Terry Crews – Speak Up

Growing up, Terry Crews did everything he could to protect his mother from his abusive father. He delivers a tearful speech on how to overcome trauma, love yourself and own your story.


My earliest memory is my father hitting my mother in the face, as hard as he could. And, I remember seeing her on the floor, and then looking at him. This giant of a man, who I thought, “My god, he says he loves her. What is he gonna do to me?”

And, all I could think, how I want to protect her. How I want to protect her, and how wrong it was. And, I said, “I gotta be strong, and I gotta get strength so that I can protect her.” And, every time he came home, we were scared. We didn’t know. I, literally, wet the bed until I was 14 years old, because I didn’t know what was gonna happen. I would wake up to glass breaking, sounds, people screaming, and it was a nightmare. We lived a nightmare for years.

And, I remember my mother, coming into our room, and saying, “We’re leaving. Pack our stuff, we’re outta here.” And, we would grab everything we had, put it in garbage bags, and we’d tie it up, and we’d wait to go.

And, then, she’d come back in, and she’d say, “We can’t go. We can’t leave. Where am I gonna go?” And, I just remember feeling like, “Let’s go anywhere. I don’t care. We could be up the street.” But, she couldn’t do it. And, he went on, terrorizing us. Terrorizing us, forever.

And, it was like, what could we do? You have to understand that people in this situation feel entirely hopeless. Hopeless. We were hopeless. So many days I thought, “I’ll never be like that. I’ll never do that.” But, then I picked up a lot of other damaging things that come from that trauma. A lot of other things that had been assimilated into my life. Here I am, as a man, I felt like, “Hey, it’s my way or the highway.” I remember times with my daughter, Adrielle, when I would yell at her as if she was a 30-year-old man.

I constantly apologized, constantly called them and say, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Daddy didn’t get it. Daddy missed it.” And, that woke me up. It woke me up. It was a catalyst, it changed my life forever. ‘Cause here I was, a very successful man. Very successful. But, what you have to realize is that success is the warmest place to hide. It does not matter what you look like. It doesn’t matter. Anyone, anywhere can be victimized, and no man, woman, or child should ever put up with being treated as less than a human being, ever. How did we get that far off, when people are looking the other way? When the whole thing is geared where you can’t ask for help, or you are gonna lose your job?

Or, if you bring it up, how in the world are you gonna afford an attorney in order to fight this case? You need three things in order to come forward with a lot of your damage, and the things that’s happened to you. You need distance emotionally, you need distance financially, and you need distance physically. Coming out with your story is probably one of the hardest things ever, and this is one thing I love about what Saving Horizon provides, it’s a safe-haven, it’s a place to go for services if you need. And, I’m telling you, this is my product.

This is more valuable … I’m promoting movies and TV shows, the whole thing, but I want to talk about this. I want to talk about this, because it’s fixable. See? Understand, this is something, that we can be deprogrammed. This is the deal. We have to speak up. You can see it, but you have to show people you are changing through work.