Southern. Storyteller. Sociologist.
I grew up a black boy in the Country South. One of those places where things come one at a time, and slow. One school, one grocery store, one post office, one sacred belief in family, work, and god. I grew up loving music and words. The music was late-90's Memphis rap: Crunchy Black, Gangsta Boo, La Chat, Playa Fly, Project Pat, Three Six. The words were whatever I could get my hands on. I read books and Jet Magazine. Wrote poems. Rapped. Told stories. Wrote what I knew, which meant writing about coming of age in Mississippi, which meant writing about what black folks did and what people like Grandma 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 about what black folks are doing, about what people's grandmama are saying, and about what the future used to be like; but now I do it as a storyteller, scholar, and college professor. I am formally trained in sociology, but I dabble in history, geography, and cultural studies. Oh, and I still bump old Memphis rap—yes, I’m going to do this—like it’s 1999.