Who Mentored Antwone Fisher?
Interview Watch the video of Antwone Fisher.
Antwone Fisher is the author of The New York Times bestseller Finding Fish. He is also the screenwriter of the film Antwone Fisher, based on his life and directed by Academy Award winner Denzel Washington. Fisher lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two daughters. With the publication of Finding Fish, his memoir of a childhood spent in foster homes in and around Cleveland, Antwone Fisher shared with the world his story of perseverance, determination, and courage. And he also showed that within him beats the heart of an artist — a major factor in his resilience and recovery.
Brenda Profitt was my elementary school teacher. She was the first adult I ever trusted. She spoke to all of us the same way. It was a tone of respect. And I wasn’t accustomed to being spoken to that way. I think that being with her for three years made all the difference. So whatever it was that she possessed, that she gave to us, we kept.
The meaningful times, the meaningful people, even the people who were not so meaningful, but these people who have done things in your life that make you what you are, they’re bricks in the building that you are. And if you were to take Miss Profitt out, that brick–maybe a cornerstone–would the whole building be able to stand for very long?
Mrs. Brown was a volunteer at the orphanage where I stayed for a while. And I would always sit at her side. She would sit in a chair, knitting, and she was a motherly kind of woman. I would sit next to her all the time.
I told her…you know, one day I was like, really feeling good for some reason. It was almost like some kind of…I don’t know what it was, but I really felt good. And I told her, “You know, one day, you’re going to read about me.” And she said, “Well, you know, I hope it’s for something good.” I said, “Yeah. Of course it’s going to be for something good!” And she said, “Okay. Well then, I’ll wait and see what it is that I’ll be reading about you.”
And I saw her at a book-signing in Cleveland. She didn’t even know about the whole thing. And a friend of hers brought her and told her it was me, and that I had wrote about her in the book. And then she gave me this big hug, and I asked her, “Did you read about me?” She said, “Yes, I sure did.”
Hearing positive things can have a good impact, but I think as a kid you need to hear it constantly. There always has to be a positive person in your life, someone.
I don’t consider myself to have had a family growing up, because I don’t feel like I was included. But I’ve had family all along my life. Strangers who have come into my life and out, and left me with encouraging words and the feeling of worth. And they are my family. Some of them I still know, some of them I don’t know. But they are mentors, and they’re my family.