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 5 of 5:
Click Here to Add a Comment
JoeyreipS :
Posted 73 days ago
Hello how are you ?

Could you be interested in new customers for your business ?
Dennisraw :
Posted 79 days ago
99 per ages and Sirius claims to accept over 1.The central bank also kept the lending rate facility at 8 percent and deposit facility rate at 5.&nbsp;DAMASCUS, Jan. Mydearstudent website conducts free online exam for students on various topics. Use TubeMogul as a way to distribute these video clips in as numerous different places as you can.39 seconds to record his groundbreaking victory, beating the Asian record of 1:44. <a href=http://www.wholesalefootballnfljerseysshop.co m/>Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys From China</a>.<a href=http://www.wholesalefootballnfljerseysshop.co m/>Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping</a>. This is changing.In 2014, the current account deficit was at 2. Not alone can admirers apprehend aloof advice but aswell they can accept to it anywhere in the United States."We are looking forward to a constructive engagement from allSyrian sides whether from the government delegation or theopposition because without doubt, the success of the Vienna talksis the success of the Sochi talks," he said. Her watercolours remain as fascinating to us today as they were when they were first painted.The government will encourage and support private kindergartens that provide affordable services and spend more money building new kindergartens and expanding existing ones in rural areas,<a href=http://www.wholesalefootballnfljerseysshop.co m/>Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Free Shipping</a>, lessdeveloped regions, suburbs and regions where demand increases because of the relaxed birth control policy.<br>Visit my sitehttp://www.wholesalefootballnfljerseysshop.com /
Dennisraw :
Posted 133 days ago
In conclusion, arthritis is really a condition that effects people of all kinds. A variant on this theory recommends using mint oil on a firm male organ for the same purpose.What are Herbozyme capsules?To boost digestive health, these capsules can be the effective ayurvedic digestive supplement. <a href=http://www.wholesalefootballnfljerseysshop.co m/>Cheap Jerseys</a>. These capsules can treat acidity, by getting into the root cause of the issue called as indigestion to bring relief. Each and Every National Hockey League regulation game of ice hockey is played between two teams.cn, the notice said.The company had taken various measures to try and improve the situation,<a href=http://www.wholesalefootballnfljerseysshop.co m/>Wholesale Jerseys Cheap</a>, but to no avail. The association is divided into two groups of fifteenteam.<a href=http://www.wholesalefootballnfljerseysshop.co m/>Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys China</a>. Play fair. Based on that premise, all it should take to change your man is to change yourself.Ajwain: Otherwise called as carom seeds, is effective against gastritis and acidity control.Article Source:&nbsp;A military van drives on the road of Palmyra, central Syria, on April 11, 2016.<br>Visit my sitehttp://www.wholesalefootballnfljerseysshop.com /
 



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