This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Once A Motivational Speaker, Tragedy Led This Man Into Homelessness
Here's a story that shows you just never know how a homeless person winds up on the streets, or the person they truly are. Scot Anthony Robinson is an actor and motivational speaker who, after a series of unfortunate events, is homeless in Highland Park. Until recently, Robinson, 53, could be found panhandling near a drive-thru Starbucks on York Boulevard, according to The Eastsider. He said he averaged about $30 each day until someone threatened to call the police on him. Employees confirmed to The Eastsider that Robinson is no longer allowed at the shop.
Robinson has led an interesting life, full of ups and down. He worked as an actor, scoring roles in Malcolm X and in a music video from En Vogue. Unfortunately, drug addiction thwarted his career. He struggled with heroin and cocaine and found himself homeless on the streets of New York, and at one point, attempted suicide in a jail cell. However, with the help of a compassionate ex-girlfriend, Robinson was able to recover and turned his story into an inspirational one-man show called Vision Warrior. He traveled the U.S., performing this show at schools for children and teens, and talked with them about addiction, peer pressure, self-esteem and second chances.
A principal at a high school in La Jolla in San Diego once told the La Jolla Light that a student was so moved by Robinson's performance that he told school officials that he was struggling with drugs and wanted to get help.
At that time, Robinson was living with his girlfriend in New York. Then, his mother called him to tell him she was dying of cancer. Robinson told The Eastsider that within two days, he moved to Silver Lake to care for her. He lost his savings, his career, his girlfriend and his home in NYC.
"Watching my mother lose her independence so gracefully makes me want to be a better person, but watching her pass for so long, it wounded me," he said.
Robinson's mother died in 2012. His attempts to return to a normal life were thwarted by two strokes. After the first, he received no treatment. The second happened while he was at a gas station, and he said all he remembers is coming to, surrounded by EMTs.
Because the strokes left Robinson unable to work—he still can't stand for very long—and depleted his savings, he soon lost the apartment in Silver Lake where he cared for his mother. He moved into a car, but that too was repossessed. So, he moved to panhandling at the Starbucks, until he was told to leave.