Rockford-area comedian, champion for Black women businesses loses lifelong health battle

Comedian and creator of Black Women in Business Expo Vickie Lynn (center) died Feb. 3, 2023.
Comedian and creator of Black Women in Business Expo Vickie Lynn (center) died Feb. 3, 2023.

Vickie Lynn is being remembered as a doting mother and grandmother, a successful standup comedian and a champion for aspiring Black women entrepreneurs.

Lynn died Friday after battling severe health issues for most of her life.

She was 47.

“You knew where you stood with her all of the time,” Lynn’s brother, Osric Hitt, said. “She didn’t have any time for people to misunderstand her. She was very blunt, very straightforward. She could appear abrasive if you didn’t realize that she wanted to understand you and wanted you to understand her.”

Lynn was born in Rockford but spent most of her years living in Beloit, where she honed her chops as a standup comic.

Rockford comedian Marcos Lara met Lynn about 10 years ago and toured with her on the Midwest comedy circuit many times.

“We performed in a lot of bars and college campuses,” Lara said. “We were on the Mancow Show on Fox together. We did church gigs, and we even performed in a nudist camp together at one time. When she would perform somewhere, people would flock to see her.”

While Lynn continued to make people laugh with her acerbic observations about life, love and loss, she endured a series of ailments and disabilities. Lynn underwent a kidney transplant years ago after one of her own kidneys failed. She was also hearing impaired.

“The entire time we knew her, she was living on borrowed time,” Lara said. “She almost died from kidney problems years ago before we met her and then she got a kidney transplant and she would celebrate her kidney birthday every year because that’s what literally gave her a new lease on life.”

Lynn was inspired to shine a light on the Black women in the area who launched and sustained successful businesses.

She created the annual Black Women in Business Expo in Beloit in 2019.

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“We started out that year with 12 businesses owned by Black women,” said Expo committee member Paquita Purnell. “And now we’re on year five and we have over 55 Black and brown women business owners attending the event this weekend.”

The fifth annual Black Women in Business Expo is scheduled for Saturday at Beloit’s Eclipse Event Center.

The program will include a toast and a roast in Lynn’s honor.

“She knew how to encourage a person and get a person to see the best version of themselves,” Purnell said. “She was such a motivator.”

Lynn is survived by her sons, Marshall Davis, Eric Blunt and Walter Blunt; her daughter, Jaesa Blunt and nine grandchildren.

“I think that she felt that when she found comedy, she found herself,” Hitt said. “She could get up on stage and tell people what she was thinking and make it funny. If there’s an afterlife, I hope there’s a stage and a microphone for her to use.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Lynn’s family with memorial expenses.

Ken DeCoster covers business news and features. Contact him at 815-987-1391, or @DeCosterKen. 

This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: Rockford area comedian, champion for Black women Vickie Lynn dies