Southern. Storyteller. Sociologist.
I grew up a black boy in the Country South, one of those places where things came one at a time—one school, one grocery store, one post office, one sacred belief in family, your folk, and one god. I grew up loving music and words. The music was late-90's Memphis rap: Crunchy Black, Gangsta Boo, La Chat, Playa Fly, Three Six. The words were whatever I could get my hands on. I read books. I made up poems-turned-raps. I told stories. I wrote about coming of age in Mississippi, which meant writing about what black folks did and what people like grandmama said, except when it meant writing about outer space and other worlds and animals that could fly, talk, and rap. Today, as the saying goes, the more things change, the more they have stayed the same. I am still growing up. I am still black boy. I am still Country South. I still write words about what black folks did and do, what people's grandmama said and say, and what the future is go'n be like; but now I do it as a storyteller, formally trained in sociology and variably relying on perspectives from history, geography, and cultural studies. Oh, and I still bump old Memphis rap—yes, I’m going to do this—like it’s 1999.