GMO is very dynamic, as you will see during the month of February. You may spot him darning an African garment original and hand made with all the trimmings, including a hat and coordinated African drums or percussions.
Grandmaster Orange becomes the community outreach favorite during Black History Month. GMO believes getting out into the community, visiting the schools, engaging in dialog with the students, and taking the time to connect in person, fosters well-being in our society.
GMO Maurice Orange talks to the kids in schools, about the challenges and turmoil’s he and his brothers and sisters, and his family and community faced growing up in Oklahoma City during the 1950’s and 1960’s and 70’s. A lot of his stories hit home with kids even today. In one way or another, they can relate to him. And he relates to them. He is funny. Dang is he funny. In fact, GMO happens to be one of San Diego’s funnest motivational speakers. Link here.
Letters from the school kids to GMO say it best:
GMO tells about what it was like growing up in a very poverty laden community, and how different, yet how alike that looks from a typical poor family today. He tells of his mother’s inherent distrust in white people. He relays the stories of having to go to the dump yard for shoes, and wearing two different shoes on their feet. His heartfelt stories of waiting hungry at home for his mom to bring leftovers from the diner where she worked, so that they could have food to eat, connect him with kids. GMO talks about sharing a bed with his 5 brothers, while his 4 sisters shared another bed. There they grew up, in a little ramshackle house laden with cockroaches and rats climbing on the walls. Fortunately for little GMO, he did not know any different for the time, some things were all he knew. He didn’t know a lot of that was different from the way other people lived.
Mostly GMO talks about his Mentor, Mr. Benefee. Mr. Benefee and his wife saved Maurice from becoming anything more than one would ever expect he could, being born and raised in those tough, tough settings. Mr. Benefee’s wisdom, patience, creativity, and ingenuity brought Maurice to see that there was another side to life, allowed him to glimpse into the possibility of something more. Time at Benefee’s gave little GMO the golden ticket to experience another reality, to crawl into an escape from his daily world. To dive into a world of work, of creating, building, and solving.
Grandmaster Orange credits Benifee with learning how to be a gentleman, understanding what chivalry really means, with how to treat elders respectfully, with his keen eye for design and style. Not to mention GMO’s talent in sewing, designing drapes, upholstering furnature, building stage sets, creating play sets and dance banners for the Debutant Ball.
All of the essential arts and crafts, design, color,
and creativity opportunities offered GMO a chance
to really sink himself into a world of creating.
That world set the tone for his entire life.
That’s why his time and lessons with Mr. Benifee after school were more important and life course altering, than any other thing in his world. That’s what GMO credits to his being where he is today, and being able to help so many kids, in a similar way as he was lifted up by Benfiee into another world which he didn’t know existed. Instead of feeling like everything was crashing down into him, Little gmo was able to escape into an expansive world of hope, opportunity, work and possibility.
Grandmaster Orange typically visits a school a day, during the month of February.
And yes, he dons a different unique colorful African outfit for each school visit.
We were surprised to hear his story about that too. Check out the video.
You can book an onsite school or other community outreach visit with GMO by emailing or contacting him on the Contact Form. Visits are usually booked several months in advance and often repeat visits are booked a year in advance. So don’t wait.