I'm a social service worker, writer, coach and native Torontonian. I'm a proud alumni of historically-Black Oakwood University, where I studied communications, played varsity basketball and edited the Spreading Oak newspaper.
My poetry, short stories, essays and articles have appeared in online and print publications, including The Huntsville (Ala.) Times, Urbanology, HipHopCanada.com, Sway, OmitLimitation.com, BKNation.org and the anthology F-You: The Forgiveness Project, Memoirs of Violence and Compassion.
I released my first poetry chapbook Toronto The Good in 2013, and hundreds have since downloaded the free e-book version as well as three e-books of short stories.
Toronto is a major character in all of my writing, not just my poetry and fiction, but also the journalistic features and profiles I've published. I love my city, and cities in general, so I read and write a lot about how we could make Toronto better. I'm into neighbourhoods, architecture, transit, urban planning, street art and every element of cities. I love Jane Jacobs' book The Death and Life of American Cities and her ideas about lively streets and mixed-use, mixed-age and mixed-income neighbourhoods. I read Spacing.ca and other blogs and columns about urban design and city life. Hopefully readers of my blog can suggest new books and websites on the subject. I'm basically an urbanism nerd!
Basketball is my first love, and I spend a lot of time playing, coaching, watching and debating it. I spent a season covering the Toronto Raptors for a basketball website and I closely follow the NBA, NCAA and even high school basketball, reading several articles every morning, especially long-form storytelling and in-depth game analysis. I try to be a student of the game and I hope to tell a lot more basketball stories and more sports writing in general.
My second love is Hip-hop, and my favourite artists have always been the storytellers like Nas, Guru and Kendrick Lamar and the truth-tellers attacking social issues like Tupac, Scarface and J. Cole. The first article I was ever paid to write was the first ever piece published about the budding rap scene in Huntsville, Alabama where I went to college. I've also documented a lot of Toronto's hip-hop artists in my writing for local music publications and on my own blog. I even had a very brief DJ career and I still collect original vinyl records and spin in my living room with Numark turntables, Vestax PMC-05 mixer and Scratch Live.
I've always loved to read. As a boy I read through my Childcraft encyclopedia and spent hours at the public library, reading about subjects I was interested in: sports, Black history, music and more. Now I search out books that tell stories that usually go untold, by authors that are sometimes ignored by the mainstream literary media. My favourite author these days is Paul Beatty, whose hilariously satirical novels about race and urban life have inspired me to write the stories I want to tell in my own voice, instead of trying to be accepted by the publishing world. I hope to share more of my favourite books and authors on this blog and connect with people who share similar interests and a love for reading!