Saturday, August 1, 2015

This is How WE Do. . .

Hello Intellectual Minds,

Can you believe we're eight months into 2015. OMG, didn't we just start this year, and now we're fast approaching year end. Truly amazing!

Anyhoo, it's a new month and you already know what this is. . .that's right, it's AAMBC Time and boy do we have a great selection of books for you to sink your intellectual teeth into.  So without further ado, let's get this party poppin'. . .

Crossroad: a point at which a vital decision must be made.

On February 6, 2006, Precious Jackson had to make one of the most devastating choices that anyone has ever had to make; to live or die. Precious’ world was shattered as she peered at it through a broken mirror. Hiding behind a mask of well put together smiles and faces, Precious’ eyes told the story that burdened her soul. Warding off issues of abandonment, failed relationships, delving into poor decision-making due to a lack of self-confidence; and rescuing others from their problems, Precious was not prepared for the storm that was brewing her way. Not heeding the warning signs that God placed before her, Precious fell into emotional and spiritual bankruptcy. There was nothing left in her; Precious had pronounced herself dead!

In 2015, with a rejuvenated spirit for life, Precious reveals her journey. With a clear view of her authentic self, Precious explores and resolves the roots that kept her bound. Breaking free from past hurt and pain, Precious now experiences; love, laughter, strength and most of all, the courage to share her story. Knowing now that life will throw you curve balls, Precious reminds us that we sometimes create our own chaos.

“We have choices; we can stay stuck and play the victim role, or we can take responsibility for the decisions that we’ve made, learn from our mistakes, heal, recover and live our lives to its fullest potential!!” –Precious



They say the first thing to do is admit that, your life is in shambles and I did. When I admitted to myself that I was tired of all the hurt and chaos that my marriage was bringing, a light began to shine. One Saturday in October 2005 is a day that will always be embedded in my brain. I was going through a vicious cycle of co-dependency. Trevon was “on one”—antsy, discontent and dis-eased! He’d spent all of his money and his habit was starting to spill over into our household finances, not to mention, my purse. Instead of dealing with Trevon’s dramatics, I went to the grocery store and wrote a check over the amount of the purchase so that I could get cash back to tide me over until I received my paycheck. That same night I came home from a children’s event that I attended with my nieces and Trevon was waiting for me as I entered the door. 

I could tell by his behavior that he’d been using but he still asked to use my car to go over to his homie’s house. Now let me remind you, I did say this man had been using all day. I knew because I was the one who gave him the money to cop some drugs and at that very moment, he was tweaking. Trying to be rational, I attempted to convince Trevon not to go anywhere since we hadn’t spent any time together. Just picture me, a woman who has never used drugs a day in her life standing in front of a person who is irrational and addicted to crack and trying to have a rational conversation. Being the master manipulator that he was, Trevon convinced me to let him use the car. He promised that he would be right back. As he walked out of the door, I yelled, “Please come back tonight because you know I have to go to work on Monday.” In my heart, I knew he wasn’t coming right back because having my car gave him the motivation he needed to stay out for four or five days like he always did. I still didn’t have the courage not to let him go. Sunday came and I decided to do some chores around the house. I popped in a video and listened to Bishop Noel Jones. My spirit weighed on me heavily and I felt convicted about the night before. That was when I knew something was wrong with me. 

My inner spirit began to speak to me and it was something fierce: Precious! What is wrong with you? How can you let that man continuously talk you into letting him use your car and you know he’s going to get drugs and stay out for three days! For me, this was my moment of clarity. You see, Trevon was not the only one with a problem; I had a problem as well. I allowed God to open my eyes and let me see my own reflection. I could hear the women at the Co- Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) meetings bearing witness about how they were able to build up their self-esteem by putting themselves first and knowing their own self-worth. I could hear one lady telling her story loud and clear. She spoke about how she put her life on the back burner to support her husband’s addiction. She covered up for him if he missed work. She lost her own identity because she was so focused on taking care of his problems and his needs. Her last statement was powerful and it resonates in my mind to this day: “I’m tired of getting the LAST end of the stick!” At that very moment, I could feel those words building me up. I, too, was tired of being tired. I made the decision to pack my bags and leave my drug-filled life. 

Precious A. Jackson of South Los Angeles is the author of Revelations: Unveiling the Mask. Born during a time where social prejudices were very relevant, she relied on the values instilled her to become an independent college graduate who reached back to lend a helping hand within her community. Teaching others to pay it forward became her motivation until she was taken on an emotional roller coaster ride when her doctor delivered the devastating news that she tested positive for HIV.

Not giving strength to her diagnosis, Precious knew what her next mission would be; to educate both men and women equally on the importance of getting tested and protecting themselves at all cost.

Adamant about bringing awareness to everyone, Precious has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, BET News Special and Newsweek, Essence and Ebony Magazines. In 2008, she was given the opportunity to travel to Cape Town, South Africa with Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Sister Circle, a program of the Diva Foundation that helps to create a global connection and movement with other women whom were infected with HIV.

The courageous Mantra that Precious shouts to the world comes from the words of Maya Angelou “Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” These words purposely filled her with inspiration and guided her on the quest to bring change among those infected and uninfected.

Today, Precious is empowering others to be courageous in announcing they are beautiful and helps them face their battles of self-esteem issues. Receiving the Social Service Provider Award from the Los Angeles County Women’s HIV/AIDS Task Force and a certification as a HIV Testing Counselor and Hepatitis C Community Educator’s trainer, Precious is always delving into the lives of others to help them survive.

Realizing that her education status was very important to her, she faced the thought of those who needed more than just a dose of a feel good moment. Precious put her pen to paper and released her life story of struggles and pain to show that if she can heal and recover, you can too!!

Get to Know Precious:

Where Were You Born?

I was born in San Bernardino, CA and was raised in South Central Los Angeles by my paternal grandmother and step grandfather. I had a good childhood growing up. My grandmother was a stay home wife while my grandfather was the breadwinner of the home. I had the privilege of having my grandmother participate in my education. She made sure I did my homework, attended every parent-teacher conference, and did what I call “drive-bys” she would come to the school unannounced just to check to see if I was paying attention in class. I was a good student, but I loved to talk so, I would get disciplined. Because of my grandmother’s strong believe in education, I excelled in school.

Is This Your First Book Project?

Yes, this is my first book that I’ve written and I plan on writing more books. The next book I’ll write will be about my childhood through my adult life and when I tested positive for HIV in 1998. After testing HIV positive, I decided that I wanted to empower women to stay HIV negative or if they were positive themselves how to stay healthy by telling my story of how I acquired HIV.

What Was Your Motivation For Writing Your First Book?

I’ve always been told I should write my book about how I acquired HIV and how I’ve become an HIV advocate powerhouse. I wasn’t motivated to write a book then because I felt people already knew about my story. Being the fact, that I’ve appeared on several news specials like K-Cal 9, BET News Special “Down Low Exposed.” I’ve been in Essence Magazine, Ebony Magazine and I also appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2006. In 2013, I was talking to my good friend/brother Corey and we were discussing our life struggles and Corey discussed how he struggled with drug addiction. Corey explained to me a phrase they say in Narcotics Anonymous “full flight from reality” when he explained that phrase that’s when the light bulb went on. I knew then, I needed to tell my story of how I struggled with making wrong choices which lead to a physical altercation with my ex-husband and how I was able to heal and recover.

What Is Your Favorite Chapter? And Why?

My favorite chapter is “A Moment of Clarity”. In this chapter, I finally recognized not only did my ex-husband have a problem (drug addiction) but I had a problem, too (co-dependency). I enabled him to continue his lifestyle due to my need to be needed in a relationship and to feed my appetite to control. When a person attempts to control another human being this means that this person refuses to take responsibility for their own actions and decisions.

How Long Did It Take For You To Write Your Book?

It took me 1 year to write my book. When I started, I was motivated and excited and then I hit a low after writing about the physical altercation with my ex-husband. I became depressed not wanting to write so I stopped writing for 6 months. After my father became ill I started to get the motivation to write again, but then as his illness became terminal I didn’t have the time due to taking care of my father. After my father passed it was like I had a burst of energy and I plummet through until I completed the manuscript in April 2014. The book was finally released on May 5, 2015.

If a Person Would Like To Write a Book Would You Recommend a Book Coach?

I would recommend if a person has never written a book to sit down with a book coach. Seek out a book coach who has written books themselves whether they’ve self-published, or if they went through a publishing company. The book coach should have knowledge and resources on how to copyright your book, resources on book cover designers, editors, and discuss on a weekly basis your progress on your book writing journey.

How Do You Market Your Book?

I utilize social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and my website. I’ve also hired a publicist to help me email press releases about my book to past journalist who I’ve interviewed with from Essence, Ebony, Poz and HIVPlus Magazines. Also, my publicist will be booking book readings and signings at different venues.

Find the Author and the Book:


Synopsis – A sizzling melting pot of captivating, romantic, realistic, satisfying, and gratifying, Intimate Sessions 101 by Nadège is a collection of seven short stories that allow readers to totally immerse themselves in pure literary ecstasy — moment-by-moment, stroke-by-stroke. Each sexual adventure will leave readers delightfully pleased, yet yearning for more. Intimate Sessions explores encounters of the most steamy, risky, seductive, and romantic persuasions, surely to incite and quench your sexual thirst.

Nadège comes equipped with knowledge of what it really takes to make things hot, and she spreads that knowledge with Intimate Sessions, her first lesson. As readers journey through the tales, the feeling to put themselves in the stories cannot be fought. The stories may even be a source of inspiration for readers’ own personal rendezvous.

REVIEW: “Intimate Sessions” is a fast, entertaining, and adventurous read. It is a book that caters to the imagination and provides a platform of escapism to anyone that is blessed to read it. I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE in ANY walk of life. Author Nadege is a talented writer and I am fortunate to have read her first of many publications.”

Excerpt – We giggle softly, and he then lifts me so that I’m laid out across the counter top. After he removes my panties off his head, he spreads open my legs, ready to have his first taste of my honey. With gentle fingers, he exposes my waiting clit; he sucks and licks in slow, circular motions. With every lick, I moan in ecstasy. My honey seeps out and soon there is nothing but the slurping of his mouth. I grab the back of his head and push his face deeper. He is in a frenzy of licking and sucking, both of us moaning. He draws back his mouth and pants quick, hot breaths on my clitoris, creating the sensation of an air vibrator, driving me further into passion’s intense embrace. Overwhelmed by the sensation, I jump up and hit my head on the hanging lamp while trying to stop him, but he just pushes me back down with one hand.

I am cumming in intense waves, my body trembling with the pleasure of having my thighs squeezing him tight, barely letting him breathe as his tongue probes ever more deeply, hitting my g-spot. In the midst of it all, plates and glasses fall from the counter, shattering from all of our movement. I scream with fiery passion while grinding against his mouth, riding him hard. My cum flows like a river of honey from a jar, slow and sweet and thick, every nerve in my body singing with bliss. Turning him into a mindless servant of my pussy, his only need is to make me cum again and again and again.

Get to Know the Author, Nadège:

Born into a Haitian family of doctors, engineers, nurses and entrepreneurs, it was only a matter of time before Nadège tapped the potential of her family heritage. At the bubbly age of seven, she used her natural gift of leadership to organize and hire a team of employees to run her lemonade stands.

Like many women of today Nadège wears many hats; manager, publicist, artist developer, event coordinator and now writer. An entrepreneur with a diva style Nadège states, “I need to have options, I cannot be stuck in one category it only stifles my creativity.”

Receiving a Bachelor Degree in Communications at Northeastern University, Nadège never thought that life was going to shift her course. She embraced the challenge and started to publish her works online for friends’ eyes only, she began to receive positive feedback. Her desire to write grew along with her friends’ hunger for more of her exceptionally stimulating erotica titillation. In 2010, she was encouraged enough to compile her stories into a book called Initiate Sessions.

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

It fell into my lap. When I was in my late 20’s I said I wanted to write a book but that was it, I never did anything about it. Until 2005 when I was bored at work and saw that MySpace had a feature were you can post your thoughts and others can comment on them. That’s when I wrote my first short story, The Club.

2. How long does it take you to write a book?

It varies. When I started writing, I didn’t have a goal of writing to publish a book. I continued writing my very short detailed and intense sex stories because my online readers kept on wanting more. So whenever I was bored, I would write until I saw I had 20 short stories in my file. I started writing in 2005 and published in 2012. Now my second book, I started writing mid last year and I’m almost done.

3. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I got my ideas from my imagination, fantasies, experience, research, listening toother’s telling me their stories.

4. What does your family think of your writing?

They are all proud of my accomplished especially since no one had any idea that I was doing this. Some of them have not read my book because they said they don’t want to know how I think. Lol

5. Do you hear from your readers much?

I do, I get a lot of private messages asking for advice with their relationship. The most common question that I get asked, is “how much of these stories are your true experiences?” and I always answer “A writer never tells.”

6. What do you think makes a good story?

Character building and being very specific in the scenes. As a writer, I want you to be in the moment.

7. Are you working on an upcoming book?

Yes I’m currently working on my next book “It’s Not Complicated”. It’s a romantic/erotic novel, very different from my first book.

Find the Author and the Book:

The Trailer

Book is available on Amazon: paper back or kindle

When a simple drug bust turns into a shootout, Officer Danny Bryson s life is forever changed. He takes some time off to deal with the situation but when his money starts to run low, he is forced to return to work. Upon returning, Danny discovers that things have changed. Due to the economy, overtime is not as plentiful as it once was. With a kid on the way, Danny is now struggling just to make ends meet. In an effort to make more money, Danny, along with two fellow officers decide to start shaking down local drug dealers. Everything is sweet until they cross paths with Stacks Bronson, the Cleveland drug lord with an insatiable appetite for violence. Refusing to be extorted by dirty cops, Stacks flexes his muscle and wards off the crooked police. But when Stacks close friend and right hand man is killed in a botched shake down and the police department covers it up, Stacks snaps. Consumed with revenge, Stacks assembles an army and wages war against the entire precinct. The city isn't big enough for Danny AND Stacks and when it all comes to a head, a surprise third party will decide which one lives and which one meets their maker.


First Starr Baptist church was filled to capacity. Sam Thornton may have been a scandalous low life drug dealer but based on the attendance of his home going service, you would think he was the most popular man in Cleveland. Paula set in front of the church as still as a statue. For the last 20 minutes her eyes had been glued to the coffin holding the corpse of her deceased son. Other mourners mistook her lack of tears for a show of strength. But they were wrong. She simply had no more tears to give. Gut wrenching pain ripped through her heart as she continued to stare. Ever so slightly she nodded her head in approval of the charcoal gray colored pin-striped suit she’d picked out for him to wear. The mortician had done a masterful job of making Sam look like he was merely asleep. Suffice to say Sam looked better in death than he ever had in life. 

Out the corner of her eye Paula spotted a large big chested woman making her way down the center of the aisle. She was wearing a loud turquoise blue dress that look to be two sizes too small. Mascara-streaked tears ran down her face. She was holding the hand of a small child who looked to be no older than four. The boys hair looked like it hadn’t been combed in days. His clothes were dingy and ruffled while his shoes, which had clearly seen better days, were torn and scarred. As she approached the casket Paula noticed for the first time the woman appeared pregnant. Paula was at a loss for words. This was the first time that she’d ever laid eyes on this woman. A sudden thought ran through her mind. ‘My God, is that my grandson? Is she carrying my grandbaby?’ Paula squinted her eyes and trained them on the boy. Just as she tilted her head to get a better view, the boy turned his head in such a way that she was able to get a clearer look. She gasped. Any doubt she had disappeared. Without a DNA test she couldn’t be sure, but looking at his face told her all she needed to know. 

The young boy was the spitting image of Sam. Paula’s heart ached. ‘Why would Sam do this? Why would he intentionally deny me the right to see my grandkids? I can’t believe he would…’ The thought stopped as she suddenly remembered an argument she’d had with him about five years ago. It stuck out in her mind because it was the only time she’d ever seen her son shed a tear as an adult. It was also the last time she’d taken a drink. Paula recalled vividly telling her only son that she had no use for a bastard grandchild and that the only way she would except any grandchild was if the mother and father were married. Pain and guilt shot through her body. She would give anything to take those words back now. Paula’s heart sank a little lower as she watched the woman lean down and kiss Sam on his forehead. She then ushered the child forward and whispered to him. “Say goodbye to your daddy,” she said. Although it was totally inaudible to the rest of the church, Paula heard it loud and clear. 

The tear ducts that had dried up in her eyes found their reserves and caused pain to flow from her soul. Paula let out an ear piercing scream as her cheeks became saturated with tears. Either the woman didn’t notice or didn’t pay her any attention because she simply grabbed the child’s hand and walk to find a seat. Paula wanted so badly to run to the woman and scoop her grandson up into her arms. he made a vow to herself that after the service she would approach the woman and make arrangements to spend time with her grand kids. She was also going to make sure that they never again wanted for anything. She was going to spoil them rotten. Nothing would be to good for them. Paula had money as would have no problem spending it on them. Trips to Cedar Point would be the norm. She would also use her considerable clout to get them enrolled into the best schools. “Don’t worry son. I’ll take care of them,” she whispered softly, staring at her son. Paula momentarily lost a breath as the funeral directors lowered Sam’s head and closed the casket. 

The Pastor then began the service by telling people how full of life Sam had been and how he’d known him since his pre-teen years. Of course he didn’t mention how Sam would routinely sell him cocaine to sniff. Or how Sam would sometimes rent hotel rooms in his name so that the Pastor could fulfill his sick, twisted fantasies of screwing under aged girls. By the time he’d got done singing Sam’s praises anyone who didn’t know Sam would think he was the best thing since plea bargaining. The funeral, short by most standards, ended with Paula walking up to Sam’s casket and gently kissing it just before the pall bearers carried it to the hearse. Her legs threatened to give out but Joyce being the supportive girlfriend that she was wouldn’t allow her to fall. Next came the part of the funeral that Paula hated the most. Going to the cemetery. The ride was by far the longest ride of Paula’s life. As they entered the gates of Evergreen Resting Place, Joyce patted Paula’s leg reassuring her that everything would be okay. Paula returned the gesture, causing heat to rush up Joyce’s leg. Knowing it was the wrong time and place for her sexual cravings to be acting up, she grab Paula’s hand as removed it from her thigh giving it a gentle squeeze and masking her desires. The two of them it out if the hearse and Paula’s legs tremble as they approached the gravesite. The Pastor zipped through scriptures of the bible faster than anyone expected. 

His mind was on his next door neighbor’s fifteen year old daughter, who he’d caught smoking a blunt in her backyard. The deal the two of them had struck up in exchange for his silence nearly had him creaming in his pants. After the final words were spoken, Paula and the pregnant woman with the child stood on opposite sides of the casket staring at it. It struck Paula as odd that the woman never even looked at her, let alone introduced herself and her child. What Paula didn’t know was that Sam had lied and told the woman that his mother was dead. Since the woman was too heartbroken to read the obituary at the time she still believed as such. The woman left first and Paula’s eyes followed her to a blue Ford Mustang. Paula quickly pulled a pen and piece of paper from her purse and jotted down the license plate number. She was determined to be a part if her grand kid’s lives. After making sure that her child was safely secured inside the car, the woman strapped herself in and started the engine. Suddenly, about fifty feet back from where she was parked, an engine roared to life. Tires screeched as an SS Monte Carlo tore through the cemetery road and skidded to a stop right beside the Mustang. Two older men who were crossing at that particular location met an untimely demise as the Monte Carlo slammed into them and propelled them both twenty feet into the air. 

They landed on an unmarked gravesite, dead. Paula watched in horror as a masked gunman jumped out of the passenger’s side and sprayed the Mustang with bullets. The death tickets being spit out of the Uzi shattered the glass and easily ripped into the human flesh. The screaming woman tried in vain to undo her seat belt and sling herself onto her helpless child. The bullets seemed to go in slow motion to her as she helplessly watched slug after slug penetrate her son’s priceless body. The child never had a chance as two bullets hit him in the face and several more crashed through his frame. The woman screamed her son’s name and flung herself across him in a vain attempt to protect him. She didn’t have long to grieve however as more bullets spit from the Uzi and hit her in the back of the head. They tunneled through and opened up the front of her face like a busted watermelon. The gunman jumped back into the car yelling for the thug driving to punch the gas. The driver weaved through the grass at a frantic pace knocking over various head stones along the way.

Get to Know CJ:

Author C.J Hudson hails from the east side of Cleveland where he grew up surrounded by crime, violence, and drugs. Determined to not succumb to that way of living, he attended Kent State university for one year. An avid reader for the past twenty-one years, C.J was introduced to urban fiction by his future wife when she gave him Carl Weber’s Married Men. Although he enjoyed his first urban fiction novel, C.J craved to read about the type of street stories that he saw on a daily basis in the inner city. That’s when he started going to Borders and searching out Street lit books. He quickly came across K’wan’s classic novel Gangsta. He then went on a reading barrage and read everything from T-Styles to Triple Crown novels. Shortly after that C.J was laid off from his job as a machine operator. While laid off, C.J. decided to try his hand at writing. After writing his first manuscript entitled Skeletons, he wrote the manuscript that got him a publishing deal, Chedda Boyz. Since dropping his debut novel, C.J has penned eleven more novels.

1) What do you feel is the biggest problem with the new authors coming out today?

Putting out unedited material. Now a days it seems like new authors are in such a rush that they fail to do one of the most important aspects of releasing a book.

2) What do you think about authors who write in more than one genre?

I love it. In my opinion, it shows the dexterity of a writer. It takes a special talent because not everyone can do it.

3) What do you feel is the biggest problem with Ebooks?

The fact that people can buy them, read them, and then turn around and return them. That’s some bullshit! There should be a four hour time limit on them, meaning if you have them for more than four hours you can’t return them.

4) In your opinion, how important is advertising?

It’s very important. You could have the best book in the world but if nobody knows about it, it won’t sell.

5) Name five authors you would like to do an anthology with.

Kwan, T Styles, Treasure Blue, June Miller, and J Tremble.

6) How long does it take you to write a book?

It depends on my mood and how much I’m feeling the book. Sometimes it flows like water, and other times it flows like molasses. I think Chedda Boyz was written the fastest, about a month and a half.

7) Do you think Urban Fiction/ Street Lit will ever get the props it deserves?

Probably not. People shun what they don’t understand. A lot of people are very hypocritical when it comes to something like this. They will watch a porn movie but won’t read Next Door Nympho because they will say it contains too much sex.

Find the Author:

Facebook handles: CjThewriterhudson & Author C.J Hudson
Twitter handle: AUTHOR C.J HUDSON
Instagram handle: AUTHORCJHUDSON

Ebook link:

Paperback link:

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

Knowledge is Power. . .
Get you Some!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Staying Alive!

Due to the nature of this blog post, reader discretion is advised!  

(Strong Language and Racial Content!  Some names of people and places have been changed to protect individual identity.)

When I was 28 years old, a friend and I were out on a date celebrating his new sports car he purchased.  At that time, he was working three jobs just so he could save up the money to get his dream car.  You couldn’t tell us nothing.  We were living the life!  ahahahaaa

He took me way outside of Pittsburgh to a suburb I hadn’t been to, but had heard many negative things about this area’s police force being rather racist.  I was a little apprehensive about being brought there, but I was with my friend and I felt safe.  This area, needless to say, was basically white, but they had some decent night clubs and many black people caught the vibe and indulged.  Our money spent anywhere and the nightclub owners loved that.  However, we didn’t go to any of the nice clubs that night.  We ended up at this hole-in-the-wall bar, but it was hood ready where “everyone knew your name!”  The patrons were mostly black, but there were several whites inside too.  It was all good.  The drinks were flowing and his boys came outside to see his new ride and most were oohing and aahing.  My friend had made it.  He worked hard to buy this car.

After all the drinks and celebrating, we ordered food and sat and nursed our drinks slowly.  The music was pumping and much dancing and heads bobbing to the rhythm of the night.  It was fast approaching the “you-ain’t-got-to-go-home, but-you-got-to-get-the-hell-up-outta-here” moment—2a.m.  It’s cool, we were ready to head back home.  Before we left our bar stools, someone got on the mike and announced there were random police check points tonight and for everyone to be careful and mindful of the po-po!  My friend, whom we’ll call “Andre,” exchanged looks with me and signaled he was ready to go.

Of course, we’re driving along laughing about the nice evening we had, and sure enough we get about a few miles down the road and wouldn’t you know it, the police were sitting in wait.  Oooh joy!  I could feel my breathing accelerate and my nerves were definitely on edge.  Before we were asked to come to a complete stop, I said to Andre, “Whatever you do, you answer the police with yes sir, no sir, whatever the hell they want to hear sir, and we should be fine.”  He looked at me with this look like “shit on that!?”  I remained firm.  “I’m dead serious, do not provoke these police officers into something that will get us killed.”  He shook his head as if he was in agreement.

So, the police officers stop us and ask Andre where we were coming from.  While he’s speaking with the officer on his driver’s side, his partner on the passenger side, had a huge flashlight and shined it directly in my face.  Even though I was ready to do number one and two in Andre’s new ride, I tried to remain calm.  Something about this “routine stop” didn’t feel so routine to me.  The officer asked me to let the window down.  I complied.  He keeps shining the flashlight in my face.  I stared ahead and wouldn’t look in his direction.  I’m sure he could feel my fear radiating off of me.  I was two seconds from throwing up the hot wings I had doused along with my Miller’s beer.

He says, “So, where you comin’ from young lady?”  I answered, “Marlene’s—a bar a few miles back.”  He leaned closer to the car and I could feel the heat off of him.  “Oh yeah, I know Marlene’s – that’s where all the niggers hang.”  My blood was boiling, but I remained still and I would not give him eye contact.  Hmmph, had I done that, I would have been blind by this point.

I was so terrified of this officer that it hadn't occurred to me that Andre had left the car.  When the hell did he get out of the car?  So I look to see where he was and the police had him up against the car “assuming the position.”  I assumed the officer harassing me didn’t want me paying attention to what was happening to my friend, so he continued to engage me in more vulgar conversation.

He takes his flashlight and shines it starting from the top of my head and moved it slowly over my breasts, down to my feet.  I thought the bile rising in the back of my throat was going to spew all over him. 

“You know, you’re mighty young to be out this late.  How old are you?” 

“Twenty-eight.”  He shines his light in my face again.  “Hmm, you sure about that?  You seem a little young to me.  Where did your nigger friend pick you up at?  What corner do you hang on?”

OMG, I was livid and I wanted to take Andre’s keys from the ignition and stab this officer in the balls with them, but I knew that would prove fatal. 

“I’m not a hooker, sir—Andre is my friend and we came out celebrating” still shining his light in my face, “Oh you one of those niggers who got a little education,” he mentioned chuckling.  I could see the side of his face in the mirror and he turns and spits on the ground.  I look to see what is going on with Andre, and he and the officer are still talking. 

“How a nigger like you get a car like this?”  I couldn’t make out everything Andre said, but I heard him say, “I work three jobs and saved up money to buy this.”  Officer Shine-Your-Light on my side starts laughing and speaking to no one in particular. 

“Where a nigger get a ride like that?  I don’t make that much on a cop’s salary and ain’t no way working three jobs a nigger gonna buy a car this nice.  Why don’t you save us both the trouble and just admit you’re selling drugs?”

I could see Andre’s chest rise and fall and he was really getting angry.  He never sold drugs a day in his life and came from a good family and was educated as well.  He truly saved up for his ride the legit way, but of course, these two racist officers didn’t believe it.

“Sir, I work three jobs.  I can show you my work badges if you don’t believe me?”  Andre was going to reach for the door to open it, and I kept shaking my head no don’t do that.  The officer grabbed him real swift like and banged him against the car.  “Sorry, sir, I was just trying to show you. . .” he cut him off. 

“Don’t make sudden moves, boy, if you plan on making it home tonight with your ho.”  By this point, I began to silently cry.  I couldn’t do anything else and that’s the only thing I had control over.  Officer Shine-Your-Light watched me and said nothing.  Then he took his flashlight and shined it again over my body, resting the light on my breasts.  “You’re a good looking nigger.  You one of ‘dem high yellow ones.  Got some white mixed in you?”  

I wanted to die.  It seemed to me that we had been at this checkpoint way past the point we should have, but I believe the whole ordeal lasted seven to ten minutes.  All I could do was think of my mother and my grandparents.  Officer Shine-Your-Light made me feel so dirty and naked, even though I was fully clothed in a very nice dress and pumps.  I wanted to pull my V-neck dress tighter so he would stop gawking at my breasts, but I was too terrified to move for fear he’d think I was trying to pull a fast one and yank my ass out of the car.  One thing I knew for sure is that it was bad enough Andre was outside the car, but I did NOT want to be pulled from that car.  I was most likely going to be raped, had I been made to leave the car.  Officer Shine-Your-Light pretty much convinced me of that much.   I kept praying.

“No sir, both of my parents are black.”

“Is that right?  With black people you can come in any shade, is that right?”

“Yes sir, I suppose so.”

“You’re really cute.  You sure you’re 28-years old?  You wouldn’t be pullin' my leg, now would ya?  How much did and your nigger boyfriend have to drink tonight,” pointing his flashlight over to where Andre was standing.

He was firing questions off so fast, I was having a hard time processing them to answer.  And no matter how many times he called my friend nigger, I always referred to him as Andre to humanize him regardless as to this officer's ignorance.

“No, sir.  I’m 28 years old.  Andre had a couple of beers, as did I.  He’s 30 years old.”  I didn’t even know if he asked me Andre’s age or not?  I was confused and terrified at the same time.

“You say you’re not a hooker, eh?”

“No sir, I’m not.  I work for a law firm in Downtown Pittsburgh.”

“Oh yeah!  A law firm got a nigger workin’ for ‘em?  What do you do?”

“I’m a legal assistant.”

“Is that right?”

By this time, he leans in the window and his face is almost touching mine.  I have never prayed as hard as I prayed that night that God would keep me and Andre safe.  We weren’t bothering anyone, but apparently, these two yahoos were getting off at our expense.

“You are really good looking.  Anyone ever tell you that?”

I looked to my left to see what was going on with Andre, and finally the jackass officer detaining him let him get back in the car.  I was thankful to be near someone I trusted, even though we clearly were not out of the woods yet.

Officer Shine-Your-Light takes his light and flashes it in Andre’s face.  “Damn you’re black.  Gat damn, where you from Africa?”

I saw Andre’s jaw clench, and I lightly touched his hand to keep him calm.  This nightmare was almost over. 

“No sir, born and raised right here in the City of Pittsburgh.”  He puts his flashlight down and walks around the hood of the car to meet with his partner, Officer Jackass. 

Officer Shine-Your-Light says, “Welp, I guess everything checks out with these two.  Let ‘em go.”  I was so happy to hear those words I thought I would scream pure joy.  Before Andre could get the car in drive, Officer Jackass placed his hand on the side door.  “I suggest you and your lady friend don’t come ‘round these here parts anymore, boy, you got that?”  He winked at Andre and made some clicking sound with his tongue.

Andre inhaled hard and exhaled slowly.  “Yes sir, understood.  You have a nice night.”  And we pulled off.  Needless to say, neither one of us said a word on the ride back to the city.  I was in shock, as was he.  I know he felt less than a man because he let these white officers talk to us any ole kind of way, but we survived.    

Even though my friend and I were doing absolutely nothing wrong, these two ignorant ass racist cops pulled us over and harassed us, called us names, and belittled us, but WE lived through the ordeal.  When I told my girlfriend about what had happened, the first words out of her mouth were, “Ain’t no way in hell those motherfuckers would have done that to me!”  And I kept recounting what those officers did and I responded, “And you’d be raped and left for dead in some ditch out in no man’s land!”  

The reason I told my story in great detail is because I’m so sick and tired of seeing my people getting killed by some unlawful trigger-happy police officer.  But, with that being said, my story also points out that WE bear some of that responsibility as well.  Yes, Andre and I were out drinking in a white suburb.  We weren’t breaking any laws, other than the fact we were two young African-American people having a good time among friends.  Do you realize how horribly wrong this could have gone had I not told Andre how to handle that situation? There wasn't any way I wanted this to be what my mother and family would have to live with for the rest of their lives.  That's all I kept thinking about in between praying to Jesus to keep us safe.

I knew no sooner had the police stopped us, there was going to be a problem. For one, Andre's new shiny expensive sports car, and two, we were black.  I could just feel it.  I had heard about those officers from many black friends who had come out that way, and here I was in the midst of all that shit.  I’m not saying that many times my people aren’t within their legal rights, they most certainly are, but my point is, why provoke someone with a license to kill?  They have a gun, do you?  And even if you are carrying, do you really think the outcome is going to be good for you?  My people, you’ve got to start thinking smart and stop letting your emotions get you hurt, time in jail or worse, dead.

As much as those officers made me feel like shit and God knows I wanted to cuss them out and tell them to go to hell, but once again, we were out-gunned.  So I tell the cop where to go and how to get there, and I wouldn’t be writing this horrible tale for you to read.  If you want to say we were acting cowardly and we should have stood up for ourselves, as far as I’m concerned, that’s exactly what we did.  That was standing up for ourselves!  We’re alive today!  Neither of us went to jail that night.  Neither of us were harmed physically, although Officer Jackass hurt Andre’s arms when he slammed him on the side of the car.  But outside of that, we walked away unharmed.  Ooooh there were some mental scars to contend with and I was so terrified after that ordeal, when Andre reached my house, we sat there in silence.  I couldn’t get my legs to stop shaking.  I kept thinking how close to death we were. We finally looked at one another and our silence spoke a language that didn't require sound that night.  What was there to say?  I saw the hurt and pain in his eyes, as I’m positive he saw the mirror image in mine.  I could feel his shame, as much as I felt it.  We were robbed of our dignity that night and embarrassed by the whole ordeal.

Andre and I never talked about that night--ever!  We just went on with life as if that never happened.  It was too painful to want to relive.  It was just horrible.  In fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago I actually told my mom what happened that night.  I didn’t tell her all the gory details, but she could fill in the blanks and understood where I was coming from.

And the Moral to the Story Is:  Even when you're faced with adversity and it seems like there's nothing you can do, keeping a level head can save your life.  

I couldn’t believe this happened to me.  To this day, I still don’t want to believe this actually happened to me, but it did.  I have never been addressed that way by anyone.  Those two officers made me feel cheap, and God knows my mother didn’t raise a ratchet ghetto chick.  I damn sure am not a prostitute, but it’s amazing how someone’s words can make you feel exactly like their meaning.  I just felt plain ole nasty inside.  Hell, I felt raped just from the officer's tone and innuendos.  That gat damn flashlight accosted me in more ways than one, and that was Officer Shine-Your-Light’s intent.  I’m thankful my education and fast thinking kept me and Andre alive.  Had he popped off like I know he wanted to, again, I wouldn’t be the one writing this story.  I’d be my family’s memory right now.

When I see these horrific videos of black people being hunted and taunted, it makes my skin crawl.  I get so upset because I know how it feels.  The first thing you want to do is hurt those officers, but much too often, my people lose sight of what is really going on.  I don’t give a damn if you are in the right, when you are stopped by a police officer, you want that encounter to be quick, easy and painless.  Even when you know they are being a prick, just take their shit, and keep it moving!  Many of my people are dead today because they allowed their raw emotions to take over the situation, which is why they are no longer here.  If you are stopped and an officer asks you to get out of the car, you must get out of the car, just like my friend Andre did.  You comply respectfully and carefully, regardless of the officer's behavior.  I keep hearing people saying it's their right to stay in the car.  Aaah, that's incorrect.  When an officer tells you to exit the vehicle, YOU must do it and very carefully, I might add.  You make any sudden moves, and that could potentially be the end of you.  After all, that officer doesn't know what he/she is going to encounter when approaching you, no more than you do.  So YOU need to be mindful of that!

So go ahead and call me a punk, wuss or whatever you want to think of me.  I’m here damn it, and that’s all that matters at the end of the day!  The next time you have an encounter with law enforcement, YOU might want to remember this is a person that has a weapon and can use it and get away with killing you. If you don’t believe me, obviously you aren't up on current events as of late?  These stories come much like a brand new pair of Air Jordans awaiting for the mad rush at a mall.

And if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t change one thing! 

I hope my story gives you some food for thought when dealing with the police.  I didn’t tell my story to make you feel bad, but to help educate and hopefully help you gain some smarts.  And even when you do the right things, it doesn’t necessarily mean the outcome is going to be in your favor, but at least start off by NOT provoking an officer with flippant answers and talking shit.  You are guaranteeing yourself not to have a good day.

And then answer this:  Is popping off at the mouth worth your life?  I can’t answer that for you!  Only you can.

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

Think Smart!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

BOOK Review: A Long-Awaited Memoir. . .

Synopsis: The long-awaited memoir of seven-time Grammy-nominated artist Charlie Wilson, the iconic R&B and Funk singer-songwriter-producer interwoven with his recollections of collaborating with fellow artists such as Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones, and Snoop Dogg. 

Recognized the world over for his distinct voice and timeless hits spanning a career of nearly half a century, Charlie Wilson is one of the most celebrated musicians of his generation. So it took friends and family by surprise when he checked into rehab and revealed that he had been not only homeless, but also helpless.

Here, in the memoir fans have been demanding, is the story of how love and faith carried him through not only his addiction, but also prostate cancer. Here, too, is the story of his work in the music business, including a career resurgence that saw collaborations with some of the most sought-after artists of today, including Pharrell and Justin Timberlake.

Now over twenty years sober, Wilson recounts a life filled with vertiginous highs and heartbreaking lows. His is a story of triumph over adversity, courage in the face of extreme hardship, and love when all else is lost. It is a tale of the last sixty years in social and pop culture history, and one that will stay with you for years to come.


I cannot express how excited I was to learn Charlie Wilson had written his memoirs – FINALLY! OMG, I’m a huge fan of Uncle Charlie and have been following his career since he sang with his brothers in The GAP Band. What an amazing artist and more importantly, human being. There was always something about Charlie that you just knew he had “it.” Not everyone has it, but Charlie definitely does.

He’s one of those artists that you just cannot hate. I’m sure there are people who aren’t fans, but it’s hard not to be a fan of this man. In his memoir, he takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster, and when I tell you he was very open and honest, that is truly an understatement. He broke it all down from the great highlights in his life, to the lowest of low. I remember a few years back when I heard him doing an interview wherein he spoke candidly about being a drug addict and homeless. My jaw literally hit the floor. Here, while I was enjoying his music back in the day and being the naïve star-craved fan thinking he was riding high, who the hell knew he was homeless and broke? Charlie Wilson homeless, broke and strung out on drugs? Say what now? Jesus, I just couldn’t believe it. And after so many years of wanting desperately to read his story, he gave it to me in more ways than one.

What I loved most about his memoir is that it wasn’t bullshit. I’ve read countless memoirs from stars I’ve admired over the years and you can just tell when they were really giving their fans what they wanted and when they were holding back and only trying to make a coin and give you half-truths. Charlie told his story straight up and from a dark place that I’m positive had to be horrible to relive and conjure up old demons—some of which he still fights to this very day. 

It was awesome to read about his parents and growing up with his brothers and sister. I never even knew he had a sister, and she sings too. His entire family are musical geniuses in their own right. He speaks openly about his first time performing on stage as a little boy. And being shy was never in his DNA for he first got his taste of entertaining in the church, as many African-American artists do. Charlie takes his readers on a journey and you’re all too willing to hop in the seat, buckle up and see where the destination leads. I can say happily his destination is beyond the sky’s limit. This man shows no signs of stopping. He’s such a professional and true to his artistry and you feel that in his music.

I remember when The GAP Band III album hit the shelves in the record store in tow producing the monster smash, Yearning for Your Love, I liked to up and lost all of my mind. You couldn’t tell me nothing when that song came on. OMG, I pestered the DJs to play that song every hour on the hour. My mother bought the album for me and it sounded like bacon frying I played it so much. I still get that warm and fuzzy feeling inside whenever I hear it. And who knew while I was sitting back enjoying that awesome album, Charlie was homeless. I just cannot believe that. When he tells you about the shoddy contracts he signed and the shyster managers and record companies he and his brothers dealt with, when their career was on ten, you feel his pain. It was painful to read some of his truth. This is another reason why I respect Charlie so much because he stands in his truth—but you better trust and believe, it didn’t start out that way. Learning to deal with his truth was a process.

Part of that process was his faith in God and his beautiful and loving wife, Mahin. When I tell you his wife is a true Ride or Die type of chick, her picture is the poster child for it. She went and still goes well beyond the scope of what a real wife does for her husband. I absolutely adore his wife and I don’t even know her, but Charlie brings his wife to life on those pages and you will quickly learn why he loves his wife so. This woman is an angel, which he mentions many times. God truly did send him an angel and he was and is so deserving of her. Mahin knows what it means to be a wife and to love her man. She’s my kind of gal. Huge props and kudos go to her because this woman has been through it, you hear me! Been there and done that and still there and doing that all for the love of her Charlie. Ain’t a damn thing wrong with that! I love it. They have an incredible relationship.

Needless to say, Charlie impressed me so much, which I had no doubt. I’ve always been a fan and I will continue to support his music. He’s so real and I can relate and appreciate a brother like that. He’s more than a boy-next-door type of guy, he’s the dude that is down for the cause and helping to uplift his fellow man—regardless as to color, creed, sex, nationality, etc. His truth could be anyone’s story. After suffering through the tough years on drugs, he still was able to bounce back. What the drugs didn’t do, prostate cancer tried, but once again, God was on his side right along with Mahin. He beat it, and thank God for his wife demanding he get check-ups. Had he not listened to his wife, we might not be celebrating Charlie’s accomplishments in this sense. Early prevention saved his life. As he said, “God is so good!” He ain’t never lied!

This was one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read. I was blown away with how down-to-earth Charlie is and how honest he was with his fans. He didn’t have to allow us in his life the way he did, and I appreciate that he kept it one hundred! Like I said, you can always tell when celebrities are holding back, but Charlie let it flow. 

Mello & June give this memoir five stars. “Outstanding!” Another of my favs from The GAP Band. Keep doin’ you, Uncle Charlie. You got this!

Side Note:  Charlie not only wrote an “Outstanding” book, he gave us plenty of pictures to boot!  You Rock, Brotha!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

When People Lose Faith in You. . .
God Never Does! . . .