by: Aimee LaBrie
Even if you’re not a fan of musicals, you’ve surely heard of the hype surrounding Broadway’s Hamilton. Critically acclaimed, the show garnered a record-setting 16 Tony award nominations, 11 Tony Award wins, a Pulitzer Prize for drama, and a Grammy. It also has a multicultural cast of talented actors playing America’s founding fathers in a rap musical that is energetic, empowering, and enlightening. Tickets are expensive and hard to come by. However, students taking part in convocation on Monday, May 14 will have front row seats to one of show’s key performers. Bryan Terrell Clark, the actor who has played George Washington in Hamilton since January 2017, will be the School’s keynote convocation speaker.
A native of Baltimore and a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Terrell Clark’s role as the School’s convocation speaker makes sense. Not only is he one of the central figures in a hit musical that explores the nature of revolution and the important contributions of immigrants in the creation of American democracy, he is also an advocate for at-risk youth in his personal life. In 2017, he became the co-founder of the philanthropic fashion brand inDEFINED. To date, the Foundation has raised over $100,000 for various charities and philanthropic organizations, and has supported Arts Education for youth. Their mission is to empower youth to create change, to “redefine the world we live in,” and to become a “community of change-makers.”
In an article with altTalk, on the eve of his first performance in Hamilton, Terrell Clark shared his vision this way: "The clothing uses fashion to express personal style and identity. We started with T-shirts and are launching the brand this year. We partnered with the best youth advocacy non-profit in New York, The Door. The funding from the clothing line allows us to give artist education, and exposure to the arts, to disadvantaged youth. It’s a part of my on-going mission as an artist to use my gifts to give back."
Terrell Clark made his Broadway debut in MOTOWN: The Musical in the iconic role of Marvin Gaye. He has also starred opposite Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett in Fences, and appeared in numerous television shows such as The New Edition Story, Person of Interest, Royal Pains, Mysteries of Laura, Unforgettable, CSI:NY, The UNIT, Tyler Perry's HOUSE OF PAYNE, and has a currently recurring on Fox's Empire.
In addition, he is the writer and producer of Jussie Smollet's first single “Freedom,” and a cowriter on Mary J. Bilge’s song “Irreversible” on the album My Life II. Musically, he has performed with such artists as Brandy, Monica, Ne-Yo, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Ciara, Yolanda Adams, Maxwell and many others. He is a featured vocalist on Michael Buble's Crazy Love, and is currently in the studio recording his solo album. He is also the host of the "Bryan Terrell Clark's Tribute,” which brings in guests artists such as Stevie Wonder, Ledisi, Lalah Hathaway, Rahsaan Patterson, and Kenny Lattimore.
More information for graduating students and their guests can be found here.