I was born December 27 at Washington DC General Hospital to Suzette and Donald Grant. They brought me home to a one bedroom apartment uptown, Northwest D.C., where my 1 year old sister Shantelle awaited my arrival. That night, my sister slept in a dresser drawer and I slept nestled in between my young parents who were 21 and 20 at the time. While they didn’t have much, they were building a better life for themselves, leaving behind their small towns of Emporia and Skippers Virginia for the opportunities a city like Washington D.C. could provide. My mother would take my sister and I to school every day on her bike, dropping me off at Holy Redeemer Elementary School, and my sister at Walker Jones Elementary. Eventually we moved to Southeast Washington D.C. where I attended Sousa Junior High School. My mother filled my time with city choirs, sports, and taught me the importance of serving my community. I can remember singing for several Presidents during the White House Christmas Tree lightings.
I attended Dunbar Senior High School, where I became a standout student-athlete. I was fortunate to be able to take part in former Mayor Marion Barry’s Summer Youth Employment Program, which provided me with my first paid job. Shortly after my senior football season I was recruited to play at Savannah State College along side NFL Hall of Fame inductee Shannon Sharpe. Shortly after I enrolled in college my daughter Ashley was born and I became a teenage Dad. I went on to pledge Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and proudly became a part of the Great Divine 9. I returned home to Washington D.C. after my Junior year to finish my education at the University of District of Columbia (UDC). While attending UDC, I started working for D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation at Ridge Road and East Capital Recreation Centers where I coached youth football and baseball.
I went on to start my comedy career at Mr. Henry’s in Adams Morgan. It didn’t take long before I was offered the opportunity to tape Def Comedy Jam, Teen Summit, and Showtime at the Apollo. This catapulted my career and I was hired by BET to host, write, and produce shows for Teen Summit at both the Washington D.C. and New York City campuses. In 1998, I started a small film company in Washington D.C., Red Grant Enterprises and shot my first film, Family Reunion, partnering with Bill Duke (Dean of Howard University film School) to employ 15 film students. The film was purchased and released on DVD.
In 2003 I met my wife Noell and fell in love with her DMV spirit. She attended Bowie State University where she was a basketball All-Star and was recently inducted into the Basketball Hall Of Fame. We married in 2007, and I fell naturally into the role of stepdad to my daughter Alexis. In 2009, our daughter Payton was born officially making me a girl dad. Noell recently retired after a 21 year career in law enforcement. She served our community, implementing numerous youth programs and community outreach initiatives for which she received a litany of awards.
As I reached the highest levels of success in my entertainment career, I was compelled to give back to my community. In 2020, I started my own youth outreach program “Don’t Shoot Guns, Shoot Cameras” as a violence prevention program, focused on exposing youth to the fundamentals of film-making. Through their lenses I saw a community plagued with violence, I saw the plight of the growing homeless population, I saw generations of residents being forced to neighboring states, I saw children in many wards cheated out of equitable funding, I saw the scarcity of fresh produce and grocery stores in neighborhoods affected by redlining, and I saw COVID-19 decimate the small business community. As a proud resident of this city, we deserve better! D.C. should be a place where every day citizens from every socio-economic background are accepted and prepared for success.
I am a humanitarian, a father of 3 daughters, a husband of a retired Police Officer, a business owner for more than 24 years; I am a walking, talking Chief Executive Officer. This is why I’m running for the city executive seat, known by most to be, Mayor.
Vote for Rodney “Red” Grant, as your next Mayor and let’s get our city back!!!