Category Archives: Interview

Interview with All Def Poet Moody Black

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Interview with All Def Poet Moody Black

By Patrick Hill @Pathill17 @NeonRenMagazine

If you have not heard of Moody Black, you will soon enough. Rather you never heard of his poems or heard him speak; Moody is on a different level. Moody Black a South Carolina native, a visionary, an artist, an actor, a story teller, and photographer is art. To be feature on All Def Poetry giving the history of the platform from the days of Def Poetry Jam where Dave Chappelle, Kanye West, Common, Erykah Badu, Lauren Hill, David Banner, Alicia Keys, and more have grace their presence to the platform.  A platform where poets have come through and made a name for themselves. Moody Black performance itself has grace 2,167 views with 197 likes on All Def Poetry YouTube channel. The comments have been all but positive about “In the Field” performance.  His performance can be seen on Neon Renaissance Magazine video section and also on All Def Poetry YouTube Channel.

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So, I got a chance to chat with him over twitter to talk about his performances and issues of today. It was an honor and privilege to sit down with someone who will one day be highly recognize in conversations of great artist and poet. In the conversation, I had with Moody Black, I wanted to know a bit about him. Particularly what made him get involve with poetry. He said to me “my mom, she was a single parent. She would work during the day. Then, take college courses at night. She would bring her literature books home.” He continues “having to know Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes was a rite of passage.” He later explains what made him finally write poetry. “My mom had this book my father got her for their first anniversary (before the divorce) entitled “This Time Called Life” by Walter Rinder. It had poems about being young and free. That really pushed me to write.”  It was that point his desire for poetry grew.

 

I ask about his first time being on stage doing poetry and what that feeling was like when he got on stage. He explains “every time seem like the first time…I was and still is nervous…hoping I don’t mess up. Hoping people receive my art.” Being on stage is not easy as it may seem when you watch many poets go on and speak from what they wrote or memorize. However, you would not think that of Moody Black “In the Field” performance. A very compelling and powerful poem about a slave taking from home to the field. It was a very intense and well receive poem. I ask him about the poem. I wanted to know what was going through his head when he performed it. “Of course, the thing is not to show that you’re nervous you know the old saying never let them see you sweat” He said. He continues by saying “I always pretend that I’m there and I act as I’m that person in the poem.I put myself in that position.” I watched the video several times and each time it was just as good the first time I saw it. I also wanted to know from him was there a message that the character in his poem was trying to bring to light. “Definitely.  Being captured altered his purpose and changed the structure of his family. And being brought to a new land was confusing. However, he was determination to be free showed our resilience as humans” he said.  I also asked him about today’s society among African Americans in regards of his character in the poem and how it relates today. “Very much so.  African-Americans really don’t have an identity or connection to a culture. A feeling of loss and confusion” He explains. It was a very interesting point he made. Giving the climate of today’s society among African Americans is troubling especially with the unemployment rate, public schools, violence, and broken communities. There aren’t many black own businesses and programs to help produce more opportunities. Instead you have seen more incarcerations and police brutalities among African Americans. I ask him what is the remedy to repair that sense of loss and connection that African Americans struggle in this time. He basically said “education is the key, just gotta keep reaching and teaching.” I made a suggestion of the days of the Harlem Renaissance to reconnect the culture and identity which he agree would be great idea. Giving the circumstances, it would take more than just revamping the Harlem Renaissance to help unify African Americans. However, art has always unify African American communities culturally.

As we about to end our discussion, I ask some questions that relates to his style of poetry. His style of poetry has elements of hip hop in it. When you watch, and hear his “In the Field” performance, you will hear Trinidad James “Gold” style of rhyme within his performance. Who cannot forget that song. I had to ask him about today’s generation hip hop and what he listen to the most. “There’s a few I’m not really into. But Hip Hop, looked all music evolves. I embrace it. With the advancement of technology, I’m able to find the music I like. Right now, I still listen to Drake, Kendrick, Killer Mike, Brother Ali, phonte from little brother, and 2 Chainz.” He said.  He mentions his musical influences as well such as Run DMC, De La, ATCQ, Outkast, Jungle Brothers. Public Enemy, and Rakim. I also wanted his thoughts on the success of black films in 2016 and rather the bar was raised from those movies going into 2017. He wasn’t overly impress with the films but he was slightly impress as he said “nothing wow-ed me yet.” He later said “the films were cool. I would like to see more biopics from black writers and directors.Not sure if any bars were raised, though.” Even though the bars were not raised from his point of view for 2017, one can only hope what would 2017 will bring for black filmmakers.

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As Moody Black gets prepared to go on the road to continue his journey, his legacy will not be defined by one moment, but through many of his accomplishments. Gracing his presences on a platform such as All Def Poetry has not only spark the rise of many opportunities that may land his way. It has allowed him to reach audiences from all over to listen to his words and visualize his message that will spark the brain. Art is Moody Black. Mood Black is art. Even though that may confuse you, you have to think where would you be without art and what would you do without art. Moody Black innovation and vision of telling a story through a book or poem invites the mind to discover the world of Moody Black. As he prepares to go on the road, you may catch him at poetry nights in your community, or guest speak at your local events. His vision is to engage and inspire the minds in search of hope. Though I never mention in the conversation where we both share the same taste of music and the times of Right On! & Word Up! Magazine. I wanted you the reader to know about Moody Black and follow him throughout his journey. For he will be someone on a major platform that will encourage others to listen, love, and learn.

You can follow him on these social media sites

https://www.instagram.com/iammoodyblack/

https://twitter.com/iammoodyblack

You can also check out his website where you can purchase his cd’s, get the scoop on his next performance, or you can book him for your event.

http://www.iammoodyblack.com/

He will also be in North Carolina this Saturday for Pemansip: out the box. The link is below to order tickets to the event.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pemansip-out-the-box-tickets-33505287216?aff=es2

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Q&A with “Just Tryin’ To Be Loved” Author J’son M. Lee

It just clicked for me after she said that. It’s plain unethical to think that someone can change their sexuality. I spent my life thinking something was wrong with me. I wanted to tell our stories to normalize our reality.

Q&A  with “Just Tryin’ To Be Loved” Author J’son M. Lee.

By Juan Carlos Diaz

 

Lol Ever since we’ve met J have been fascinated by your stories, what made you become a writer?

I never set out to become a writer. At the time, I started writing, I was searching for a release as I grappled with my sexuality. I wanted others to see I was no different than they were. I just loved differently.

 

Right and that is what I truly admired from your work, it sorts of had a quality that said, accept me who I am or fuck off

It took me quite a while to get to that point honestly. I remember going to therapy and my therapist said, “I can help you, but you need to decide if you’re gay or straight.” That was genius. lol From that day I’ve never looked back.

 

That is extraordinary.

It just clicked for me after she said that. It’s plain unethical to think that someone can change their sexuality. I spent my life thinking something was wrong with me. I wanted to tell our stories to normalize our reality.

 

From reading your books, I can honestly say that not only do they help to give a voice to the LGBT community, your work has help me come to term with things that I battle with as a disabled straight male.

 Juan, thank you for that. Likewise, you have inspired me. You have let nothing stand in your way. I know we’ve never met, but I’ve always admired that about you. I guess in a many way we are alike. We were chosen, and He knew we were up for the job.

 

Thank u! Can u share with us some info about the one man play u wrote and performed in college?

Sure! I was a Speech major with a concentration in performance studies. We were tasked with adapting a one-man show. Even back then I was an activist, and often brought to life taboo topics. It was during this time that One Family’s AIDS was conceived. The show was received extremely well. Several years later I decided to write my own version of the story as I had lost several friends to this disease. The main character is coming to terms with both his sexuality and an HIV diagnosis. I subsequently turned the play into a short story. I hope your readers will check it out.

 

I have to say One Family’s AIDS was an extraordinary read because I saw the main character’s illness as symbolism

Yes!!! It’s about so much more than HIV/AIDS. It’s symbolic of anything that you allow to separate you from family, and even from God.

 

Wow, you are truly a beautiful artist, J’son!

THANK YOU! I’m so glad you got that. That was one of the things I wanted to convey.

Out of all the book you’ve written, which one are your favorites?

I think I’d have to say Just Tryin’ To Be Loved because it was my first, and it was pure. I think it showed my innocence and vulnerability as a gay man, and as a writer. I was just a young man with a dream, and this book was the culmination of that dream.

 

Where can we purchase these books?

www.jmccoylee.com

 

Aright, that concludes the interview, thank u so much.

My pleasure! Thank you!

Interview with Anthony Turner CEO of Alpha Wolfman Sneaker Brand

I told myself when I was 20 years old that I’m going to dedicate myself fully to music for 10 years before I reevaluate. And if I’m not to a position that is conducive to continuing I will move on to something more lucrative

Interview with Alpha Wolfman Sneaker Brand CEO Anthony Turner

Written by Patrick B. Hill

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    When it comes to sneaker brands like Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Reebok, etc. Each brand started with a vision and started from the ground up. Each brand in the sneaker industry grew overtime with efficient and persistent operation. Nike for example didn’t became a shoe empire overtime. Founders of the shoe sold the shoes from back of their car. Talk about humble beginning. It later grew into a major brand.  African American Anthony Turner 31, Tennessee native and CEO of Alpha Wolfman Sneakers is another humble beginning story. I recently sat down with the CEO of Alpha Wolfman Sneakers to talk about his brand, story, vision, plan and sneaker.

 

Anthony “Wolfman” Turner had envisioned himself designing clothes and footwear as a child. It was a dream of his and in fact; he talks about his time of designing.  “When I was in high school I redesigned my high school letter men jackets. During the same time, I found a seamstress who could help me make my own clothing. So, I made a few pieces while in high school. But I was just exploring then. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s that I decided to design and make apparel to sell as a business.”  Anthony at one time talk about being a music producer before taking on the fashion and sneaker industry. However, he had a deep passion for the fashion industry. When I ask him if he currently still doing music on the side, “No. And the reason why is; I told myself when I was 20 years old that I’m going to dedicate myself fully to music for 10 years before I reevaluate. And if I’m not to a position that is conducive to continuing I will move on to something more lucrative. And needless to say, I decided that it was best to pursue my true passion full time which is fashion. Because at that point it become what i really wanted to do.”

 

Moving ahead, I talk to him about his sneakers. In the discussion, he took me through the process of his sneaker brand. He explains, “the process for me was a difficult one because my first goal was to find a reliable supplier that could manufacturer my sneakers with my full vision and make them affordable for people to buy. The first manufacturer I was with was in Italy. I do admit they were good at what they did but the prices weren’t set up for businesses to make money off them unless they were a high fashion brand. Especially selling sneakers for $300 plus.” He also talks about his strategy for his brand as well. “For me I wanted to reach a more of an urban
demographic. And I noticed that the option for branding was extremely limited. So, I researched and found new suppliers. And I took the same mentality as far as design goes. But urban with an upscale taste.”

 

15391089_10212382455063267_8198601338375736420_nWithin the discussion about his manufacturing and strategy, I got a chance to see his sneaker designs. Each sneaker had an imprint of a wolf paw tag on the side of the shoe. The wolf paw is the brand official logo. “So, I redesigned everything and added my logos and company name to come up with something new. Clear transparent soles, all gold soles, adding accessories etc. The series of sneakers are all named Lobo which stands for Wolf in Spanish. I have released all the way up to Lobo 5 currently.”

 

I ask him about what will it take for his brand to be in the same position with the other brands. “For me, I would say time. Because if you look at Nike in instance. They started out with the founding members being a track star and his coach. The first Nike sneaker was sold out the trunks of they’re cars. And over time with smart business moves, amazing designs, and determination now they are the #1 shoe company in the history of the world. So, for me I look at that as inspiration. They started out the same way I started out. I feel like within the next 5 years I could be a major competitor in the marketplace. I just would need to concrete my brand more.”

Time is always the essence of building a brand from ground up. The question is what will it take for such business to be in the same competition among other businesses who share the same idea and vision. Anthony knew what he needs to do for which he talks about his marketing strategy in the conversation. “My strategy for the next year is to advertise in more mediums and more marketplaces, such as TV ads, Billboard Ads, Internet ads such as social networks like Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest. Paid targeted ads. Reach out to as many people as possible. And also I’m working on getting placed in major outlets across the United States.” 

Alpha Wolfman Sneakers are doing quite well. Lobo sneakers are still selling and consumers are really liking his sneakers. When I ask him about the feedback from consumers who brought a pair of Lobo sneakers, they were positive feedbacks. He explains, so far everyone who has purchased the Lobo series sneakers has been happy with the purchase. I get good feedback on them as well. Everything has been positive so far. Because I wanted to make sure that the sneakers release is as good or better than the quality that they would get at any major outlet. I even buy the shoes myself ahead of release dates and test them out for full quality control. The embrace has been great.” He also talks about his plans to get the sneakers out to the public.“Currently I’m in talks with a few retail chains and even small shoe stores to have them available for the upcoming year. I will have announcements coming soon on where they will become available. And we are signed up for a few expos the second quarter of 2017. But for right now the only way to get them are from my website.”

As we come to the end of the interview, I ask him about any future projects as well as updates on his sneaker production. “I have taken the Lobo 1 and Lobo 3 off the market because I wanted to redesign them. The next shoe that will be released will be the redesigned Lobo 3. This will be sometime in February of 2017. With the redesigned Lobo 1 following. There needed to be changes made because of a change in manufacturing. Because of that change now i have more options as far as design goes. New clothing is still being worked on as we speak release date is TBA.”

 Anthony Turner is still working hard to get his brand in the right position. What I took from this interview is a man who is determine and passionate about his business. Even though the market hasn’t been more openly invested to indie sneaker designers due to consumer loyalty. However, that hasn’t stop Anthony drive to bring awareness to his brand. Consumers have brought a pair of his sneakers and had great experience with the quality of the sneakers. Anthony not only does sneakers. He has a clothing apparel as well as accessories. We need to continue to support small businesses like Anthony. By supporting small businesses, we can create an open market for those to explore.

 

If you wish to know more about his brand, follow his brand on these social media sites.15203243_10212116295489444_6288234479610682103_n

Facebook.com/AlphaWolfmanCo

Twitter.com/AlphaWolfmanCo

Instagram.com/AlphaWolfmanCo

Pinterest.com/AlphaWolfmanCo

 

 

 

 

You want a pair of Lobo sneakers and apparel, go to this site below.

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www.AlphaWolfman.com

Interview with Author Keanon Chambers

Interview with Author Keanon Chambers

By Juan Carlos Diaz

 

Twenty-six-year-old Keanon Chambers is perhaps one of the brightest literary stars to rise from Delaware’s underground literary scene. A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Chambers states that what influenced him to become a writer were the negative things that were occurring throughout his neighborhood when he was growing up. “I was aware of all the bad elements of my neighborhood and said to myself. Na, that’s not the route that I’m choosing for my future,” stated Chambers. He also says that reading became the ultimate escape for him. “For me books became doors to rooms I could escape to and be able to experience a totally different environment other than the one I was living in.” It wasn’t until Keanon reached his mid-twenties, however, that he realized that he too had the ability and the talent to write. “I remember I was constantly reading novels written by Eric Jerome Dickey, Walter Mosely, and Zane when one day I came to the realization that I was capable of writing my own book,” said Chambers.

With his creativity and passion already fueled, Keanon embarked on a journey to create the character Sergei Santana, who is the main character of Chambers’ first book titled Mirrored Faces: There Are Two Sides to Every Ego. In this tale, Chambers gives readers a glimpse into the life of a former U.S. spy who is now a multi-billion-dollar owner of a carrier company. However, Santana’s days as a spy are brought back into his life when his family is suddenly attacked by a terrorist he helped arrest years prior to the main events in the story. With his first book already receiving great reviews, Chambers says he is hard at work on the next installment of this series, hoping to inspire other youngsters like himself. For more information on Keanon Chamber visit Amazon.com where his book can be purchased. A Kindle version is also available for download.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Mirrored-Faces-There-Sides-Every-ebook/dp/B01B22RYTE/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

Q&A with local Artist/Writer/CEO of Pure Religion Candles Yvette Renee.

Q&A with local Artist/Writer/CEO of Pure Religion Candles Yvette Renee.

By Patrick B. Hill

 

Today, I spoke with Yvette Renee for those who don’t know, she is a local artist, writer, and business woman who runs her own brand. I sat down with her to discuss about her passion for art and work life. Her story is very touching and encouraging. You will learn about a bit her life and how art has given her a voice to express herself.

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I notice you are an artist, writer, painter, and the CEO of Pure Religion Candles. What was the process like transitioning from each position?

Each venture has been a natural outpouring of expression based on life experiences at those times. I’ve been a writer for almost as long as I can remember. In second grade I wrote my first story that had an “audience” (my class) and I was hooked. I started painting after I broke up with my first love. He was also a painter and it was a way I could express how I felt about all of the changes and feel close to him. I didn’t start taking it “seriously” until a few years ago, when I felt like I had lost my voice and painting became the means of expression. The candle business came about as I grew stronger in my Christian faith. I wanted a way to serve Jesus and make meaningful, personal gifts for others. None of what i do is work for me. It’s just living.

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Wow, reading what you said; it seems like art pretty much allow you express yourself like you want to. I hope I am not reading this wrong.

You have it right. I’m your typical “misunderstood” introvert so art is my vehicle of communication with the world.

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Right. Would you say if it wasn’t for art, you wouldn’t have the ability to express yourself?

Hmmmm……I’ve never thought about it yes, I would say that. When i think of some of the darker periods of my life it was usually a time I wasn’t doing anything at all.

 

Have you written a book?

No. Still on my goal list. Its why I consider myself a writer. Not an author. I do personal creative writing but professionally I’ve written columns, some articles, and various writing services for businesses and other clients.

Interesting. Would you consider it giving the time you may have down the road?

I have a few ideas in mind so it’s a distinct possibility. I consider myself a brand so means of expression is always evolving as I do.

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Okay. I was on your art site looking at your paintings. I am impressed. When I move out, I will buy one of them. One painting that stood out to me was “Burn before 11:30.” Explain to me what was the concept of this painting?

Thanks! Cool just let me know. That one was kind of a practice piece. An old friend had contacted me out of the blue and wanted me to live paint at one of his events. I hadn’t painted anything in almost 6 years. So, to get myself back in that creative place I did a few practice pieces.

Oh okay. So, can people order your painting, how does that work?

Its real casual since I don’t have prints yet so I sell to mostly local people that buying either at a show or contacting me by email or phone for in person delivery. I accept cash, money order, PayPal, and credit cards and i also offer installment plans for the pricier pieces.

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Tell me little bit more about Pure Religion Candles?

Pure Religion candles is a ministry and a business. I hand make all natural soy candles and all natural body butter. I print a scripture verse on each product, usually a verse about faith, hope, love, etc. 10% of all sales are donated to Samaritans purse (a one-time payment during tax time).

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What candle would you recommend new buyers to try first?

Each scent is so unique so it’s up to the preference of the buyer. Scents come in vanilla, lavender, frankincense & myrrh, mango, oak moss & amber, and lavender chamomile.

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One more before we go. Will there be another art show happening in 2017 for you?

Uhhhh….depends on how the Lord leads me lol. Art shows are a lot of work preparation wise and day of. I will probably be focusing more on my candle business and doing art on commission.

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Okay so no art show?

Lol, depends. Nothing planned but if the Lord leads me to an opportunity then sure.

Okay. So, there’s hope.

Yes. I think i did like 3 or 4 this year which is why I’m chilling right now. But I advertise all my work on social media (Instagram and twitter) and my website so people can view and purchase just by giving me a call.

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You can follow her on Instagram @YvetteReneeJohnson and Twitter @according2Yve. You can also check out her art work at http://www.yvettereneejohnson.com/art which you can order some of her artwork. Her Pure Religion Candles at https://purereligioncandles.patternbyetsy.com/ where you can order her candles.