“Be the Change You Want to See in the World”- What author Rob Hill Sr. is doing impact the next generation. Learn about his 100 Kings Walk as well as tips for raising a King in this world.
Every day we wake up to news casts and headlines filled with the death of young African-American males. Holidays like mother’s day bring about conversations about boys being raised in a fatherless society. At a time when the future of our young men has reached a critical mass, many are seeking ways to positively impact the youth. Author Rob Hill Sr. has decided that reading about it is just not good enough anymore. He’s enlisted the help of his community to make a stand this June with what he’s calling the 100 Kings Walk.
BROWNSUGAR- What is the goal of the 1000 Kings Walk and movement?
ROB HILL SR.- The walk will be held on June 1st of this year. We want to inspire young people to live extraordinary lives. Our pillars are Inspire, Impact, and Influence. We want their dreams to stay alive, we want their spirits to stay hopeful, and we want them to be more than successful, we want them to be remembered, forever.
BROWNSUGAR- What inspired you to begin this movement?
ROB HILL SR. – I’m a servant by nature. I like to help, assist, and build up. As a young man growing up I didn’t have a big sense of identity, legacy, or things like that. However, through my many ups and downs I’ve just learned the importance of knowing who you are and living for something.
BROWNSUGAR- Can you share how becoming a father and raising your son has changed your life?
ROB HILL SR. – My son is the inspiration for all I do. I gave him my name and I understand that there’s legacy in a name. I pray the way I live my life gives him an advantage in his. Everything I do now has purpose, and I’d say that’s what’s really changed things for me. I know who I am and I know my purpose.
BROWNSUGAR- As a young father raising a son can you give other dads 3 tips for raising a king?
ROB HILL SR. – Purpose. Identity. Legacy. I call it “PIL”. You have to have a firm understanding of all three of these things. What is your purpose? Who are you? What will people remember about you? Asking questions like this can really raise a man’s consciousness up, and when you do that he becomes a King.
BROWNSUGAR- For the mothers raising sons alone what message would you want to give them?
ROB HILL SR. – I want them to know that regardless of how they feel, they aren’t alone. We all have a duty and responsibility to one another and the men that I’m working with take that extremely serious. I encourage mothers to reach out and actively look for role models for their son’s. Boys need POSITIVE interaction with men. Can’t get discouraged, takes an extreme amount of resilience to raise a King.
BROWNSUGAR- How can people get involved?
ROB HILL SR. – There are many ways to get involved, the first being getting
registered at thousandkingswalk.eventbrite.com You can also email thousandkingswalk@gmail .com to become a volunteer for the event as well. They can also use that email for all inquiries surrounding the walk, especially if they’d like to become a vendor. The deadline for that is April 15th.
BROWNSUGAR- Fresh off the success of your book -”For Single People Who Still Understand The Value of Relationships” do you have any future books in the works for us?
ROB HILL SR. – I’m currently working on my third book and it should be out in September of this year. It’s titled “Love wins, always: A book on Perspective.” Won’t give too much away, but it should definitely have people thinking and operating differently.
BROWNSUGAR -What does the balance of 2013 hold in store for Rob Hill Sr?
ROB HILL SR. – Prayerfully it holds consistent growth. All I aspire to do is build people up, in whatever capacity they allow me to. Whether it be healing hearts, encouraging Kings, or organizing events, I’m committed to doing whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to make a difference.
Find out more about Mr Hill and the 1000 Kings Walk on robhillsr.com on twitter @robhillsr
Brown Sugar is written by theatre artist & vocalist Angie C @abitofbrownsuga on twitter. Email email@example.com for interview requests or to submit ideas for future articles.
“A Love Affair w/ Soul”- An Evening w/ soul singer Rashard Small
On a recent Friday night in Hampton Roads, VA I was invited to attend a listening event for soul artist, Rashard Small’s new project “An Urban Love Affair”. Small’s Soul Revolution family set the tone for the event with professional and friendly pre event moments. As we mingled it was clear that Rashard was loved by family, friends and other artists. The lobby of the Downing Gross Cultural Arts Center was filled with other local artists there to support their fellow crooner. Fans of his music call themselves Rebels and they were there in tees, wearing VIP access hang tags. Clearly this was going to be a fun night of great music.
While we waited I chatted with rock star singer and stylist K’Bana Blaq about his expectations for the album and the evening. He said he expected us to embark upon “a very soulful journey”. When asked how he described Rashard’s music he said it was “honest, gritty, and raw”, a sound he said would take us “back to basics”. K’Bana was not the only Fuzz Band member in the house that night as bandmate Nakia Madry- Smith was there as well. The vocalist also doubles Lead singer of D’Nik, when asked to describe Rashard she said he was “a great performer and writer. Madry-Smith said his music was “filling the gap” and was a “welcome return of soul”. I hadn’t seen Mr. Small perform a full show since 2012 and was anxious to see how he had grown as an artist. The anticipation of all in attendance was high as we waited for the show to begin.
We entered the beautiful Ella Fitzgerald theatre of the center in Newport News, VA and were treated to a 3 song sample show of Small’s music. The catchy lead single from the upcoming project “An Urban Love Affair”, 1234eva immediately gets the crowd into the swing of things as they sing along to the catchy hook. Like most of his music the song is clearly dedicated to his beautiful wife Regina who also sings BGVs. The family affair doesn’t stop there as Rashard’s brother Demarkis Vinson also serves as co- Musical Director and drummer for the Renaissance Band who played for Rashard and his singers. The audience was then treated to a song off Small’s first project and the New Orleans tinted tune was super hot. Last up was a cover of VA’s own D’Angelo’s hit Brown Sugar. You know I dug this instantly. ? The night was truly a love affair with soul music.
After the sampler we entered the listening suite where we heard a few cuts from the new album and watched the recently premiered video for 1234eva (watch it below). While we listened and snacked (on food catered by Rashard, yeah he can cook too) I made my way around to talk to some more band members and finally the man of the hour. Rashard’s vocals were completed by the Renaissance Band headed by Musical Director Tavis Simmons of Band Geek Musiq. Simmons’ wife, Nu, also sings backgrounds with Rashard. It was truly a family affair on the stage that evening. I spoke with Simmons, and he had this to say- First of all “I miss soul music”, and with this album “we’re recreating the music I grew up on”.
Finally after snatching him away from well wishers and fans I got to ask the man of the hour a few questions, the VA native was all smiles, clearly feeling all the love from the evening.
Brown Sugar- What’s your definition of soul?
Rashard Small- Soul is a feeling, not just what you hear. You can’t just hear soul.
Brown Sugar- What’s your inspiration for being an artist?
Rashard Small- Life experiences, the ups and downs of love. My marriage to Regina is also at the center of my inspiration to write and perform.
Brown Sugar- You have your wife, your cousin, and your brother here on stage tonight. How is to work with family in this industry?
Rashard Small- It’s a blessing to have family that can see your dreams. Even though it can be difficult, having them around means having people I can trust. It’s a good feeling.
Brown Sugar-What message would give to people who have never heard of you and your music?
Rashard Small- It’s soulful, honest, genuine, and rugged. It’s homage to soul.
Visit rashardsmall.com and follow him on twitter @rashardsmall to find out more about when Rashard will be performing in a city near you and anything else you want to know. Rashard Small is managed by Michael Lemelle @michaellemelle
Brown Sugar is written by Angie C, writer, theatre artist and vocalist. Email HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com for interview requests and to submit story ideas. Follow on twitter @abitofbrownsuga
March is Women’s History Month. I’m celebrating a woman that is blazing a trail of her own! Nina Brewton is a published author, speaker, vocalist and more. In 2012 she published her 1st book, a memoir. If you are under 40 and can write a successful memoir then clearly you have LIVED. Nina has so much life and light to share with the world that I wanted to make sure my readers got a taste as well. This month marks the release of her 2nd book “Heart of a Queen: Poetry and Prose for the Soul”. Read all about her work and her love for music and much more in our Brown Sugar interview. Enjoy!
When did you fall in love with hip hop *in my Sid Shaw voice*?
Lol I mean, since you asked…
I first fell in love with hiphop when I was about 11. It actually started with Too Short’s The Ghetto, which sampled Donny Hathaway’s song by the same name. The bass line could be heard for miles and miles, beating from the back of cat’s cars. I’m f rom the Midwest, where West coast hip hop was more popular.
Then there were groups like Questionmark Asylum, also from the West coast but had more East coast flavor which was more my style. From there I got into groups like A Tribe Called Quest and Wu-Tang.
Does music play a role in your creative process as a writer? How?
I find myself inspired by so many artists. An artists’ influence on my writing can depend on the topics they cover in their music. This is why finding quality music is so important to me. Whatever genre, from love to politics, my favorite artists have always taken me outside my world into new ones.
For example, in my memoir Dramas of a Bald Head Queen I share that I first came to love my Blackness in middle school after being exposed to the beauty and strength of artists like Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and the like. I found myself researching African culture and the history of Africans in America after becoming familiar with their music and talent.
I was 14 in 1993 when I first saw the video for Me’Shell Ndegeocello’s Dred Loc, on Video Soul. I sought out her debut album Plantation Lullabies, which is where I first heard the name of writer Ntozake Shange. Shortly thereafter I found myself in my neighborhood library where I discovered the choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.
Music should not only entertain us but should teach us something that will lead us to learning more about our world and, in turn, about ourselves as we continue to grow.
When did you know you wanted to write?
I can’t remember not wanting to be a writer. I remember begging my father to teach me how to write as my older brother was already in school learning. I would be right beside them at four years old, tracing over the letters on his first grade worksheets.
I began journaling when I was about 10 (I wish I had kept that old stuff!). From there, I began to dabble in poetry and fall in love with writers in various genres from all walks of life.
Any self publishing tips for aspiring writers? How do writers find editors?
I actually came across my editor, Benjamin Daniel, on the world-altering Twitter. We’ve been working together since late 2010 and I have now published two books under the Write Right Publications imprint.
Also, research, research, research. Always be willing to take the sound, constructive (that’s important!) advice of others. There are a NUMBER of ways to realize a dream of being a published author.
What three things would you share with women in your age demographic? Anything for the fellas?
The three greatest tips for that I can give (for anyone) is:
1) Believe in yourself and be your number one fan! Many times when you’re striving to work as an independent artist or entrepreneur you’ll get discouraged and will want others to encourage you, to keep you moving forward. The hands of others won’t always be available so we must rely on self=motivation and faith in the vision that allowed us to step out of fear in the first place!
2) Speaking of the encouragement of others, although there may be times when we feel alone, we, as humans, are not meant to be alone on our journeys. Be mindful of the people with whom you associate and the ones you let in to your heart both personally and professionally. Those with whom you involve yourself should add to your life, not take away from it. If your energy is disrupted every time you’re in someone’s presence, remove yourself from their life!
3) Don’t EVER be driven by the desire for fortune or fame. Your movements and dealings MUST be purpose-driven. You will find that apparent failures don’t hurt as much when you keep the big picture and purpose in view.
What’s next for Nina Brewton?
On March 5th I released a second book, a collection of poetry and prose, Heart of a Queen – Poetry and Prose from the Soul. The book was not only released under the Write Right imprint but debuted with These Long Tailed Words, Mr. Daniel’s first book. Our goal with the dual release is to draw interest in Write Right Publications as we strive to not only represent ourselves as independent authors but as a one stop location, meeting the needs of the self-published author.
In celebration of National Poetry Month in April, we invite all to join us at Prince Books in downtown Norfolk for ‘An Afternoon with Write Right Publications’ as we share works from the authors’ recently released collections of poetry and prose.
My dear friend Nina Brewton can be found on twitter @baldheadqueen and online at www.baldheadqueen.com for all further information
Brown Sugar is written by theatre artist and vocalist Angie C @bitofbrownsuga on twitter. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for interview requests as well as to submit ideas for future articles.