Black History NJ: Ice-T

Tracey Lauren Morrow, famously known as Ice-T, was born on February 16, 1958 in Newark, New Jersey. Despite being born in Newark, he and his family soon moved to Summit, New Jersey. Once there, Ice-T first experienced the brutality of racism at the young age of 7. At the same time, he escaped any form of abuse from his Caucasian friends because, since he had lighter skin, they thought he was white.

Ice-T’s mother, Alice, died of a heart attack when he was in third grade, and four short years later, his father Solomon died by the same means. After briefly living with one aunt, he moved in with another out in View Park-Windsor Hills, near Los Angeles, California. There, he shared a room with his cousin who was an avid listener of rock music, which sparked Ice-T’s interest in heavy metal music.


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School Life

Ice-T moved again during eighth grade and, a few years later, attended a predominantly black high school in South Los Angeles. He was unlike most of his classmates for the simple fact that he never drank alcohol, smoked cigarettes, or did drugs, and although gangs were growing in his school-system, he never joined any.

Ice-TIce-T soon became a fan of Iceberg Slim’s novels, and would memorize the writings before reciting them back to his friends who enjoyed it. This was how he got his nickname, as his friends would tell him, “Yo, kick some more of that by Ice, T,” as a way of asking him to recite more of Slim’s works.

After struggling as a cannabis dealer and a stolen-car stereo salesman, with a daughter on the way, Ice-T joined the U.S. Army. During his time in the army, he developed an interest in hip-hop music; after the army, Ice-T pledged to stay far away from crime and violence, but the pledge was short-lived; it wasn’t until after years of crime and a terrible car accident that he turned his life around and started his professional career as a rapper. In 1982, he officially adopted the stage name Ice-T and gained attention for his rapping skills.

Ice-T has enjoyed an immense career as a rapper and rock singer. He has since spent the past few decades as a popular movie and television actor, even starring in his own reality show. He struggled from his time in New Jersey until returning from the army, but finally found his passion, turning into an influential personality along the way.

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