Brandon Brice is widely known across the U.S. as a political commentator and TV reality star. He also appeared on BET’s Grand Hustle with Hip Hop Mogul T.I., a non-profit executive and youth advocate. He’s most noted for his fun and engaging style on camera and in the community, leading fund development programs across the nation.
You could even say he’s a mover, shaker and community builder, having led a fulfilling career in political commentary and entertainment. But it didn’t stop there.
Not only has Brice worked as the Director of Education and African American Affairs for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but he’s also worked as a business analyst for World Wrestling Entertainment and led a national financial literacy program with the National Urban League.
So, what’s Brandon Brice up to today and how is he using his experience to impact Detroit and the U.S. all together?
We’re lucky enough to have Brandon Brice answer some of our burning questions. If you’ve been wondering what Brice is doing, this will put you back in the loop!
As a man working in Detroit and beyond, what’s the number one thing you’ve been focusing on lately?
As a native Detroiter, giving back to my community has always been a priority to me. In January of 2019, I was fortunate to join as the new President of the Board for Advantage Health Centers of Detroit, providing access to quality healthcare for many vulnerable families in Detroit who need it most. Funny, my background is fund development and strategic communication. But, healthcare and having access to health providers is extremely important and a priority of mine.
Tell us about your experience on BET’s The Grand Hustle.
First, I never saw myself as a reality star. But, working with T.I. was amazing and he’s a super talented artist, businessman and visionary. I admired the topic and focus on the show of ‘hustling’, which to me meant ‘entrepreneurship’. In fact, I think we need more shows in our community that preach the principles of starting a business, networking, competition and selling a product. Everything in life is a business.
Do you have any future political aspirations? Please tell us about them.
Public service should always be about serving people first. At the moment, I do not see myself running for office. However, in the future I could consider running to tackle issues that are important to me like Public Safety, Education Reform, Healthcare Affordability and Prison Reform. I think as a Black candidate, my thoughts are less on running as an Independent or Republican, and more on tackling issues that directly and negatively affect Black people.
Tell us about your time at Hip Hop Republican and how that’s impacted where you are today.
When I was one of the founding writers for HipHopRepublican.com, I was young, in my 20’s energetic and optimistic. Now I’m in my late 30’s, living in the era of Trump, and quite disappointed in the direction and silence the GOP has succumbed to under this administration and the White House. HipHopRepublican.com, started by Richard Ivory in New York, was a social media outlet that praised and recognized writers from all perspectives and political affiliations. The online site praised the once supported ‘Big Tent’ concept of the Republican Party that suggested anyone who subscribed to the principle of being conservative whether you are a minority, immigrant, straight, LGBT, rich or poor, who had a voice in the conservative movement. Those days are surely missed.
Can you talk about the community side of Republicanism and your take on engaging and growing communities and the people you work with?
I think the days of Democrat vs. Republican is no more. I think if we’re going to be honest with ourselves, we are now in the days of the Haves (or elites), and the (Have-nots… everyone else). In fact, I’ve always stated that Black Conservatives need to finally adopt their own political agenda and ideologies, and stop using the GOP rhetoric to solve problems in Black communities. For example, we can’t begin to talk about family values, or taxes, or even immigration reform, until we are talking about ways to resolve record levels unemployment rates, continued failing school districts and high illiteracy, the massive incarceration of Black males and now Black females, and a need for more business incentives and opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. Until the GOP is prepared to executive a real strategy, for the following; they cannot help us resolve Black America’s crisis.
How do you view the Republican Party in 2020?
I think President Donald Trump has resulted in pros and cons for Black America. I think he’s been good, because we are finally in a position to highlight direct obstacles in our communities, which we’ve always seen, but rarely were able to do anything about. Now we are in a position to right the wrongs in education, prison reform, employment and lack of economic resources. When the President campaigned, he literally said, ‘what the hell do you have to lose voting for me? He had a point, depending on your zip code. Under this President, whether we like his rhetoric or not, unemployment is down and companies are literally hiring more minorities. As it relates to prison reform, I commend the Presidents effort to try to reduce the number of people being incarcerated, helping to reclaim the lives of those who have been wrongfully accused for crimes they didn’t commit. So we have to give some credit to where credit is due. What’s bad is that we now have a President that has put the GOP at a severe risk of losing future voters and supporters based on his rhetoric and some of his positions against immigrants, minorities and woman. The Republican movement of the past, always represented hope for so many immigrants wanting to come to America, in search of a better life. The American Dream was always a symbol of what made and continues to make American great. However, the tactics of this Executive branch remains naïve to the neo-conservative and alt right voice and opinions that do not identify nor reflect the values of tolerance, love, decency and respect for others.
What are your top five songs/artist?
2 Pac – All Eyes on Me
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Childish Gambino – 3005
Big Sean – Clique
Sade – Cherish the Day
What do you think our political leaders don’t understand about how the current education system is working for families?
Education shouldn’t be a polarizing issue and should be bi-partisan. A child in America is either getting educated or not. If he/she isn’t then we need to address the problem. In fact, your zip code shouldn’t determine the quality of education you can receive. Education reform is the civil rights issue of our time. In the past, Black children couldn’t get in quality schools. Today, Black children simply can’t get out of failing schools.
There’s already rampant speculation about which Democrats might win the nomination for President in 2020. Any thoughts on who should be the nominee? Who might have the edge? What the Democratic Party needs to be competitive?
Interesting. I watched both debates when they were in Detroit. Some of the ones that stuck out to me was Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and a few of the Democratic Governors, who were very successful in their own respective states. I think to beat President Trump, name recognition is going to be dominate, which very few of the candidates actually have. My thoughts are Sen, Joe Biden will most likely get the nomination, due to name recognition and his direct ties to President Barack Obama, who is still popular. I think Mayor Pete is an interesting candidate as I believe the LGBT vote is a strong, powerful and underrepresented vote in America. Lastly, I think a wild card will come out as a possible VP candidate, maybe Sen. Corey Booker or Sen. Kamala Harris.
In 2016, the NAACP called for a moratorium on charter school expansion and for the strengthening of oversight in governance and practice. However, the president of the organization has recently seemed to soften that stance. How do you view that policy and that stance on the issue?
As a supporter of the historical work of the NAACP, I agree with their stance on strengthening oversight in governance and practice. But I think we need oversight in all our educational institutions that serve our youth, especially at risk youth. However, I disagree on a moratorium outside of making sure charter schools are not in direct competition with schools that have high success and achievement rates. We need a free market of different types of educational institutions that educate our children, at the parent’s discretion and letting parents decide how and where their children can should be educated.