Busta’s Person of the Week: The phenomenal Mr. Eaddy

July 26
01:00 2018

By Busta Brown

It’s no secret to most that Randy Eaddy is a retired corporate attorney, longtime arts advocate and will serve as The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County’s new CEO and president.

This young man from Johnsonville, S.C., also spoke at his alma mater, to the Furman University Class of 2016. He said:

“I realize that interacting with people who appear to be different makes most of us uncomfortable and uneasy. What will my friends think?  How will they react to these unfamiliar other people?  How will they react to me for inviting these other people? It is natural to want to avoid such discomfort and unease.  But I submit to you that such avoidance will perpetuate a vicious cycle of misunderstanding, suspicion and distrust, and will add grease to the slippery slope that leads to disrespect, resentment, bigotry or even hate. You are prepared, Class of 2016, to take on that discomfort and unease, and to work to break its vicious cycle, without fear of losing your way.”

That was just a snippet of the phenomenal commencement address Randy Eaddy delivered to his alma mater. After reading the address, all I could say was … “Wow!”

I asked Randy Eaddy to tell me something most people don’t know about Randy Eaddy.

“I love Shake. One of my aspirations is to see a revival of public awareness of an appreciation for Shakespeare.” Eaddy serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival. “Shakespeare’s work continues to be an extraordinary experience today, if people are inclined to give a look.” During our conversation, I love how Eaddy uses the arts to bring all people together.

“That’s at the top of my list. If I’m not going to be able to keep my finger on the pulse of what the arts organizations need from us, and what the community needs of the arts organizations for them to be forth coming, I’m not going to be very successful.”

Eaddy ‘s also looking forward to bringing his positive and exciting energy to his new staff.

“We already have a very smart and dedicated staff and I look forward to the collaboration. I’m excited about getting my arms around the day-to-day operations. As a corporate attorney I listen well, so I’m open to listen and learn from my new staff. I’m also very organized; it’s is one of my greatest strengths, and I can communicate those things to other people. When you organize and plan systematically, it’s easier to move forward,” Eaddy said.

The new CEO and president of The Arts Council said this will be critical for his new position. The Winston-Salem community has been very supportive about the new leader of The Arts Council.

“I’ve been flattered by the number of people who have responded with excitement about the announcement. It’s very inspiring, and I look forward to earning my way to that support being sustained,” Eaddy said.

Eaddy said beyond financial support, which is very important to keep the Arts Council moving forward, “we need the community expressing their recognition of how the arts and culture is impacting their lives.” He said Winston-Salem already has a rich and diverse array of arts offerings.

“There’s nothing new we need in that regard. What we do need is to continue to be doing things to make those offerings and experiences touch every corner of our community, so that we bring new people in to enjoy those experiences. Learning things they never knew before.”

I decided to have a little fun, and asked Randy Eaddy which comedians make him laugh, “I grew up on Richard Pryor.” Eaddy laughed and said, “If we said some of Pryor’s content, the audience wouldn’t be pleased.” We both had flashbacks of some of Richard Pryor’s stand-up.

We looked at each other and began laughing for at least 3-5 minutes. If you’re reading this, I’m sure some of you are laughing as well. His list continued, “Pryor was a genius. I like Eddie Murphy. “Coming to America” is still one of my favorite movies. I watch it. I really like Dave Chappell, Chris Rock, Kevin Hart and Bill Maher.”

Go to The Chronicle’s YouTube channel to watch the rest of my interview with the new CEO and president of The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. He talks about their youth program, his personal passions, his childhood and how he got the bug to attend Harvard at an early age, and a lot more.

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