As a child, Ray Ray McElrathbey never dreamed a movie would be based on his life as he struggled with family issues. The Disney+ film Safety shares Ray Ray’s story as a shining example of perseverance triumphing through repeated adversity and that the message of family above everything can impact an entire community. Read More >
In speaking appearances that are both inspirational and motivational, Ray Ray shares the emotional story of overcoming obstacles, childhood trauma, and personal struggles, among other things, weaved together with humor and moments of unbelievable triumph.
Ray Ray spent his childhood dealing with a mother who was a drug addict and father who was in and out of his life due to his own demons. He often lived with his coaches due to an unstable family life. Overcoming these struggles, Ray Ray still managed to earn a football scholarship to Clemson University.
After his freshman year, Ray Ray obtained temporary custody of his 10-year-old brother Fahmarr to prevent him from going into the foster care system. Aided by his teammates and the Clemson community, Ray Ray succeeded on the field while simultaneously raising and caring for his younger brother. The NCAA granted an unprecedented, one-time exception that allowed Ray Ray to continue playing on the team while receiving benefits to support his brother.
He earned his degree from Clemson in only three years and continued playing football and pursuing his master’s degree at Howard University.
Ray Ray’s many accolades include being named ABC News’ Person of the Week, being featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and being awarded ESPN’s Keith Jackson Excellence Award, College Football Writers Association Courage Award, and numerous Father of the Year Awards.
Through his personal and work experiences, he was motivated to establish the Ray Ray Safety Net Foundation. The Foundation seeks to provide children who are dealing with trauma with a ray of hope through education and mentorship accountability programs. It took a village to raise Ray Ray, and he believes that every person needs support to be their best. Read Less ^