‘“Magnus The Entertainer Motivating Brandon And Others”’ By Magnus The Entertainer

Brandon Williams had a rough start in life. He entered the foster care system in 1991, never having the chance to know his mother. His father tried to get custody of him when Brandon was put in foster care but was never successful.
In an unlikely turn of events, Wil- liams studied ballet at Western Mich- igan University and developed his extroverted alter ego, Magnus the Entertainer. In February 2020 Magnus went to Los Angeles for the first round of America’s Got Talent.
To get there, Williams stayed in Ann Arbor at the Delonis Warming Shelter in December and January, eventually becoming part of the Rotating Shelter program, saving money to make the trip to Los Angeles. He credits the staff and fellow residents at Delonis with imbuing his life with purpose.
Williams came to dance late in life. Upset at what was going on in his foster home, he had failed a class in high school. The two classes available to him to make up that class were drama and dance. He chose dance and ended up loving ballet. Unfortu- nately, he couldn’t afford dance lessons.
He aged out of Western Wayne foster care in 2009 and was placed in an independent living program for foster children to prepare him for life on his own. Instead of teaching him to do laundry, handle money and cook, his caseworker inappropriately
took him into her home and did all those things for him.
Eventually he got back on track in 2018 and took advantage of scholar- ships for foster children and enrolled at Western Michigan’s dance pro- gram. “A loss is really a gain if you know where you want to go,” said Wil- liams. “Pain is your friend; pain is your fuel.”
He had lost two friends to violence and decided he needed to leave, which took him to Western Michigan University.
“There was a time when violence kept me safe, fed and protected. Game was all I knew, until I found ballet,” said Williams. “A lot of folks in hip- hop look to WMU. I have a mean hip-hop.”
He took dance more seriously at college so he could deliver the mes- sage, “It doesn’t matter where you come from or how you were raised … Tragedy can be inspiring.”
Ties to his old life in Detroit brought him to the Delonis Shelter. A child- hood girlfriend was kicked out of her home and showed up on Williams’ doorstep near Thanksgiving 2019, at about the same time that he was noti- fied that he had been scheduled to audition for America’s Got Talent on Feb. 1, 2020. He wanted to help his friend but had roommates and couldn’t let her stay. He brought her to the Delonis Center and then decided he would stay, too.
“I have a large fan base at WMU but no money. I was late on my rent already. Instead of paying rent, I wanted to save for the trip to LA. ”Wil- liams said. Legally blind, he gets a small Social Security check and has a bit left over each month after living expenses if he doesn’t have to pay for housing. They stayed in the warming center together for a month, then Wil- liams convinced her mom to take her back and he refocused on dance.
He found the nurturing he needed at the Delonis Center.
“Delonis has been my mom that I never had, the dad I never knew. I come from a group home … Now I have a family of 80 men. Robert J. Del- onis has given me perspective on how to be humble, if I make it,” Williams said.
“This is humbling,” said Williams. “At school, fans of Magnus brought me food. Here I have to get in line , andgetmyownwhenitismyturn.I
Brandon Williams, aka Magnus the Entertainer, is wearing the t-shirt, pants and shoes he designed for aspiring artists.
was depressed when I first got here, until James Jakes saw me in an emo- tional breakdown and said, ‘Don’t ever stop dancing. See a therapist or whatever you have to do.’ The people at the Delonis Center help me.”
Williams is especially grateful for the mentoring he received from Del- onis staff members Miss Jaz, Richard Bartha and Alexa Bartha (his
see BRANDON page 11 

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