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 writer (screenwriter, playwright and novelist), 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 growing up in urban communities experiencing self-doubt before transformation. I grew up in an extremely 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, 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 confidently sent it to him. (I have since graduated from the University of Southern California with a Masters of Art in Education.)
For many years I taught 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, such as being a police brutality survivor, and make them the basis for inspiring my students. I told them daily that everything worth achieving is only accomplished through tenacious work and perseverance. That by directing their energies positively, they can be far more productive and abundantly more successful. It's an affirmation I continue to constantly tell myself.
While teaching, 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 and also had the honor of coaching one of my students to a first place prize in the LAUSD Theatre Competition.
In addition to educational advocacy, I have been told by many to be a renaissance man. As an actor I have starred, guest-starred, supported, co-starred or recurred in some of the industry's most popular TV shows, independent films and stage plays. Currently I am a series regular on the television series,"The Wright Turn," playing the role of Cecile and have a starring role in the upcoming 2022 theatrical releases "20 Minutes," and "The Laundress." As a screenwriter, I have written some of the most highly awarded and accoladed screenplays about African American families in the entertainment, festival, competition circuit and the world. I have also directed numerous critically acclaimed and award winning solo shows and plays and have written several award nominated novels and books.
Sharing a passion for all aspects of 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 life-long commitment to learning, I have purposefully crafted a unique career path that integrates art with pedagogy. Those with limited vision may think, "I spread myself too thin." I think I am like a super nova, always expanding and intentionally, graciously, increasing the depth of who I am and the brightness of my talents.
In this era of steady change, uncertainty and challenge, I believe the truth and humanity in art is needed more than ever. It is important to arouse curiosity and elicit questions about individual and collective experiences in meaningful ways, in order to motivate socially conscious people 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 community cannot be accomplished unless people are challenged to become critical thinkers, risk takers, and believe above all else, their actions will make positive differences in the world. My art contributes to that ideology.
I believe we are all free to examine limitations, but I am motivated by recognizing that, while having the privilege to exist on this planet, there are none...No matter what! The industry, at the moment, may sleep on me, but I will win! NO MATTER WHAT!