Bruce George is a creative thinker, he uses his creative network to help exhibit the best of various talents from around the world. As the co-founder of Def Poetry Jam, George was able to use poets from all over the globe to utilize their energy to tell their stories on a large platform. Now as the founder of, Genius Is Common,” George is behind an international movement that is being used as independent platform to taken the elitism out of the word Genius by teaching that a genius intellect is not only limited to individuals with a high IQ.
We were able to sit down and learn more about George, and what brought him forward to start Genuis Is Common.”
1. Born in Harlem and raised in the Bronx what was your childhood like and what was your influences?
Answer: Growing up in New York in the 70’s was a very tumultuous time with high crime, violence, gangs, White Flight etc.… White landlords paid gang members to burn down buildings so they could get the insurance, so as a child we turned the buildings into club houses, not being aware of how dangerous it was for us to play in a building that was gutted out and deemed by the Fire Dept unsafe to enter with an X painted on the outside of the building.
I have been in several gangs in the city, as I was a very impressionable child and was influenced easily by being a part of anything that was an outlet to vent my anger towards not being on a level playing field as white folks. It is by the Grace of God, that I was able to survive that ordeal, and graduate from a Catholic university – Niagara University, and go on to become a major success in life with three legacies and growing under my belt.
2. What was your first career choice as a child growing up?
Answer: As a child I was not focused on a career like a lot of young folks. I did every type of odd and ends job from working at McDonald’s to cleaning vacant lots in the Bronx via Summer Youth Programs, to driving cabs, maintenance jobs to cleaning boilers etc.…When I was in my late teens, I was very much into sales jobs such a multilevel marketing and phone sales jobs to make ends meet for the moment. Thank God I am not still doing those jobs, not to say it is anything wrong with doing those jobs, but it’s not for me.
3. How did you get involved in poetry and how did the idea of Def Poetry Jam come about?
Answer: My mother was the first published Poet in our family, and she would always share her work with me, and she would always use exotic words around me so in turn I feel in love with words and poetry. Def Poetry Jam was Co-Founded by me, Danny Simmons, and Deborah Pointer. I was influenced to come up with the concept from being a Spoken Word Artist. I received the epiphany for there being a poetry version of Def Comedy Jam.
I was blessed to tell Danny Simmons about my epiphany and he in turn told it to his brother Russell Simmons, who in turn brought the concept to HBO, and the rest as they say is history. We were awarded a four-pilot show which turned into six seasons on HBO, which got us a Peabody Award, which spun into us going on Broadway and getting a Tony Award.
4. You say your new project, “Genius Is Common” started as a quote. Can you tell us more about the project and how it got started?
Answer: My Genius is Common Movement got started from one of my quotes. As a Master Quotologist with over 40 years studying and writing quotes, while I was going around the country I spoke at institutions of lower and higher learning, and I would ask the students “When you hear the word Genius what kind of image comes to mind?” and they would always say Einstein or a lightbulb, so that angered me that they didn’t see themselves or their family members as Geniuses, so I wrote a slogan about it “Notwithstanding Einstein Genius is Common”, which turned into the quote Genius is Common, which turned into an international movement.
5. What is your goal with “Genius is Common?”
Answer: My goal with my Genius is Common Movement is to take elitism out of the word Genius, so every child or adult on the planet will see themselves as Geniuses.
6. Would you name some of the people or companies that you have involved with you on this project?
Answer: My Genius is Common Movement has been blessed to date with over 71 celebrities that did Genius is Common YouTube videos such as Actor Malik Yoba, Actor Antonio Fargas, Actor/Filmmaker and Director Bill Duke, Tarana Burke, Founder of the #MeToo Movement etc.
7. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Answer: I see myself as being a Mogul, helping people in struggle around the world to be able to turn their lives around financially and otherwise.
8. You are welcome to mention anything that I may have missed and you would like to be included in the article.
Answer: I want to thank you Brother Miles for allowing me to have a voice on your platform. I want your reading audience to know in the words of Marcus Garvey “Up you mighty people, you can accomplish what you will.”
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