Each individual is born with a unique gift or set of gifts. Those gifts are the basis for which an individual’s life is purposed. I was born to serve through acting, music, and creative writing. Having balanced a lucrative and fulfilling career in entertainment while simultaneously achieving high academic honors throughout my matriculation at Spelman College, I consistently demonstrate my ability to balance my academics and performing arts. My name is Kumari Upshaw and I aspire to use my gifts to inspire, heal, teach, and move the world.
I have always been fascinated with television and music. From writing stories, lyrics and plays, to casting some of my material for performances, I never ceased to use the gifts I was blessed with. I picked up a violin in fourth grade—the first year I was eligible to join the school orchestra, and crafted my innate ability to grasp and play instruments. I auditioned for the All County Youth Orchestra, and made first-string.
My failed attempts to attend a performing arts high school resulted in me attending my neighborhood school—an institution of drugs, alcohol, civil disobedience, constant violence, disorder, vulgarity, and disarray. The negative environment and lack of support within my school system challenged my ability to achieve academic success. I was unable to matriculate amongst like-minded peers; however, my experience taught me— that which doesn’t break you, only makes you stronger. I remained focused to rise above my circumstances.
I credit my success to my Creator, and to the greatest parents and grandparents (on my mother’s side) I could have ever been blessed to have. Their unconditional love and support, belief in me and my dreams, refusal to accept mediocrity, and steady encouragement in my creative, intellectual, and spiritual, growth has been the foundation of my success.
My passion for the creative and performing arts is merely the vehicle for impact that I primarily use to affect the change I hope to see. This, in addition to my combined superb academic ability, social consciousness and awareness, and strong sense of self and self belonging, have cultivated the servant leader scholar and change agent that I am today. I am living proof that an investment in me, is a choice to change the world.
Kumari is serving as a Change Agent at Brown Middle School.