Dutch Trilogy Ends Dynasty Begins
PART 2 OF 2
by Kaven L. Brown
One of the most renowned names in street literature that readers have come to know since its resurgence from the Donald Goines era is Kwame Teague aka “Dutch.” Teague is the author of six novels which includes, The Adventures of Ghetto Sam and the Glory of My Demise, Dutch, Dutch II: Angel's Revenge, Dutch III: The Finale, Thug Politics and his latest release Dynasty. Teague elaborates on a range of other issues, read on for my exclusive interview with your Favorite Authors Favorite Author: [ see part one ]
Many people are still confused when it comes to identifying a book by you, please explain how we should look for your titles.
A lot of people do not understand the Dutch name, in short is my pen name. So when you see by Dutch or Dutch it means by Kwame Teague.
What’s the new book, Dynasty about? Where did the inspiration to write it come from? What is the underlying message in this story?
Dynasty is about a “crime family” that dates back to the mid 70’s until present day. It‘s about being a father and a gangsta, and the impact that dynamic has on a family. It’s a very compelling read. I wanted to do a series about a black crime family that basically super imposed the everyday family issues in the life of a gangsta, so it’s like a black Sopranos. Morally, it’s complex, yet ambiguous because the decisions that drive the story will make the reader question their own dark side and make them ask themselves “Would I do that?”
Describe your writing process? How do you generate story ideas into novels?
There’s no set pattern. Anything can spark me, especially music. I can hear Teena Marie and think of a deep love story or Sade and be on my international swag. I may hear the Purple Tape or Reasonable Doubt and it's gangsta. My inspiration comes from everywhere, sometimes I start with the ending, a title or a plot. One thing I can’t do is tell the same story twice; it has to have a different rhythm.
How do you breathe so much life into your characters?
A lot of times characters are loosely based on real people. Like Angel was based on someone I knew named Tanya. Roc was based on the Muslim that taught me Islam and the game. Dutch was a combination of people as well. Just like Guy Simmons in Dynasty was based on an old school southern gangsta. When I’m writing, I climb inside each character and try to imagine what each would say or do then, I let it flow.
What are some of your favorite books?
Victor Huyo’s Les Miserable, Richard Wright’s The Outsider, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Al Saadiq Banks’ book Block Party Series, Mike Sanders’ Thirsty, Wahida Clark’s Thug Series and J-Real’s Draw.
I read that with Dutch, you intended to tell a story through everyone else’s eyes except that of the main character. Can you elaborate on this?
Basically, if you look at Dutch I and II, Dutch never tells the story himself. He’s just the topic from everyone else’s point of view. I’m like a director when I write, so I use different camera angles in my story just as much as the story line. I like to write books as movies with vivid pictures.
After reading the Dutch trilogy, I have to ask, who was the story really about? Dutch or One-Eyed Roc/Rahman?
The trilogy was definitely about Dutch, but Roc’s character had the most growth. Dutch was a concept in the first two installments, so he was really only a character in Dutch the Finale. This is why I believe people were a little upset with the Finale because the Dutch they read about in I & II wasn’t the flesh and blood cat in the Finale. The reason was simple, love. Dutch had no weakness until he allowed himself to love. That’s when he lost his power.
They say, politicians lie to hide the truth, artists tell lies to reveal it. All of your work reflects this. Subliminal or subtle messages seem to be your trademark. Why do you feel it’s important to include them in your writing?
I wouldn’t really say subliminal messages. It’s just that I don’t try and beat the reader over the head by preaching to them. Instead of saying don’t do this and don’t do that, I indirectly include life lessons and advice in my writing. I encourage the reader to “read between the lines” so to speak.
You are a favorite author of street literature, however you are incarcerated which makes one think that if you were home that you would have much more of an impact, what are your thoughts?
I am still fighting for my freedom and I welcome any politicians and lawyers to examine my case and the injustices that are clearly outlined within it. I believe that with the support of my readers and legal team that my day of justice will arrive soon. I have a vision for this genre and I foresee our industry standing on its own two feet and creating our own destiny. We are a full nation and are capable of operating on our own and building our own Hollywood. No man is a mountain, with that said, I envision a future where we truly start to build upon each other.
How do you feel about the “N-Word” in general? Do you feel that it has a place in literary works of fiction?
The N-word is just that, a word. I don’t think it’s as deeply psychological as some try to make it out to be, it’s convenient, versatile. It can be used with good or bad connotations. But I don’t believe anyone can use it, just as everyone can’t say it. So in my opinion what matters is when and how you say it.
Do you think that street literature is destructive to the community? Its been said, it dumbs young readers down, if you read one you read them all, etc. What is your response to the critics of street literature?
I know street lit has a future, of course it does. We are so talented, so many good writers are out there and we will continue to grow. Let’s be real, there are many forms of media that are destructive if used for that purpose. You have gospel music and heavy metal, educational documentaries and porn, the Bible and the Satanic Bible. It’s how it’s used. Young readers can relate to street lit, but like KRS-One stated, “You have to get their attention before you can teach them” and this is what I try to do. Thug Politics is a gangsta political story but it also helps readers to see the benefit of political involvement. What if the Bloods and the Crips mobilized in their area to create voting blocks? What if the NAACP would fight to allow felons to vote in every state in or out of prison? As it stands now, prisoners are taxed in prison which is clearly “Taxation without Representation.” So yes, I write street stories but in all my books I try to enlighten.
Self publishing is at an all time high, every year more and more books are written and produced. Some say the street lit circuit is over saturated. Do you think it’s over saturated?
Over saturated? No. A lot of garbage out? Hell yeah! But that’s the same in every genre. Romance, fantasy etc. For every good writer, there are twenty bad writers. For every Toni Morrison, there’s a Terry McMillan. If you read the The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison and Mama by Terry McMillan, you see they deal with similar issues, but Terry McMillan is a superficial writer compared to Toni Morrison. However, Terry McMillan is a good writer in her own genre. So, it’s all relative. It’s up to the readers to determine who thrives as a publisher or author by their vote with their purchasing dollars.
Do you think there is anything that can be done to change the public’s perspective of street literature?
Street lit is a reflection of many readers and author’s reality. It’s what we know, what we’re exposed to and of course what sells. America loves gangsters! Marlon Brando, and Robert DeNiro all made their names by being them, but when it’s Nino Brown, Dutch or Winter Santiago it’s a problem? I really don’t care how anybody outside of our works or readership view me or the genre. God bless them and … you know the rest. If people don’t like street lit, do your part to help change the streets! If not, shut up with the criticizing.
Tell us about your upcoming projects. What can we expect from Kwame Teague in the future?
Dynasty was released December 2009 and the ? (Q) book in 2010. I’m also working on Hardball.
What advice or tips can you share with authors to improve their writing?
Just like I defend us to them, I also urge street lit authors to step your game up. There’s nothing wrong with our stories, but challenge yourself. Like hip hop in 74', it went from rock on to the beat y’all ABC rhymes to the complexities of Pharaoh. From Eminem to Jay-Z. We are still in the Kool Moe Dee stage of street lit, we have to take it to the next level so even if it’s street lit, it’s still a good book. Watch old black and white films because the story lines are solid. Read old books and see the structure. Expand your horizon and your craft will reflect that growth.
Be sure to visit: www.dcbookdiva.com
See [ part one ] of this interview
Kaven Brown is a contributing editor for The Urban Book Source, writer and the producer of the Behind Those Books Documentary.
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.