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Exclusive: Antonio Brown Discusses Recent Return to College and Finishing His Degree, Blocking Out Social Media Noise, and the Inaugural ‘AB Festival’

Former NFL star Antonio Brown has been in the headlines for various reasons during and after his professional football career. However, this weekend, the ex-Buccaneer is making a positive impact in his hometown of Miami, Florida.

AB, as many call him, is teaming up with a few of his close friends, including former teammate and running back Le’Veon Bell and rapper Fivio Foreign, to create an eventful MLK Weekend full of philanthropy and entertainment.

AB sat down with us at Baller Alert to talk a little more about the creation of ‘AB Fest’ and his outlook on 2024.

Cameron Carter: You were able to obtain your degree a few weeks ago from Central Michigan, tell us how much that meant to you.

Antonio Brown: Absolutely, man. Where it’s all about finishing what we start, bringing things to completion. And I always told not only my children, my mom, when I was done playing football, I would finish my degree. I came out as a junior. So it’s always felt good to bring things to fruition and to finish things with the exclamation mark, and glad I was able to go back to my alma mater at Central Michigan and get it. 

Cam: What major did you study at Central Michigan?

AB: I got my degree in community recreation. I’m working on providing a youth facility that provides something to enhance the community of Liberty City.

Cam: Tell me a little bit more about navigating through life after Football.  How do you continue to adapt as a businessman, musician, and father?

AB: I just feel like just being at peace, being in the creative space, just continue to evolve creatively. And obviously, being a father was important. Helping my kids maintain greatness, you know what I mean? That’s one of the things that’s important. 

Cam: The Inaugural AB Fest kicks off this weekend. Tell us more about the event and how it came to fruition. 

AB: Yeah, but we want to bring a detailed experience not only for the kids this weekend, it’s a big weekend. We got a couple of my friends and artists coming to town. Fivio Foreign, Le’Veon Bell, one of my ex-teammates who’s positioned right now as well. 

So we’re just trying to offer the community something to come out and look forward and be positive about. We’re doing some giveaways for the kids to develop some community togetherness with some excitement for some of my friends, and hopefully, we could continue this. So we’re trying to get it started this year and ongoing and see how the community takes to it. We’re coming out and supporting. 

Cam:  Talk to me about how important it is, especially for you and Le’Veon, to be in the positions you guys once were and still be the public figures that you guys are. Just tell me a little bit more about your ongoing come-up as a child and how much it means to be able to give back to kids, too, after getting it out of the mud and really beating the odds.

AB: Yeah. Well, coming from Liberty City right there, right in the heart of Wynwood, you know what it’s like to have hope and look forward to positive things. Because most of those spots over in Liberty City– section eight housing, not a lot of fortunate situations for me. Le’Veon Bell is from Columbus, Ohio, and grew up how he grew up. 

But we just want to provide each kid, no matter where they are from, an in-tune experience of the festival. Come on, just be in tune and get them something positive to look forward to as the new year starts and school gets back in the flow of things. I know it’s going to be a long weekend, so we just want to provide some inspiration and some encouragement from me and my friends. We’re going to be giving out gifts and providing them with a good experience this MLK weekend and the beginning of this year. 

Cam: AB Fest starts early on in the day, but there is a part two that evening, correct?

AB: Yeah, I want to touch the kids in the afternoon where they could come. We’re going to be giving out some gifts, showing them some festival love, communicating with them, and engaging with the kids. Then we’re going to have late-night performances. 

Some of my friends, Fivio Foreign, Le’Veon Bell, myself, and some other special guests. So that’s kind of scheduled touch the kids for the early day, afternoon-ish. And I have the grown frozen parents and people to come out who are over 21 of age for live performances there at Electric Lady in Wynwood. 

Cam: Let’s talk about how you find yourself in this creative space. How do you block out the noise? The social media posts blur the lines and sometimes and people perceive you to be a certain way. Talk to me about your mentality and how you respond to the condescending comments.

AB: That’s part of just being successful. It’s going to come with criticism and naysayers. It’s all about believing your vision, standing true to yourself and living your truth and living your purpose in life. 

A lot of people are going to hold you to standards of what they think is good for you or what they think you should do. It’s all about staying true to yourself and staying driven to what you’re motivated towards. Can’t let no one deteriorate your attitude. That’s what channeling your energy, knowing your purpose. You can’t let no one else figure that out for you. 

Cam: To wrap up, is there anything else AB Fest that you would like to mention?

AB: We’re developing e-commerce stores, some of these kids that come to the festival. They could tap in with me. I was a player, so I could be able to help them in the e-commerce space. Also maybe go over certain films, break down my film, offer a lot of exclusivity notes that could enhance some of the kids and some of the 7 on 7 signees. Hopefully, we could get that going this year as well. 

The Antonio Brown Festival is scheduled to take place on January 13 at Electric Lady in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. The festival will feature two events – a kids’ event starting at 5 p.m. and a 21 and over concert starting at 10 p.m. The venue is located at 144 NW 23rd St.

The Antonio Brown Festival is scheduled to take place on January 13 at Electric Lady in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. The festival will feature two events – a kids’ event starting at 5 p.m. and a 21 and over concert starting at 10 p.m. The venue is located at 144 NW 23rd St. Tickets for the adult event can be purchased on Eventbrite here.

Antonio Brown has partnered with Miami club owner Jake Inphamous for this event, and they hope that this inaugural festival becomes an annual community event that everyone can enjoy.


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