friend Robert J. Poole, then an inmate at San Quentin State Prison and a member of the Barbwire Theater Company, an outgrowth of the San Quentin Drama Workshop. Payton appears in the film playing himself as the pimp convention emcee who awards Goldie the "Mack of the Year Award."

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Jay Payton Papers consists of 2 quad videotapes of “The Jay Payton Show,” a weekly entertainment program on KEMO-TV Channel 20 that began in 1972 as the “Soul Is” show. Promoted as “the show that boasts about Bay Area entertainment being as good as you’re going to get,” it regularly featured national and Bay Area African American previous hit musicians such as Jackie Wilson, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, and Lenny Williams, lead vocalist of Tower for Power. Directed by Drew Pfeiffer, the program was produced by Sal Watts and Jay Payton with dance coordinator Little André. Included in the collection are also photographs of Jay Payton and performers on the “Soul Is” and “The Jay Payton Show,” as well as photographs of Payton at various Bay Area music awards shows, and certificates of distinction awarded to Payton for his contribution to Bay Area entertainment.

    Arrangement

    Series I. “The Jay Payton Show” television show Series II. Photographs Series III. Recognitions and awards

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    African American entertainers.
    African American television producers and directors.
    Rhythm and blues music--California.
    Video Recordings.