Karamo Brown Brings His Jamaican-Cuban Energy To Every Episode Of “Queer Eye”
If you don’t know who Karamo Brown is, prepare yourself for your next celebrity heartthrob. He first graced our televisions when he was just 23 years old on “The Real World: Philadelphia.” After a decade out of the spotlight, he’s back in our homes as one fifth of the Fab Five, in Netflix’s rebooted “Queer Eye.”
He’s hands down one of the most interesting, studliest, and sweetest of the Fab Five.
1. He’s Jamaican & Cuban.
Karamo was born in Houston, Texas, but has lived all over.
In a recent podcast with Johnathan Van Ness (AKA JVN), Brown opened up about his family history. His mother is Jamaican and his father is half Cuban, half Jamaican.
2. He’s the first openly gay black man to star on a reality TV show.
This was back in 2004, so it was a lot tougher to be openly gay. But Karamo slayed in “The Real World: Philadelphia,” and says that it was one of the hardest things he ever did.
The real gold: watching himself on TV and how he reacted to conflict. He says it changed him as a person.
3. After his MTV stint, he worked as a social worker for 10 years.
It wasn’t until one of his kids he was working with asked him if he’s following his dreams, that he realized he wasn’t. He decided to spend half his time in social work, and the other getting back into the public sphere.
His first job back out there? With Oprah. Casual.
4. He went from TV Host to Fab 5 of “Queer Eye.”
Each of the Fab Five carries expertise in either fashion, grooming, cooking, interior design, or culture. Karamo is known for working on the “inside job” of their clients, helping them find their confidence through aerial art, or getting through to a cop on why Black Lives Matter. Basically, you’re always crying happy tears when you’re watching this show.
Karamo’s dedication to his own inside job is inspo for all of us. His backstory is pretty incredible…
5. He watched his father destroy his family.
Brown grew up middle class, but when his father decided to quit accounting and become a DJ, they lost everything. In his own words, “Life went from nice, middle class, immigrant family, to like extremely poor, moving out in the middle of the night.”
6. “My drive comes from watching the decline and seeing my mother build us back up.”
He says that watching his father abuse his mother gave him this drive to be better, and be the best man he can be. He’s conscience of what he’s inherited from his father, like shutting down during conflict, and tries to change it.
7. Brown went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
When his parents got divorced, his dad made him move from Texas. He said the one thing he did right was find the cheapest apartment in the school zone that would land him at Stoneman.
Caption: “The raised/ clenched fist is a salute to express unity, strength & resistance among oppressed people against any person or entity that would try to destroy the very fabric of human equality, respect & love. I raise & clench my fist to #Trump #Racism#SexualPredators #Misogynist and many more! You shall not win!”
8. “That school made me an activist.”
In his own words, “When the shooting happened, I wasn’t surprised that these students were like, “Enough is enough”, because activism is engrained in you from the first period of the first day of 9th grade.”
9. Karamo came out when he was 15 or 16 years old.
Caribbean culture, especially Jamaican culture is extremely homophobic, so his father had a hard time reconciling his religious beliefs with his son’s sexuality.
10. In 2007, he found out he’s a father!
Brown met Stephanie when he was 15 and they quickly became best friends…who also lost their virginity to each other. Over ten years later, he was served documents asking for child support. I mean, of course, Karamo stepped up and is a loving father. He later adopted his biological son’s half brother.
11. On May 10th, Karamo got engaged!
Caption: “Last night, in front of family & friends, I asked my best friend and the love of my life, “will you marry me?” He said YESSS!!!! I’m engaged!”
12. Karamo has been writing for The Advocate since 2014.
Can you tell he’s a huge advocate for the gays? Check him out with Stephanie Beatriz and Laith Ashley de la Cruz at Pride this year. You cute, boo.
13. This year, he won the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award!
“As an out and proud gay man, Karamo Brown is using his incredible talent and public visibility to raise awareness and find solutions to the unique challenges LGBTQ people face,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a news release.
14. He even cofounded the nonprofit 6in10.
As in 6 in every 10 gay or bisexual black men will test positive for HIV. 6in10 aims to reduce the stigma associated with HIV, and offer mental health resources for the LGBT community.
15. Oh, and he’s a low-key animal activist, too.
Caption: “Spending my morning cleaning, feeding & playing w/ rescued & humanely cared for elephants. #PleaseStopRidingThem🚳#ElephantsAreNotBuses #Thailand🇹🇭#WorldTraveler”
16. Karamo is the youngest of four sisters.
And with “Queer Eye,” he’s found himself another set of fabulous men that are like sisters to him.
17. Karamo & JVN would have been prom King & Queen in high school…
According to themselves in JVN’s podcast episode, “Who gave you permission to be so cute? featuring Karamo Brown.” Karamo was a football player and JVN was a cheerleader and you *know* they would be cutest couple. For now, they’re the cutest best friends and I’m here for it.
18. As serious as he is about making changes in the world, he’s also a joker.
After Antoni posted a legit serious picture of himself in a bathrobe wearing non-prescription glasses with a cup of tea, every single one of the Fab Five posted their version mocking him.
Caption: “Well since you all asked what I was doing… ironically the same thing as @antoni @jvn & @bobbyberk Just relaxing at home with glasses that aren’t prescription, a tea mug that is empty, junk food and a plant in my bed.”
19. Ya boy’s a Scorpio–born on November 2nd.
Caption: “Thought I’d do a #ThrowbackThursday of my senior yearbook pic. I was 18 years old here. If I could tell my younger self one thing it would be “Stop letting people’s limited perspectives cause you to doubt yourself… you have a bright future ahead of you kid, just believe.””
20. He’s also an American Express Ambassador.
Ok, so it’s the least interesting thing about him, but now I want an AmEx to be even a little bit more like him.
Follow him @karamobrown on Twitter and Instagram for all the emotional support you’ll need in your life. ❤️ 🧡 💛 💚 💙 💜