Category Archives: Straight

Incarcerated Scarface

Wriiten By: Mike O

“You can’t lead from inside the crowd,”~From 1000 Grams by Mike O 

GodfatherwesI may not be the best author to tell you about prison, but I can definitely relate. As a black man in America, our skin has been a gift and a curse since the Lord covered our bones with it.  A gift to bear the color of our race, but a curse being that our own ancestors sold each other out, causing us to be drug to this country where we’ve endured nothing short of Hell on Earth. From slavery to enslaving our minds, we have been pitted against one another, then, offered a piece of the “American Dream” in powder form, which we then turned to crack and further ruin.

To add fuel to the fire, they glorified the life in movies and music which had the 80’s and beyond booming. Even young black men with no education or respect for authority were becoming successful, owning material things like cars, homes, jewelry, exotic women, expensive threads, you name it. Forget working hard, the addiction to the fast life and money from drugs is the number one destroyer of boys in the hood. I too made the mistake of thinking it was cool, ending up fighting for my life in and out of the courtrooms of North Carolina as captured in my debut novel 1000 Grams.

I luckily escaped death and prison time in my escapades, yet, not all my brothers were so lucky. Some made their way to the grave while others are locked away behind tall fences with rows and rows of thick barbed wire guarded by sharp shooters behind firearms in places we call prisons. My label mate Wesley “Godfather” Hunter is one of those brothers not lucky enough to have escaped the harsh realities of the “Dope Game” which has left plenty of fallen hustlers with stories to tell. One thing about all of us who made these real life hood mistakes, we don’t mind giving our stories back to help you help your kids maybe make better decisions. If not that, maybe you can recognize destructive behavior patterns and figure the best way to intervene.

Our stories are gritty, grimy, true to life tales that provide entertainment as well as learning something you didn’t know about the streets in the process. It’s a life that only those who walked the walk can tell you the truth about. So I would like to introduce you to my label mate Wes, and give you a chance to get to know him a little better.

Mike O: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE?

Wesley “Godfather” Hunter:  Quite simply: I love to learn and I love to teach. I first caught the writing bug, while sitting in Federal detention in 1989; I’d been caught with 15.78 grams of rock cocaine and could not believe they were talking about giving me 25 years and offering me a DEAL for 17yrs, with the Public Defender suggesting that I should take it! I subsequently wrote my first piece which was an article called THE WAR: FROM A CONVICTED CRACK COCAINE DEALER’S PERSPECTIVE and, I haven’t stopped writing since.

Mike O:WHY ARE YOU CURRENTLY IN PRISON, WAS IT THE DRUG CASE?

Wesley “Godfather” Hunter:  No. I got the drug case in Aug. 1989 went to the fed’s until May 22, 1996. I, then, went to the half-way house, a bank was robbed by my girl, with me as the driver, they came for me, and so I escaped from the half-way house. Then, on July 3, my 27th birthday, my cousin, my girl and I robbed a Denny’s, had a high speed chase and 2 shoot outs with the cops. I ran into a house, had a hostage, police stand-off.  I’m blessed to be alive. I’m finally about to go home, after completing a 20 year deal.

Mike O: WITHOUT GIVING UP TOO MUCH, WHAT DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL TAKE FROM YOUR BOOK?

Wesley “Godfather” Hunter:  The book I am pushing now is a self-help/advisory/women’s empowerment guide, which has been called THE 48 LAWS OF POWER for the modern woman. It’s called EVERYTHING SHE SHOULD KNOW: What Daddy never told you and Mama never knew. It covers everything from relationship advice, self-love, sexual tricks/games, goal setting, child rearing, men’s games, and even how to establish triple-A credit almost instantly. It’s a keeper and a hand me down for all ages. All of my books are laced with black history, social politics, worldly advice and other such fruits to be embraced.

Mike O:  ARE YOU SELF-PUBLISHED OR WITH A PUBLISHING HOUSE?

Wesley “Godfather” Hunter: EVERYTHING SHE SHOULD KNOW is published thru my brand URBAN DIAMONDS PUBLISHING. However, I just signed with DC Bookdiva Publications and Ben Official Books for an upcoming series of titles.

Mike O: WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE NEW AUTHORS?

Wesley “Godfather” Hunter: READ! Don’t just read one or two sub-par urban books, then, jump right out there like ‘I CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT’. There’s a lot of garbage in the game. If you truly want to bring the heat then READ! Read top notch authors such as James Patterson, and study their craft: the timing/pace, the use of dialogue, etc. Finally, please, read at least one book on self-editing. Don’t just jump out there on some ‘I’m going to change the game’ nonsense. Learn the rules before you try to bend or break the rules. This is a job and a business, not just a hustle.

Mike O: WHERE CAN READERS PURCHASE YOUR BOOK?

Wesley “Godfather” Hunter: EVERYTHING SHE SHOULD KNOW is available as an eBook on Amazon. The paperback is available at zaharasbooksandthings.com which is a store based in Inglewood, Ca, BEAUTY BAR AND BOOKS at the Slauson Swapmeet, in Los Angeles and also by mail order direct from me at URBAN DIAMONDS PUBLISHING, LLC, 26895 Aliso Creek Rd., ste. B-127, Aliso Viejo, Ca 92656 other locations are being developed and my coming titles will have broader distribution, which is why I signed with Dc Bookdiva Publications. Check DcBookdiva.com for the latest.

Mike O: WHAT CAN WE EXPECT NEXT FROM YOU?

Wesley “Godfather” Hunter: I’ve got a ton of stuff coming this year. I’m looking at four to five new releases. Plus, I’m doing some collaboration work behind the scenes which I’m pretty excited about. I’ve got over 20 completed full-length titles in the clip and I’m just now getting my chance to shine, so, I’m here. And I plan to be around for a while. With the readers’ approval, of course

 

 

Mike O was born and raised on the streets of Winston-Salem, NC. His whole young life was spent making the wrong choices and following a path that is all too familiar that he resurrects in his debut novel “1000 Grams” in hopes of his testimony reaching a young soul lost, helping them to find their way back. This gritty street tale will take you through the good, the bad, and the ugly of Mike O’s past. Since his first release, he has penned a short story trilogy -Fakebook Chronicles, the short story The Tweet Files and the full novel Smokin Mirrors.

 

Collective Bargaining

By: Wesley “Godfather” Hunter

In today’s market, the costs are high, the profits are low and the talent pool is greatly over crowded. So, just what is a publisher to do?collective

 Everyone’s got their own brand, their own label, their own publishing house, publishing company, imprint, division or WHATEVER. Everyone’s gone DYI on the fly and trying to find their way as they go. And, if they’re anything like me, they’re wasting a lot of time and money as they do.

Publishers, imprints, divisions, etc. Often work as a clique, a club or, for lack of a better term, a modern-day urban book publishing gang. Creating or hallucinating these imagined barriers which keep one group from working with the next. However, if Willie Lynch taught us nothing else, he taught us that to be divided we are already conquered. NO MATTER WHAT EXCUSE WE USE TO JUSTIFY OR DEFEND OUR DIVISION.

Networking, sharing resources, co-op advertising, joint product negotiations, etc. these are all areas where publishers can come together. Let’s say five publishers need books printed: one needs 500, another needs 2000 and still another needs 5000 books, etc. And this collected group of publishers decide to come together and approach a printer with one collectively huge order, explaining the total numbers and the promise of repeat orders of the same/similar/larger size in exchange for a continued overall discounted price (percentage).

NOTE: This offer could be extended to, say, 10 different printers to create a bit of a bidding war. This same collective bargaining technique can be used to put together a pool of editors which the publishers agree to choose from, where the editor agrees to a certain price/percentage discount in order to be added to the select list. The same for cover designers, on-line promoters, etc. This can even be used in purchasing ad. space in magazines, where the group agrees to purchase so many pages in so many issues and then divide or rotate the use of that space among themselves. It’s not about who likes whom, it’s about the collective power of unified numbers, it’s about business, it’s about common sense and money.

To really take it to the next level, the group could also share each others links on social media. It’s no different from having a bookstore where you carry and promote a bunch of different books. Especially if you are in-between products or your personal sales have slowed. Because, soon it’ll be you pushing a new piece and you’ll need the help: A favor for a favor.

Yes, there’s true power in numbers. Need I say more?

 

 

You Gotta Have Fun Sometimes! (A Manifesto)

“I know y’all gonna feel me on this one

You gotta feel me on this one”

-Rick Ross, “Sixteen” ft. Andre 3000

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had the gift of analytical thinking. Well, it’s a gift and a curse. Because of my habit of over analyzing things, I always felt that I stood out among the people of my age group. I covered this in my debut article Setting Relationship Standards. It’s always been hard for me to find others in my age range that were even close to my maturity level. Basically, using the principles I discussed in my debut article, I set too high of standards for people around me.

Like I said, I’ve always been different. While my peers chronicled their many sexual adventures, I was determined to write my first full-length novel and get it published before I turned eighteen. While my peers were mesmerized by the street life, I was infatuated by modern-day societal infrastructures such as Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Black Wall Street and organizations that fought for change like Marcus Garvey’s U.N.I.A and the original Black Panther Party.   The people around me are apt in learning the new hit dance craze and following the ever-changing fashion trends. Meanwhile, I’m avid in learning about the makeup of cultural trends and how to use them to spread  the message of self-respect, class and intelligence to my generation. Do you see my problem now?

Or is it a problem?

bannerpatricksmartpants

Thinking about this issue takes me back to the days of my adolescence. I’ve always been a huge fan of the iconic cartoon SpongeBob Square pants. One episode that’s burned in my memory is called “Patrick Smartpants”. In this episode Patrick, after losing the top of his head, gains an infinite amount of intelligence. Because of this, he starts to become somewhat arrogant, destroying his friendship with SpongeBob and offending the many people that he was trying to help. He ended up depressed and lonely by the end of the episode.

Using my critical thinking skills, I liken “Patrick Smartpants” to me. Is this why it was always hard for me to build lasting friendships? Who am I to impose these insurmountable standards on the people I come in contact with on a daily basis? Relationships are fifty-fifty. You have to meet people where they are to have them return the favor.

This is a message I also saw echoed in Drumline, one of my favorite movies. In it, Dr. Lee is an old-school brother and a traditionalist when it comes to music. However, his set ways start to become a major problem. The alumni are starting to lose interest in Atlanta A & T’s band program, which means that it could possibly be shut down if something isn’t done to right the ship. But how is Dr. Lee to do that when Morris Brown continues to decimate them every year at the BET Southern Classic?

drumline_00133281

I tend to relate to Nick Cannon’s character Devin Miles. He was an exceptionally talented snare drum player that stood out amongst the other members of the drumline. His cocky swagger and immense skill draws a rival in the form of jealous drum section leader Sean Taylor, who is a traditionalist just like Dr. Lee.

Devon eventually ostracized himself from the rest of his teammates and gets kicked off the band after initiating a riot at A &T’s homecoming. Sean helped in jump starting his dismissal by revealing that he couldn’t read sheet music. However, after a snare drum showdown, Devon and Sean put their issues aside and team up to create a BET Southern Classic winning performance piece that also meets Dr. Lee’s high expectations.

Sometimes you have to put your ego to the side and undergo a change. How are you going to lead people to the promise land when you haven’t found yourself? I’m a sure witness of this! I’m officially starting my quest to become a more well-rounded person.  And I’m going to chronicle my physical, spiritual and mental journey in my writings. So watch out world! You’re looking at the rise of a legend!

P.S.: I’m not debunking what I discussed in my Setting Relationship Standards article. I’m just offering another viewpoint. Sometimes you just have to accept people for who they are. They’ll come around eventually. If not, they aren’t even worth wasting time on.

While you discern between the people that you need in your life, I ask you to support me in my endeavors. Introduce any teenagers you know to my various articles. Check out a preview of my novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson on Wattpad.com. Follow DC Bookdiva Publications and Young and Gifted Books on the various social media sites. Support Urban Intellectuals!

 Contribute to the conversation. Like my role model Michael Baisden said, “No one man is an island”. We can make a change in our communities together!

 

 

Do you have any questions, comments or concerns? Was I right or wrong on this issue? Do you want to join the focus group for my novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

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

Check out a preview of my novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson on Wattpad! It’s dropping soon!

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

Setting Relationship Standards

“Nowadays, I like to keep it classy.  But, even if I was like I was back a couple of years ago, I definitely wouldn’t fight over an ugly, brain-dead, high school dropout. You wouldn’t even catch me with a guy like that. I have places to go with my life and being with someone who doesn’t share my ambition will only hold me back.”

-Aaliyah Anderson, from the forthcoming young adult novel “The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson”

As a teenager, one thing I see on a regular is people conforming to the negative influences that surround them. It’s so disheartening. Look at me, a soon to be published author at the age of seventeen! I saw how the odds are stacked against me as a young black male and I decided to go against the grain and chase prosperity by any means necessary.  Is it that hard for young people my age to do the same?

Surprisingly, it is.

deal-breakers-or-unrealistic-expectationsLiving in an urbanized city where hope is foreign unless you rap or play in a national sports league, I can sympathize with the fellow members of my millennial generation. Not only can I understand their struggle (as mine is virtually the same), I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help my people reach the promise land. I’ve started passing knowledge along to my peers in school and they’re happily receiving it. However, they still fall victim to the monstrous pitfalls that even many adults fall trap to. So allow me, with my new position as an UI writer, to give my readers a daily nudge in the right direction to achieving success.

One of my favorite books has to be The 48 Laws of Power. It’s one of the many works of literature that I believe every person who wants to achieve major triumphs in their lives should have in their library. Law ten of the book is one that should be dually noted as we bring up the topic of setting clear, concrete relationship standards. It states:

INFECTION: AVOID THE UNHAPPY AND UNLUCKY

You can die from someone else’s misery-emotional states are as infectious as diseases. You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster. The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you. Associate with the happy and fortunate instead.”

For years, I argued with my people that I considered my friends that hanging around and dating the wrong people would be counterproductive for more reasons than one. While they laughed and mocked me, I made a concerted effort to be the type of positive brother that a young woman’s parents would be enthusiastic to meet. I also schemed on ways to carry myself with an intelligent swagger and still get major respect from the young people I see every day.

It’s safe to say that my attempts worked.

I’ve never been one of those immature guys that equated sexuality to manhood. Because of this, I’ve stood out amongst my peers. While I once shunned it and tried to fit in with the infectious, unlucky brothers that are the epitome of what The 48 Laws of Power said to avoid, I started to embrace it. As I started to accept that I was a BMB (Business Minded Brother), I separated from people counterproductive to my goals. With them off my back opportunities and prosperity seemingly found me!

Unlock the King or Queen that’s inherently inside of you. Do so by integrating these principals into your life:

  • Reevaluate your circle. If your friends or acquaintances aren’t furthering your cause, consider cutting them off.
  • Associate with a large amount of BMBF (Business Minded Black Folks). If they avoid you, maybe you need to take some time out to evaluate yourself! I mean, you attract what you are…….
  • Know who you’re dealing with. If the person you’re in a relationship with (intimate, casual or strictly sexual) isn’t on the up and up don’t suffer in silence. You don’t deserve to be around a negative person like that!
  • Never conform your relationship standards at any time. When I say never I mean never!

Do you have any questions, comments or concerns? Was I right or wrong on this issue? Do you want to join the focus group for my novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

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

Check out a preview of my novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson on Wattpad! It’s dropping soon!

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