Monte J. Wolfe

Wolfe, Monte J. 2017

Monte J. Wolfe was born on November 4, 1974. He is an accomplished actor, musician, producer, director, playwright, graphic designer, writer, and activist.

Monte Jermaine Wolfe is a native of Kenosha, Wisconsin, the son of Nathaniel Wolfe and Carolyn Price. He grew up in Racine and Kenosha, Wisconsin, as well as Chicago, Illinois. He has an older sister, Sheri Price, who was more like Wolfe’s “second mama” growing up because of their difference in age. His love for music and the arts began to blossom early, with plenty of encouragement from his supportive family. Wolfe was raised on a wealth of soul, R&B, and jazz music which, over the years, continued to grow into an intense love and appreciation of all genres of music, as well as theater and the performing arts.

Active in the arts and musical theater productions as a student, Wolfe attended Walden III Middle and High School, and graduated in 1993. He enrolled at Grambling State University in Louisiana, where he studied theater arts for two years before transferring to Washington, DC’s Howard University in 1995. Wolfe graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theater arts administration in 1999.

 When he was in his teens, Wolfe didn’t self-identify as gay because he had no tangible gay role models, and no idea of how to vocalize whatever he was feeling during those years, other than knowing that he always felt different from everybody else. Wolfe didn’t “come out” until he was at Howard University, and, even then, the concept was a largely internal one, because he kept to himself much of that time. His process of self-actualization involved listening to a lot of music, writing, and reading the works of E. Lynn Harris, James Earl Hardy, Iyanla Vanzant, and James Baldwin.

While in college, Wolfe performed sporadically, but following his graduation from Howard, he began auditioning and performing professionally. As an artist, he has various film and television appearances to his credit, but the bulk of his work has been in the world of theater, both as an actor and a director. Wolfe cites his dear friends Alan Sharpe of the African-American Collective Theater, and Josette Marina Murray of Shakespeare’s Sistah Theatre Company, as being extremely compassionate, and nurturing, talented individuals. For Wolfe, that nurturing has made a huge difference in his life. It is both Sharpe and Murray who inspired him to create and perform works which speak to who he is as an artist.

Wolfe is an experienced theater professional who has worked in arts management, marketing, production, and box office/ticketing for a host of theaters over the last 18 years, including but not limited to Shakespeare Theatre Company, Warner Theatre, Washington National Opera, Imagination Stage, Washington Performing Arts Society, DAR Constitution Hall, and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

 In 2006, Wolfe (along with Erik Chambers and Tim’m T. West) founded Brave Soul Collective, where he serves as the artistic and managing director. Brave Soul Collective is an innovative arts, education, and outreach organization with a focus on HIV/AIDS, and issues affecting the lives of LGBTQ people, through the performing and healing arts. It was born out of Wolfe’s desire to create a safe space for others who, like him, were Black, gay, and HIV positive.

Wolfe always felt he didn’t fit in, and had a deep desire to create an environment where he could be affirmed through working with other creative individuals, living their lives in truth through the arts. Through his work with Brave Soul Collective, Wolfe has served as a producer, director, and playwright for a long list of theatrical productions and community events on a consistent basis for the last eleven years.

Wolfe’s work with Brave Soul Collective has often included performing, writing, and speaking candidly about his life and experiences as an HIV positive individual. However, after nearly thirteen years of living with HIV and being in great health, it’s not something he thinks about much, outside of those instances when he feels compelled to tell his story and share experiences in order to help others. But Wolfe is an advocate who lives his life in truth, and is never shy about speaking out.

Wolfe remembered being afraid to talk to friends, family, and others about his diagnosis. He found that art was a great way to break the ice and talk about his very personal journey. “I believe that the more HIV positive people are visible and share our stories, the easier it will become for people to understand that while it’s not ever ‘ideal’ to contract HIV, it is possible to live a full and healthy life,” he said. The most important and exciting part of his work with Brave Soul Collective “has been creating a platform and giving a voice to those who have for a long time, felt invisible.”

In the eleven years since the organization’s inception, it has evolved into a platform not only for Black LGBTQ people of color and artists, but for all marginalized individuals who are committed to examining crucial topics and issues, including race, gender, identity, mental health, and self-care. For more information on Brave Soul Collective, visit their website and Facebook page.

Monte J. Wolfe is passionate in his support of the Black and SGL/LGBT/Queer community, and he believes that it’s imperative to encourage one another to be who and what we are. He supports celebrating what we have in common, despite our inclination to point out what make us different.  Wolfe has offered his time and talents as a host of community organization events from time to time, mainly because in each instance he felt connected to the work they were doing and supported their missions.

Currently, Wolfe is hard at work preparing to reprise his role as Sister B, an illustrious, aging drag queen/house ball legend in Thembi Duncan’s hilarious stage play, “WTF Happened to Baby Sister?!” which returns for a limited engagement from November 16 to November 18 at Anacostia Playhouse in Washington, DC. In addition to starring in “WTF” alongside his dear friend, Jared Shamberger, Wolfe is proud to serve as the sole producer of Brave Soul Collective’s production of this outrageous, jubilant theatrical comedy, which pays homage to the beauty, resilience, and creativity of the Black LGBTQ community.

Wolfe is single and has lived in Washington, DC since 1995. He considers himself to be a loner, a soul music aficionado, a serious foodie who also enjoys working out, and a fan of old sitcoms, current TV dramas, and film. Wolfe collects vinyl albums, and loves shopping at record stores to find treasured 1970s and early 1980s soul and R&B records. He also enjoys shopping for vintage clothing at thrift stores, and spending time with his family and friends.

A very spiritual individual, Wolfe has been very open about seeing a therapist for the past nine years, and says it has helped him in dealing with a host of challenges, including bouts with depression, suicide, self-worth and body image. He encourages others to think of therapy as a way to be empowered, and to make more informed, clear, and conscious choices in their lives.

Wolfe is excited about tackling whatever artistic opportunities present themselves next, and he is currently planning events for 2018 to continue the important artistic and community work he does through Brave Soul Collective. He remains hopeful of securing both funding and a permanent home for this vital arts and education effort.

 We thank Monte J. Wolfe for his numerous contributions to the arts and activism, and for his unwavering support of our community.

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