By Matt Iannaccone
Not to be confused with the popular beverage, Tracy Marrow, otherwise known as Ice-T, took the Main Stage Theatre in Kendall Hall on Wednesday, April 8, as the College Union Board’s spring lecturer. Most well-known for playing a detective on the hit show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and for his influence on hip hop, Ice-T gave the audience background on his journey and ended the night with important life advice.
Before Ice-T became famous, he experienced an extremely harsh childhood, losing both of his parents. He was left with no choice but to live with extended family out in Los Angeles, Calif. These circumstances caused Ice-T to fraternize with a gang in which he felt as though someone always had his back. In this lifestyle, he committed crimes like robbing banks and jewelry stores.
“We robbed so many banks (that) we’d rob a bank on the way from robbing a bank,” Ice-T said.
He even got shot multiple times, but as Ice- T puts it, he “got shot before it was cool to get shot.”
Although Ice-T took many risks in his younger years, he made it clear that these experiences helped produce his music, and he even gave the audience a quick sample. He created raps and rhymes to entertain his friends who gave him the nickname Ice-T. He also told the audience that his music warns against the potential dangers that the streets have to offer.
Ice-T went on to talk about how he transitioned from the music business into the acting world. In an interview with The Signal, he mentioned that he moved to the acting industry because “there was just like a shortage of hip, young, urban blacks kids, and they said, ‘Let’s go to the rappers.’ So they got me. It was a risk, but like anything, if what you do makes money, you’ll do it again.”
And so for the past 17 years, he has had roles not only on “Law & Order: SVU,” but also in several movies, including “New Jack City.” He mentioned that it really is quite ironic that with his past history of crime, he plays one of the detectives on “SVU.” But even so, Ice-T said that Dick Wolf, the creator and director of all “Law & Order” programs, admires his work ethic.
Ice-T has no plans to slow his busy lifestyle. He will soon be starting a daytime talk show on FOX, and people can continue to see him in action on the next and 17th season of “SVU.” Besides this, he is working on another album called “Blood Lust” with his band Body Count.
However, during his interview with The Signal, Ice-T did mention that he might not be seen in too many upcoming films.
“It’s very difficult to do films when you’re on episodic drama, because we film 10 months out of the year and they’re not gonna let me go to do a movie,” Ice-T said. “So I’ve put my film career on the backburner.”
During his lecture, Ice-T provided students with a lot of valuable advice and lessons, mentioning in his Signal interview that he likes talking to colleges, especially.
“It’s a blessing to be able to give somebody a little information about what they’re headed for, and by me being a little bit further down the road than you guys — maybe not even educationally, just life-wise — I have a lot of stories and experiences I can share,” he said.
One piece of advice Ice-T shared was to keep in mind that “no one else cares” — in other words, just be yourself. He also said that “you shouldn’t let someone make you feel inadequate about your successes. Compete against yourself. Keep bettering yourself.” He mentioned that to be successful, you must be dedicated, focused and passionate.
With all this advice, it was Ice-T’s hope that students left with a revelation: “Ice-T told me the truth.”
-Colleen Murphy, News Editor, and Megan Kaczka, Correspondent, contributed to this report.