Robert and Dale are both natives
Robert: You’re doing great work! I want to thank you for your blast on my books. It is great to see what you have accomplished, all these years since high school. I love what you’re doing! Thank you for bringing these folks to the attention of the world. What an admirable quest! I totally respect and honor you, Dale. I am proud of your research and sharing of Black artistic history. You were one of my fave brothers. Great hearing from you.
Dale: Proud of your work as well, Mr. Novelist. I am honored to place you here, among artistic greatness and critical social thinkers. My hope is that the youth from our neighborhood see the vast amount of literary work you have written as the result of hard work and your commitment to your education. With our schools crippled with fiscal difficulties and arts programs slashed, what is your advice to young writers of color, hoping to one day be published, about the importance of reading and writing?
Robert: I don’t have one favorite writer. But among the Black writers, I have a glorious trio: James Baldwin, John A. Williams and Richard Wright. And the other ones from the western canon: John Steinbeck, Graham Greene, William Vollman, Jack Kerouac, Virginia Woolf, Eudora Welty and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Robert: My great-grandmother Ida Hollingshead had this quote in one of her books: “Our elevation must be the result of self-efforts, and work of our own hands. No other human power can accomplish it. If we but determine it shall be so, it will be so.” It was by the great black spokesman Martin Delany in 1852.
Robert: Rap vs. the poets of the “Black Arts” generation: Back in the day, the old black poets of the 1960s and 1970s were influenced by jazz and blues. They loved the black music and the culture but were very committed to political and cultural liberation. They wrote the angry song of protest and defiance. I was inspired by Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones), Don L. Lee, Sonia Sanchez, Clarence Major, Ishmael Reed, Michael Harper, Robert Hayden, and the Last Poets. I also read the poets Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Sterling Brown, and Gwendolyn Brooks. There is some stunning rap music I admire, especially Common, Tupac, Biggie, Q-Tip, Mos Def, and Jay-Z. Howevr, I don’t think the rappers will have the lasting impact on the culture as the poets and writers of the 1960s and 1970s.
Dale: Thank you, Robert for speaking to us… sharing your “experience.” I look forward to sharing this interview with our family and friends back home. I am off to the book store to pick up one of your literary gifts. Ashe’