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 has become an internationally, critically acclaimed and award winning American, writer, actor and teaching artist. I am the first and only American to win the Festivalul De Teatru International Marele Premiu Gala Star for my one-man show, DID YOU DO YOUR HOMEWORK? am a NAACP Theatre Award winner and 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 trials and 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 undergrad, I took a picture of my degree and sent it to him as proof of his inadequate assessment.
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 a 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 rather than negatively scattering them, they can be far more productive and abundantly more successful. As I told them, I continued to tell myself.
I also wrote, directed, and coached students in several, winter, spring, and multi-cultural productions as well as developed a myriad of interdisciplinary and art integration workshops for faculty. Some of my most rewarding experiences were working with low achieving students using various artistic methods of instruction in order to assist them in bypassing departmentalized blocks to learning and developing special instructional programs in order to increase academic achievement. For my efforts I won several awards for increasing test scores of SDC and RSP students. In addition, I coached one of my students to a first place prize in the Los Angeles Unified District Theatre Competition.
Currently, I sit on the school board of a high performing charter high school in Gardena California. With the school's emphasis on finance, our mission is to close the financial literacy gap within the urban community by providing a high quality, extensive college preparatory experience that results 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 stellar 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. I am very proud of that accomplishment. My current play, BROKEN, recently won a 2019 Max K. Lerner fellowship which garnered an Actor's Equity Workshop and staged reading directed by Susan Dalian.
Sharing a passion for the creative arts and education, (it also 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 attainable.
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 think. The goal always being 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 choices, ideologies and our planet.
A strong, vital and progressive society cannot be made unless people create it together. I challenge people to become critical thinkers, who are risk takers and believe, above all else, their positive actions will make a difference in the world. We are free to examine limits, but we have to be motivated by recognizing that there are none...No matter what!