Frank E. Brady is an award winning spoken word artist, director, educator, and dynamic entertainer. Frank has been featured on stage with some of today’s most remarkable celebrities, from Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and Reverend Jesse Jackson to hip-hop artists such as J. Cole and Big Sean. Frank has been featured and highlighted through media outlets such as The Source Hip-Hop Magazine, The Washington Examiner, NBC and most recently, FOX. He is a frequent performer on the national college and poetry circuits.
With a strong love for working with youth, Frank spent years as a creative writing and spoken word poetry teacher in the New Haven Public School System. His love for the art of expression has taken him from Harlem street corners to sold-out theaters. Frank has also spent time working with youth across the country providing workshops and presentations. He is co-founder of Driven2Inspire LLC, a for profit organization working to provide life affirming presentations for multiple audiences across the United States. Both national and international audiences have called Frank’s unique blend of spoken word, explosive stage presence, and hip-hop amazingly creative.
In 2010, Frank E. Brady was blessed to be featured on BET as a part of their 30th anniversary programming. This opportunity empowered him to launch the 2011 Legacy of Dreams Tour. The mission of the tour was to show the country that we are the legacy of dreams. The tour traveled to public schools, colleges, concerts and conferences across the country. On this tour he was featured at such prestigious events such as the 41st Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundations’ Annual Conference and the 2011 World Youth Peace Summit. He has performed at the 2014 Black Solidarity Conference and the 2010 Freshfest. He has devoted his life to empowering the next generation. As a Dream Director for The Future Project, he is doing just that!
SoulTrain.com: What is The Future Project?
Frank E. Brady: The Future Project is a national movement to inspire a generation of young people to re-imagine their lives, their schools and their world. As a nonprofit organization, The Future Project sends full-time employees, known as Dream Directors, into American public high schools to help impact and transform school culture through helping young people build projects based on their passions and dreams.
The Future Project was founded in September of 2011, and was created by Andrew Mangino and Kanya Balakrishna, two Yale University graduates who met through their work at the Yale Daily News.
SoulTrain.com: What is the mission of the project?
Frank E. Brady: To inspire young Americans to discover their passion and change the world.
SoulTrain.com: How did you get involved with this organization?
Frank E. Brady: I started in the summer of 2012. I was working for a program called W.R.A.P., the Winchester Revitalization Art Project, for which I helped provide arts-based programming to an inner city neighborhood in New Haven, Connecticut. I helped The Future Project by allowing students involved in the program to become involved in my programming for a session. After meeting the students, I was impressed with the concern that they displayed for their community and the way they expressed that. I was invited to help as a community partner for two projects after our initial collaboration. It was during the second collaboration as a partner on an open mic project that I met the founders of The Future Project. After a detailed conversation and an in-depth interview, I was offered the position as a Dream Director.
SoulTrain.com: What is your role in the project as a Dream Director?
Frank E. Brady: As a full-time employee for The Future Project, I’m sent into an American public high school to help impact and transform school culture through helping young people build projects based on their passions and dreams.
SoulTrain.com: What type of impact has the project had on you?
Frank E. Brady: The Future Project has enabled me to take all of the years of experience I have working with high school aged youth, and focus it in one specific place. I am a Dream Director in Wilbur Cross High School located New Haven, CT. For the last few years, I have been able to grow as a professional and gain new skills. My skills as a producer of events have elevated as well. I have learned that I have the ability to unlock human potential. I have the blessing of focusing on youth.
SoulTrain.com: What are the ages of the youth that are involved?
Frank E. Brady: Currently, youth involved in The Future Project range from 14-18 years old, which is generally the high school age range.
SoulTrain.com: How has The Future Project impacted the youth?
Frank E. Brady: The Future Project has given youth an opportunity and outlet to cultivate the passion within them. It helps to provide young people with the tools and skills to begin to create the lives they want for themselves. As of 2015, The Future Project has worked with 25,000 students across New York, New Haven, Washington DC, Newark, San Francisco, and Detroit.
SoulTrain.com: Will the program be expanding to other cities and/or countries?
Frank E. Brady: Yes, the goal ultimately is to expand across the country to every state and high school in the United States. It’s currently on a national scale, but there’s a demand to go international.
SoulTrain.com: How are the projects that the youth participate in created?
Frank E. Brady: They are created through a careful process of planning and development through one-on-one coaching with me and training in 21st century skills.
SoulTrain.com: As a spoken word artist, director, educator, motivational speaker and entertainer, you bring more than the average person to the classroom. Tell me how your artistic talents enhance your role as Dream Director.
Frank E. Brady: At my base, I am a spoken word poet. This vehicle became a gateway that allowed me to unlock other talents, such as beat-boxing, rapping and live instruments, with the goal of enhancing my spoken word performance. I have a gift of using art, especially poetry, to touch the hearts and minds of any audience I perform for. I’m also gifted with building connections with youth through a comprehensive understanding of their popular culture., and producing events that cater to and inspire youth audiences. Lastly, I am a very versatile and adaptable communicator. I can connect with people regardless of culture, race, or social/economic status.
I use all of my past professional experiences and talents to enrich and enhance the work that I do. As an entertainer, I have an ear to the pulse of the youth generation. I can build programming that will immediately catch and keep their attention. More often than not, I push the students that I work with beyond their limits to help them achieve what they don’t think they can do. My skill as a speaker comes in handy because I know that I have to get them fired up. I have to remind them of their “Why”, the purpose that can push and renew them. Lastly, I use writing as a cathartic tool to enable students to process and understand how their life experiences have impacted their identities. I push students in order for them to progress and grow to become the best version of themselves.
SoulTrain.com: Prior to being a Dream Director, you were a school teacher. Please describe your love for the youth.
Frank E. Brady: Youth are important to me because I remember how I felt as a youth, how at times I felt like I did not have a voice. I remember feeling like I had no one to talk to that could understand me and what I was going through as a young man. I didn’t have anyone in my life that was solely committed to helping me discover or cultivate my passions. I knew in college that I wanted to become that which I was missing when I was younger.
SoulTrain.com: How can we find The Future Project?
SoulTrain.com: How can someone reach you for bookings?
—Pierre A. Evans
Freelance Writer, Contributing Writer – Soultrain.com, Ndigo.com, and Empire Radio Magazine. Singer/Songwriter, Actor, Model, Poet, DJ, TV Host- A Taste of Theater, and Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. You can follow me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @Playerre.