Seth Ferranti: Soul in the Hole
by Taylor Nix
Seth “Soul Man” Ferranti is a man on a mission to the fullest and he is unlike most literary scholars and journalists—having written articles for Don Diva Magazine, Slam, Feds, The Ave, FHM, Vice, and The Flywire; not to mention regular appearances on Hoopshype.com, Hoopculture.com which has lead him to international recognition in L’Equipe, Gigantes Del Basket and Liberation magazines from France and Spain. Seth has also been featured in Rollin Stone Magazine, with several reviews in Giant, Smooth, Elemental and Yellow Rat Bastard. He founded Gorilla Convict Publications while writing and publishing his first book titled Prison Stories, he has a short story in the Nikki Turner Anthology “Christmas in the Hood” and his latest non-fiction saga Street Legends.
All this from a prison cell. The question is how?
“Diane (Seth’s wife), she is my manager, agent, secretary, public relations person, publisher, webmaster and publicist all in one . . . Without her I am nothing. She pursues leads and possible articles, tracks people down, finds out what different magazines and websites want me to write and then sends me all the info . . . I write, type it up and send it back to her . . . We work together, we network, we market my writings and Gorilla Convict, the website and my books . . . without her none of this happens . . .”
In October 1993 Seth was captured after being placed on the U.S. Marshall list of most-wanted fugitives—thought able to elude authorities for 2 years, using several fake identities, while going back and forth between states, all the while still managing to catch Lollapalooza when it came to town. He faced the mandatory sentence of at least 27 years. Seth led a small group of suburban LSD peddlers in an upper class Fair Fax neighborhood.
Writing wasn’t always a love of his. At one time he formed a rock band and recorded an 8-Track demo that contained original songs, but due to the No Frills Prison Act of 1996, all electronic devices, including electric guitars and recorders were outlawed. But he didn’t let that hinder his chances at creating art while behind the wall. In a interview with Rollin Stone Magazine Seth mentioned this about prison life, “The meat [we] get is government surplus. It might be five or ten years old, sitting in a freezer somewhere. We get stuff leftover from [war] . . .”
From making 92 cents an hour working in the prison factory, fitting foam cushions into molded-plastic seat shells to a career as a writer, we can all agree Seth “Soul Man” Ferranti had been making excellent use of his time thus far by writing with a resume longer than most.
Taylor: Why did you decide to write a book like Street Legends?
I've always been intrigued by that true-crime type of stuff and after reading stuff like Queens Reigns Supreme and Mr. Untouchable I was like damn, this is the same shit I've been doing for Don Diva and the other mags, so I put the idea together and rolled with it in a book length project. My main man Mark at gottahustle.com helped me with the lineup for the book and really was the inspiration for the writing of the book. I see this gangsta shit jumping off just like the Italian Mafia and Colombian cocaine cartel stuff before it. America loves its outlaws and the dudes profiled in Don Diva, Feds and on BET's American Gangster are today's Billy the Kid's and Scarfaces.
Taylor: What was the research process like?
I got as close to the person I was writing about as I could. Luckily I was with Supreme at FCI Gilmer in 2005 and I had connections with a lot of the other dudes co-defendants, relatives or homies through people I've done time with. Remember I've been in prison, the feds, since 1993, so I know a lot of these dudes personally and if not I know their co-defendants or running partners. But from inception to publication it was inside a year. I got a lot of help from other people though. Without them it would not have been possible.
Taylor: Why are so many young people attracted to street life?
Taylor: Who will be included in the second installment of Street Legends?
I'll give the real deal and show the process these dudes went through and let you know if their actions were justified or not. It’s easy to call someone a snitch but harder to look at all the circumstances surrounding each individuals situation. I'm not saying I'm going to defend anyone but I'm gonna tell it like it is and tell these dudes stories through their own voices and through their homies and co-defendants voices. And whatever the end result will be it will be real, very real.
Taylor: I've been with urbanbooksource.com for some time now and I've seen firsthand some of the stuff that you write and cover, I have to ask, with you being incarcerated, how do you get access to so much information?
She is my angel and a very smart and astute businesswoman too. If I am the creative side of this than she is the practical side. The one who makes all my ideas reality. Plus as I said before I've been locked up going on 16 years. I've met a tremendous amount of people from all walks of life in the system and I am a people person, I am a networker, I keep in touch, I discuss ideas with people and when the time comes I try to make whatever was discussed happen. Plus I don't mind helping people by trying to get them some publicity for what they are doing. When I first started writing or trying to write about these incarcerated street lit authors there weren't a lot of outlets for my work. Now there is. There’s a lot of interest in this type of material and I've been doing it since the jump so people know my name or they know me personally because they did time with me or I did time with their homie so I get access to a lot of people that way.
Taylor: Do you have any upcoming projects?
Taylor: With street literature gaining popularity, do you think there should be some form of industry standard that the publishers and authors meet?
Taylor: Anything else you would like to tell The Urban Book Source viewers?
Also check out Prison Stories, which people have called a hood novel set in prison. Plus visit my website, leave me a message and read the Gorilla Convict Blog which gives the 411 on convicts, street legends, the mafia, prison gangs and life in the belly of the beast. Thanks a lot for having me and take care. UrbanBookSource.com is the leading authority of street lit. Enough said.
Be sure to pick up copies of all his work and visit: www.gorillaconvict.com.
Taylor Nix is a writer and photographer for the Urban Book Source. Questions, comments and concerns can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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