King of Street Lit: Author John Bryant Jr.

One of the most rewarding and life changing experiences for an aspiring journalist and news reporter is to interview a writer. Between a seven to ten-year span, writer, author, self-publisher entrepreneur, John Bryant Jr. says, “I love the life of writing.” He considers himself an urban fiction writer but when he started writing states, “I was called a black experience writer.” He later states, “Urban fiction writers write about what goes on in their community and a lot of people want to shield themselves from that reality.” His writings are from some personal life experiences merged with fictional storytelling. Black novelist like himself that are urban fiction writers today, collectively invite society into the world of black community life in ghettos across the world that have declined due to disparities. Bryant said, “This type of life that I write about surrounds us in the black community.” A written quote from him is on the back of each book cover says, “We are the forgotten people in the streets.” This reflects his commitment to inspire and open the eyes of mainstream American by writing and storytelling about black people living the black life experience.

Photo Credits: Jacqueline O.
Photo Credits: Jacqueline O.

Within the writer’s circle, a stand-alone term called, “Street Lit,” short for “street literature,” is used by black experience writers who reflect on the realities and lifestyles of actually growing up and living in Black American communities presently or in the past. The “street lit” genre’s written content usually incorporates stories that plagued the black communities with violence, guns, drugs and prostitution. It has its own language, a glossary of terms, and with minimum to no editing. Bryant said, “As a writer, writing isn’t the problem, being punctually correct as a writer can be a challenge and editing issues.” Blacks have a way of communicating with street codes and talk, to slang and made-up terms that they directly understand and relate to each other generally speaking. Bryant explained, “Writers need to be aware of plagiarism, paraphrasing and copyright protection, due to us distributing and exposing our works and ideas that can be easily stolen and infringed upon.”

Being a well-known self-published novelist and Miami writer, John Bryant Jr. states, “I’m the king of “street lit,” proudly from his home in the mist of Miami’s Historical Overtown, an all-black community. Currently, one of his career highlights is hosting a public group page on Facebook called, “We Love Urban Fiction.” The community of “street lit,” writers base their stories on one’s own life and shares it. Bryant validates this point by saying, “It’s actually a black experience novel.” He’s considered the authority on “street lit” to young black writers who follow his group and post their writings for him to review and offer feedback on. His environment of growing up in Rochester, New York’s Corn Hill Art District, influenced him to turn his attention towards art programs and focus on his academics, after being inspired by his older sister who always carried books and looked smart in his opinion. His turning point as a teenager was when he was exposed and then experimented with the street life. Bryant said, “At the age of 17, I was influenced by urban fiction writer Donald Goines and taught the school of hustling by real street hustlers.” Rerouted by lessons of the street life from street hustlers exposing him to women strippers and street workers, to pimping and later drug dealing, Bryant eventually overcame street life and embraced being blessed with a second chance because someone believed in him.

Bryant’s previous street image and fictional characters are a reflection of hip-hop music’s other genre, rap music. Rap music is lyrical fiction storytelling mixed with real life fantasies of the black experience dealing with drug dealing, prostitution, sex, pimping and murder. Bryant said, “But it isn’t reality, it’s more of a fictional account of what goes on.” For example, rap artist 50 Cent purchased Bryant’s first book titled, “Legends Story: The Tale of a Pimp,” and followed him on Twitter at one point. This shows how hip-hop music help shape the black experience expressions through lyrics and branding images.

Photo Credits: Jacqueline O.
Photo Credits: Jacqueline O..

Today Bryant has self-published six books, which are displayed in Miami’s main library, sold on Kindle, has 6 videos on YouTube, while working on his seventh book titled, “The Internet Girls.” Bryant says, “After I met a real Internet pimp, I decided to write a fictional story on that lifestyle.” Bryant wants to continue to write as many books as he can and so far has titles and the stories to his upcoming books already in mind. Bryant explains, “My goal is to get stories I lived in print and help change the mind set of our people through my writings.” And explained that his novels have moral beginnings and endings, while the middle of his story deals with what really goes on, as Bryant puts it, “In the hood.”

Interview by: Jacqueline Oliphant, Entertainment Business, MS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miami’s Historic Overtown Host First Annual REVOLT Film Festival

The historic black pioneer community of Overtown in the City of Miami host the first ever REVOLT Film Festival 2015.

Historic Overtown is known for entertainment and cultural events. Revolt TV and the City of Miami will help build a bridge to special music and entertainment events, alongside the Revolt Music Conference. Keith Clinkscales, CEO of Revolt TV said, “This partnership allows us to showcase that talent while providing an a opportunity for the local community to get involved.” The Lyric Theater in the Little Broadway district, at the Historic Overtown Folklife Village, known as their cultural and entertainment district, is the major center of entertainment. The Lyric Theater is home to literary, visual and performing arts events for tourist and residents.

Revolt TV is dedicated to providing a platform for young emerging talent by aiming to propel young filmmakers into the industry’s forefront and allow their work to be seen by professionals and executives. Young film directors between the ages of 18-25 years old showcase their talent in filming by competing on October 18, 2015 from 11am-7pm, at the Lyric Theater at 819 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33142. The festival spotlights up and coming international youth film directors. Kevin Rios, a Miami native was the finalist that won for his film, Made of Sugar. The kick-off event started with young talent poetry followed by the festival, then a conversation on gun violence in the community and concludes with an intimate reception hosted by City of Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon who said, “it’s a great pleasure to welcome Revolt TV to the Overtown community to showcase one rich cultural history and one promising destiny.”

2016 American Black Film Festival: Back on the Beach!

The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) and The American Black Film Festival (ABFF), #ABFFBackToTheBeach, announced its return in the historical all-black community of Overtown, in Miami, at the Historic Lyric Theater. In attendance was the City of Miami’s Commissioner for Overtown, Keon Hardemon and representatives from the GMCVB.

This annual destination event will be exclusively held in South Beach this year, from June 15th to June 19th. The event will take place at the Ritz Carlton located on the famous Lincoln Road Mall, and it will be presented by HBO, stated on the ABFF site. According to ABFF, this year’s festival will focus on entertainment technology and initiatives to grow the number of women filmmakers. The American Black Film Festival brings an international audience of black artists, entertainment executives, creative writers, musicians and film industry professionals together on Greater Miami’s South Beach for the largest gathering of black talent in the film and television industry. ABFF acts as a premier black talent promoter for people who work both in front of and behind the camera.

Untitled1The ABFF will celebrate its 20th anniversary with an exciting line-up of film screenings, schedule of events, and networking opportunities. This year marks the start of ABFF’s three-year commitment to host the film festival in Greater Miami, specifically on South Beach. The festival showcases entertainment content made by – and about – people of African descent. The festival presents narrative feature films, documentaries, short films and web originals to a worldwide audience hereby rewarding diverse filmmakers among their peers and bringing them exposure, along with, The Office of Film Entertainment, who supports and promotes the film and entertainment industry in Florida.

Film Life, Inc. and Black Enterprise are producers of the American Black Film Festival and ABFF Ventures. These organizations work, which is to stimulate mutual business growth and advancement in the event and entertainment industries. The event’s founder and CEO (Jeff Friday) created the ABFF in 1997. Mr. Friday believes that black artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts and this is why the festival is experiencing growth, generating sales, and gaining the attention of youth in film that want to jumpstart their careers. With a -three-year – commitment to the City of Miami, the ABFF festival will not only keep its current audience, but will also increase its awareness among the local film community and talent in Miami.

For more information on the hosting city, go to Miami Beach and for festival tickets and passes go to ABFF.