What Do You Expect Our Children To Do With The Worst Educational Systems In The Country?

“The mere imparting of information is not education.”

-Cater G. Woodson

The public school system sucks! Trust me, I’m a witness! Ever since first grade, I’ve been going to some type of public school. I’m currently a junior in high school experiencing the absolute worst year of my school career. Outside of seeing my friends and associates, spreading the word about my articles and gathering material for my novels, school is basically pointless. It’s a cold, honest truth that deserves to get mainstream attention!

I believe I’m speaking for every young person that attends sub-par public schools. We’re almost set up for failure. From the lackadaisical teachers to the over-the-top drama perpetuated by many of the students, public schools are like nightmares to BMB’s (Business Minded Brothers) and SRT’s (Sisters Running Things). Or, it can be a minor thorn in your side until the year of graduation. No matter how great of a student you are, we all go through trials and tribulations on this academic plantation!

In my first novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson, Aaliyah’s school life is one of the major storylines. Many fans of the novel on Wattpad and at my school cite the fact that Aaliyah’s struggle at Clarkson Middle School is relatable. So, using my future best-selling literary classic, let’s break down the two main problems stemming from public schools around the nation.

 

1)   Public Schools Are Usually Violent, Negative, Hopeless Environments

 “I go to Clarkson Middle School, the hoe capital of Willowsfield. Seriously, half of the girls in my 8th grade class are baby mamas and future prostitutes. For example, my former bestie, Jennifer Watson got caught ‘giving head’ to three different guys in the boy’s restroom during lunch last year. How stupid can you be to do something like that during school knowing you’re gonna get caught?

Clarkson isn’t only the ‘hoe’ capital of Willowsfield, it’s also drama central too. We fight and argue over the stupidest stuff ever. Gangs, rumors, clothes, boys, girls, sports, money, drugs, lockers, even schoolwork!! Yeah, it’s gonna be really hard to focus on my education in this ratchet environment but hopefully I can pull something off so I can get away from this horrible, ghetto school.”

-Aaliyah Anderson, from the fourthcoming Young Adult novel “The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson

In the story, Willowsfield is statistically the most dangerous city in America. That mindset translates itself over to the school environment. My hometown of Macon is what inspired the creation of Willowsfield. While Macon isn’t nearly as horrible as Willowsfield, it has numerous similarities.

As I continuously read through the novel, I realized that The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson is a sort of allegorical text. Merriam-Webster defines the word allegory as “work of written, oral, or visual expression that uses symbolic figures, objects, and actions to convey truths or generalizations about human conduct or experience.” My novel isn’t only an accurate portrayal of teenage life in America; it’s also a reflection of the journey I had to endure to become a published teen author and journalist.

Aaliyah exists in an environment where success is foreign unless you’re excelling at a sport, selling drugs or hustling to get into the music industry. Aaliyah is incredibly ambitious. She desperately wants to be a big name entrepreneur. She’s even been doing G0116BRAWLcertain things that push her closer to achieving her dreams. However, she endures hate and negativity daily. It’s incredibly disparaging. Later on in the story, she even has a mini breakdown!

Parents, how do you expect your children to succeed in an environment where success isn’t even an option? How do you expect the young people you love and adore to excel in school when it’s basically an academic battle field? Now, I’m not trying to be the bearer of bad news! It is possible for a young person to keep focus on their goals in this proverbial prison. But it is an incredible challenge that requires faith, hard-work, thick skin and proper support from family and friends. Boxing and/or martial arts training wouldn’t hurt either!

 

2)   Public Schools Are Usually The Home Of Horrible, Careless Teachers

“What’s the deal with old, black teachers? They’re always so nasty, grumpy, mean and rude. Perfect example: Mrs. Conner. Mrs. Conner is my homeroom teacher and I already know we’re gonna have problems. She’s sixty-five years old, skinny, extremely conceited and claimed to have marched with Dr. King during the Civil Rights movement.  I doubt it though. With how she acts, they probably would’ve marched against her. My Momma always tells me to respect my elders, but with this lady it’s hard. To me, no matter how old you are, you have to show respect to get it.”

-Aaliyah Anderson, from the fourthcoming Young Adult novel “The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson

Mrs. Connor, Mrs. Connor! In the urban contemporary allegory that is my novel, the character of Mrs. Connor symbolizes every elderly teacher that I’ve had in my storied school career that treated me literally like dirt for no reason at all. I based Mrs. Connor off of one particular teacher that I had to deal with back in middle school but, out of class and respect, I’m not going to mention her name in this article. I’m pretty sure that when the people from my middle school read The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson they’llmiseducation0 know who the infamous “Mrs. Connor” is based off of.

I urge everyone reading this article to go and check out the preview of The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson on my Wattpad profile so you can really grasp the concept of how terrible Miss Connor is. Her and several of the other older teachers (who the students of Clarkson call the “Teacher Mafia”) make Aaliyah’s 8th grade experience a living hell! From the comments from the fans of my story on Wattpad, I’m not the only person that had to deal with several Mrs. Connor’s in my school tenure. As a matter of fact, based off the comments and feedback that I’ve received, that’s one of the most relatable parts of the novel!

I know of many teachers, both young and old, that have the tendencies of a Mrs. Connor. These “teachers” (if we can even call them that) are totally inept. They’re quick tempered, attitudinal and not mentally capable to deal with any children, especially the volatile beings that are teenagers. As instructors, they fail in every way imaginable. Like what elder and educator Carter G. Woodson said in the quote at the beginning of the article, there’s a difference between giving non-stop information and actually getting your hands dirty and teaching your students. Many of these Mrs. Connor type teachers are totally unaware of this distinct difference. This is why you see many intelligent, talented and capable students fall by the wayside. Our minds aren’t properly challenged by these teaching imposters!

Parents, how do you expect your children to be prepared for state standardized test when you have teachers like Mrs. Connor umar_johnson_book running around? How do you prepare your child to face the mental trauma that a teacher like her  would bring? Parents and guardians, it’s your responsibility to be on guard to protect your young  kings and queens from witches like her. One thing you’ll see from reading my novel is that teachers  like Mrs. Connor don’t fare well against students, parents and administrators that are intelligent and  don’t support their messed up ideology.  Just ask Clarkson’s new principal Miss Carter!

That’s all I’m going to say………

 

Read more about Aaliyah’s struggle to success and check out part one of the Mrs. Connor saga on Wattpad today! The novel is dropping soon!

http://www.wattpad.com/story/6314747-the-diary-of-aaliyah-anderson

 

 

 

Do you have any questions or comments for me? Was I right or wrong on this issue? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Twitter: @AuthorRandallB & @TeamYGB25

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randall.barnes.501

Innovation w/Author & Publisher Thomas Long

“Most of us understand that innovation is enormously important. It’s the only insurance against irrelevance. It’s the only guarantee of long-term customer loyalty. It’s the only strategy for out-performing a dismal economy.”

 Gary Hamel

Sometime,  to get in the mood to write, I turn on some smooth R&B and Neo Soul. It puts me in my element. It helps me further immerse myself into the stories that I create. One artist that constantly stays in my rotation is Robert Glasper. His albums Black Radio and Black Radio 2 are certified classics. However, I tend to favor Black Radio 2 over the first Grammy winning installment.

It’s honesty a hard choice! Choosing which of the two albums is the best is like asking a die-hard NBA fanatic if LeBron James is a downloadbetter basketball player than Kobe Bryant. A heated debate will spark, along with flaring egos and raised voices. A fist fight may even occur! But, every debater and commentator has their opinions and views on why they think one is better than another. The same correlation can be attributed to my choice of Black Radio 2 as the better album.

One song that stands out to me on the album is I Stand Alone by legendary Chicago emcee Common. If I can call any song my theme song, this would be it! That’s not the only thing that endears me to the song. At the end it features a monologue by author, media personality, college professor and public intellectual Michael Eric Dyson. If anything separates the two albums, his brief interlude gives Black Radio 2an edge over the original Black Radio.

Many NBA fans say that Kobe is a better player than LeBron James based on the fact that he has five rings to LeBron’s two. In my honest opinion, that’s the only claim that they can hold onto! LeBron is a beast on the court. When he gets in his zone, there’s no stopping him. I can confidently say that Michael Eric Dyson’s feature is what puts Black Radio 2 over the hump. In his interlude, he talked about black individualism and innovation in the art realm.

 

The irresistible appeal of Black individuality – where has all of that gone? The very people who blazed our path to self-expression and pioneered a resolutely distinct and individual voice have too often succumbed to mind-numbing sameness and been seduced by simply repeating what we hear, what somebody else said or thought and not digging deep to learn what we think or what we feel, or what we believe.

Now, it is true that the genius of African culture is surely its repetition, but the key to such repetition was that new elements    wereimages added each go-round. Every round goes higher and higher. Something fresh popped  off the  page or jumped from a rhythm that had been recycled through the imagination of a  writer or a  musician. Each new installation bore the imprint of our unquenchable thirst to  say something of  our own, in our own way, in our own voice as best we could. The trends of  the times be damned!

Thank God we’ve still got musicians and thinkers whose obsession with excellence and  whose  hunger for greatness remind us that we should all be unsatisfied with mimicking the  popular,  rather than mining the fertile veins of creativity that God placed deep inside each  of us”

 -Michael Eric Dyson, “I Stand Alone”

 

When I first heard his commentary, I immediately thought of my novel The Diary of Aaliyah  Anderson. It’s so different from the other young adult novels on the market that it’s uncanny. I can even boldly state that a book of its kind has never been created before. It’s overtly positive, taking on issues that confront the youth of America in an innovative way. I blend in a little bit of drama and what I like to call “realistic ratchetness” to hook a reluctant reader in and keep him or her interested and then force them to think on a higher level.

Merrium-Webster defines the word innovation as “the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods”. Simply put, you can’t be an artist, businessperson or entrepreneur without being innovative. You can’t be successful period without being innovative. Our elders say that there’s nothing new under the sun but that doesn’t mean that an already proven concept can’t be further built upon. Innovation and quality are the keys to longevity in any field.

Rappers and authors, I urge you to take note of my sit down interview with author and publisher Thomas Long. I had a chance to dialogue with him about bring a different voice to the book industry. And trust me, this brother knows about innovation first hand.  The story of how he got his first major book deal is even innovative!

Randall: You’ve been in the publishing game for a while. Your first novel Dayvon’s Story: A Thug Life came out back in 2004! download (1)In your opinion, has the book industry changed? If so, how?

Thomas Long: Yes, the book industry has changed significantly. Authors used to pound the pavements to push their work to persuade the average consumer to take a chance and buy a copy of their book. Nowadays, authors are lazy and believe they can have long term success just publishing ebooks on Amazon.  It used to be the standard to write full length novels but today authors confuse novels with novellas.  The craft and skill of writing a quality story has been eroded by so many pretenders and wanna be authors.

Randall: To get your first novel put out under the Urban Books publishing label, you approached Carl Weber personally with your manuscript. He was so impressed that he offered you a book deal instantly! Take us back to that day. How did your conversation with him go?

Thomas Long: I’m a very blunt person. I basically just told him that I had a novel that’s hot that I think he should read.  I sent it to him and his readers loved it because the story was so real and filled with passion and real emotions that the hood could relate to.  It was just that simple.

Randall: How important is desire to success?

Thomas Long: Success and desire go hand in hand because you can’t have one without the other.  You also have to have a plan of action to go along with them as well as steps you plan to take to get to where you want to be in life.

Randall: How did it feel to see your novel be adapted into the feature film 4 Life?

download (2)Thomas Long: It felt like a dream come true to make history and to share that distinction with the late, great Donald Goines.  It validated my potential and talent for me and set the bar high for me moving forward.  I feel proud to be able to open that door for the next Black author to walk through in getting their work onto the big screen.

Randall: When it comes to novel writing, is having mass appeal important?

Thomas Long: Mass appeal is a relative term. Some people write stories because they see a writing style or topic that another has that’s hot and try to duplicate that success, but that doesn’t always produce the expected results.  I write from the heart and my life experiences and pick topics that are of interest to me.  My books are for those that can relate to them and not for everybody.

Randall: How important is diversity and innovation to the modern day author? In your opinion, is it artistically and financially viable to cater to only one market for the time period of a career?

Thomas Long: Variety is the spice of life.  I try to bring a different flavor with each story. That’s why I write in every genre.  I never place limits on my creativity.  Also, I will always have a book that appeals to readers regardless of what their favorite genre is.

Randall: What’s your opinion on the state of black literature? Do you believe that storylines from black authors are starting to become more repetitive?

Thomas Long: I think that the bulk of urban lit or black lit sucks today to be brutally honest.  It’s full of the same recycled storylines with poor grammar and editing.  Many today don’t know the difference between a novel and a novella or short story and that’s sad. Readers are being encouraged to become writers to make quick dollar which I think is absurd.  However, through all of the garbage real writerd who respect the craft will still shine through.

Randall: By the time this article is published, it will be read by many young adults striving for better in the world. What is your message to them?

Thomas Long: I would tell them to always be an individual and have your own mind.  Educate yourself at all costs and always be open to new experiences outside of your environment.  Don’t feed into the stereotypes that many in my generation hold on to for dear life that projects a distorted perception of what being “real” or a stand up man or woman is.  Summing up, never place limits on yourself or let anyone else do that for you. 

Randall: What upcoming projects do you have on the horizon?

Thomas Long: I just released a book in May called Love TKO which is the sequel to my novel Unconventional Love.  I have book coming in July at the Harlem Book Festival called High Society Gangster and a novella coming August called Blowin’ It.

Randall: Where can we find you?

Thomas Long: All of my titles and information about me can be found on my website: www.tlongwrites.com. My Twitter and Instagram screen name is @tlongmoney.

I would also like to say thank you young brother and I wish you much success.

 

Do you have any questions or comments for me? Is there someone you’d like me to interview? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Twitter: @AuthorRandallB & @TeamYGB25

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randall.barnes.501

Check out a preview of my debut novel “The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson” on Wattpad today! It’s coming soon!

http://www.wattpad.com/story/6314747-the-diary-of-aaliyah-anderson

 

 

Taking Back Control Of Our Image

“If we don’t own the content we create, we don’t truly control anything. If we don’t control anything, how can we dictate how we are perceived in the media? Media is mind control personified. And we’re going to make some changes in how our image is presented. Believe that!”

-Randall Barnes

Does anybody else get tired of black folks finding any and everything to complain about? Listening to some of the fellow members of our community, you’d think that we were two steps from being extinct. According to our resident self-haters, black folks aren’t doing anything to improve our condition. Then, the people that actually are trying to put some things together are race hustlers and sell-outs. If the project they’ve created really blows up, the producers of today’s black society have “sold their soul to the 2940149520152_p0_v1_s260x420devil” and become a card carrying member of the Illuminati. You just can’t make some people happy!

The independent black media scene is popping. Let’s put that on record once and for all. People tend to make the mistake of thinking that the mediums of radio and television are the only branches of media influence. In fact, there are five key other key areas that are constantly left out of the conversation. The different subsections of media consist of:

  • T.V.
  • Movies
  • Radio
  • Music
  • Magazines/Blogs/Newspapers
  • Literature
  • Social Media

Control of these seven different sectors of the mass media means that we would officially have a monopoly on the global image of black people. Yeah, the corporate powerhouses such as Viacom do have a wide realm of influence over our community and a vast amount of money and resources. However, our attention should be turned on supporting the people putting in work on our behalf instead of trying to force these corporate entities that only see us as dollar signs to represent us in a more positive light. The last time I checked, that was our job!

My philosophy on media takes me back to my days on the playground back in elementary school. Personally, I was always a rebel. I never liked to fit in with other people. I always loved being a leader and having people follow me. That thought pattern carried itself over to how I acted during recess.

I remember once when I wanted to play a game and the boys that were playing the game wouldn’t let me join in with them. Instead of sulking over the fact that I wasn’t allowed to play and finding a way to force myself in to their circle, I created my own game. I made it more interesting and innovative than theirs too. It’s safe to say that folks took notice. Man, even the boys that shut me out were following the precedent that I set!

 

Let’s stop trying to fit it! It’s time to take back control of our image as black people! Like stated before, there are many people going
against the grain and putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to the  topic of black media. A perfect example of this is New York Times best-selling author and relationship expert Tariq Nasheed’s Hidden Colors series.

 

Getting virtually no major media attention, the Hidden Colors series is one of the  most successful and critically acclaimed documentaries to date. Tariq started with a  burning passion to contemporize documented black history and bring it to a broader  audience. He then launched three successful crowd funding campaigns to get  budgeting for the movie. His phenomenal efforts for the first two installments  garnered international support. Now he’s back at it with Hidden Colors 3: The  Rules Of Racism, duetumblr_msy3bmr7jX1rctavvo1_500 out in select theaters around the nation June 26th.

He premiered the world-premiere trailer during his weekly Sunday night Ustream  show. Hidden Colors 3 features a star studded cast of individuals such as Paul  Mooney, Umar Johnson, Nas, Dick Gregory and David Banner among many others that he wasn’t able to fit into the one minute and fifty-four second teaser. This movie is going to be one of the most anticipated projects of the summer. Make sure you show your support!

For all the self-haters, agents and “Coon Train” riders, kill off the complaints and noise. If you’re not doing anything to improve our overall condition as a people, you should remain silent! We’re coming to take control of the black media landscape once and for all whether you like it or not!

 

The Official Hidden Colors 3: Rules Of Racism Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56ZVoztD2yE

Another independent media project by Jason Black (known as “theblackauthority” on Youtube) called 7 A.M.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAwUi42RCnY

DC Bookdiva Publications official website and literary blog

http://dcbookdiva.com/

https://straightchaserliteraryblog.wordpress.com/

Check out a preview of my forthcoming Young Adult novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson on Wattpad!

http://www.wattpad.com/story/6314747-the-diary-of-aaliyah-anderson

Do you have any questions, comments or concerns? Was I right or wrong on this issue? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Twitter: @AuthorRandallB

Facebook: Randall Barnes

 

Quick Tip: GET RIGHT TO THE ACTION/DIALOGUE

DV-00147797-001

Remember, the narrative is the authors voice and you should try to be invisible because you, rightly, have no voice. So, get to the dialogue and give it to the characters. I like to use the Grey’s Anatomy example: notice, when the show starts, the scene is set with a brief narrative and ,then, it’s right to the action.

[EXAMPLE]

Martha never could stand Patrice and, when given the chance, she made good on the hatred she felt in her heart, in a way poor Patrice, of course, never could’ve imagined. After all, it had been years, but, then, how does it go? Oh, yeah: revenge is best served cold.

 “Oh, hi,” Martha exaggerated as she spoke, “I haven’t seen you in ages.”

 “Martha, is that you?” Patrice turned, leaned forward and kissed the shorter, chubby, girl on the cheek. “It has been ages, hasn’t it?”

 “Yes it has. Yes it has.” She smiled with just the faintest hint of a sneer. Not that Patrice noticed. “But, it seems like just yesterday doesn’t it?”

“Well, maybe for some,” Patrice kinda smirked as she shook her head, “for me, it was so long ago, it seems like a-whole-nother life time.”

“Oh, does it?” She was trying not to raise a brow and hoped Patrice wasn’t the wisest. “Oh, wow. Well, time is the great equalizer isn’t it?”

“Excuse me?” Patrice had an eyebrow raised now.

“Oh, nothing’,” Martha hurriedly said, “just something I’ve heard somewhere.” She waved it off. “So, how is Jordy?”

“You mean Jordan?” She corrected with a drip of venom. “Jordan is fine.”

“Oh, good. Be sure and tell him, I said hello.” And with that, Martha made her exit.

The Prison Conspiracy w /Author & Publisher Benjamin Janey

“Jails and prisons are designed to break human beings, to convert the population into specimens in a zoo – obedient to our keepers, but dangerous to each other.”

-Angela Davis

Earlier this year in my U.S. History class, we were going over the constitutional amendments.  A strict part of our standards, we had to have a thorough knowledge of each amendment and the affect it had on American society in the past and present. Our attention was quickly turned to the thirteenth amendments, a clever play on words that tricks many into believing that slavery was actually abolished. The thirteenth amendment states:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall9781595586438_custom-6b2e7f684e487f613a4a347b73583e98e66c09fa-s6-c30 have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

In plain text, the thirteenth amendment clearly states that slavery is abolished except when punished for a crime. I brought this up in our class discussion and was thoroughly crucified. My teacher and fellow peers in a class that was mostly filled with African-Americans argued me down about the current issue of slavery in the United States prison infrastructure. While they didn’t disagree with the fact that the thirteenth amendment doesn’t completely abolish slavery, they took the stance that prison slavery was justified.

I brought up the fact that black and brown men make up the population of most of the prisons in the United States. I even brought up the cruel reality that many of these prisoners are auctioned off and traded just like back in the 1800’s. Prisons are even a part of the stock market. There’s big business in prison labor and it’s documented. Still, the members of my class proceeded to try and debunk all of my statements.

I’ve noticed that when you get to a point where your realm of knowledge gets too deep with people, they shut you out. You immediately become self-centered and arrogant, the proverbial “Uncle Tom” of your high school or college. I’ve learned to navigate around the ignorance but it’s so prevalent in my environment that it gets hard. How can you argue for an issue that’s as inhumane as this? Honestly, I don’t even get mad anymore. I’ve went through a major maturing process this year. I now take on the philosophy recited in the Lauryn Hill song Forgive Them Father off of her legendary album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill:

Forgive them father for they know not what they do

Forgive them father for they know not what they do

download (6)

 

Speaking of music, rapper Killer Mike covered the prison conspiracy in his song Regan:

The end of the Reagan Era, I’m like ‘leven, twelve, or

Old enough to understand the sh*t’ll change forever

They declared the war on drugs like a war on terror

But it really did was let the police terrorize whoever

But mostly black boys, but they would call us ‘niggers’

And lay us on our belly, while they fingers on they triggers

They boots was on our head, they dogs was on our crotches

And they would beat us up if we had diamonds on our watches

And they would take our drugs and money, as they pick our pockets

I guess that that’s the privilege of policing for some profit

But thanks to Reaganomics, prisons turned to profits

Cause free labor is the cornerstone of US economics

Cause slavery was abolished, unless you are in prison

You think I am bullsh*tting, then read the 13th Amendment

Involuntary servitude and slavery it prohibits

That’s why they giving drug offenders time in double digits

 

It’s a reality that black and brown men are the subject of severe racial prejudice. We’ll even go to prison for no reason at all! Just look at the Troy Davis story and many of the black men that have been released after years in prison, only to be released after it’s realized that they were wrongly incarcerated. Their lives were altered off of a lie! How are they just going to recover after missing twenty to thirty years of their lives?troy-davis-copy-5319fc88

This is an aspect of the prison conspiracy that many people don’t think to look in to. That’s why it’s so important to have scholars, journalists, media personalities, authors and writers in the community that bring these cruel infringements to human rights. Some are widely known like public scholar Dr. Boyce Watkins and author of The New Jim Crow Michelle Alexander. However, there are others standing in the gap educating the masses about the prison conspiracy as well.

When I first got in contact with my author mentor Benjamin Janey, he said that he was making it a priority to make sure that I didn’t make the same mistakes that he did. Mr. Ben has had a horrible past with the prison system that’ll be told in the form of a non-fiction book and the prequel to his first novel Up The Way called Up The Way-Reloded.  

If you read my various articles and novels, you know that I like to put a positive spin on things. We tend to love tearing down each other! However, my author mentor’s story once again shows you that success is always obtainable, no matter what your circumstances are. Never give up! Earlier this month, I got a chance to catch up with Mr. Ben and talk to him about various topics dealing with his new book and the prison industrial complex.

Randall: Your novel Up The Way, released in 2009, was your big time break into the publishing industry. It was also the first book released under DC Bookdiva Publications. How much has changed for you in the past five years?

Benjamin Janey: In the past five years, I’ve learned to believe in me. I just don’t dream without making that dream my new reality. Signing autographs still tickle me to this day. Who would have ever imagined that someone would ask for my signature on good terms? Dc Bookdiva and I have been grinding for day one and we’re still in it to win it.

Randall: What was your inspiration behind creating a novel like Up The Way?

Benjamin Janey: When I wrote Up The Way I was forty years old facing twenty years in prison. The story came about when a friend of mine, Barry, had me wait to read one of his urban novels that he just received in the mail. We playfully argued about why I had to wait because he couldn’t read two books at the same time. Then, I told me I’d write my own book. Sarcastically, he61DO2gWWFnL slid me a writing pad and pen under my cell door, the rest is history.

Randall: On your social media accounts you keep saying that your next book Up The Way-Reloaded is going to be a classic. Why do you say that?

Benjamin Janey: Up The Way was a story that I wrote to escape reality. I amused myself and let my imagination run wild. Some of it may have been too farfetched. Yet, the complexity of my mind and the bad situation I was in made it all good sense to me. Now, Up The Way-Reloaded will tell the true story of the police corruption that I had to face; the frame work that I refused to picture. The nightmares were vivid and real. The names, police reports, court transcripts and truth will be included in this next work.

Randall: Do you believe that there’s an agenda to railroad young black men into prison?

Benjamin Janey: Absolutely, there’s an agenda to railroad young and old black men into prison. Our intentions being brought to America was to be a slave and never an equal. The original Constitution and very fabric that this country was built on still explains why the scales of justice are imbalanced. We would like to believe that things have changed. But, when the enemy influences what we see, do and learn are for the better, then there’s no fact to that which has defined better. Why would a country see fit to spend to spend more money on incarceration than education? Yet, have the most prisons while calling America the land of the free.

Randall: In your opinion, can we accurately call prison the new form of slavery?

Benjamin Janey: Prison is the new plantation and mis-education has always been the most severe form of slavery. We are given heaven in the sky after we die, but the green pastures and golden gates where rivers flow they have today.

Randall: How were you able to make the transition from inmate to author and entrepreneur?

Benjamin Janey: The transition from inmate to author was simple. Once I saw that someone else believed I could do it, I was on my way. Becoming an entrepreneur came from that same inspiration. Why would I beg another man and give him the privilege to tell me no? To define my worth, I had to pay myself. Our elders always said for us to mind our own damn business. So, I had to get some business of my own to mind.

Randall: How instrumental is faith to your success?

Benjamin Janey: Failure is no longer an option in my life. I feel as though I can do anything that has a realistic plan in order to achieve such a thing. 

Randall: Did your stay in prison inspire the content in Up The Way?

Benjamin Janey: The content in Up The Way took me to another place. I let the book write itself. I felt as though anywhere was better than where I was.

Randall: What advice would you give to the young people, especially the various young black men, reading this article right now?

Benjamin Janey: Stop seeing each other as niggas and become embracers of your brothers and sisters. Know that when you win, we win. You must read, write and recite where you want to go in life and get there. We cannot afford to go with the flow or waste time complaining about how someone else is doing their thing. We must do our own thing. It’s not about being racist, it’s about being real. Look at the falsehood presenting and representing as the truth. Know the difference and be prepared to make a way out of no way. Pull your pants up, respect yourself and find a reason worth dying for. Strive to become a good man and not “that nigga”. When you don’t know, ask someone that knows and surround yourself with people that will be beneficial in your journey.

Randall: Where can we find you?

Benjamin Janey: I keep it simple. On all social media websites I use my government name, benjaminjaney.

 

Check out Benjamin Janey’s novels at Amazon.com!

http://www.amazon.com/Ben/e/B002C1WBK2/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1399629356&sr=1-2

 

Do you have any questions or comments for me? Is there someone you’d like me to interview? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Twitter: @AuthorRandallB & @TeamYGB25

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randall.barnes.501

Check out a preview of my debut novel “The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson” on Wattpad today! It’s coming soon!

http://www.wattpad.com/story/6314747-the-diary-of-aaliyah-anderson

 

The Wild Wild West

Written by: Wesley “Godfather” Hunter

 

 The West is the new frontier. Hip Hop lit has taken a course quite similar to that of hip hop music in the 1980’s and 90’s. While the South has been a strong participant, like rap music in the 1980’s, urban lit first saw its real market on the streets of the Eastern shore. Where writers such as Teri Woods, Vickie Stringer, Relentless Aaron and others literally took to the streets on a hand-to-hand sales campaign and kicked the doors open to help create and, for the most part, define an entire industry. All the while, the West has been all but silent, with no big names in the game to truly speak of.

Not to be ignored, the West Coast has produced such authors as Stanley “Tookie” Williams (Crips co -founder and author of BLUE RAGE BLACK REDEMPTION), Sanyika Shakur aka Monster Kody (author of MONSTER and several others), Cupcake Brown (A PIECE OF CAKE), Colton Simpson (INSIDE THE CRIPS), Cynthia Miller(IN RARE FORM), Terrell “Loko” Wright (HOME OF THE BODY BAGS), Frederick Staves (GANGSTA: SOME TALK IT, I LIVE IT), myself (TRANSITIONS IN THE HOOD) and even Freeway Rick, among others. However, it is importantly noted, that the above are all autobiographical accounts. Aside from myself, there were literally NO urban fiction writers in the game. Until recently, that is.

First, there were authors such as Biz E. Bee (BE LIKE THAT SOMETIMES), Nyerere Jase (THE END RESULTS OF A SNITCH) and my own lesser-known Print on Demand (POD) items published through an online company called Infinity Publishing [that’s a-whole-nother article] and then came along a young fiery up-start by the name of Terry L. Wroten.

Though Terry was in California’s New Folsom maximum security prison, at the time, Terry was young (23 I believe), handsome, well-built, knowledgeable about the industry, fresh off of the streets (about to return to them) and, quite importantly, Terry stayed on top of his game, and while networking on social-media sites such as Myspace and Facebook. Terry met Kwan as well as several other authors, he kept up with the trends and was eventually signed to Kwan’s own Black Dawn Inc., just two weeks before going home. Terry subsequently went on to release TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. and several other urban novels, officially becoming (TLW) The Leader of the West, in that he was the first, true young street cat signed to/with a known/established urban writer/publishing company, and several others, including Nyerere Jase (G Street Chronicles) and myself (DcBookdiva Publications and Ben Official Books) have gone on to follow.

The West is now wide awake. Sitting in prison since 1989 writing and begging for any and everyone to give me a chance, many inmates would ask why I wasn’t signed, all the while, I was continuously being overlooked, and ignored, until it truly began to create a hopeless depressing feeling, as I watched so many lesser talents just hop on and pass me by, all because they had the resources or could simply get out and about, while I remained trapped with an energy bordering on combusting. I threw money at the problem, made [many costly mistakes] and still I couldn’t find my way. Yet, I continued to write and believe I’d one day have my day. I amassed an arsenal and, finally, the playing was leveled. Ebooks came, the industry imploded and publishers were everywhere actively scouting talent, willing to take on new challenges and consider new approaches but, I’m one of the lucky ones, for, there are still many trapped souls just waiting their turn. But, this is a West Coast tale so let’s get to it.

With the Facebook/Ebook thing so easy and accessible, all of those young West Coast urban authors finally had somewhere to turn to get on, or, more appropriately, they no longer had a need to wait in line or hope to be discovered by some non-existent West Coast brand. Instead of waiting, they began putting themselves on. And, this is how the West was won.

Our stories, our streets, our slang, our gangs, our troubles, our world. Just as hip hop showed with “Gangsta Rap”, the West simply has a style of its own. A different structure (or lack thereof) and an all out sense of lawlessness that only those of us from the West can rightly capture.

l look now and I see upwards of 60 young West Coast authors doing their thing and though only Nyerere Jase, JDee Cooper [of Da Lynch Mob] (Ghettoheat Publishing), Chanel Jones (Peach Dollhouse/SBR) and I (as far as I know) presently remain signed to already established non-West Coast brands, many are self-published and/or building their own brands. There’s a storm on the horizon y’all. We’re quaking, on the West, with that chronic. We’re coming and we’re coming hard, and, just like we did with the rap industry, in the 90’s, we intend to make our mark. So, when you hear that rumbling and you don’t know what to do, stop and salute.

Welcome to the Wild Wild West. 

Meet West Coast pioneer Nyerere Jase. Nyerere came hard, with nothing but a book and a dream. He had no one to guide him or direct him, but, he gave his all to the cause, hitting the block, dumping one book at a time, learning as he went. Til, finally, becoming frustrated and losing focus. In December 2013, Nyerere signed on with G-Street Chronicles, and, when asked why, he humbly stated, quite simply: “I needed help, I needed a family to support me and I felt that G-Street was that fit”. After this interview, Nyerere went on to turn himself in to begin serving a 10 year bid. So, let’s stand up you guys, let’s help this brother who’s done all he could to help himself. He’s going to be in prison for a while, and, every little bit we can share will count something MAJOR. Will you do your part? Stand up and show out! Now meet the man himself.

nyerere

Godfather: How long have you been writing?

Nyerere: I have been a writer for 10 years.

Godfather: What made you start writing?

Nyerere:  My final years in prison. I became board and wrote as an escape.

Godfather:I noticed that you started off self-published. What made you first go that route?

Nyerere: The challenge. The millions I thought I would make.

Godfather: Did you invest a lot, in the beginning?

Nyerere: It costs me zero dollars to publish my first book Gangsta Jake: The End Result of a Snitch, which I revamped to She Did It for A Gangsta for marketing purposes.

Godfather: Many say it’s best to self-publish. What made you decide to sign?

Nyerere:  I signed for exposure and the fact that I’m on my way to prison. 

Godfather: Who did you sign with? When did you sign? How did it happen? How did you reach them?

She-Did-It-2-WEBv2

 

Nyerere: I was contacted By George Hudson Sherman Ceo of G Street Chronicle Via Facebook regarding a book deal. I ultimately Signed with George because I felt comfortable with every step of our negotiations. He and Shawna have a winning combination that has been proven to work; that was a key fact that made it easy for me to sign. I signed December 13,2013.

Godfather: Besides yourself, Terry L. Wroten, (originally signed with Black Dawn Inc.), JDee Cooper [of Da Lynch Mob] (Ghettoheat), Chanel Jones (SBR) and myself (currently signed with DCBookdiva Publications and Ben Official Books) are you aware of any other West Coast author picked up by an established urban publishing company?

 

Nyerere: I heard of Black Dawn Inc., but not the other company’s that you mentioned. Freeway Rick is signed, but most Authors from west coast are self published.

Godfather: How many books have you written?

 

Nyerere: Five books.

Godfather: Where can your books be found?

 

Nyerere: Amazon.com, Barnesandnobles.com and smashwords.com.

Godfather: What’s your opinion about the future of the West Coast book scene?

 

Nyerere: I feel the west coast market is basically untapped however do have great potential.We are in a uptrend, more and more authors are getting on board with the west coast movement , the Eastsiders and Rick  “Freeway” Ross both just dropped books.

Godfather:What do you see for the future of urban lit. As a whole?

 

Nyerere: The future of urban fiction  has a lot of potential for movies, plays, video games, etc.

Godfather:What advice would you give someone trying to get in the game?

For new authors, just know that your first book will more than likely not get you rich. Stay the course have a solid game plan and know that its going to cost you some of your personal money to get exposure.

Godfather:  You’ve had some recent legal troubles how much time you facing? What’s the charge?

Nyerere:  I am facing 30 to life under the California 3 strikes law for residential burglary.

Godfather:Final thoughts: what have you got in the oven? What should we expect? Anything else you might want to share?

Nyerere: Currently working on Jase publishing house , G Street Chronicles imprint. First author JPH will be releasing is Toure Jase his story is entitled “The Opposite of a Square”.

How can you be reached?

Nyerere: You can contact me at Facebook, Twitter, instagram and LinkedIn

 

GODFATHER” Hunter is an incarcerated author from Los Angeles, Ca. He has  written several books covering a variety of genres, to include self-help/how-to/advisory, autobiography, poetry, urban romance, erotica and street lit. Godfather has even taught urban lit during his many years of incarceration. He makes an added effort to lace his writings with history, social-political consciousness and other such pearls of wisdom while penning  in a style which many have compared to the likes of James Patterson, John Grisham and Michael Connelly.