Honorary Street Named for Kevin Byrd
July 12th 2012 · 0 Comments
Recently the Common Council Of Utica designated Pond Lane as Brown Byrd Lane in honor of native Utican actor and Prostate Cancer activist Kevin Byrd. Byrd’s grandfather C. J. Thomas died of Prostate Cancer at the age of 23 years old.
Byrd is CEO of his own not-for- profit foundation called “BrownByrd Prostate Cancer Foundation” founded in 2003 and is located on 110 Wall Street, Manhattan, New York. On November 7th, 2011 Kevin Byrd was appointed as the new Health & Wellness Chairman of Long Island on behalf the 100 Black Men of Long Island Inc.
Kevin Byrd grew up in Utica, attended local schools and graduated from Proctor High 1998. After graduating high school he visited his grandparents in in Los Angeles, California and decided to compete in a talent contest. He won. But instead of signing a contract with any number of agents who wanted him, he decided to return to the East Coast and earned his baccalaureate degree, which he did from Long Island University.
A very ambitious youth, Kevin always had a job. Either delivering papers, or mowing lawns, working at nursing homes or funeral homes, Kevin has always been focused and diligent.
In 1990 Kevin and his twin sister Robin joined the famed performance show group the Rhythmlites, led by local legend, Doris Yager.
Doris tells this story about Kevin’s early days as a performer. “We were doing a show at the Masonic Home and someone was missing from the show sequence. Maybe he was 12 years old. We needed an act to fill the time on stage because we counted on that spot for the rest of the cast to make their costume changes. Kevin was the only one standing around backstage. He was quite good at doing hands springs and flips and gymnastics so I told Kevin to go out there and do some tricks or dance steps or something until we get things settled here back stage.
“Kevin walked out and introduced himself, ‘Hi, I’m Kevin Byrd,’ he said, and proceeded to hold that audience captive. The people loved him. I thought to myself, that kid’s going to go somewhere. We all looked at each other and said, that kid’s a natural. He’s always been a terrific performer,” said Yager.
Writer and Producer, Cassandra Harris-Lockwood, cast Kevin as the first ‘Scarecrow’ in the original musical, “The Wonderful Wizard of Was.” She recalls, “Kevin was really good. Very impressive. His training with the Rhythmlites groomed his natural talent and gave him a comfort level on the stage that was well beyond his years. A bit over emphatic, he was a ball of energy that needed some toning down from time to time, but Kevin has always been a hard and dedicated worker of his craft. It’s great to see him have come so far. I am proud of him.”
Kevin Byrd’s work in February 2012 (for Black History Month) was honored and entered into the Congressional Record on February 2nd, 2012 by Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, and recognized his annual Prostate Cancer Awareness Observance Day Globally. Byrd has been honored by over 100 International Mayors/Government officials across the World and has earned more than 150 Proclamation Awards.
Kevin Byrd’s home town of Utica designated October 1st as KEVIN BYRD DAY. And there is a Kevin Byrd Day in DeKalb County, Georgia on November 2nd.
Kevin Byrd is nationally known for his portrayal as Lt. John R. Fox in the 2006 History/HBO movie “Honor Deferred” produced by Al Roker, starring Samuel Jackson and Bernie Mac.
Lt. John R. Fox a WW II hero who killed 100 German Soldiers in the war died in action, and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor five decades after his heroic acts by President Clinton. The documentary earned an Emmy/NAMIC Vision Award Nomination and garnered great reviews. The likeness of Lt. John R. Fox was transformed into a G.I Joe Action Figure by Hasbro the summer of 2008.
Kevin Byrd in July 2008 starred in the Hit Bollywood Movie by Award Winning movie producer/director Manan Kathora called “When Kiran Meets Karen” and was the only African-American male actor who starred in the movie; which garnered national great media reviews.
Byrd also starred as the cover model for the best-selling paperback novel, “Things In Between” by Nathanial Portis, distributed in book stores nationwide including Barnes and Nobles and sold over 100,000 copies.
Byrd currently is preparing for his Live One Man Show “RELEASE” DVD Recording in August 2012 at the Legendary Nuyorian Poets Cafe Hosted by BET Comic View’s Comedian Ardie Fuqua… The show depicts the six stages of development of men from the ages of 18 to 65 years old.
Blackstar News states, “Kevin Byrd gives an Oscar Award Worthy Performance of ‘Release a Must See Show.’”
Byrd, the first African-American to have a street named in his honor in Utica, stated that the honorary street was a “Blessing for God.”
To get more information and to join Kevin Byrd’s Fan Club log on to www.KevByrd.com and also now available, ‘The Kevin Byrd’s Store’ with over 115 products for purchase at http://www.cafepress.com/kevbyrd: Tee-Shirts, Coffee Mugs, Posters, and DVD’s!
Contact The Brown Byrd Prostate Cancer Foundation, 110 Wall Street, 11th Floor, New York, 10005.
Call (212) 709-8335 for media interviews and speaking engagements for Kevin Byrd.
By Mark Ziobro