by Minister of Information JR
My OG potna, Fleetwood from Frisco, just put out his second book, “Bloodtest.” It is an urban fiction novel that is based right here in the Bay Area. It is important for us to support the writers, media-makers and artists in our communities who tell our stories; otherwise, we will be reduced to looking at the world through somebody else’s eyes, which the Black experience in Amerikkka has proven to be psychologically damaging. Salute to the author Fleetwood. Cop his book “Bloodtest” and check him out in his own words …
M.O.I. JR: Tell us about how you transitioned from being a rapper to an urban fiction author?
Fleetwood: Well, I always had a knack for developing concepts but I was getting older. I had to be honest with myself. I was still dope, but my rap dream was turning into a nightmare. Then God blessed me and gave me another lane of expression. I began looking at Ice Cube’s career and said if I can write a rap I can write a movie. Then I said they get movies from books, so why not write a book first, one about my journey so my legacy can have a foundation.
M.O.I. JR: How did you come up with the concept behind “Bloodtest”?
Fleetwood: It’s so many drug families and people are born into them in the hood, but everybody doesn’t want to sell dope. I had a friend who wanted to do something else with his life, and he was dealing with that scenario at the time. That’s where I got the idea from; it was like a test of his bloodline he was dealing with, a bloodtest, feel me.
M.O.I. JR: How long did it take you to write it? And what was your creative process like?
Fleetwood: I actually wrote it in three months. I just thought about the Bay Area grind, how my homie was feeling and all my homies who have been in and outta of jail their whole lives. But I purposely stayed away from naming hoods specifically to avoid the real hood politics, feel me. It’s real out here. It wasn’t meant to disrespect the game, but meant as a story of breaking the cycle of illegally hustling to legal grinding.
M.O.I. JR: What interested you in writing fiction specifically?
Fleetwood: Well, because it challenges my pen. My first book, “Hip Hop Tried 2 Kill Me,” was easy to write. It was about my life. All I had to do was remember and be truthful. But in fiction you have to make up characters and be like 20 people all at once in your head. It was a challenge that I needed in my life at the time. Nephew, I wanted to show the world that when I wrote “Hip Hop Tried 2 Kill Me,” it wasn’t luck or a fluke.
M.O.I. JR: Who are some of the writers that have inspired you?
Fleetwood: Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Donald Goines, Sidney Shelton, Nikki Turner, Alex Haley and Iceberg Slim.
M.O.I. JR: Where do you see yourself, as an author, in five years?
Fleetwood: Honestly, if it’s God’s will, I’ll be the Donald Goines from the Tenderloin of the Bay Area, having my book turned into movies, inspiring the youth, pushing my community literacy program nationwide, letting the youth know how reading can take you away like Calgon, how important reading is, how privileged we as African Americans are to be able to read.
M.O.I. JR: Where can people see you next?
Fleetwood: I’m giving free Writers Workshops all over the Bay Area. If you interested in having me come to your organization, contact me at email@example.com.
M.O.I. JR: Where can people buy your book?
Fleetwood: You can get the hardcopy at Marcus Book Store in San Francisco, 1712 Fillmore St., and at Marcus Book Store, 3900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Oakland. Also you can get it at Alexander Book Co., 50 Second St., San Francisco, and online Ebooks at Smashwords.com. I just want to thank everyone out here who supports me and allows my dreams to become reality. Please, please keep God close to you, and what you want, it won’t be far from you. Peace.
Minister of Information JR is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe,” both available, along with many more interviews, at www.blockreportradio.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.