If you know anything about Hip Hop in the LGBT community, then you should know Medino Green is no newbie to true Out Hip-Hop fans. With several successful mixtapes including his up-and-coming mixtape “KiNG MiDAS” under his belt. Medino Green is taking the LGBTQ rap game by storm. I’ve been a fan since I met him via Instagram about a year ago. He’s been nothing but gracious ever since and always a true gent.
With over five years in the LGBTQ music Out Hip-Hop movement, Medino Green is here to stay. LEGENDARY musician with a sense of fashion and an edgy New York spit game that will leave you shooked.
If you weren’t a fan before reading this interview, I promise you, after this exclusive, you will become a fan.
What does being gay and of color means to you?
To me being gay and of color means a lot of things, to me anyway! Just me being proud of being who I am, what I am, what I’ve become, what I’ve accomplished thus far. When you look at this question from another perspective, it’s almost like one of those black & white questions. Being gay and then being colored on top of that there are already two strikes against you. Being a gay male of color that’s all three strikes! [lol]. What it means to me overall it’s tough to break down.
Let’s start off this interview speaking about your upbringing. Where were you born and where do you reside currently?
(Starts singing) I was born, by the river! [lol]. I was born in Orangeburg South Carolina, and I moved to Queens New York at a very young age as far back as I can remember. I currently live in Boston now.
Growing up at what age did you know you wanted to become a rapper?
When I was younger, I wanted to become a lawyer, that’s what I told my Grandmother (before she passed). I was inspired, by Thurgood Marshall; during a Black history month play I chose to be him, and I learned a lot. It made me want to follow his footsteps. At the same time, I found myself in tune with dance and music. If you gave me a microphone I was gon’ sing and dance until you told me to stop! Eventually “becoming a lawyer” mentality faded and I just continued to express myself thru music. By the time I was about 13 I just started writing. I wasn’t always Medino Green. I started off with the name “J-Teflon.” Eventually, the Medino Green name came along, and the rest is history. I didn’t come out as an “openly gay rapper” until I was about 18/19.
What was your experience as far as being a gay man and trying to become a rapper?
At first, it wasn’t even a thing (in my world). I’ve never heard of rappers being gay or anything like that, of course in the music they taunted each other but it never really meant anything. I just told myself if I became that famous. I’d stay single, or my life would be extremely private. None of the people around me really knew I was gay, hell I didn’t even know I was gay. I just thought it was a phase that will pass eventually. My childhood best friend he knew. Time passed, and the cat was out of the bag, I had met someone in the industry that was openly gay, and that was like a breath of fresh air. He introduced me to other people in the industry that was also apart of the LGBTQ community as well. It was like the realms of a new world open up right before my eyes. Who they were, what they stood for, what they were doing was everything I wanted to be apart of. So I made that decision to come out to my friends and family. (Which didn’t go well) but it gave me a piece of mind with who I wanted to to be.
Would you say this is your dream career?
My goal was to become just a rapper, I’ve said this a million times, and I’ve been saying this for years. I’m just a rapper that happens to be gay. Being a gay rapper just requires much more maintenance [lol].
Do you remember the lyrics to the very first song you’ve ever written? If so, could you share it with us?
[lol] Yes I do! The very first time I queened out on a track was a freestyle I did to JR Writers ‘Grill ‘Em’. I didn’t know who I was, what I was selling or anything I just started talking shit!
“They heard something about Green got these rap niggas nervous, swag so mean and I do this shit on purpose/ stepping on the scene got these motherfuckers hurting, picture me nude and them boys start jerking/ laugh when they shit flop, headed to the tippy top, sex game ill leave a motherfucker dick rock/ hand on my waist right, hair in his hand tight, all up in my ear like that’s yo’ muthafucking dick right?”/ I didn’t know what to say! I just jumped right out the window sounds like a power bottom [lol].
Two months ago, you released your latest single Butch Queen pt.2. Would you define yourself as a butch queen?
I don’t know if I want to define myself as a “Butch Queen.” I do know that I have some soft facial features that would void this argument. The reason I wouldn’t put that label on myself is that when I go out to events and clubs, I’m very observant and I notice the guys around me are a lot more feminine, the way they walk, talk, dress, etc. that’s not me. Even the ones that dress like “boys” they still have a lot of those feminine qualities that I don’t have, however, I will say that I do cut up with my Friends from time to time. I am guilty of that.
What made you decide to make a part 2, two years after releasing the original track over the chiraq beat?
I probably shouldn’t be revealing this but fuck it! That verse was actually for another instrumental. I was just playing around with it on different beats, and it actually fit the Chiraq beat perfectly. It wasn’t my intentions to make a part 2, and it just made itself. Like all good music should!
Being native of Queens, New York. What are your view’s on other New York rappers, who also happens to be openly gay?
AH-HA! This is where the shade comes in. My views on gay rappers from New York… a lot of that shit needs to stop. Straight up. It almost feels like there’s a mockery being made of hip-hop. In my opinion, these gay men just wake up one morning and say “I’m gonna be the first gay rapper!” No. I think a lot of them need validation and seek popularity, so they try to become a “gay version” of their favorite female rapper, and it looks/sounds ridiculous. They don’t even have legit friends to tell them that what they are doing is a bad idea but I also know what it’s like to get support from your friends. I remember when all gay men did was dance, do makeup, and do hair. Now they wanna rap. *rolling eyes* it’s hard enough to get in the industry and have people take what we’re doing seriously. You want to come out here with your face beat to capacity, your mother’s old Coach™ bag jewelry from Forever21™ (I totally get the freedom of expression and image comfortability) and you talking stashing guns and killing people?! Ain’t nobody going to take you seriously. If anything everything you’re doing is going to set us back even more.
What are your views on New York rappers in mainstream music?
I think New York is trying to make a comeback with music. We have a lot of dope artist coming out of the Big Apple, and I think that’s a beautiful thing we definitely need that especially with the sh** I hear these days.
You just released your latest mixtape, “M23 The Mixtape” what type of feedback have you gotten so far?
#M23 was defiantly a bit of a game changer for me as an artist. With over 550+ (and counting) downloads now I’m asking myself ok what’s next? The feedback has been incredible, and people are still discovering it until this day streams are are going up and up each day and I’m proud of it. There weren’t any visuals for it, I did shoot a video, but that video was supposed to be scrapped and shot over I just never got around to reshoot it. The mixtape itself was pushed back 5 and a half months from its actual release date. Which was a bit of a disappoint to me and those around me. We made it work.
What inspires you when it comes to making music?
Inspiration comes in everyday situations. I talk about a lot that I’ve encountered with, what I’ve witnessed. Relationships, emotions, fashions, sex, everything, just some of it tho! The real good sh** I’m gon’ have to charge for that!
What defines you as an openly gay rapper?
I don’t even think it has anything to do with being gay at this point. I think it’s just me owning my freedom to say whatever the hell I want, when I want, how I want and not feel ashamed or uncomfortable with that. If you show timidness, your confidence will never show. If your confidence never shows how can you define who you are? How can you prove to people who you are? You can’t.
Currently, you’re working on releasing a brand new mixtape “KiNG MiDAS” 13 tracks will be on the mixtape. Could you tell the fans some tea on this up and coming project?
This mixtape will consist of original work I’ve been working on. The writing process is just about done with 2 to 3 songs to write && I’m beginning my recording process. I chose the title that had a meaning that I felt defined me at this point with my music. Everything I touch is dope (Gold). There is also an EP in the talks along with possibly a part 2 to King Midas (The Midas Touch) It all depends on how well the people react to my music. Good music brings happy fans, and happy fans bring good music!
If you could list your top 5 favorite songs, you’ve done to date, which ones would make a list?
*drakes voice* top 5 top 5 top 5 umm I would have to say.
Good Dick pt.2 feat. Bry’Nt
Back In The Day (The 4 wall project)
In My Bag (Off my new mixtape)
When I See him (Freestyle)
Nicki Minaj is also a Queens native. You did a freestyle to one of her songs, “looking ass nigga.” Would you say she’s an influence on your music?
I like Nicki, and I’m not a barb tho. I like her girl from around the way attitude, and it’s a Queens thing. I would say she’s on the list of influences but not at the very top you know what I mean? It’s not me being shady or anything like that I just take a spoonful of each artist that influence me.
Three years ago, you released an album titled “The 4 Wall Project.” What inspired you to title the album?
The 4 Wall Project actually came out 5yrs ago on September 11th, 2011. That mixtape was like having a baby and giving it up for adoption and then running into it as years pass and being proud of the progress it’s made, over time. (I know that’s a bit much). #T4WP was music that kind of went over people’s head. At the time I was young going the F*** thru life. One of the biggest challenges I had was that I lost the studio I was recording in, so a lot of the music on there was actually recorded in a closet. (No pun intended). Before that, I had lost my grandmother, and I had just got out of an unhealthy relationship it was just a lot to cope with being so young and still trying to find myself in the process. The title just came to me from isolating myself from people just staying in and staring at the same 4 walls.
Tell us, what would be the most significant record you’ve written to date? Your best work of all?
I would have to say UNITY is probably my best piece of work to date. The song has a message, It really touches on a serious topic, and It speaks volumes. It should be like the pledge of allegiance to gay men globally.
When it comes to your fan-base, do you know what the listeners are looking for when you go to record new music?
I think my fans just want me to continue to collect these wigs one by one [Laugh Out Loud]. All jokes aside I think they just want creativity and consistency. Break the mold of what a “Gay Rapper” should be, the expectation is high, but I bring it every time!
I recently noticed that you were trying to promote your live show on Grindr. Most of the guys were trying to hook up with you. Do you deal with guys constantly throwing themselves at you? Not knowing you for you but just because you’re a “rapper?”
I don’t think none of my only profiles have that I’m a rapper in it, only because we all know don’t nobody read those shits. It could say I’m the president of the United States nobody would care, they just care about the face and body in the photo. I will say it is hard to find genuine people online because we usually know what their intentions are from the door. I just have mine to pass the time and for entertainment purposes but I don’t get too attached. I don’t even reveal who I am to people if they don’t already know. Only because that process of giving a whole backstory, and reintroducing, who you are to people becomes tiring. You gotta watch what you say, how you say it. You can’t be too freaky and send pics/videos because they might leak in the long run, it’s too much. For the people that do know who I am and try to talk to me, I think they just do it to see if they’re going to get a response. A lot of times you give someone your number online they don’t even use it after 48hrs. As soon as your face starts popping up all over the place and they see that, that’s when you start getting those texts back I know this process so well. And not for nothing a lot of these niggas on social media are corny. I had one text me happy birthday for no reason and then say his reasoning was to see if I would still reply to him.. meatball ass nigga, lose my number.
What would you say separates your music from other openly gay rappers?
That line of separation comes with content. You can listen to what they’re saying, then listen to what I’m saying. What I bring to the table is what’s missing as far as hip-hop goes. I don’t follow the trends, and I don’t follow the crowds I do me. Meanwhile, everybody else is sounding like everybody else you can’t separate that.
What’s something you would like to tell the readers, who haven’t heard your music before, about yourself as an artist?
If you haven’t heard any of my music before, then you have defiantly been cheating your music library. Medino Green as a hip-hop artist embodies your expectations of what an openly gay male rapper should sound like. Nothing more, nothing less.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
10yrs from now I hope my music is inspiring for some little boy who feels entirely out of place when some throw him a football, Feeling internally conflicted about what’s right and what feels right. 10yrs from now tho! I got a long way to go!
Do you remember the very first song you recorded?
The very first song I’ve ever recorded was called “Close My Eyes” with a group of dudes I knew from around the way at a Bronx studio by GunHill projects.
What does hip hop mean to you, outside of your sexuality?
To me, Hip-Hop means Freedom of speech. It means my story, my struggle, my ups, downs. My good, my bad, my happy, my sad. My piece of mind, my alone time, my mental escape, my home away from home. My joy, my controversy, my trend, my everything!
Do you see yourself staying indie or signing to a label anytime soon?
I will stay indie for the most part. Signing with a label will put a Machine behind me. That machine doesn’t run for free it runs on money lol. Money that I’ll have to give to keep that machine going.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced as an openly gay rapper?
My biggest obstacles have just been trying to get people hip to who I am. Getting DJ’s to play my music in clubs so people can become familiar with who I am. It’s tough. Sometimes you think because you have some type of relationship with someone that they would be willing to help you out, that’s not always the case. People don’t have your best interest until they see other people taking an interest. Sad but true.
Being openly gay, and a rapper, have you encountered any homophobia? Could you describe some discrimination you’ve faced in the industry?
Believe it or not, so far I have not been gay bashed or anything like that surprisingly. I know of an artist that has received it, and this goes back to that line of content being separated, what it is that they are doing it’s not applauding. I’m sure when I expand much more there will be a lot of naysayers, but these are people with no talent and a mattress on the floor.
Before starting your rap career, who would you say in LGBT music influenced you?
It wasn’t that many to influence me from the gate [Laugh Out Loud]. I listened to lastO, Bone Intell, Bry’Nt. Those were the guys I listened to coming into the game.
What’s one piece of advice somebody in the industry gave you, that you have kept, and continuously think about even to this day?
I got advice from Lady Luck while we were in the studio she told me “do you, daddy, do what makes you feel good as the artist.” I’ve held on to that ever since.
If you weren’t focusing on music, which other career fields would you chase after?
If not music.. I don’t think I’d be doing anything else. I don’t think I’d make a good actor or athlete so I’d be a regular dude will a wicked shoe game. [Laugh Out Loud]
Have you come across any negative feedback from other gay men?
The only negative feedback I get from gay men is that a lot of them don’t listen to gay rappers because of what is surfacing and going viral online. They already have it in their mind what a gay rapper sounds like, and that’s the sad part. People like myself that actually have the talent get overshadowed by the shit people are making fun of, and then it just looks another one in the bunch. Another thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of gay men use the excuse “I don’t listen to rap music like that” but idolize these female rappers, as a man you can’t relate to nothing these women are saying. You can relate to someone who’s been thru what you’ve been thru and can tell your story so why not support and root for them?
Do you feel that hip-hop will ever become gay-friendly?
What keeps you motivated as an openly gay artist, in a community like hip-hop that’s very anti-gay?
I know there’s hope for a gay male rapper. If they opened arms to 2 openly gay female rappers why not open it to a male? Is it because they haven’t seen/heard one actually SPIT? Maybe, gay male rappers want to sound like females and females want to sound like males, hip-hop is a male-dominated game, you have to be aggressive. Be aggressive to get that attention you want, once you get that, do what you want. I know the expectations of what I’m bringing to the table maybe low in their eyes because of misrepresentation, but I can change all that. There’s a few that can change all that. I don’t think hip-hop is anti-gay. I think it’s anti weak. If you been rocking diamonds all you’re life, you’ll know cubic zirconia when you see it.
When rappers use terms like fag and faggot in their lyrical content, how does that make you feel? Whether if you’re a fan of their work or not?
To me FAG, Faggot is just another word in the book. Just like Nigga, and Bitch all of which defines someone’s characteristics. Black people and women. I do use it from time to time when I rap and someone might tell me that’s super insensitive, but it’s ok to use the N word and the B word? That is something I will never be able to wrap my head around so I don’t even bother but It doesn’t make me feel anyway type of way.
If you could work with any mainstream artist in the hip-hop community, who would you name in the top 10 on your list?
Ten rappers I would want to work with? Ummm ok here goes!
LL Cool J
Do you think the gay community doesn’t support our LGBT musicians? Rather stan for mainstream rappers?
I don’t think, I know that’s a fact. I see people who’ll spend $200+ to see an artist on a screen (because they’re too far back) but won’t go and pay $10 to see an artist face to face. People like that I don’t associate with, period.
How do you feel about mainstream rappers, that say “gay rappers” should be embraced but aren’t out pushing for gay rappers to be put on?
This goes back to me saying the vast majority of gay rappers are clowns. Hip-hop is not a circus there is no place for them. If you ever look up the hashtag gay rapper, you’ll find A LOT of shit. The majority of that is upsetting, but then you have the dope ones sprinkled in. By the time you get close to a dope one you did see so many circuses acts, you don’t even want to be entertained, anymore. For those artists that say we need to be embraced, I’m sure they see the same thing. When a mainstream artist is opening that door for that conversation, by the time that conversation is finished their mentions are flooded, with garbage and nobody is going to take the time to sort thru that. I don’t knock anybody that has confidence but be honest to yourself and know what’s for you and what’s not for you and understand how much of a mess and setback for others you’re creating. Just because you know how to structure a house doesn’t mean you can build a village!
Do you think, they think the white community, would be more embracing vs. the black community when it comes to supporting an openly gay rapper?
I don’t even want to sound racist but white people are just more accepting and welcoming then blacks. Being black you have to have this hard image and exterior. I don’t think white men have to go thru that. They go thru life, and they grow Thur life just being themselves there’s no pressure on how they should look, how they should act, none of that. So it’s more accepting of them to become someone, and the community accepts it because there’s no mold or rulebook for them. Being black and trying to do it is hard as hell.
I reached out to LastO last year for an interview. He kindly declined due to the fact music was no longer a part of his career path. Do you think if nothing happens to your career, Would you throw in the towel or continue to represent the community in hip-hop?
As much as I would love to make music for the rest of my life, if nothing pops off with it, then I will throw in the towel, and I will be happy with any and all accomplishments I’ve made before.
How do you feel about the lack of openly gay LGBT artists?
I don’t think there’s a lack it might be too many [Laugh Out Loud].
Do you feel like a bisexual rapper would be embraced, before an openly gay MC?
No, just because you “like women” won’t take away the fact that you still have a preference for men, doesn’t even matter what type of men, they still gon look at you as gay and that’s facts.
I think it’s evident that there are mainstream rappers, who are gay and in the closet. Do you feel it’s much safer to be down low in hip-hop verse being out?
[Laugh Out Loud] I’m not sure, you might have to ask one of them how that’s working out. It sounds costly to keep that private.
How seriously do you think homophobia is the primary stream hip hop community?
It can’t be that serious, they in our stores wearing our clothes. *Kanye Shrugs*
Do you think hardcore hip-hop listeners would be accepting of queer rap, even if the music industry embraced it?
Absolutely Not. They don’t want to hear a grown man rap about sucking another grown man’s dick. Sometimes even as the artist saying it, that can be a little awkward.
The gay music community is small. If you could pick one artist to break out besides yourself of course, who would you choose?
I would have to say Bry’Nt. He has been in the game longer then I have, and he’s also done A LOT. In my eyes back in 2008 he changed the game for gay men to rap sexually. His first mixtape PornStar 1 was like a lyrical bible to gay men. He touched on a lot of things we go thru to this day, and the music was so ahead of its time. He was the first gay rapper I’ve ever heard of. I was able to relate to what he was saying because I was living that life. He’s still making music to this day, and if anyone deserves it, I think it should be him.
Do you feel as though, gay rappers aren’t taken seriously because most people would assume gay sex would be the topic of their raps?
Content plays a role in this. You have an artist that rap about gay sex and stuff like that and then you have rappers that happen to be gay. The content is entirely different. If all you rap about is fucking and sucking dick, it gets played out, and you get played out. I don’t care who you claim you’re within these raps, niggas in the hood are NOT bumping yo’ shit. Not everybody can relate to gay topics. You need versatility. I stop catering to “gay music” a while ago because they (gay men) don’t even play my shit like that. I make music at this point. I might sprinkle it in every now and again because that’s who I am as a person but I’m not trying to over season the chicken cause won’t anybody eat it!
Besides rapping, what would you consider your biggest hobby and talent?
I don’t have any other hobbies besides shopping [Laugh Out Loud]. I’m a red box and chill type of guy. I’m content with laying up at home watching movies or going to the movies. I don’t have any other talents, nothing that I think is a talent.. besides taking yo’ man [Laugh Out Loud], I’m joking! I use to be able to play the piano when I was younger; now I can’t.
Rap music comes with tons of sounds and waves, how would you describe your rap style, compared to the likes of Drake, Future and so on?
My style is very 90’s flashy, in your face, slap your baby mother, rob you’re baby father mixed with the right hint of sexual content. HAHAHA!!!
If the industry was to embrace gay rappers, which type of artist would you think to be signed first? A feminine gay rapper or more so a masculine one?
Masculine. Hip-Hop is a dominant male industry; even the females had to rap like a boy (masculine) to get seen/heard. I don’t think that aspect will change anytime soon.
How do you feel about gay rappers that do comedy rap in drag to get noticed but bashed for it? Do you think it makes people’s judgment on gay rap as a joke?
I never looked at it like that, but I don’t think it affects rappers that just rap. I mean we know a joke/parody when we see one. As far as them getting bashed people get bashed on the internet all day these days. That’s some people job to sit behind a screen and bash. It’s not paying bills, so I’m not sure why or how they have that much free time. Anything we do doesn’t matter gay or straight because their straight men out here dressing in drag making videos and they get bashed for it, anything you put out into the universe (internet) it will come back with negative feedback of someone bashing you.
If you could work with any LGBT artist of today or past, who would be your top 5 picks?
This is one of those questions that get you in trouble! There’s a couple of rapper’s I’d work with I’m not gon name drop, but for the most part, I tend to stray away from working with (gay rappers). From what I see it’s too many newbies feeling themselves and haven’t even been in the game long enough to get felt out. If you come out sounding cocky talking shit, I’m all set on that collab meaning it’s not happening.
List off ten things you would tell an aspiring rapper in the LGBT community not to do when trying to get on?
Ten things I would tell them NOT to do… that’s a good one.
Don’t come out dissing people. I hate shit like that. Some of these gay rappers be rapping for all of 5 mins talking crazy. You didn’t even pass the 90day window & you’re throwing shots. I’ve witnessed this happened before, an artist (can’t remember their name) DM’d me to check out their music which happened to be a “diss” record to another artist that’s established & I was like nah, that’s not gonna fly & neither will you. Does he still make music to this day? That’s the only thing I can think of; I can’t name ten things NOT to do because there are plenty of things they should be doing.
Thank you for taking time out to do this interview with justbeinganthony.com. Is there anything you want to tell the readers before we end the interview?
Yes! Follow me on IG/SC/Twitter: @MedinoGreen Check out my SoundCloud for all of latest work SoundCloud.com/MedinoGreen and ‘KiNG MiDAS’ the mixtape is dropping real soon!
Anthony Carter: Author, Blogger And The Man Behind World Domination
JBA: Who is Anthony Carter? Tell us a little bit about yourself for those who may not know.
I was born in Guthrie, Oklahoma and was raised in Detroit, Michigan. I’m the oldest of three and the only male child. I have nine grandchildren and used to own a pet pig. I’ve also been married for almost five years to a wonderful man who is a painter, singer and children’s book author.
JBA: At what age did you realize that writing was your dream career?
I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was 12 and didn’t call myself one until I was in my 40’s.
JBA: How did you break into the publishing world?
I don’t know if I broke in or was shoved in by my friend/business partner Geoff Stafford. I was blogging and ended up on Elton John’s website which leads to Geoff finding me and then reaching out and encouraging me to write books and start a website.
JBA: If you could pick one story you wrote, which one would you consider as your one of your best work?
I would have to say my latest collection, Rules of Reality. For years I wanted to write Science Fiction and Short Stories but would never give myself permission to create them. It took two years of writing, editing and working with a wonderful coach, Desiree, who constantly pushed me to write before I could complete this project.
JBA: Out of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite as of right now?
Kiss Me, Kill Me: Trayvon Martin, Black Male Bodies, and White Supremacy is a personal favorite. Although I have spent years focusing on black male mental health, it was difficult to write about the ways we are seen as either sexual or violent beings. I chose to dig deep and share things that terrorize me and black men globally.
JBA: I want you to give the readers the influence behind each one of your books.
Rules Of Reality
I’ve always loved SCI-FI & wanted to write short stories. I’m totally obsessed with resistance movements(Civil Rights/Gay Rights). My obsession always brings me to stories of people who band together against incredible odds to create a new world order. Also, having spent so many years around young people, I am keenly aware of the troubling and vile things we do to children.
Confessions Of An Overlooked Thought Leader
This collection came about because I was getting a little recognition in my world and began reaching out to other black male writers. I was a little shocked that I didn’t get more acceptance and love. At one point, someone actually began questioning my credentials when it became clear that I didn’t have a Ph.D. What makes this so ridiculous is that there were people using my work and not giving me credit. My editor and I used to joke that I should shut up because I was not a recognized “thought leader”.
Kiss Me Kill Me
Trayvon Martin, Black Male Bodies & White Supremacy. For one solid month, I wrote about black males and our complicated relationship with cops. My goals were to look for patterns of violence and male aggression from both factions. It ended up being an investigation of the ways we treat one another and the limited ways the world sees us.
I wanted to give a love letter for people who read and comment on my work. There were posts that were viewed by 3,5000 people. The comments were insightful and raw and I wanted to say thank you the best way I know how- by writing
I was and am determined to get black males mentally healthy.
JBA: What’s has been biggest struggle for you as a writer and what helps you overcome writer’s block?
My biggest struggle has been letting myself write and knowing that much of what I write will be shit. I believe Anne Lamott refers to them as “SFD” Shitty First Drafts. I agree with Seth Godin that there is no such thing as Writer’s Block. If I’m struggling with something, it typically means I’m writing to impress or to get a particular reaction. It also means I’m scared that “they” will get me or be upset. To deal with this fear of continuing, I will take a walk, hit some yoga, breathe, play with my grandkids anything that lets me know I’m loved and that my worthiness is not negotiable.
JBA: What inspires you to create these characters in your books and how important is character development for you as the storyteller?
My inspiration is wanting to see some complexity in our representation. Character development is extremely important because I have to create without judgment and fight to not fall into stereotypes. I’ve seen and read so much of other people’s work. Many of these folks have not divested of their “isms”.
JBA: What advice would you give to a younger gay man of color who may want to follow in your footsteps as an author?
Go to the .99. Get a binder. Journal Daily.
JBA: So tell us what is your writing process like? How long would you say it takes for you to complete your books?
I write every day. For a while I was writing between 4-8 am every day, then I got a job. On the average, I push to get in two hours of writing in the morning before I go to work. Most of my writing is done on the weekends along with the editing. I have no idea how long it takes me to write a book. I just continue writing pieces and at some point, myself or my editor will say let’s put out a book.
JBA: As a writer, we all know that we also love to read. Could you tell us your top 5 favorite books of all times and what message did you take from each book when writing your own?
Talking Back- Be Fearless/Giovanni’s Room &Just Above My Head- Speak the Truth/Like Water for Chocolate-Sensuality and Relationships combined with ongoing cultural influences are must-have ingredients for sublime storytelling.
JBA: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
It emboldened me and let me know that it was pointless to wait to be plucked from obscurity and dubbed a “writer”.
JBA: Being a seasoned writer do you focus on writing for what the fans and readers may want or do you follow your own ideas?
Typically, I combine the two. I observe what’s going on in the world then give it an Anthony Carter spin.
JBA: What has been your biggest struggle so far in your writing career? And where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
My biggest struggle has been calling myself a writer. In ten years, I’d love to support myself as a writer (television, essays) and lecturer. Oh, and a Pulitzer and a couple of Emmys would be nice.
JBA: Besides writing what are some of your other hobbies?
Yoga, binge-watching the X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 227 and old black and white movies. I also love to stand up specials and cooking.
JBA: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It can take six months or a year.
JBA: How do you develop your plots and characters?
I typically start with a great character and torture the hell out of them by creating impossible situations that require them to fail their way to victory. Sometimes, I’ll have an idea about a scene or an argument and think -how did these folks end up here? To create my ten-minute play, Breakfast for Dinner, I began with a brother and sister fighting over dinner plans. In Rules of Reality, I got tired of people bragging about medicating their children. When I moved to California and witnessed all the racism and distrust between Blacks and Mexicans, I wrote a movie about a straight Mexican guy and a black gay guy who have to work together to raise two small children.
JBA: Going back to your very first book or story. Do you remember what that story was about and what made you write it?
In 2010, many young people were dealing with suicide and bullying and I began writing as a response to this phenomenon.
JBA: What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime?
Personal Development, Ray Bradbury and ANYTHING by bell hooks or Octavia Butler. David Sedaris is a personal favorite- everybody should read Holidays on Ice (Please read Dinah, the Christmas Whore) it is laughing out loud funny.
JBA: What are you working on now? Any chance of any eBook sequels?
I’m working on a script for BLACKISH ( With an eye on breaking into television writing) and a short film for the festival circuit and a feature, Relentless. I’m feeling a pull towards theater which is where my writing and performing began way back in 1995.
JBA: What are the upsides and downsides of being an author?
A great deal of solitude which allows you to hear and not judge or edit ideas, thoughts, and questions about humanity
JBA: What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your books?
Resist. Be Bold. Create something remarkable!
JBA: What does your writing space look like?
It’s full of books, birthday gifts from my lovely grandchildren, old typewriters, vision boards full of people/ places and things that inspire me- Much Viola Davis and pictures of Greece and Financial Solvency.
JBA: Why do you write? What keeps you motivated during creative slumps?
To control things and create worlds that demand that we be our best most sensible selves.
JBA: If your novel were being made into a movie, whom would you pick to play the lead roles?
Viola Davis, Jasmine Guy, Lisa Nicole Carson
JBA: Do you outline books ahead of time or are you more of a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer?
Originally, it’s very seat-of my- pants. When I seriously couldn’t get through my short stories, I had my husband hang up a clothing wire so that I could hang scenes and world events that were happening in each story since they were all interconnected. I would have lost my mind otherwise. My writing coach used to remind me of the difference between fiction and real life. Fiction has to make sense.
JBA: Do you put yourself in your books/characters at all?
There’s some of me in each character. I often allow characters to do what I can’t or won’t do in real life.
JBA: What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
Having my first book signing was great. It was wonderful having people ask questions about my process and my hopes for my work and its impact on our community.
JBA: What were some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication?
Believing I had to wait until the New York Times or an agent told me I was a writer and should be writing.
JBA: Are there any nuggets of wisdom you can impart to aspiring writers?
JBA: What motivates you as a writer to keep writing your stories and books?
I love creating and it feels wonderful knowing that there are people who read and comment on my work which makes them feel less alone in the world.
JBA: Who have been your toughest critic for your writing and how have they influenced you to become better a better writer?
For years, it was family and then I took over by telling myself: you’re not as brilliant as bell hooks or Toni Morrison or Marquez or Baldwin or Shakespeare or “fill in the blank”. At some point, I just kept going and realized via a close friend that the world had those other folks and needed what I could contribute
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