. : Author : .



Name::Rodney
From::

View my complete profile

: Fellow Passengers :

Crofton

Aaron

KC

Will

Jan

Shazza

Mkono

Lawrence

Edward

Aeryk

C$

Lee

Cordell

DeShawn

Calvin

. : The Family : .

mom, Darline

brother, George

sister, Kysee

niece, Klasiq

nephew, Jaishaun

cousin, Kali w/Kysee

. : Archives : .

08/13/05
08/14/05
08/16/05
08/20/05
08/24/05
08/25/05
08/26/05
08/28/05
08/30/05
09/04/05
09/07/05
09/08/05
09/10/05
09/11/05
09/17/05
09/19/05
09/22/05
09/23/05
09/25/05
09/26/05
09/27/05
09/28/05
09/29/05
10/02/05
10/04/05
10/11/05
10/13/05
10/18/05
10/23/05
10/24/05
10/25/05
10/26/05
11/02/05
11/03/05
11/06/05
11/14/05
11/25/05
11/27/05
11/28/05
11/30/05
12/01/05
12/04/05
12/06/05
12/11/05
12/13/05
12/17/05
12/18/05
12/19/05
12/25/05
12/27/05
01/01/06
01/02/06
01/04/06
01/06/06
01/07/06
01/08/06
01/10/06
01/14/06
01/16/06
01/19/06
01/20/06
01/23/06
01/27/06
01/31/06
02/06/06
02/08/06
02/14/06
02/26/06
02/27/06
03/06/06
03/09/06
03/18/06
03/20/06
03/22/06
03/23/06
03/28/06
03/29/06
04/04/06
04/05/06
04/06/06
04/07/06
04/14/06
04/17/06
05/04/06
05/06/06
05/10/06
05/16/06
06/06/06
06/15/06
07/01/06
07/10/06
07/24/06
08/10/06
08/16/06
08/24/06
09/25/06
09/30/06
11/15/06
11/19/06
11/24/06
11/29/06
12/21/06

. : Baggage Handlers : .


View My Stats

Monday, December 19, 2005

On Being a Celebrity

Well... I'm not really a celebrity, but every now and then I'll get a couple of seconds of the 15 minutes of fame Andy Warhol promised.
I occasionally host a talk show that airs on the local cable network. I've had the opportunity to interview a few interesting people... Felipe Luciano, the a capella group, Naturally Seven, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., Bobby Brown, Jr...
For the past few years people have stopped me in passing to say they saw me on television. They've always been pleasant exchanges that have left me feeling warm and fuzzy. Sometimes someone will just say, "I'm watching you." or "I saw you on TV." I'm usually at a loss for a response. I mean...what do you say? "Thanks for watching." or "Keep watching." I never know and I never want to offend anyone. The whole thing makes me just a little uncomfortable.

Extreme discomfort occurred on Friday as I stood on line at a supermarket a few towns away from where I live. This big, burly black dude is walking by and at the top of his lungs, begins to shout, "Hey man... I know you... you from Long Branch... I watch you on TV all the time. The show is good." Then brothaman called me by my childhood nickname! I was appalled. All the people in line began to examine me, to try and determine if they had seen me on TV as well. After blurting out my nickname he announced his identity. Turns out he's the same dude that punched me in the face in 5th grade cause I tried to holla at his girlfriend. How did I know he would turn out the way he did?


Anyway, today I interviewed Phillip Thomas Duck, author of Playing With Destiny. I interviewed him partly because he's a local author, but mostly because the book is good. After seeing the cover I assumed it would be 275 pages of baby mama drama, but I was pleasantly surprised. What we have here is intelligent urban drama. The characters are complex and compelling. They are not the flat characters that we have come to know from some of today's popular writers. The protagonist of the story is actually a writer. He's clearly frustrated by the lack of talented writers and even references James Baldwin and Richard Wright when discussing greatness. During the interview, Duck acknowledged those authors as direct influences, which opened up a discussion about a shortage of Black male writers while the market is inundated with mediocre books by white authors. We both acknowledge that Black readership still suffers, especially among males and as long as brothers aren't reading, they won't write.

I attribute it to an attitude that books are not needed once you finish your education. I don't know a great many black men who were encouraged to read for pleasure. I know I wasn't. Books were certainly around the house, but no one told me to go read one. There was also an attitude that a dude must be soft if he reads. In the interview I bring up the resistance that black male writers faced in the past from their own peoples. Langston Hughes and James Baldwin for their sexuality, Wallace Thurman for writing about intraracial prejudice, Richard Wright for marrying, not one, but two white women, Ralph Ellison for not being black enough. Of course, the best way to demonize a black man is to make him gay or marry him off to a white woman. He becomes the disgrace of the race. It doesn't give brothas who can write much incentive to produce.

As we began to discuss ways to build African American readership, the subject of book clubs came up. Duck is working with a group of boys at the high school he attended. Boyz II Men is a support group for young men to help them navigate their way to manhood. This is the first time a book club has been introduced exclusively for young men. He met with the students last week and introduced Playing with Destiny. I took the opportunity to put in a plug for Roderick Tate's, Atlanta-based group, Brothas Well Read and the good work Derrick L. Briggs is doing in the New York-area. Still hyped from the experience, I talked a little about Stories.

Overall, I was pleased with the tone of the interview. I love it when a couple of brothas can sit around and talk intelligently, recognizing our strengths and weaknesses, embracing both for their value. It's empowering and comforting to realize all that is wrong with us is not entirely our fault, but that we are able to fix a great deal of it. It's amazing what can occur during dialogue.


Posted by Rodney :: 7:20 AM :: 10 Comments:

Post or view comments

---------------------------------------------

Featured Quote

Never make someone a priority when you are only an option for them.

. : On the Journey : .

. : On Another Journey : .

Mattie Watkins 1930-2006

Leroy Whitfield 1969-2005

Frankie Warren 1921-2005

Willie Snell 1925-2003

Clayton Jackson 1974-2001

. : Credits : .

Blogger
Template By Caz