Category Archives: Young and Gifted

The thoughts and ideas of our youth. Randall Barnes is our first young adult writer signed to out imprint, Young and Gifted Books.

Finding Your Calling w/Rapper Que

“When I’m in my artistic zone, I can’t hear or see anything except what I’m trying to put on the paper. It’s like I go in a trance!”

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

A couple of months back, I uploaded the most popular article I’ve written so far entitled Three Reasons Why Most Of Our Youth Don’t Have a Chance At Success. It caused a very healthy discussion but folks were still pointing fingers at young people, still acting as if we’re all dysfunctional. Why is it so hard to accept that there is some positivity coming from the millennial generation? Why do we keep harping on the ratchetness, self-hate and negativity that we’re constantly fed? We will right this ship!

When I wrote my first novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson, I made a vow to be the voice of my generation. I made a promise to myself to prove to the world that you can put major support and backing behind positive content to young adults. And with 29,000 reads and counting on Wattpad, a publishing deal with DC Bookdiva Publications and a staff writing position for three websites and a magazine (Sista’s Keeper), my goals are being achieved! But I’m still not satisfied…….

Another vow I made to myself was that I’d do everything in my power to make The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson the new 398054_455727021160344_2096821740_n coming-of-age novel that everyone has in their collection. I want my  novel to be put in the same category as Sister Soulja’s The Coldest  Winter Ever and Omar Tyree’s Flyy Girl. It has all the potential in  the world too. But, when it comes to success, I’m rather impatient. I  want the message of The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson to take over  the world right now! But how am I going to do that if the young people in  my hometown of Macon, GA barely recognize what I’m doing? Yeah,  that’s a huge problem…….

For the longest time, I kept hearing about this rapper named Que. He  had a large group of female followers at almost every middle and high  school in Macon. He was headlining local shows and opening for  nationally renowned music artists like Diggy Simmons, Jacob Latimore and the OMG Girls and he hadn’t even graduated high school yet. I was amazed!

I started listening to his music and realized that he actually had a message. He was going out of his way to promote positivity and having a good time. And he was getting major recognition and love for it. As a BMB (Business Minded Brother) I tend to look at things in a deep and analytical sense. I stopped looking at the artist Que and started looking at Que, the budding musical brand. This brother is doing some revolutionary things man! I’m not lying at all!

All entrepreneurs can take a lesson from this young man. I know I have! After scheming on it for months, I finally got a chance to chop it up with Que about his rise to musical prominence.

 

Randall: From my research on your background, you’ve been performing since you were a child. How have you been able to turn your passion for music into a career?

Que: I turned my music into a career by putting much of my time and energy into it, I always dreamed about being a music artist, and felt like I was blessed with a God given talent, so I took it in consideration and built a career.

 

Randall: You boast about being a versatile, clean artist. How have you been able to keep things positive?

Que: I kept things positive by doing music that’s clean and that does not influence drugs, violence and poverty. Also, I avoid using profanity and write about subjects that can affect a person in a positive way,

 

Randall: Ever since you’ve started performing in Macon, you’ve taken the city by storm! Rapper T.I. said in an interview on BET’s 106 & Park last year that it’s extremely important for an artist to get their city, state and/or region behind him. How were you able to do this so effectively?

Que: I stayed humble and respectful to my peers around my community, I also participated in charitable organizations around the city like Feed The Homeless visiting the children’s hospital to give gifts to the patients and really showing the citizens of Macon how appreciative I am of their support.

 

Randall: How important has surrounding yourself with the positive people been to your success as an artist and a young man?

QueMy positive surroundings encourage me to do the right things, and make sure I don’t stain my image or the brand I’m building. My fans, family, and friends are all positive people and that motivates me to keep pushing such a great movement.

 

Randall: The Business Dictionary defines “branding” as “The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.” From what I see, you’ve been incredibly successful in this regard.

Que: Yes my brand has extended internationally. Fans from Africa and Germany to Canada and other parts of the U.S have become strong supporters of my image.

 

Randall: How does it feel to open up for established acts such as Diggy Simmons, The OMG Girlz and Tank?

Que: It felt great to open for Diggy Simmons and the OMG girls! Diggy is actually one of my role models in the industry so just to walk the same stage as him was amazing. The OMG girls and Tank are also very talented. It was an honor meeting10414468_711302028929987_6146787554088474143_n all of them and having the opportunity to perform with them.

 

Randall: How important is faith to your success?

Que: Faith plays a big role in my success because I have to believe in myself. I believe that I can succeed in everything I put my mind to. If you don’t believe yourself no one else will.

 

Randall: There’s a myth that the younger generation, especially young people in the black community, are misguided and counterproductive. On a daily basis I’m trying to fight and show the world that we’re a force to be reckoned with. With all the great things you’re doing now, what do you have to say to our critics?

Que: There are still young educated black youths out here in the world. Not all young black people are misguided, and there are many of us that are doing something productive with our lives. I just wish we could unite and support each one another so we could stop giving these critics something to talk about.

 

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

Que: I have a single called Dance Floor that I am about to push. Meanwhile, I’m getting prepared for more concerts for this month and July. I also have a couple of meetings coming up with some major labels about distribution.

 

Randall: Where can we find you?

Que: You can find me on:

Facebook.com/Que95

Twitter.com/Queofficial

Instagram.com/QueWorld

YouTube.com/Mquis95

 

My official website is the

TheRealQue.com

 

 

Do you have any questions, comments or concerns? Do you have somebody you want me to interview? Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Twitter: @AuthorRandallB

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Rebuilding The Family w/Author Chanel Savage

When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching — they are your family.

Jim Butcher

For decades, we’ve been experiencing a major breakdown of the black family unit. As time has worn on, our situation has gotten worse. Where I’m from, seeing a child that lives in a two parent household is an anomaly. For some, it’s amazing if the mother and father even like each other!

There are several social ramifications to this savage break-up of one of the strongest institutions in our rich history. The epidemic of babies having babies has gotten more widespread. Every teenager knows at least one girl that is currently pregnant or has birthed a baby. Meanwhile, the prison industrial complex has successfully found a way to make black men the new slaves. With an overwhelming amount of black men dead or in jail, the emasculation of the black man has picked up full force. The dominant Black familysociety doesn’t even see us as useful, seeing the fact that our young men get gunned down every day without the batting of an eyelash.

There needs to be a definite change in the tide, family. The narcissistic mindset of our modern day society desperately needs to be lost! As a community, we’re all we’ve got.  We have the power to rebuild our families. We just need to know we have this power!

In the literary space, there have been numerous authors that have created projects inspired by dysfunctional families. Many of them are considered classics and are even studied in educational institutions around America. Author Chanel Savage has decided to put her own spin on things with her new novel Savage Sisters. The novel is based around the central message of family unity and the strength of women. Recently, I got a chance to briefly sit down with her and talk about her novel, the plight of the black family and solutions to this issue.

 

Randall: Your novel Savage Sisters is about the importance of a strong family unit during troubling times. How did this story come about and what was your inspiration behind writing it?

Chanel Savage: I’ve been writing on and off for years.  I would read, see, or hear something and come up with an idea, and start writing.  Then I noticed I had ideas, and started stories I had never finished.  When I started Savage Sisters I said to myself I am going to finish this story. 

I wanted to write about more than one character because I felt that it would keep the book interesting. I wanted my characters to have all different personalities but share a common bond.  I thought a sister hood surrounded by the struggles of their parents, and inheriting a mean streak from their father was perfect. 

The inspiration behind Savage Sisters is the power of women. Although we struggle we still manage get through our 20140308_224029530_iOS situations, sometimes by any means necessary. I think women are so powerful in so many  ways.  But men are indeed stronger. Some take advantage of women and mistreat them. 

  I wanted my characters to take control of their situations, and not feel sorry for themselves.   Shayla, Shanice, Shante, and Shakira Savage all wanted to be loved by the men that they  love.  These men took advantage of them, and mistreated them.  This kind of mistreatment  happens every day in all communities.  The Savage Sisters handled their situation the only  way knew how, by being savages.

 

Randall: Was there a realistic motivation behind the novel?

Chanel Savage: Yes, there was a realistic motivation behind the story.  All of these situations I have either experienced, know someone who has experienced it, or saw it on the news. 

 

Randall: In the black community, there’s been a horrible break down of the family unit. What’s your take on this?

Chanel Savage: My take on the breakdown of the family we aren’t stepping up in our roles. I believe that some black women are not stepping up to the plate and being mothers.  Most black men are in jail or six feet under. The women are so important because we have to raise our children even when the father is not around.  I hate to see our black women not motivated to do better for themselves and their children. 

Public assistance is only supposed to be temporary. Some women stay on it most of their lives. Children are motivated by what they see.  It’s very few children that have a basketball or football talent that will magically elevate them out of the hood. There are also very few black children motivated to go to college.  

As women we have to choose the right man to have children by.  The man we choose has to be someone a child can look up to.  As a women we must creating a household with rules and regulations that are properly put in place.  Some women take mothering as a joke! Displaying that behavior, they are effectively creating another dysfunctional family.

 

Randall: We all love debating over the symptoms and problems surrounding this family issue but I’m in the business of fixing and finding long term solutions to our problems. How can we turn the tide?

Chanel Savage: First of all, no one on this earth is perfect. We all struggle.  Struggling is not about just not having money.  I love all four of my kids.  I think as parents the struggle comes with raising your children.  Most kids just want to be loved and acknowledged. 

I think as parents, or as a single parent, you have to make every day in their life count.  You have to set boundaries.  You have to teach them respect of self, and others.  You have to motivate your kids to be the best they can be.  You have be their number one supporter. You have to show them that family in everything. You have to be their parent.  Everything they do comes from you. The children are our future. It’s so true because we all were once children.

 

Randall: In your opinion, is there a place in the current black literary market for fiction that has an overt message and tackles real world issues?

Chanel Savage: I feel that there is a big place in the literary market for stories that confront real world issues.  Most people who read urban fiction walk out the door and they witness what we write about every day. Our readers love stories that they can relate to. I think everyone wants reality with some added drama rather it be on T.V. or in a book. 

 

To learn more about Chanel Savage, visit www.purpleinkpublishing.com

 

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

 

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

Growth & Maturity w/Author Shaka Senghor

“A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”

-Muhammad Ali

One thing that I’ve discovered in my seventeen years of living on the earth is that maturity is a trait that many will never get the pleasure of obtaining in their lives. It’s foreign or apparent, regardless of age, gender or race.  I searched the internet and all the major dictionary websites and couldn’t find a definition for the word maturity that wasn’t simple in its origin or had something to do with aging fruit. So, after considerable time, I researched heavier and found an article entitled Intellectual Development and Psychological Maturity. The article was exactly what I was looking for and more.

The article, written by renowned American psychologist David Wechsler, defines maturity as “the ability to respond to the environment in an appropriate manner” and “the act of being of the correct time and place to behave and knowing when to act, according to the circumstances and the culture of the society one lives in.” Now knowing what maturity really means, ask yourself if the individuals you come in contact with on a daily basis around you or you yourself display maturity. I know I do! It’s a different story for the people around me though…….

Shaka Senghor The ratchetness and unruliness that I see on a daily basis is a sign of major  immaturity. It’s not cute or cool brothers and sisters! Like I said before, age and  circumstances can’t be used as excuses anymore. Think about the quote about  diamonds being made under pressure. The most mature, intelligent and advanced  people come from very negative circumstances and situations. Take for example  author, mentor and motivational speaker Shaka Senghor.

Shaka’s story is simply amazing. He is the epitome of growth and true maturity in  every sense of the definition. He went from a drug dealer who caught a body at the age  of nineteen to a multiple featured speaker on a global platform like TED Talks. He was recently named the national outreach representative for the BMe Community. Recently, I got a chance to dialogue with him about his life  and his rigorous move into the literary industry.

 

Randall: Many assume they know the author based on the book. Yet, tell us who is Shaka Senghor, the person?

Shaka Senghor: I am a writer and mentor and have shared my story of redemption with youth and young adults at high schools and universities across the nation.  While serving nineteen years in prison, I transformed my life, and once I returned home, I began mentoring young males who were headed down the same destructive path that led me to prison. Despite the crime I was convicted of or the lengthy sentence I served, I refuse to allow my past to define who I am or what I am capable of.

 I use my story to inspire and motivate others and unpack the causes of youth violence.  I have worked with youth at the Detroit Job Corps, Cody High School, Don Bosco Hall, Osborn High School, Henry Ford High School, and Tri-County Educational Center. I have also lectured at the University of Wisconsin–Platteville, the University of Michigan, Fordham University, Wayne State University, Marygrove College, and Pace University, and am an invited guest on local radio and television programs.

In 2012, I was awarded the Black Male Engagement Leadership Award and have worked closely with the Knight Foundation to launch the Black Male Engagement (BMe) Community, a network of Black men engaged in their community. I am also a 2013 MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow and Co-Teach a class at the University of Michigan. I recently did a talk at TED 2014 during their 30th year anniversary that was an audience favorite. 

Shaka on the prestigious TED Talks stage.
Shaka on the prestigious TED Talks stage.

 

While incarcerated, I discovered my love for writing, eventually penning six novels, including the highly addictive street lit series, Crack: Volume 1 and Crack: Volume 2 Lockdown.  Most recently, I published my memoir Writing My Wrongs and some of my writings in a book for misguided youth entitled Live in Peace: A Youth Guide to Turning Hurt into Hope, which is a companion piece to my mentoring program, Live in Peace Digital and Literary Arts Project.  

Just as I had used writing to process my emotions while I was incarcerated, I now help youth address emotional, physical, and sexual abuse through the power of writing.  Whether I’m writing or speaking to youth, I always speak the truth about the oppressive conditions of the ‘hood and the not-so-glamorous side of the streets. 

 

Randall: What and who inspired you to become an author?

Shaka Senghor: My inspiration as a fiction writer is Donald Goines, his gritty street tales resonated with me because I grew up in the streets of Detroit that he wrote about.  As a non-fiction writer my two inspirations are Malcolm X and Assata Shakur.

 

Randall: How difficult was it for you to enter the literary field?

Shaka Senghor: It was very difficult to enter the field because I was incarcerated in solitary confinement when I first started writing and published my first book shortly after I was released from solitary into general population, but I found a way to make it happen.

 

Randall: Is it what you expected?

Shaka Senghor: It was nothing like I expected, because I started writing before Urban Fiction went commercial. I take the craft serious and it was sad watching other authors live out their dreams while I was trapped in solitary confinement. Fortunately I didn’t allow my circumstances to stand in the way of what I envisioned for my future as a writer.

 

Randall: Where do you get your story ideas from and what’s the process?

Shaka Senghor: When I started writing fiction I reflected on my experiences growing up during the height of the Crack era. I also get ideas from the other side of street life, because I want people to know there is more to life then catching a bit or getting killed at a young age.  When it’s all said and done I want to leave a literary legacy that honors the best in our culture, respects the craft of writing and storytelling and inspires the next hungry young artist to go after their goals and live out their dreams.

 

Randall: In 3 years, where do you see yourself at?

Shaka Senghor: In the next 3 years i plan to be touring the country and sharing my testimony and work with people all over the world.

 

Randall: Where are you from?

Shaka Senghor: I was born and raised in Detroit up until the age of 19 when I was sent to prison to serve my sentence.

 

Randall: As a professional, you have to put your personal views and feelings to the side for the sake of business?

Shaka Senghor: I conduct myself with the highest level of professionalism.  I believe you should always respect your fans and supporters and be available to them when they come out to support us.  People sacrifice their money and time to come into our world and when they do they should be rewarded with a professional experience.

 

Randall: What genres do you write in and do you have ambitions to dabble in other ones?

Shaka Senghor: I write what I call Conscious Street Lit, however I also write contemporary romance, non-fiction and poetry.  I’m looking forward to writing some horror stories in the near future. I am a writer’s writer and I respect the craft, so I am always finding new ways to challenge myself as a writer.  I don’t believe in comfort zones and believe when you break those molds, you grow as a writer and storyteller.

 

Randall: How can we find your titles and future book signings?

Shaka Senghor: I am preparing for a multi city tour coming soon and plan to hit a few cities on the East coast and down south.  My titles are available on my website at www.shakasenghor.com

 

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

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

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

 

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 Art of Reinvention w/New York Times Bestselling Author Wahida Clark

“It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you came from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.”

-Oprah Winfrey

One of the many reasons I wrote my first novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson was to show the young people of my millennial generation that there are benefits in dreaming and keeping things positive. On a daily, we are bombarded with a myriad of negative media images that depict us in the worst ways possible. Why can’t more of our successes be celebrated on a mass scale? Why is it that you have to dig deep to find the positive aspects of the youth of America? An even bigger question, why is it buried in the first place?

When you live in a community where a sex tape gets more attention and coverage than a young man getting accepted to all of the Ivy League learning institutions, there’s a major problem that needs to be addressed. How can young people ‘aim for the stars’ when we’re stuck in a seemingly inescapable, bottomless pit? Those who have the courage enough to attempt an escape from this proverbial hell hole are condemned and dragged down by the very individuals that they are trapped with.  Others allow their fear and doubt to overtake any thoughts of striving for better. We’re honestly in a miserable state!

The adults of this society aren’t any better. Many of them spend their times psychoanalyzing any misstep we happen to make in our journey to adulthood instead of being guides for us. We are so desperate to find the path to success that we often choose to fall victim to the mesmerizing glare of instant gratification. What’s the point of working hard when it’s easier to wild out and have fun twenty-four/seven? Forget the future! Many young people decide to live for right now, a choice that one comes to regret as time wears on. But how are we to know any better? We are seen as the bastard child of human evolution after all. Listening to how people view us, you’d think that the world is doomed to Armageddon when we grow to become the elders of our respective communities.

I want my peers to realize that struggle is the only way to achieve success. Nothing worth achieving in life is easy. No matter what neighborhood, block or project you’re from, passion for your craft and hard work can help you achieve infinite prosperity. Don’t let anything limit you from climbing the stairway of success. You may experience a few bumps in your trip. You may even stumble altogether. Nevertheless, it’s your responsibility to get up and keep working towards your goals.

One of my favorite songs of all-time is James Fortune’s gospel hit Hold On featuring Fred Hammond, Monica and FIYA. The hook of the song really speaks to me. The members of FIYA sing:

“So hold on

You are too close to give up now

You have so much to live for

Remember what you prayed for

Hold on, please don’t let go in this season

Know that flowers bloom when rain falls

You just hold on”

A perfect example of a person using their talent and ambition to make it out of their rough situation is Wahida Clark. She’s a New York Times best-selling author, publisher, entrepreneur and one of the most recognizable faces in urban literature. However, she didn’t start off at the top of the food chain. Ms. Clark underwent some major changes to become the literary legend that she is today. In between promotion for her new novel Blood, Sweat & Payback with Cash Money Content, I got a chance to ask her a few questions.

Randall: You were in prison for nine in a half years. What willed you through that trying time?

Wahida Clark: If I had to choose one thing, I’d have to say having to provide for my family.

Randall: You wrote your first novel and signed a publishing deal while still serving your prison stint! How were you able to keepwahida_-084 focus on your goals?

Wahida Clark: I actually wrote seven novels by the time my nine in a half years were over and had lucrative contracts with two major publishing companies. I was determined to write best-sellers, be the best at what I was doing and to provide for my family. That is why I was able to stay focused.

Randall: How much of a key was your relationship with Martha Stewart to your current success?

Wahida Clark: Knowing that Martha was right next door, but yet still seeing her shows and commercials running on the television was huge to me. Her empire was still growing even while she was in prison. That spoke volumes to me.

Randall: How were you able to bounce back from your prison stint and become one of the most recognizable brands in African-American Literature?

Wahida Clark: Honestly, I am just getting started. Outside of expanding Wahida Clark Presents Publishing, I have also just a few days ago launched W. Clark Distribution (wclarkdistribution.zreply.com) to assist indie authors and small publishers to get their titles in every format and in front of 38,000 retailers. I’ve noticed that we have not been able to do so because we didn’t know how or have the vehicle.

Randall: What are the qualities of a New York Times best-selling author?

download (4)  Wahida Clark: There are three major qualities that all New York Times best-selling authors have:

  1)      They are able to move large units of their work 

  2)       They have a well-crafted product  

  3)      They have a strong fanbase and they engage them daily

Randall: From extensive research, I can tell that you use all of your power and resources to give back  to  your community. What are some of the services that you provide to young people?

  Wahida Clark: Through our non-profit organization Prodigal Sons & Daughters Redirection    Services, we offer Mentorship and Life Skills training. Our ultimate goal is to get our own state-of –    the-  art vocational training center. We actually have just been nominated for the White House  Agents of  Change award. Wish us luck!

Randall: Do you believe black women are at a disadvantage in the business world? Why or why not?

Wahida Clark: Of course we are disadvantaged but it’s not just black women. All women experience this. I honestly believe there’s a change coming though. Women’s liberation has been going on for over a hundred years. Not just here, all over the world.

Randall: What advice would you give to young women aiming to become entrepreneurs?

Wahida Clark: Study your craft and then master it. I love being an entrepreneur. You can grow, you never remain stagnant and are always learning new things.

Purchase Blood, Sweat  Payback now!

A list of Wahida Clark’s upcoming projects!

  • The Blood, Sweat & Payback App.
  • W. Clark Distribution (w.clarkdistribution.zreply.com)                      

o   Enemy Bloodline by Umar Quadeer

o   Butterfly by Michael A. Robinson

o   Venom in My Vienz by Rumont Tekay

o   Ratchet City by Cayenne

o   The Pussy Trap Part 4 by NeNe Capri

Follow Ms. Clark on:

o   Twitter: @wahidaclark

o   Facebook.com/wahidaclark

o   Instagram: @wahidaclark

o   www.wclarkpublishing.com

o   www.bloodsweatandpayback.com

The Randall Barnes Experience

-We came, we saw, we conquered! My debut publishing effort “Riverview High: Circumstances” reached #2 on the Amazon charts! Check it out on Amazon today. Don’t forget to leave a review!

http://www.amazon.com/Riverview-High-Circumstances-Young-Fiction-ebook/dp/B00O2FCWGY/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

-“The Diary Of Aaliyah Anderson” is out now! Make sure to go get it!

http://www.amazon.com/Diary-Aaliyah-Anderson-Randall-Barnes/dp/0988762196/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404822785&sr=8-1&keywords=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: https://www.facebook.com/randall.barnes.501