jihadJihad Replies to Nick Chiles

by Jihad
November 2009

My name is Jihad, I am the author of several books, Streetlife, Babygirl, Riding Rhythm, MVP, Preacherman Blues, Wild Cherry and now The Survival Bible. It is sad when I read articles such as: "A Critical Look at Street Lit."

jihadAll street lit doesn't glorify the negative, and even the ones that do are telling stories. How many mainstream books glorify the negative? And let me ask you this. Does the Bible glorify murder and violence? Well, there is killing and violence all throughout the Bible. My point is how are you looking at street lit? Well, we know how you are Mr. Chiles, from a half empty standpoint. A lot of street lit is the only reality that some of these authors know. It is this reality that some young Kings and Queens read and realize that this is not the life for them. They also learn to understand the err of there ways sometimes when they are leading a life similar to some of the characters in these street sagas. The number one best selling black fiction author in America is a Street lit author, Donald Goines. Mr. Goines has helped to wake countless sleeping giants up in the black community, usually from a jail cell, but awaken; his books did and still do.

I am a product of his work. It took street lit, to get me to read, as it has countless others. Once that door is open, the sky is the limit. Mr. Goines propelled me to the Dr. Ben's, Dr. Clarkes, Dr. Akbars and so many other scholars. Now, over a ten year span of writing, I have been able to wake up so many others who had never read anything until they picked up one of my books. I have bags of fan mail-love from prisons, from Kings realizing who they are after reading my work. But I had to take them home to make them comfortable. I have to talk about the reality that they have perceived up until the time they went to prison, to get them to think. But you Mr. Chiles, you are like a cancer in the black community. You don't seek to help, you only want to ridicule with your words.

I don't agree with a lot of books, street, mainstream, romance, whatever, but I am all for freedom of speech, especially when done with a pen. Street fiction has done more for illiteracy in the past decade than I'm sure any other genre of literature. I bet there was a Nick Chiles in the days of Zora, Langston, Chester, etc.

So, my brother, take a deeper look and see the good street lit is doing instead of shooting arrows at what could very well be the beginning of a cultural reading revolution. I challenge you to pick up, no I will send you any of my books free and you can dissect them, feel free to email me: jihadwrites@bellsouth.net.

Better yet, meet me at BookExpo America 2010 and let's set up a debate, you and I. King, there are so many battles and wars to fight in the Black community, you should be wise to rethink your stand and fight something worth fighting.

[ The following was taken from Jihad's Facebook page ]:

"Sad. Sad. Sad. Too bad the brotha can't see what the street genre has done to combat illiteracy in the urban community these past 10 years. Too bad this brotha can't see from his glass castle, how so many that would be leading a life of crime is now writing about it. There is glorification of negativity in most books, whether it be street, erotica or mainstream. But often times people get inside the pages and see their lives, and they see the road that they are headed down, and it causes them to rethink the negativity that they are involved in. Wake up king. Stop tearing down walls that so many are building. Help us build them correctly."

For more information on Jihad, visit: www.jihadwrites.com

Jihad is the author of Street Life, Babygirl, Riding Rhythm, MVP, Preacherman Blues and Wild Cherry.

Comments page 1 of 3:
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Amused :
Posted 3244 days ago
@ Urban Author. Wow, making public death threats via internet. How stupid are you? I hope Urban Book Source reports your IP Address.
Therone Shellman :
Posted 3246 days ago
You have black on black youth violence like never before. Is championing urban lit such an important cause? Who's stopping who from writing what they want? Do you think everyone is going to agree with what you do? If so what world would this take place in? We as a people spend alot of time on issues which really have no bearing on how we live for the better.
Therone Shellman :
Posted 3246 days ago
I think with all that is going on with black on black youth violence as well as other things any thing that can be used as a vehicle to direct them down a different path needs to be looked at. Whether it be music, literature or film. JaY Z said it best with his new album when he mentioned why would he take it back when he is doing so much better now. Meaning talking about the projects, burying his homies etc serves no purpose in progress which is where he's at now suit and tying it up. I personally feel if cats want to write about the streets or whatever, who really cares. If a person has the skill to bring it another way then thats what they need to do if thats what they wish. The problem is that we as blackmen get bunched up in this same pile. I think this is what pisses dudes off. I know it urks the hell out of me to have to say, "Haye yeah I come from the streets, but not all of us are like them dudes smoking weed, drinking forties etc. Many of us come from Five Percenter, BGF (Black Guerilla Family), Moors backgrounds, etc. Unfortunately many of us fell into the traps in the streets, but still we are alot different. And there are cats who never sold crack or got locked up but yet because they are blackmen they are supposed to be such and such. This is the argument most black writers like NC want to have because the black male stereotype is what is the underlying issue. At the end of the day birds of a feather flock together, so the argument over urban lit or any other genre between writers is all publicity because when it comes to choosing friends you're only going to be friends with those you see eye to eye with. Those of us who have different views are not going to rock with each other in the real world. Neither are rappers. Could you see Public Enemy doing a song with Eazy E back in the days. Nah, b/c they represent two different realities.
Q.B. Wells :
Posted 3247 days ago
Thanks for the positive comments Jihad and Jarold Imes. Street literature has done more good than any other genre by creating and nurturing a new group of readers and writers. And while I agree with a little of what NC said (lower advances), I respectfully disagree with his approach to not assisting the culture or other writers in creating better books. If he really cared, he would write a book that addresses many of the "problems" he outlined instead of speaking as if he is on the high end and on a higher ground than others. How are the issues that he outlined with black males not urban?
To add, I think his article was a publicity stunt for all the people who had something to say about urban literature. A LOT of traditional authors feel the same way and were too afraid to voice until the article was written. Then they jumped on the bandwagon. And to be honest, I don't think he or others ever read a street lit book and listened to the murmurs before writing.
Nick Chiles is not one to write a book for black culture or urban culture. He writes to a group of African Americans that hope to help White America understand and accept black culture.
I don't write for that group of people because I never knew many of them that accepted me as I am.
However, we need people who do still write to promote the best of our culture to upper class blacks and even the white people that only know blacks though movies, books an other media.
Jarold Imes :
Posted 3248 days ago
I agree with Erick and Jihad on this issue. I've met his wife once and she's cool peoples. I felt that way being in her presence and listening to her speak. We both write teen fiction so we share common goals within that genre. So in that regard, I don't feel that a sit down or even a healthy debate is not possible. I wish he would have done that years ago instead of my only hearing about him confronting a well known female author in our genre. But talking about the issue is one thing ... taking the time to mentor, inspire and encourage is a completely different issue.
Erick Gray :
Posted 3249 days ago
JIhad, my words exactly. You hit it on the nail. I don't know why this dude Nick Chiles is so critical of our genre. He just don't understand where we come from. And the part he said in his interview, we're not doing it for the moral issuse or to make things better, but to get rich. Of course I wanna become paid and successful for what I do, who doesn't. But like you said, he never been to our world, don't understand it and don't want to. Everybody is different in this genre, just like in any genre. You're gonna have some really good books and some really bad ones. But he needs to sit down with a few authors in this game, like K'wan, Treasure, Wahida, Anthony Whyte, you and myself included and just talk it out. But I would ask him, since he's so judgemental about our writing and these street books, what is he doing to try and change the situation with these kids and these streets that we write about Everybody wanna talk and belittle us, but what are they doing to try and change our dystopia. Talk is cheap, what about your actions. I persoanlly think he is just jealous because urban fiction is getting a lot of spotlight and attention and his books probably just collect dust or to hold up shaky tables. So how do you get attention and get your name out there, you come at the King. And right now, Urban lit, street fiction is the king and sometimes even our own kind wants to knocks us down and out and take over...so sad. Like crabs in the barrell still.
Mo Shines :
Posted 3249 days ago
Preach Brother!!! Preach...
Latasha :
Posted 3249 days ago
Preach, Candy! I love your response!
Latasha :
Posted 3249 days ago
Street Lit definitely LIVES! I hear ya, Jihad!
candy :
Posted 3249 days ago
I often wonder what anyone has to gain from beating down the next man, black man. Honestly who cares what you may think about street lit, better yet, who made you the authority on what we as readers should choose to read. Understand this, it's my money, my choice. You so freely confess that you were currently working on a book with Kirk franklin, and he is who? God. more importantly, who are you? Mr. Franklin admitted being addicted to porn, should we not choose to purchase this book if we dont agree with his life style.
For so long and even now the black communtiy has fought for freedom, why should we or why would we make you the be-all to end-all on what is good for us. I read a book a day. I've read street lit, loved some, disliked others, Christian lit, the same. Romance, erotica, mystery, and have been disappointed as well as entertained. Why must we always find reasons to divide? Why cant we just be happy being among our people, sharing our gifts. Stop looking at street lit with a crticial eye, because,we only hate what we dont understand. I challange you to walk the streets where our young black men and women are struggling to survive, ask them their story, then come back home and look around. Who's story is more interesting?.........
Vivid Reader :
Posted 3249 days ago
Street Lit LIVES!!!!
Tammy White :
Posted 3249 days ago
Damn, the OG broke it down. Never looked at the Bible in that light before.



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