odie hawkinsOdie Hawkins:
The Last OG Standing

by Rhonda Crowder
August 2009


When readers think of classic street-lit, the names Iceberg Slim, Donald Goines, and Chester Himes generally comes to mind. Those from the Tri-State area may even speak of Nathan Heard as he sold a million copies of his novel Howard Street back in the day. But, are you familiar with Odie Hawkins? And, if so, did you know he’s still writing? As one of the original Holloway House authors, Hawkins, 82, has authored over a dozen novels, wrote screenplays as well as episodes of Sanford and Son, and even worked as a journalist in Ghana during the course of his 40-year writing career. Just recently, Hawkins acquired the rights to all of his earlier titles and has re-released those with themes still odie hawkins quoterelevant today through his own publishing company. So, being the great-granddaddy of the genre, he’s passing some gems to the next generation.

How difficult was it for "street" lit writers to get major publishing deals when you started out? Why?
Major publishing deals for “street lit” writers were non-existent when I started out. And it’s true to this day. Why? Because major publishers are deathly afraid of failing. If an editor fails to come up with a best selling item, he or she is lower-leveled. No one wants to take a chance at failing. Aside from that, most of the Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly, Thomas Sowell, Keyes – guys and gals who have been appointed to open the sluice gates for African-American writers – are firmly out to lunch. Check out the shelves… their choices.

What was it like working with Holloway House?
Holloway House was a special experience. Despite the fact that Bentley Morris, the publisher, always seems to think that I’m downing the scene whenever I say he never promoted our (Iceberg, Goines, Nazel, Hawkins) books in a major fashion properly, I will always maintain that he had the vision to exploit us when no one else had the vision to do it. Go figure. I think the record should show that Holloway House was built on the backs of a bunch of Black writers and that publisher who had the vision to exploit these writers benefited. What else can I say? He might not agree with this view but let’s see the novels he wrote.

As young writers, what do we need to know or do to ensure street lit’s survival?
I would say to young writers… pay much more attention to the works of your ancestors. We need to know what they did so that we can enrich their endowments. Dig it? If we find that they built on a bogus foundation, call’em on it. But first, do a serious investigation of their lives, their times, their circumstances.

To ensure the survival of this so called urban thingamajig, we need to screen it constantly, to make certain that pseudo-impostors are not allowed to cloak themselves with a mantle that they’ve never been under and shouldn’t be trying to cover themselves with.

Can street lit, as we know it, survive another 40 years and beyond?
I have to say straight up that despite the Messianic belief a lot of folks (African Americans and non African Americans) have in our recently elected Obama, a whole bunch of stuff is not going to change. Will not change. Ain’t. As long as people are forced to survive on the streets, in one sense or another, there will be street lit. Writers must write about what they know to write about. The nature of it may reach the virtual reality level and maybe beyond but, if it draws from the well of their experiences in this life, it’s going to be there. Sometimes I think about the differences in dynamics that created a Phyliss Wheatley, a Donald Goines, an Iceberg Slim, an Odie Hawkins. Was Sister Wheatley, George Washington’s favorite Black poet, a ghetto writer? Was her stuff street lit? Who was she…?

What do writers need to know before trying to break into film and television?
Writers need to know that breaking into film and television is a bunch of bullshit. You can be a superb writer. This has nothing to offer television. Television caters to mass consumption: farting, belching, Plumber Joe, Sara Palin, Boss Rumbaugh. Who you know. Film, almost the same thing. Don’t you wonder, sometimes, as you see one jive ass movie after another come out of Weirdywood, that you could do that one better? But it has nothing to do with artistic excellence. It has to do with who our brother is/was, how much money you want to lose? Tax write offs, bidness. Can I gain more income by investing in a losing project? Or, investing in a project that’s going to breakout? Under the current trend of capitalistic thinking you can make more being bailed out than by making a superior film. Go figure again.

How can today's street/urban writers step up their game to make a bigger impact in the literary industry?
I can’t say anything in a generic fashion about what street/urban writers should do or how they can step up their game to make a bigger impact in the literary industry. But I will be willing to speak to those writers who’ve done me the honor of asking that I speak out.

I would ask my brothers and sisters to learn how to write. There, I’ve said it. What does that mean? Learn the mechanical elements of film, television, novel, short story writing. I’ve had writing classes for years and people showed up, prepared they thought to write world shakin’ novels. But, they didn’t know how to do a character sketch or an outline. You wouldn’t try to go from California to Maryland without a road map. Why try to write a 300-page novel without an outline?

We know that African American writers and other people of color are always going to be asked to write better, more perfectly, more better, more accurately, than the average non-colored writer. So, if you want to get into the mix, be better at their game than they are. You’ll have half a chance of succeeding, at least. Sorry, folks, it still be like that. And it will be, until you do your own thang.

To learn more about the works of Odie Hawkins visit: www.odiehawkins.com


Rhonda Crowder is a general assignment reporter for the Call and Post Newspapers in Cleveland, Ohio, freelance journalist, editor, and aspiring novelist.
Comments page 4 of 4:
Click Here to Add a Comment
seo plugin :
Posted 308 days ago
Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword....wait there's even more Now what if i told you there was a simple Wordpress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That's right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. <a href="http://www.SEORankingLinks.com"> ;Seo Plugin</a>
<a href="http://www.SEORankingLinks.com/" >seo plugin</a>
Roselaine :
Posted 915 days ago
Thank you for sharing in this blog tour, Rose, and for your kind<a href="http://ompieyjckmh.com"> ctnemmos</a>, It is so good after all these years to see other Australian writers like yourself now writing great books for us Aussie readers of Christian Fiction!
Andressa :
Posted 916 days ago
Pollard was a spy for Israel - OK.Was his crime so bad that he should be icetrncraaed for life? Compare his treatment with other American spies that betrayed their country.There are two explanations:1. Pollard did more harm than we're allowed to know (why the mystery?)2. It's because he's a Jew. http://ggoskf.com [url=http://ilgsnzx.com]ilgsnzx[/url] [link=http://yztaozhprr.com]yztaozhprr[/link]
Nicoly :
Posted 917 days ago
Bones,The current soon to be<a href="http://xxkkgan.com"> frmoer</a> resident of the WH, as opposed to Carter then (and like Carter now)understands that Israel is in the way and leans heavily in the direction of the Muslim world.He would not only throw Israel under the bus, given half a chance, he would supply the bus and drive it personally, making sure to back up to seal the total demise of the Jewish State
Morshed :
Posted 918 days ago
merc afshin jan dsteat dorost khaste nabashi, baba karet doroste ba in theme jadid. nargesi daste shoma ham dast nakone. matlabe jalebi bod.We love you radiocp
Aezi :
Posted 1209 days ago
IËáve been exploring for a small bit for any high qltuiay articles or weblog posts in this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this site. Studying this info So iËám glad to convey that I've a very just right uncanny feeling I learned exactly what I needed. I so much certainly will make sure to do not omit this site and give it a glance a long-lasting basis|regularly}. http://eeicsg.com [url=http://fbeshyyvi.com]fbeshyyvi[/url] [link=http://fwhcrovekn.com]fwhcrovekn[/link]
Synamo :
Posted 1212 days ago
you might find distinctive sorts of <a href="http://dnztao.com">meidlna</ a> Louboutin runners like for model gals Louboutin, footwear so, Loafers rentals for girls so <a href="http://dnztao.com">meidlna</ a> Louboutin footwear, athletic shoes for men. in any case from the simple in fact that here is certainly not very same time a very excellent contribute alters, <a href="http://dnztao.com">meidlna</ a> Louboutwhen enjoys earn some exchange small print. The habit so along with fixture considerations distinctive at the same time sophisticated get make the <a href="http://dnztao.com">meidlna</ a> runners equal considerably more cool convert Louboutin.
Namitha :
Posted 1215 days ago
Matt,Excellent post. One of my favorite stoires' that I've heard through the team training system is about this thing that can do all these different things, for good or evil . ending with my name is habit!I believe that success for people on the team, will be stated the exact same way that a person goes broke: very, very slowly and then all the sudden!Leaders like yourselves know that the slight edge is a big part of what gets us there.Thanks.John Graff http://ewkogrxt.com [url=http://qyzfhofwwp.com]qyzfhofwwp[/url] [link=http://yjafja.com]yjafja[/link]
Lalito :
Posted 1215 days ago
Well,wish all guys understand where you come from first. Then I <a href="http://ynhoodmjta.com">belevie& lt;/a> it will be very helpful when you do any decision in the future. More precisley and no doubt to face the world even so many distortion phenomenom in the world.
 



THE URBAN BOOK SOURCE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY COMMENTS THAT ARE POSTED. IF A COMMENT IS DEFAMATORY, PLEASE CONTACT US AND APPROPRIATE ACTION WILL BE TAKEN.



 

ABOUT US:
Company Info
Privacy Policy
Disclaimer
Advertise
Resources

Contributors
Faq
WRITE-UPS:
Features

Interviews
Editorials
Reviews
Columns
Archives
MEDIA:
Video
Gallery
Audio
Store

COMMUNITY:
Message Board
Contests
Giveaways
PUBLIC RELATIONS:
Get Featured. Be Heard.
Submit Your Book
Review For Us
Book Checklist
Join Mailing List
Send Your Feedback
Contact Us
SOCIAL MEDIA:
Myspace
Facebook
Twitter
Blackplanet
YouTube

© 2005 - 2013 by The Urban Book Source, LLC