I hope I wasn’t too late in waking up to the greatness of a young man by the name of Gary Brice. If you have had the honor of knowing him, you may also be familiar with his stage name – Thee Edjukated Rebel. For the last year, I’ve had the honor of watching this young man flourish. From the center of civil rights protests all around the country to night clubs hosting showcases of indie artist, you can find Gary just about anywhere. He is the definition of a renaissance man and he wears his many hats well.
Originally born in the St. Louis area, Gary had a humble childhood. He grew up in a single parent home with his mother and sister. He tells me about how he grew up in a strict household, where he spent much of his time in church. Church is where Gary built his foundation for two of his many talents, being an actor and a musician through their programs.
During these times, Gary’s situation was one of both love and hate. He was a rebel in a room full of conformist. From ages 6 to 16, he expresses being an unhappy chubby kid. In school, he was made fun of for being both overweight and feminine. He didn’t care much for school or academics and got into quite a bit of trouble. At 16, Gary went to jail for a felony after a fight he was involved in with a mob of other students. Lets just say, it didn’t go well for the other party. He describes the time as traumatizing. The experience behind bars changed Gary for the rest of his life. He left with a new state of mind realizing it was no longer time to play games. He had to get his life together quick before he went down a dark path with no return.
Returning to school for his junior and senior year with a new attitude, sent Gary on a successful ride up. His grades improved tremendously. He started writing for the city’s newspaper, where in 2005 he wrote an article about why he felt Barack Obama should be the next President of the United States. Way to be ahead of his time, as Barack won the presidency in 2008. He graduated high school in 2005 and went on to Western Illinois University by a hair as they only accepted him under probationary status because of his past. He wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip. He kicked things into gear. He majored in theater and graduated with a 3.2 GPA in 2009.
Gary knew he needed more work in acting and theater so he went on to graduate school at the University of Louisville as they are the only university with an African-American theater program in the country. Now, at age 27 Gary resides in Louisville and has quite a bit of influence in the black arts and theater communities. His experience with being on stage gave him a platform for his many other talents and passions. Gary is a teacher, an activist, protester, event planner and organizer, a poet, and a rapper in addition to being an actor, playwright, play director and play producer. Woaaahhh! There is just something about this melanin!!
Gary has become quite the leader in the Louisville area and his activism and community work in particular have led to a lot of attention. Many people depend on him for his charisma and vocal leadership in speaking up against social and political issues especially with the recent surge in the civil rights movement. He is not afraid to sit at a round table and make demands up against the city’s most prominent leaders. Outside of his community work, he is currently working on a new mixtape project and a few plays, all while studying the real estate market which he plans to dive into next. When asked about his long term goals, the rebel says he plans to fall back just a bit on his rebel status and sit in office as a political leader. We definitely need you there brother! BUT then again, with all his many talents and ambitions, I believe Gary could thrive and be successful in any position and I hope to NEVER see him put his art to the side. He is truly an innovative and unique individual. I hope we can all come together to continue to support this man in all he does. Peace.
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