Whatever Happened to: Brownstone

As untrusting and stubborn as I may seem at times – well, ALL the time – I must admit that even I, Mr. Skeptic, can be swayed by tall tales and falsehoods.

No, I’m not talking about Chris Brown blubbering at the BET Awards.

For years, I thought that Mimi Doby, a prominent member of the ’90s R&B trio Brownstone, left the group due to medical problems. But no, I learned recently that she left for the same reason that nearly all female groups break up – bickering.

Sigh, add them to the gigantic list of groups that burned out just when they shined brightest. Ladies, get it together.

Anyway, let’s look at the highs and lows of Brownstone.

Nichole ‘Nicci’ Glibert, Monica ‘Mimi’ Doby, and Charmayne ‘Maxee’ Maxwell were signed to Michael Jackson’s MJJ record label in the mid-90s, and their debut, From the Bottom Up, was released soon after in 1995.

That album achieved platinum status, all thanks to their mega-single “If You Love Me.” It roared to No. 8 on the billboard charts, landed them a Billboard award and a Grammy nomination. They were far from one-hit wonders, though. I know y’all remember their robust vocals on “Graypevine” – they sounded like a pissed off church choir. And don’t forget “Can’t Tell Me Why.”

In 1997 Brownstone returned with Still Climbing and around this time Mimi “went home sick” and was replaced with Kina Cosper, who didn’t last too long. Still, the group was churning out quality tracks, including my favorite Brownstone song, “5 Miles to Empty.” Whoo, those notes still give me chills. I wasn’t as big of a fan of “Kiss and Tell” though. They’re too old to be running around a high school harrassing young boys, looking like deranged, middle-aged Twilight fans.

Still Climbing didn’t live up to its name and stalled, so the group disintegrated. Nicci Gilbert (no relation to Whitley Gilbert, sadly) released a solo album, Grown Folks Music, in 2003. It didn’t make much noise but it’s not half bad. Check out “My Side Of The Story.”

The group has attempted to reunite a few times with new members, but it never worked out.

Should They Come Back?: Hard to say. If they still have their 1995-era voices I’d love to hear them. But I seriously doubt they could return to their glory days. They’d probably just wind up fighting again away.


  1. I miss them but you can best believe those other two are alpha females, that’s why no one else lasted long cause its like this…you do what we say because we know what to do, or else…mmm hmmm them jokers ain’t foolin’ me…

  2. Just discovered this site after seeing a blurb about Christion on another site and I like it alot plus I’m checking out the new site too. I just wanted to give a slight heads up about Brownstone because if you looked at the TVOne show “R&B Divas” then you will know why Brownstone broke up-one word NICCI.She means well but she is one of those “girlfriends that always has to something, anything even when it isn’t her business she makes it all about her”. Nicci admitted on the show that the record company made her get a tummy tuck at the age of 24 and actually she is a full-figured woman who use to be on a constant diet (she came out with a full-figured fashion line called “Curvato” that is featured on the show). She still has the pipes but admitted that she isn’t passionate about singing anymore. I read years ago that Kina Cosper stated that she is more of a rock n roll singer and on the album cover the record company made her wear a wig because she actually had s blonde tweeny weeny afro. I do miss the group because those girls could really sing…..

  3. Nosey, this blog was written awhile back but best believe I watch R&B Divas weekly. And you’re right, Nicci means well but she ALWAYS has an opinion, even when it’s not warranted. Not sure if that was a turnoff to the other girls but it could be irritating (just ask Syleena Johnson). Ah well, we’ll always have our Brownstone memories.

  4. IF u ask me, Nicci don’t mean well by anyone but herself. I already knew she was the Diana-Ross type reason Brownstone broke up

  5. My girl Cindy: I hate to disappoint you, but, Diana Ross is and was a hard worker as lead of The Supremes. Both Florence Ballard and marywilson had solo projects that went to the bathroom and never came back. Diana remains a global icon to this day. So underachievers may be threatened by her ambition, but, she was determined to not become a tragic headline. I found inspiration in her determination.
    Nicci Gilbert should have never signed onto do “R&B Divas” because her behavior and that sad attempt to reunite Brownstone certain

  6. Bokiluis cont’d: “R&B Divas” hurt Nicci Gilbert’s brand because she came across quite poorly. While Syleena Johnson gained fans for herself after reading Nicci and putting her in her place. Nicci’s music is going to have to be so irresistible before I will even listen. So whatever your issue with Diana Ross is Billboard named her “Entertainer of the Century” and she is in the Guiness Book of Records as”The Most Successful Female Artist” of her generation. Nicci could only wish to aspire to such heights

  7. i sure hope that was a equipment issue because if not no need for brownstone to even think about coming back. as for nicci that child needs therapy. and quick. she is a busy body of the highest order..

  8. Women are bitches, plan and simple.

  9. Did not see Divas broadcast but just hearing them play on radio station KPOO recently one night and wished thay eere back together or at least doing solo projects because beside Envogue thet were truly the SWV. They Sang and always will love the Diva Diana. Maybe the best thing for fsns is to love and respect every member and

  10. i don’t know about any of the bs going on, but that harmony. they just sounded so pure. i miss that.

  11. If brownstone voices r not with 90’d vibe, they can hang it up!!!I recently saw group with nicci n two other singers on essence showcase on utube. They were terrible!!?

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