Article by: Kiaire Duclos
June 10th, 2015
Class clown turned motivational speaker. 20-year-old Deadrick “Redd” Leonard was thought to have a future as a comedian when we both attended Chapel Hill Middle School, but who would have thought that he would be speaking to different people of all ages about different topics?
The Positivity Brand took a trip to downtown Decatur, where we met up with our #PositiveInfluencer of the week, Deadrick, outside Brick House Pub.
A cute spot down the street from the art institute.
From the beginning people knew Deadrick would be able to reach people. Not only is he able to capture your attention but he’s able to really get his audience. He can have them cracking up at his hilarious jokes but can always find a way to relate to both the young and old.
He’s been getting up to preach since he was 12. Preaching is something he is truly called to do.
From being in rehab to speaking at his graduation.
From being homeless and going through a psychological war to speaking in front of the House of Representatives.
From class clown to true inspiration.
His past has given him motivation to curate his future while also serving others. Easy to relate to and funny Deadrick shows there is a message in everything. He started speaking in 2012 and ever since then he’s been on the go speaking to different age groups, ethnicity, and religions.
“THROUGHOUT MY LIFE I’VE COME TO KNOW WHO I WAS AND WHO I AM, AND I’M COOL WITH BOTH THOSE PEOPLE!”
From the start he was a classic class clown but after beinghomeless for about a year; He went through a psychological war and eventually went to rehab in 2011. After being placed in rehab he got into a program called the Orange Duffel Bag created by Sam Bracken.
He credits the church as being his first major platform. Since he was younger he’d be able to really get the word out to an audience and many people thought he would be a preacher. Then came the Orange Duffel Bag Graduation, his chance to speak for the first time in front of his peers!
He started off with a joke on how he was “open casket sharp” for graduation and looked better than EVERYONE else, then that’s when he knew he could be more then just a comedian. He realized he could get his peers attention to motivate them to do something more, instead of just making them laugh for just the moment. After that moment it has been Deadrick mission to give hope to his listeners that there is always a rainbow at the end of every storm. With his success as an example he gives everyone a different perspective and motivate them to achieve success, disregarding their personal obstacles. With doing this his pattern of success just keeps going and his passion nor his motives hasn’t changed, just his platform.
From 20 people to 400.
His passion drove him to where he is now and now he is being paid for what he loves and is called to do!
Deadrick tells us how he has literally traveled everywhere on the east coast speaking at different events, but traveling new places in not on top of Deadrick’s Greatest Achievement. He credits his Greatest Achievement to when he looks back at a young girl that he mentored, Jumisha Jones. He remembers when he first met her and learning how much she’s been through in her life. He’s moved that she truly listened to him and she was able to make a drastic change in her lifestyle and better herself.
Impacting others and making a lasting impression is his Greatest Achievement!
“THE OLDER GENERATION CAN HELP INSPIRE THE YOUTH BY FILLING THERE POSITIONS”
Deadrick believes a true leader can lead themselves out of a position, so any great leader has to be willing to train someone to take their place. If you train the youth now it will prepare future generations.
WHAT DOES IT TAKES IN ORDER TO BE GREAT AND GET THE MOST OUT OF LIFE?
"You have to be open, you can not be complacent into where you are. To get the best out of life, you have to be willing to make connects with people."
Deadrick believes it's not what you know, but really who knows you and who are willing to help you. His connections has gotten him where he is now. Deadrick has been speaking for some years now, he is able to explain to us the difference between motivational speaking and preaching. Between the two he thinks motivational speaking is a lot easier for him then preaching. This is mainly because motivational speaking is what they want you to walk about and is totally up to you. Unlike preaching, which is more like you have to stay to a script.
Deadrick loves has role a motivational speaker, but when he is asked his thoughts on being a person of influence the first word that comes to mind is PRESSURE. He feels a lot of pressure because he is held to a certain standard close to deity, even though he’s just as human as everyone else. The only difference is that he cannot fall publicly. He constantly live to make everyday filled with purpose because he believes if know one cares about your absence then your presence had no purpose!
He says the most inspirational people run from the spotlight, they are just always needed when opportunities to be influential arise. He had to realize that it’s not about what he wanted to speak about, it was is about what he was called to talk about. At one point in time he had such a giant pride. But it took a humbling experience to realize how he needs to be more humble.
“Arrogant piece of shit” is all he could remember at the age of 18 and this sparked it all. It made him think, how do people view me with honesty? So he began asking everyone he knew who knew every side of him; the joking side, the prideful side, and even the church side. And now he’s genuinely humble and overall an nice gentleman, as he treated THE POSITIVITY BRAND to a delicious pastries from Starbucks!
From personally knowing Deadrick from middle school and recalling all the times he would get sent out of class for his funny remarks, it’s amazing seeing him grow into such an influential person who impacts many individuals lives. We don’t have any throw back pictures because on here at THE POSITIVITY BRAND we only move forward, but imagine us a little less attractive and nicely dressed and you’ll have an idea of how we use to be in middle school!