Aaron Braxton: ABOUT ME
My high school music teacher wrote in my high school yearbook, "It's tough to be talented. You tend to spread yourself too thin." I say, "Nothing has changed." With a steady stream of interest, I have become an internationally, critically acclaimed and award winning American, writer, actor, singer and teaching artist. I am the first American and only person of African descent to win the Festivalul De Teatru International Marele Premiu Gala Star for my one-man show, DID YOU DO YOUR HOMEWORK? am a NAACP Image Award winner and I have my own star on the International Solo Performer's "Walk of Fame," in Bacau, Romania.
Born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, I have been no stranger to educational activism and the tribulations of diverse youth, growing up in urban communities and experiencing self-doubt and transformation. I grew up poor, in an abusive household where I saw my alcoholic father throw my mother down a flight of stairs and my maniacal stepfather put a lock on the refrigerator door. I was told daily by him, while he attempted to cave in my chest, that I would never amount to anything, but I kept telling myself, he was wrong. When I graduated from San Diego State University, I took a picture of my degree and sent it to him as proof of my innate belief in myself.
For many years I taught English, history, drama, and resource special education for the Los Angeles Unified School District. During my tenure as a secondary and elementary teacher I used to take profound, often painful experiences from my past and make them the basis for inspiring my students. I told them daily that everything worth achieving is only accomplished through hard work and perseverance. That by purposefully directing their energies positively, they can be far more productive and abundantly more successful. As I told them, I continued to motivate myself.
I also wrote, directed, and coached students in several, winter, spring, and multi-cultural productions as well as developed a myriad of interdisciplinary art integration workshops for faculty. Some of my most rewarding experiences were developing special instructional programs for low achieving students in order to increase academic achievement and assist them in bypassing departmentalized blocks to learning. For my efforts I won several awards for increasing test scores of SDC and RSP students. I also had the honor of coaching one of my students to a first place prize in the Los Angeles Unified District Theatre Competition.
My experiences have also led me to having sat on the board of a high performing charter high school in Gardena, California. With an emphasis on finance, the school's mission was to close the financial literacy gap within the urban community by providing a high quality, extensive college preparatory experience that resulted in college and professional success, as well as community growth and enlightenment.
In addition to educational advocacy, I am a working artist and am proud to have earned a Bachelors of Arts and Sciences in Speech Communication from San Diego State University and a Masters of Arts in Education and Teaching with a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from The University of Southern California.
I fashion myself a renaissance man. I have been a performing artist in the entertainment industry for many years; having starred, guest-starred, supported, co-starred or recurred in some of the industry's most popular television shows, independent films and stage plays. I have also penned and/or directed several successful, critically acclaimed and award winning solo-shows and plays, including the aforementioned, DID YOU DO YOUR HOMEWORK? which broke box office records and is still the longest running show (nine months) in the history of the Beverly Hills Playhouse. My most recent play, BROKEN, won a Max K. Lerner Fellowship.
Sharing a passion for the creative arts and education, (it says in my high school yearbook that I wanted to be a writer, actor, and teacher), as well as a commitment to life-long learning, I have purposefully crafted a unique path that integrates pedagogy with art in a manner that is thought provoking, engaging, meaningful, rewarding and universal.
In this era of steady change, uncertainty, and challenge, I believe my method of motivation will, no doubt, matter more than ever. Through art, I write and inspire others to become fearless, discover their own voice and reveal the ethical frames by which they exist. With the goal always to arouse curiosity and elicit questions about individual and collective experiences in meaningful ways, in order to motivate socially conscious individuals who are aware of their personal power and the impact their actions have on individual and collective choices, ideologies and our planet.
A strong, vital and progressive society cannot be made unless people create it together. My goal has always been to challenge people to become critical thinkers, who are risk takers and believe, above all else, their positive actions will make differences in the world. We are free to examine limits, but we have to be motivated by recognizing that there are none...No matter what! NO MATTER WHAT!