North 30th Street renamed after Omaha actor John Beasley

Now, North 30th Street at Grant Street holds the name ‘John Beasley St’
Omaha icon John Beasley was recognized Tuesday for his years of experience in the TV and film industry, and for giving back to the community.
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 10:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2022 at 10:51 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha icon John Beasley was recognized Tuesday for his years of experience in the TV and film industry, and for giving back to the Omaha community.

Now, North 30th street at Grant street holds the name ‘John Beasley St.’

“He’s not only an icon in Omaha, but he is an icon throughout the United States,” said Omaha City Council member Juanita Johnson at Tuesday afternoon’s ceremony. “He sets the bar, he sets the example for others to follow.”

Omaha Senator Terrell McKinney said recognizing those who have gone above and beyond in our community is vital.

“Use it as a beacon of hope for young kids that may want to go into film and theatre, to see that somebody like John rose from North Omaha to do some amazing things throughout his life,” he said.

Beasley’s name is credited on over 90 TV and film productions, including his acting roles in famous movies like ‘Rudy,’ ‘The Mighty Ducks,’ and what he calls his big break, ‘The Apostle.’

Now his name will forever be in North Omaha, too.

“My first reaction...really?” Beasley said, laughing. “It’s an honor, but I hadn’t been working towards that, I was just doing what love to do and, you know, it’s an honor, especially since it’s near the place where I grew up.”

The street naming was hosted by Black Men United, an Omaha-based group that supports the growth and development of Black men in Omaha.

“He’s a very humble individual, and he was wondering why would I want to do this, but to me, it should’ve been done a long time ago,” said Black Men United’s Willie Hamilton.

“You’ve impacted so many lives, so many Black and Brown children who never had the opportunity, to be able to go into the theatre, it’s because of this man right here,” Hamilton said of Beasley at Tuesday’s ceremony.

Beasley’s family and friends came from across the country to celebrate with Beasley.

“We really appreciate you, and this is bigger than you, you know, this is legacy. We love you,” said Beasley’s son, Michael.

Former long-time Senator Ernie Chambers also attended.

“I’m glad that he got out of dodge and did something that is recognized worldwide,” Chambers said. “And has been said already, younger people are benefitted, and are helped when they see somebody of their number, who has done something, they can do it too.”

In the crowd was also Andre McGraw, one of Beasley’s first students at his John Beasley Theatre in Omaha.

“I got kicked out of his theatre, but because of how gracious he is, he brought me back,” McGraw told the crowd.

“I met John back in 2001 right when his theatre opened, I actually attended his first rehearsal that he ever had with the John Beasley Theatre, we did ‘Fences,’” he says.

Now, McGraw works professionally in theatres across Chicago. He says it wouldn’t have been possible for him and others without Beasley.

“John has been very, just very supportive of me. John’s seen more out of me than I’ve seen out of myself.”

Knowing that the Omaha community is thankful for, and inspired by him, makes Beasley proud.

“I guess that’ll be part of my legacy because that’s what I want to do. I want to inspire people to pursue their dreams, and work for the good of others,” he says.

Beasley’s next movie, ‘It Snows All the Time,’ comes out on July 29. He was also featured in ‘Firestarter,’ starring Zac Efron, which was released in May of this year.

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