Karamo Brown is many things, including a Florida A&M University alum, a television star and an activist. Add public speaker to the list.
Brown spoke at Florida State University’s 32nd annual Martin Luther King Jr., event “Moving Forward: Vision, Voice, Vote” Tuesday evening at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall.
Students and faculty members at FSU were awarded scholarships and honored for their hard work as well as service around the university and community.
Hundreds of students gathered to hear Brown talk about race, the LGBTQ+ community, and finding self-confidence. Brown also talked about pushing boundaries when it comes to subjects that are uncomfortable for people.
“We have to continue to push boundaries, have to keep encouraging people to understand that every single one of us has value and that every single one of our stories has value,” Brown said. “Our stories need to be seen, whether it’s in a classroom environment, corporate environment, or on television.”
Throughout the event, Brown talked about his relationship with the other members of the Netflix original “Queer Eye,” becoming a father and his experience as a social worker helping those around him.
Brown also reiterated the importance of diversity on the show and one “hero” that touched on the issue of crime in African-American communities and what it took to make the episode.
“If I allowed those first three no’s to stop me, I would have never had an episode where I was able to sit two (black) men down who had never done this on their own to get closure,” Brown said. “You see the violence that happens in communities of color, but you don’t understand what caused it sometimes for people who are outside of it, and they don’t understand that there can be healing and growth in that.”
Nia Alexander, a student at FSU, talked about what resonated with her the most and being proud of who she is.
“Someone asked, ‘How does he feel about the hardships of being in the LGBTQ+ community and a man of color.’ Being a woman of color and a part of that community myself, of course my interest was peaked,” said Alexander. “His answer to saying it wasn’t a hardship, but one of his greatest blessings resounded with me.”
Jordyn Cohn, another student at FSU, talked about getting a closer look into what goes on in Brown’s career.
“It was just really interesting to find out behind the scenes of his actual career because at first it just seems like he’s just a TV personality. When you actually get to know him, he’s a real person with real thoughts and feelings,” Cohn said.