As a white middle-aged housewife, I can bore myself pretty silly. Yup, I’ve tangoed with Cuban mops, rode Swifter picker uppers around the house and done battle with the vacuum bag. I tried to ride the iRobot and broke it. Too heavy I guess. (Me, not it.) I know my world and I know my challenges. I chose a co-writer as different from me as I could. I also know that to handle hot potato race topics, a needed that balancing voice that made the use of the word “nigger” acceptable.
I am a publisher who owns a publishing company. Who doesn’t, right? I also work in film (the slowest drip of a Chinese water torture in modern business) and philanthropies that strike my sense of equality. I help people write. They help me. We thrive.
And I do what I call BRIDGE WORK. Above is Jason Davis, my co-author in HAIR CLUB BURNING, a riot of a ride through racism, bad behavior, stereotypes of ALL kinds, systemic racial prejudice, interracial friendship and love. I believe the government wants to keep black and whites apart. Our future lies in our bonds and all lives matter. Everyone knows that but ISIS. I wanted to know Jay’s story, his heart, his experiences as a Blood in America and there was no better way to understand than through writing.
I published Jason’s poetry 10 years ago when he was on the run for attempted murder. He was under the radar, banging hard and making babies. The call arrived asking for poems and he said, “you’re kidding, right?” He did write them and they were great. You can read them in The War of the Bloods in My Veins by Daushaun Morris, another book I published.
Jason and started writing Hair Club Burning as a way to capture the hilarious reactions of people to the middle-aged white Texas housewife and the gang banger. That is the genesis of the book.
But really, I want you to know who Jason is and how far he has come. He is now a novelist, a book seller, a philanthropist and a teacher. He is raising his 4 kids as a single dad, working the graveyard shift to pay his family’s way. He got his group of Harlem Bloods to lay down their arms and become a group with a civil purpose, a purpose to keep other young people out of gangs. He recently received an award from Harlem Hospital for his work in the community.
I want you to know Jay. He is the stuff of White nightmares….or is he? Twenty years of Catholic school training could not keep him from banging on the streets. Banging on the streets led to grave physical and mental distress. Jay entered the care of Dr. David Grand, one of the world’s foremost PTSD researchers who works with populations in Syria, the Balkans, anywhere there is mass murder, war and natural disasters. These gang members where suffering so – threw their actions and the scenes they witnessed together – and PTSD became the treatment that allowed them to overcome and proceed with their lives.
I am Jay’s bridge. I brought him into the world of writing and publishing and he will soon start his own imprint, OG BOOKS. I am so proud of him and cannot wait to read more black voices in publishing. We’ve heard plenty from the white ones.
Watch here for the continue story of an OG Blood becoming a man of letters. It a beautiful thing: GUNS FOR INK.
To purchase Jay’s book, HAIR CLUB BURNING, click here.
To watch the book trailer, click here
To watch the Hollywood pitch, click here:
WE CAN DO THIS.
PASS YOUR KNOWLEDGE ALONG.