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Friday, February 23, 2007
On behalf of FTP, he was able to donate an astounding $400 worth of brand new books to each library. (see below)
(Richard Wright Library)
(Medgar Evers Library)
The donations were a part of Conversations Book Club ongoing literary project, READ MY LIPS.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Stanley Clark (For The People Productions) and Librarian Laura Turner (Medgar Evers Library) discuss Jihad's Street Life.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Conversations Book Club & For The People Productions Finalize new partnership with Urban Books/Q-Boro Books
(l-r, Stanley Clark (For The People Productions), Bestselling author Alisha Yvonne and C. A. Webb (Conversations Book Club)
On Tuesday, February 13, 2007 C. A. Webb (President of Conversations Book Club) and Stanley Clark (President of For The People Productions) announced their new partnership with two major publishers of urban fiction: Urban Books and Q-Boro Books.
Beginning March 1, 2007, you can find all of the authors of each publishing house at the home office of For The People Productions in Canton, MS--- at an astounding 22% off the retail price. It is hoped that this will continue to push the book club's mission of providing quality titles at an affordable price.
To see all the authors published by these houses, click here.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Just months before she embarks on her tour, bestselling author Lisa Jackson takes time out of her hectic schedule to give CONVERSATIONS an in-depth look at the woman who has built a brand for herself as both a mystery and romance author. In this interview she talks about the thrill of debuting in hardback in 2006, her life as a reader and why she isn't afraid of technology stealing away readers...
With all the success you have enjoyed, does it ever just hit you some time that your gift for telling a good story has made you a national bestselling author? It is a great feeling and to be honest I am kind of surprised by it. I have always had a gift for writing, but I never intended or expected to have the find of success I have experienced. My only regret is that my father was not around to see it.
What is it like for you to go into a bookstore and entire sections of books that carried your name? I have to tell you that I have gone into some bookstores and they didn't carry my book. I have been at this game for a long time, so I have come to be thankful for everything that I experience. To see sections of my books in stores is very gratifying, though, I have to admit.
You say you have always had a gift for writing, but what about reading? When did your love for words and books begin?
I grew up in a small town, thankfully in a family that was full or readers. We lived in Oregon and we read everything from books to the daily newspaper. I would have to say that I began writing for the same reason: the joy it brings me. Books are a fabulous way for of taking you up and out of where you are.
Has it surprised you that you continue to pick up new readers and hold on to loyal ones with each release? That has indeed been a thrill. It seems with each new book I have expanded audience, and it crosses all different lines in regards to lifestyles, demographics and so on. To go into an establishment and see someone reading one of my books gives me a deep sense of satisfaction, and I'm grateful for that.
What pressures did you feel after the first book?
I grew up a big fan of suspense novels, however, many of my fans were introduced to me through my romance novels. If anything it was a gamble to move away from the romantic titles and settle into what I really love. I'm glad that for the past 20 years my passion for suspense has been accepted by my fans.
I'm glad that you mentioned about your writing both romance and suspense, because that leads me to my next question. One phase of your staying power seems to be that you are a versatile author, being able to write under different genres. How have you managed to keep the story lines going? I have been able to write all different type of books, however, since they are not sequential it's sometime proven to be a nightmare for me. I find myself asking questions like "Can this character do this now?" or "Is it possible for this to happen here?" Thank goodness now I use storyboards to chart each project.
Shiver was my first book to read by you. If you were asked by a reader what book they should read next, what would you tell them and why?
Shiver is part of my series that features Detective Reuben Montoya, so there is more to his story than is told in Shiver. To get the full development, it would be best to read them in this order: Hot Blooded, Cold Blooded, The Night Before, The Morning After and so on. With that being said, each book is designed to continue the story, but can stand on its own as well.
The reviews for Shiver seems to mirror your past releases: riveting, chilling. captivating, but from what I have read about this book in comparison to some of your previous releases there are some differences. Tell us about them. One thing I have noticed is that readers want more romance from me and less mystery. Some of my latest releases have been more violent, more gory. Not all of my books have been received by critics and fans with the same favorable response. I don't read reviews on Amazon or sites like that, but I take all reviews with a grain of salt. At the end of the day I am writing to please myself. That is why Montoya continues to appear.
Tell us about Montoya in Shiver. From what I have read about him in other reviews he has changed with each book. Shiver was an easy book to write, mainly because of Montoya, and yes, he has evolved. When I first introduced Montoya, he was quick on the trigger, very green and so young. The character has grown up and now has really taken on a life of his own. I just let them tell the story as they see live it, and all I have to do is write it. One thing I have learned is that every time Montoya is on the page, it is a fun scene to write.
I mentioned that Shiver was the first book of yours that I have read, however, you also experienced a first with it. Shiver was your first book to debut in Hardcover.Yes, it was planned and of course if a gamble. That is where the logistics of the business comes in. Alot of authors jump into hardback too quickly...it seems to be a prestige thing. For me it was making sure the time was right, and that I could live up to the expectations that come with it. For me it paid off in a big way, that's entirely to my fans.
This interview is part of my READ MY LIPS campaign that encourages literacy. With such a variety of authors and books on the market geared towards every type of individual, what do you think we could do to promote reading more among the youth?
That is always a difficult subject for me. I have to tell you that if I would have had tv like it is available today that I probably wouldn't have been so into reading. It happens on their own. In the case of my children, I always encourage them to read and made it available, but at the end of the day they had to choose when and if they were going to become fans of books. For some it happens early in life. For others it might be much later. When you look at the whole Harry Potter series and how it opened things up, to me that is a great testament to the fact that if you can capture the reader's attention then they will read. Another thing is that because of the internet the way people are reading has changed. As a society, we have to think outside of paper books.
Thanks again for your time, Lisa. What would you like to say to your readers? I just want to tell them thank you for being supportive and for writing to me. For those who may just be finding out about me, I invite them to please come and send me when I am in your area on tour of through my website. To aspiring writers I want to say continue to read and keep writing from the heart-- no matter what it might be.
Lisa Jackson will be touring beginning in April 2007 with her book ABSOLUTE FEAR. You can find out more about her by visiting her website
Bestselling author Gloria Mallette has set a new standard for adult fiction. A resident of Pennsylvania, she has become known for her novels that cause you think and entertain during the same read. Her novels Distant Lover, The Honey Well, What’s Done in the Dark and now If There Be Pain have all gotten critical acclaim, but as her interview with Conversations shows, the author writes more for her own enjoyment and is humbled by the success she has experienced. Find out what else she shares in this exclusive conversation.
Gloria, it is such a pleasure to get this opportunity to speak with you. I have read two of your books at this point, WHAT’S DONE IN THE DARK and IF THERE BE PAIN. You are such a skillful storyteller. I have to ask: How does it feel to be able to keep your readers coming back for more?
Thank you for your compliment! I always wanted to tell stories that would get the attention of others yet remained true to my particular style. Since the 2002 release of PROMISES TO KEEP, I have tried to get better with each book, but that is second to my desire just to be true to my characters.
How have others related to your introspective style of writing?
I have to say that it has been a mixed bag. It is my nature to address issues, whether its with families or even internal struggles with the characters. Some readers appreciate that. Others have not been so kind. They say my work is too slow or not exciting enough. Some have even said that they don’t feel real. I like to hear the responses, good and bad, but I have come to realize that you can't please the masses. If you read something by someone or about something that you can’t relate to or don’t like then move on to something else that might keep your attention. With all the books on the market there is surely something for everyone.
What is the most enjoyable aspect for you when writing?
I like character development. That is what has gotten me through each epic, learning to listen to my characters. 99 % of what I put my characters through I have no experience with, but I let the characters take me where they want to go. It does require research on my part, but the end result is that I have remained true to them.
Tell me about the beginning of your journey as a published author.
In the beginning it was difficult for me. People told me that my stories were interesting, but none of them were selling. That led me to begin by self-publishing. In this way I had total creative control, but it also put limitations on me when it came to where my books could be sold and my distribution. Thanks to simply word of mouth and my own promoting I was able to sell thousands of copies on my own. It was at that point that publishers took notice. I am not a formula driven author. I have to write what I feel.
One of the things that I noticed about your books is the fact that though the book covers portray a black face, your books really could relate to all races. Do you feel as though the way your books are marketed has anything to do with the way they have been received?
That’s a great question. When I sit down to write a book like IF THERE BE PAIN, I'm writing about the characters, not about what color they are. Again, I enjoy writing about issues. I do believe that authors---especially African American authors--- can be limited by the way we are marketed. If you think about it: our white counterparts don’t have to put white faces on their covers in order to draw their readers. People read and buy their books because they like what they have to say. That’s how I want it to be in my case. I am just telling the story. If it crosses all ethnic lines or not, I don't need to say what they look like—unless it matters to the story I am telling.
On the other hand, I do have to write from the point of being what I am: an African American woman.
Who do you find yourself writing for the most, Gloria: the publisher, your fans or yourself?
Me. I have to write first for me. That is the only way I can be true to the stories I tell and the characters I create.
With IF THERE BE PAIN were you at all surprised at how the story developed, namely the main character Kyle Lawson?
I was surprised about the way the book evolved. The book tells the story of a young man who seemingly had everything going for him but couldn't commit when it came to relationships. Most of the time he, like people we know, doesn't listen to family or those around him. In the end, though, he realizes that if he wants to live, he has to get himself together--or die trying.
What was the overall message you wanted to get across?
People try to manipulate each others to get what they want. I also wanted to address how a lot of times we have people close to us that we don’t show or tell how much we love and need them. Finally IF THERE BE PAIN shows how a lie can affect not only the one who tells it, but everyone around them.
Do you have anything you want to say to your fans?
I want to thank them for their support and encouragement. I also want to encourage anyone who has read my books---whether they enjoyed them or not---to drop by Amazon.com and leave me a review. I want to know what all of you think. Everyone's opinion matters. www.gloriamallette.com
My conversation with Jihad makes me wonder how I have gotten as far as I have without his words of wisdom. He is a man that has endured a great deal and come out a real warrior in the literary world. With three books under his belt and more in the works, Jihad has a message that will educate some and empower all. Look for him to be visiting Mississippi in July 2007 in connection with Conversations Book Club READ MY LIPS Literacy Project.
Jihad, I have read some of the reviews about your work and even some things about your life. Why don't you tell our CONVERSATIONS readers a little about yourself and how you discovered the craft of writing?
I’m a very socio-conscious individual. I love my people of color with an unheralded passion, but I also can’t stand them at times. I fell in love with Black People while serving a 7-plus year sentence in Federal Prison. It was there that I met the most intelligent articulate men whom happened to be Black that I’ve ever known. These brotha’s inspired and tricked me into reading. Before prison I’d never read anything outside of a jet or ebony magazine, so when I finally read the likes of Na’im Akbar, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannon, Rudolph Windsor and countless others it opened my eyes for the first time in my life. I started to understand why and how Oppressive factors work. I began to understand how and why the collective population of Hispanic and Blacks in America did and thought the way they do. And as my understanding grew answers to our plight became evident. And I developed a passion for speaking to the inmates and bringing them together by their likenesses instead of their differences. I did this thru short 4-6 page essays. It was because of my words and my actions to elevate the thinking of third world peoples especially Blacks that got me close to two years in solitary confinement, and shipped around to 6 different prisons.
Anyway once I understood I wanted everyone else to understand so they would be on there way to mental emancipation. So I learned that Black folk wanted to be entertained instead of educated so as KRS-1 coined the word years ago I came to the conclusion that I would edutain our people. As our oppressors have done for Thousands of years, especially the 400 + years in America I decided I could trick our people into learning how to think again. Since I can’t take back the poison that I sold to my sistas and brothas in hoods all over the southeast and Midwestern US, I dedicated my life to writing edutaining stories, so hopefully I could save a few, that’s all I want and then I want those few to save a few and soon we will have a revolution, in that I mean CHANGE. Thank you..
Books became a part of your life when you were going through a transition in our life. Do you think you would have developed that love for words otherwise?
Not at all. If it weren’t for the inspiration I got from the self-taught Malcolm X’s, Marcus Garvey’s, and Martin Luther Kings, I met on the prison slave plantations I would surely be still walking dead destroying others with Crack or worst, or I would be in a box six-feet under
Kenneth Meeks, the managing editor of Black Enterprise Magazine, said that she admires your writing because of its raw energy. Tell us about the writing process for you. What do you pull from?
I pull from the ancestors that put it down way before me, I pull from every day experiences, from sistahs, brothas, current and past events. I have a treasure chest of knowledge at my disposal I pull from. And I can only write what I am passionate about, and all my books have several messages and they always will.
Hiphop fiction has found a very desirable niche in the literary world. Do you think the emergence of hiphop in literature will pull in a new crop of readers?
It already has our youth are reading like never before. I am just trying to change the image of Hip Hop Fiction as Kanye West, NAS, COMMON, JADA KISS, and so many more are trying to do with Hip-Hop music. I like to call what I do Inspirational Hip-Hop fiction. I would even go as far to say that I write THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE books for the young Urban American.
We interviewed Carl Weber in our debut issue of CONVERSATIONS. We talked about his publishing company Urban Books, which you are a product of and he referred to you all as his literary family. Do you find yourself counseling with him about book ideas or how to express and develop your own ideas?
Yes, definitely. Carl has given me an opportunity that no one else would. Yes I definitely brainstorm ideas and ask for his advice because he is where I want to be and who better to learn from than a person that is achieving the success that you want.
Another bestselling author that has spoke highly of you is Travis Hunter, who we also interviewed in the debut issue. He, like you, is a single father. Tell our readers how that shapes the work that you seek to publish? How do you see your role as a father figure for some of your readers?
Yeah, Travis is the man and a very close friend of mine. We share the same views about our writing and the publishing industry. Being a single father and dad reminds me constantly of my responsibility to keeping it real and write what I would not be ashamed for my son to one day read. It is an honor to be deemed as a father figure or a big brother cause I ain’t that old, but it’s a heavy weight that I love to carry, I got a strong back and I will carry young and old if they are willing to ride.
I noticed that you are the founder of the Jihad Uhuru Wake Up Everybody Foundation. Why did you start it and what do you hope to accomplish with it?
I started it because I absolutely HATE what is not taught in history class, or better yet the watered down version of American History. I hoped and still hope to obtain funds so I can go into the schools which I currently do on a small scale and hold Vibe Sessions speaking to our young brothas and sistas about Hispanic and African-American Heritage, and how knowing your History affects every move you make. I also started the Foundation to go into Juveniles, and schools, and colleges to introduce students to scholars, like Dr. Malena Karenga, Mariambi ANI, Claude Anderson, and more by giving these scholars books to groups of young folks and coming back to the school in 60 days time to let the groups give a 5 minute or less oration on what the book was about and how it could change society for the good. Each member of the winning group would receive a 200.00 shopping spree.
When talking about your own style, you have referred to is as "Wake Up Fiction." What do you mean by that?
In your face real, no cut. The language and the things we do today with real consequences behind our positive and negative actions in a realistic entertaining way.
Jihad, I have to tell you that I already had respect for you because of your second book. But I gained more appreciation for you when I saw that you used your status as a published author to encourage visitors of your website to shop locally, especially with minority-owned bookstores. Why do you think black people seem to have such a problem with supporting other black or minority businesses?
There is an old saying. The White Man’s ice is colder than the Black man’s. Sub-consciously we don’t even know it, but we believe if it is validated by White society than it is Grade A. If we walk into a Black establishment we want to bargain and get the hook up. When we go into Macy’s we don’t ask for the manager and see if we can get the hook up. Also convenience, glamour and Glitz. The other man’s store is bigger nicer and has bells and whistles that the Black man’s store doesn’t so we want to shop in luxury and oft times the other mans store is 1 cent cheaper so we want to save that penny so we can go to the club on Friday, so we but our club outfit from the other man instead of the brotha man. It’s rooted in tradition and self-hate. Self-hate has been passed down for generations, and greed and envy has become the order of the day so we will walk right past our establishment to see the bells and whistles and possibly get a 1 cent discount. We as a people have no conceptualization of self. We see self as me, my, mine instead of US. OUR DOLLARS. OUR COMMUNITY.
If you were asked to describe a career achievement for you thus far, what would it be?
What has meant the most from me is The young women and men that have gone to my website, e-mailed me, and posted a review on Amazon.com telling me how much of a difference my books have made in their lives. One particular 17 year old female explained in a very lengthy e-mail that she was contemplating suicide and had tried and failed once before, but after reading Baby Girl she was inspired to want to live. At first I thought it was going to be the money, but it is definitely the Baby Girl’s and Little and big brotha’s out there that have inspired me and have given me the deepest heartfelt gratification.
What has been the lowest point you've found yourself in after the first book came out?
My book sells, and the category that I have been cast in. Most people won’t pick up my books because of the negative image that Street Lit has obtained.
I have to ask you about seeing your name in print and having your work discussed, like in this interview. Do you find yourself saying "Did I really do that" or "Are they talking about me?"
All the time. When I first saw my name it was a weird feeling. You know I had grandiose dreams about changing the world through my books. I approach everything with a very aggressive attitude and I can be really impatient if things don’t happen when I think they should. Now that I’m in print I feel like I can make a difference. I feel as though I have to be the voice of the thousands of self-taught positive prison inmates that will never be heard.
Can you tell us about your next project?
I’m working on adapting Baby Girl into a movie screen play, at the request of a very well known Hollywood producer.
And my book RIDING RHYTHM is by far my best and most controversial. It’s a revolutionary love story like no other. Moses King the Robin Hood, Black Panther like founder of the notorious Disciples Chicago street gang is framed for the rape/murder of a popular Black Chicago Congressman and his wife, he is sentenced to life without parole. Rhythm Azure a young freedom fighting law student at Howard University takes interest in the case and as she grows closer to Moses and closer to uncovering a conspiracy involving government officials she attempts to bring the church and the street together to help her fight for the freedom of the man she grows to love. The closer she gets to the truth the closer she comes to her own demise and the demise of everyone who threatens to side with her including the incarcerated Moses King. Her only hope lies in uniting the two largest rival street gangs of Chicago along with the Church to topple the biggest conspiracy and cover up the nation has ever known.
We appreciate your time, Jihad. How can our readers find out more information about you and your organization?
Go to www.jihadwrites.com or www.amazon.com Thank you for your eyes and your hearts people.
Love and Life.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Bakari Kitwana is co-founder of the first National Hip-Hop Political Convention and the author of the 2002 groundbreaking The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture. He holds Masters Degrees in English and Education from the University of Rochester. Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop: Wankstas, Wiggers, Wannabes and the New Reality of Race in America is his most recent book.
Our Conversation with Kitwana began in 2006 and will come full circle in 2007 as we discuss the difference in Hiphop and Rap and who is to blame for the "bad rap" of Hiphop.
LET’S BEGIN WHEN YOU DISCOVERED THE POWER OF HIPHOP? When I first started it was writing about gangsta rap. I wanted to address those who said hip hop was too violent. I realized hiphop was a voice based on social and political climate. Some artists like Will Smith can be good music and have no real message that contains any relevance. I wanted to address what has happened to blacks as a people, and no other arena has done that like the hiphop culture. As I analyzed hiphop, I realized that society still is not offering an alternative for drugs or getting a job. The best the country has done is a career in the military. Take artists such as Eminem and Nas. They are both high school dropouts, yet realized that they could get the same jobs with a seventh grade education as someone who graduated from high school. They have a message that has a valid point to those experiencing the same conditions today.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR YOUTH. WHAT WAS INSPIRING TO YOU?I was born in 1966 in Long Island. My family was Pentecostal so I grew up with church being a big part of my life. My earliest recognition of music was hiphop. The music was very deejay-driven. Emcees weren’t flourishing during my early childhood memories, but the music was transitioning from disco to hiphop.
WERE YOU ALWAYS SOMEONE WHO HAD A LOT TO SAY?For me it is a continuous process, especially over the last three to four years. I have had time to think through the issues I raise more. Since my first book was published in 1994, I have been trying to bring a more political force to hiphop. More peers were as political or well-read as I was on the issues that I was bringing up. By the time that Public Enemy came out, they weren’t political enough for me. They were more about black power. Groups like KRS1 were more about directing people to read and think about issues.
I have been involved in politics in college. I was reading books on issues that were outside the classroom. I discovered that writing and books that could have an impact on people. I try to convey to those I speak to and who read my books how they can look at themselves as a generation of purpose. I want them to leave me thinking how they can bring a real level of politics to their generation.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCES WITH THE HIPHOP COMMUNITY?For me it was a seamless transition from disco to hiphop. By the time I heard “Rapper’s Delight,” I knew people who were already rapping. The music was not condoned by my parents when I was younger, because it was seen as the world’s music.
SUPPORT IS SOMETHING THAT IS MISSING WHEN IT COMES TO THE ARTS. WHAT WAS THE HIPHOP CULTURE LIKE FOR YOU?We lived hiphop when I was growing up. It wasn’t something that we did consciously. It’s just like when you saw that you go to work, you don’t think about whether you got there by walking, driving or catching a ride. Church taught me hot to listen to music, knowing what was good music and what wasn’t. My brothers didn’t get it, but that didn’t pose as a issue for me personally. It wasn’t a music that dealt with cursing and adult themes the way it does today. There wasn’t a need for the level of policing that goes on now. You didn’t hear the “N” word or the “B” word thrown around in music of that time. Today there is a real blurring of the prison culture with the true street culture and they have been imposed on what is considered hiphop.
YOUR BOOK “WHY WHITE KIDS LOVE HIP HOP” IS SAID TO ARGUE THAT HIPHOP HAS BROKEN DOWN MORE RACIAL BARRIERS THAN ANY OTHER SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE PAST THREE DECADES. WHAT DOES THT MEAN TO YOU?I have seen that the success of the civil rights movements has given way to the success of the hiphop movement. You don’t have to be a part of just one aspect in order to be accepted. You can be a deejay, rapper, dancer or whatever you represent. The book has made inroads, forcing young people to have access to black pop culture. Young white kids have more access to this culture. It will be up to them what they do with it.
HIPHOP SEEMED TO HAVE REPLACED ROCK MUSIC WHEN IT CAME TO CONTROVERSY. WHY DO YOU THINK IT HAS GARNERED SO MUCH CRITICISM? It’s an easy target. For people who aren’t black there is no repercussion for attacking young black people. Add that with the corporate packaging of hiphop that shows black women as being oversexed and black men as criminals and you have a potent combination. Hiphop goes beyond even the traditional black culture, so even it is understandable that older blacks can be offended.
WHO’S TO BLAME FOR THAT IMAGE?There’s a lot of blame to go around. The artist who creates the music for instance. For them a contract can be their lottery ticket, their opportunity to make some real money in America. Then you have the corporate industry. They don’t give a real range of music out there, so the market is skewed towards certain topics. And then society has to share some of the blame. We don’t hold them accountable and just take whatever they put out. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t have 30-40 year olds making music for 10-12 year olds that feature adult themes and not expect them to be adversely affected.
WHEN TESTIFYING IN THE CASE OF ANTHONY LATOUR, A MEMBER OF AN UP AND COMING RAP GROUP JUST BECAUSE ON BEHALF OF THE ACLU, YOU EXPLAINED THT BATTLE RAP CAN “GET PRETTY NASTY IN TERMS OF THE LANGUAGE” BUT WAS STILL SIMPLY “A VERBAL CHALLENGE.” HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING INVOLVED IN SUCH A CASE?I admit that the ACLU has been wrong on some issues but they have also been right on the frontline of issues dealing with people of color. The case made me consider what was being done. If a white student can be expelled (like Anthony Latour) from a predominantly white school, then just think what would happen to a black student that might be found in a similar situation. The kid was using the power of language, and that was his right.
PACIFIC NEWS SERVICE PUBLISHED A COMMENTARY YOU WROTE ENTITLED “WHY THE HIPHOP GENERATION SHOULDN’T VOTE FOR KERRY” ON AUGUST 24, 2004. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT YOU WERE TRYING TO GET ACROSS TO READERS?I wanted to encourage them to be involved in the electoral process. A lot of people have political ideas and no political expression. You can’t support a party based on race. It is not enough to vote for one candidate just because you say you hate the other. It is important that you know what they stand for before casting that vote.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR ROLE AS AN ADVOCATE, DOES IT COINCIDE WITH YOUR LIFE AS AN AUTHOR, OR DOES ONE LEAD THE OTHER?I think they go hand in hand. I am a political writer. Sometimes I write on things that just interest me. My books are political, and I approach them with an activist’s mind. My style is inspirational, trying to share information with the public and I want to inspire a new generation of activist.
TALK TO ME ABOUT RAP SESSIONS. I WANT TO KNOW HOW IT STARTED, WHAT THE INITIAL GOAL WAS AND WHAT YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH?I wanted to have a cross-racial discussion about hiphop. I felt that I needed to do more with the political organizing on a multi-racial front. There was more that I wanted to do with the way the book was being received. With Rap Sessions race and hiphop became something that people could handle. When CSPAN covered one of the sessions, people began contacting me and wanting us to bring it to where they were. I feel as though it is not just crossing racial lines but generational lines as well. Young people are looking for answers, and it is our responsibility to try and answer their questions. This year we tackled race and hiphop. Next year we are discussing gender and hiphop.
YOU HAVE BEEN FEATURED EVERYWHERE FROM NATIONAL TELEVISION SHOWS, THE NEW YORK TIMES TO EVEN WWW.PARENTHOOD.COM. HOW HAS THAT AFFECTED YOU?There is a certain level of accountability that comes with the notoriety. I believe that your background does give you some pause as to what you say. I realize it’s not about me. I need to say something to help other people. I try to meditate before every event, getting comfortable with my natural ability. I think of my role more as an intellectual than as a writer. I use the platform I have been given as a way to bring attention to those who may not get it. One thing I have noticed is that you have different races that enjoy the art of hiphop, but when it comes to the politics of the culture, it’s mostly blacks that are involved. I want others to see that there is more than the enjoyment of the music that makes you a supporter of the culture.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIPHOP AND RAP?I think there is the impression that one is more commercial than the other. It is said that hiphop is a culture and rap is just something you do. You live hiphop.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL HAS BEEN YOUR CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT FOR YOU?It has been having Hip Hop Generation have the impact it has and continues to have. The book is taught on over 100 college campuses as a text book. I am just glad to be part of a movement that gets you to thinking of hiphop as something more than just music.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAVE IDENTIFIED THEIR PARTICULAR VOICE AND WANT TO KNOW WHAT THEY SHOULD DO NEXT?It’s a process that you grow into. Trust your instincts. Don’t let people discourage you.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?My next book is “Set Your Soul Right”, to be released in 2007.
Friday, February 9th @ 6p.m.
Medgar Evers Library (601.982.2867)
Conversation with bestselling author Bakari Kitwana (Why White Kids Love Hiphop). He will be joining the discussion via conference call and discussing the influences of hiphop, VH1's new reality show THE WHITE RAPPER SHOW and why hiphop attracts people of all backgrounds.
Tuesday, February 13th @ 6p.m.
Medgar Evers Library (601.982.2867)
Conversation with bestselling author Mary B. Morrison (WHEN SOMEBODY LOVES YOU BACK, SHE AIN'T THE ONE). She will be joining the discussion via conference call to discuss the success of her erotic fiction, the rise of African-American authors to the bestsellers list and her visit to Mississippi in April 2007.
Thursday, February 15th @ 4p.m.
Author Alphonso Morgan will be visiting MS in a booksigning at Waldenbooks (Metrocenter Mall). For details, call 601.969.6949
Friday, February 16th @ 6p.m.
Medgar Evers Library (601.982.2867)
Bestselling author Relentless will be joining the discussion via conference call to discuss his career, the deal he signed with G-Unit Books and why determination always leads to success.
For a full listing of all upcoming events, visit www.thebestbookclub.info! Each event is co-sponsored by the public relations firm FOR THE PEOPLE PRODUCTIONS.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
From its formation in 2004, the CONVERSATIONS brand has grown from its original design. When C. A. Webb first introduced "Conversations with C. A. Webb", it was through a radio talk show with movers and shakers in the worlds of the arts, business and entertainment. Then it progressed into a bi-monthly televison program, where the original format remained in tact but a larger audience was reached.
When CONVERSATIONS morphed again in early 2006, it was through the formation of the monthly magazine available both in print and online that guaranteed to cement its place as a treasure of information for those who loved the arts.
Now C. A. Webb is ready to heat things up again by introducing his partnership with Patricia D. Woods of Books2Mention Magazine, thus forming "Conversations @ Books2Mention Magazine."
"Books2Mention Magazine has been regarded as the place to go to find out about all of those making moves through books, regardless of what race or genre," Webb relates. "I am honored to have the opportunity to lend the voice of authors I have come in contact with to the B2M brand, thus giving us both a new audience of readers."
Patricia D. Woods is one of the founders and Editor-in-Chief of Books2Mention Magazine. Patricia resides in Georgia and has been in the marketing field for the past ten years. As a Marketing Director for a promising new author she was afforded the privilege to meet several best-selling and up-in-coming authors. During these meetings conversations frequently entered into discussions about the need for a venue that would focus on a diverse group of well known and unknown writers. Providing one setting informing the masses of readers with knowledge about what is now available in literature. Hence, our collaboration of forming a company that would inform, enlighten, empower readers and at the same time be entertaining.
The concept for Books2Mention Magazine was developed in 2005 and the launch of Books2Mention.com took place January 1, 2006. B2M has sparked a diverse group of readers that understand and appreciate our literary mission. It is the source for literary minds. The partnership with CONVERSATIONS and BOOKS2MENTION MAGAZINE officially began in July 2006, however it has been revamped as part of Webb's committment to literacy in 2007.
Visit www.books2mention.com for details and look for the link on the main page of CONVERSATIONS magazine online or click here.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Morgan will be featured in a booksigning at 4p.m. at Waldenbooks (Metrocenter Mall)where he will be signing his book SONS. Following the signing at 6p.m., Morgan will be at Richard Wright Library in Jackson, MS.
SONS, Morgan's debut novel, is set in Brooklyn in the 1990s. It tells the story of a teenage boy's struggle with his sexuality in the age of Hip-hop. In relentless prose the novel moves from light to dark, through race, culture, class and religion to its tragic climax. In June 2006 the book was praised by www.civilrights.org as a must-read.
To learn more about Alphonso Morgan, visit www.alphonsomorgan.com.