My writing career has been lined with role models that have steered and prepared my writing for the next level. As a child, I envisioned myself as a rap artist, touring the world, and I wrote my songs for commercial success. My dream was aborted when I joined the U.S. Army and after my honorable discharge, I decided to go to college.
However, while in Desert Storm, my spiritual experience ignited my subconscious and I began seriously writing poetry.
Askia Toure, author of From the Projects to the Pyramids, and comrade to Amiri Baraka, taught me the importance and power of poetry. He was a powerful mentor with an enriched vision for poetry and its place in our lives. My primary mentor, Kelvin Walton, insisted that poetry was a great base for fiction and other areas of writing. As a result, I subscribed to Writer’s Digest and spent all my earnings on how-to books about writing. Coupled with Askia’s advice and Kelvin’s tenacity, I branched off into essays, short stories, and novels.
As experience and technique grew with dedication, I began soul-searching and discovered that writing was my life’s passion. From there, I served as staff writer for The Signal at Georgia State University and as Editor-In-Chief at The Wolverine Observer at Morris Brown College, a member of the legendary Atlanta University Center. The AUC has produced several African-American figures of prominence: Alice Walker, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Thurman, Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, Bill G. Nunn III, Lerone Bennet Jr., Spike Lee, and Samuel Jackson.
My academic advisor, Vera L. Benton, advised James A. McPherson, the 1978 Pulitzer Prize winner for his collection of short-stories Elbow Room. She explored the richness of literature and advised me to study literary history because to know where I could take literature, I had to know where it came from. Later, I discovered this was the same information she taught James McPherson.
Alongside her wisdom, I acquired two more mentors, fellow professors in the AUC, for more literary prowess. Ms. Gebre-Hiwet, whom actually taught Alice Walker, expressed and focused my writing to find the verisimilitude of life. She often spoke of “working the fulcrum” and years later, I still hear her words.
Alongside her, I found a powerful mentor with the President of the Langston Hughes Foundation, Dr. Akiba Sullivan Harper. She is considered an authority on Hughes and his works.
Grounded in a rich tradition of literary academia, I continued the legacy as Editor-In-Chief of the Wolverine Observer. The Southern Regional Press Institute voted the Observer 1st place (1997, 1998, and 1999) in the annual Collegiate newspaper competition. I took several courses to improve my writing: creative writing, poetry, screenwriting, and writing for radio and television.
My screenwriting teacher, Mr. Grant, had optioned two of his scripts. He urged me to continue writing and his advice was simple – Find your voice. Finally, I joined the African American Association of Black Journalists to broaden my knowledge of writing in print media and to find my voice.
I was chosen to co-produce the August 1999 show of IN CONTACT with Emmy Award-winning producer Greg Morrison. While on the set, I was given hands-on training in broadcasting from Angela Robinson about the benefits of Broadcasting/Media and discussed Journalism’s strengths and weaknesses with Ernie Suggs, Staff Writer for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
From there, I served as Editorial Assistant at The Atlanta Tribune and I was contacted by BET to write an on-line article about African-American clothing stores in Atlanta, Georgia. I completed the assignment and my article served as a national resource on BET.COM for African-Americans traveling to or through the Metropolitan Atlanta area.
I earned my BA in English Language and Literature from Morris Brown College in 1999 and worked under Sophia Stewart as her Right Hand Man. I am currently a Technical Writer somewhere in the Continental United States.