Tag Archives: incarceration
By Ordinary Servant | Published April 3, 2017
As a favor for a friend, a bright and talented young woman volunteered to read her poetry to a group of prisoners during a Black History Month program. It was an encounter that would alter her life forever, because it was there, in the prison, that she would meet Rashid, the man who was to become her friend, her confidant, her husband, her lover, her soul mate. At the time, Rashid was serving a sentence of twenty years to life for his part in a murder. The Prisoner’s Wife is a testimony, for wives and mothers, friends and families. It’s a tribute to anyone who has ever chosen, against the odds, to love.
*** Vlog Review: https://youtu.be/N4kqoD6gDmw ***
I decided to read The Prisoner’s Wife after reviewing Writing My Wrongs by Shaka Senghor. Shaka listed it as one of his favorite books, and I can see why. Asha Bandele is a beautiful writer, who penned a powerful memoir like a poet that she is.
I must admit, it was not an easy read. She touches on topics which gave me pause and had me reflect on my own life. In some ways, she and I share similar pasts which is why I identified and was profoundly moved by her writing.
The Prisoner’s Wife is a love story, but not an ordinary one. It was about her personal journey of falling in love and marrying a man named Rashid, who was serving a life sentence for murder.
One of the things I learned from reading this memoir is when someone is incarcerated, not only are they doing time, but so are their loved ones, which is what happened to Asha. She spent the majority of her time alone, other than the letters, phone calls and occasional visits.
I commend her for writing the truth and not painting an unrealistic picture. She did not romanticize her experience, but was bold, brave and courageous. She exposes the truth, shows the difficulties, and obstacles related to loving someone in prison.
If you were ever curious about what it’s like to be married to someone serving time, I highly recommend The Prisoner’s Wife.
Asha Bandele is an author and journalist. A former features editor for Essence magazine, Asha is the author of two collections of poems, the award-winning memoir The Prisoner’s Wife, and the novel Daughter. She lives in Brooklyn with her daughter.
By Ordinary Servant | Published June 17, 2015
It began several months ago, when I wrote a letter to Dutch telling him how much I enjoyed reading his book, Above The Law. Little did I know it would blossom into a beautiful friendship. I have a deep respect and admiration for him. Not only is he a phenomenal writer, he is a genius and wonderful person. I am blessed to know him and call him friend. It is with great pleasure to introduce to you, Kwame Teague, aka Dutch.
1. Where did you grow up? How was your childhood?
I was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. Normal ghetto story, grew up too fast. DJ’d, stole cars and sold drugs. Cliché.
2. What is the most memorable event you experienced as a child?
When I was three, I ditched my babysitter and went to the store. Everybody thought I got abducted. I came back and got my ass whooped.
3. What was your dream?
To be Scarface (lol). Who else? I also wanted to go into politics and be president.
4. Do you remember a teacher encouraging you in school?
Yep. My third grade teacher, Ms. McGeorge. She’s the one who said I’d be president (she may’ve told us all this).
5. Who had the greatest influence on you growing up?
My Uncle Hakim (God bless the dead). He was cool and didn’t take no shit. He spoke six languages and when he died in his 80’s, he looked like he was 50.
6. When did you realize you were a writer?
When I was twelve. I wrote a story about selling drugs.
7. Were you into reading books as a child? What book stood out for you?
Yes, a lot! Still do. I think that is the most important thing for kids, reading. My favorite book is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.
8. How were your teenage years?
I was selling drugs, State to State. Delaware, Baltimore, Virginia and North Carolina. I wasn’t a king pin, not even close, just young and wild.
9. Was Dutch your first book published?
No. Ghetto Sam is my first book.
10. What did it feel like to be a published author?
To be published gave me a sense of accomplishment.
11. How did it feel to become an award winning, critically acclaimed and Essence #1 best selling author?
To win awards kept me humble.
12. What is your philosophy in life?
Act as if you are right, but know you can be wrong.
13. What gets you through difficult times?
My belief in myself.
14. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Wahida Clark, Al-Saadiq Banks, Eyonne Williams, Stone Ramsey and DC BookDiva (who is just so damn sexy).
15. Besides being an incredibly gifted writer, and prolific author, you are currently fighting for your innocence. Can you share how that is going?
I’ve been incarcerated for twenty-one years, and trying to prove my innocence. I’m currently raising money for a top notch lawyer, but I need all the help I can get!
16. What do you believe constitutes good writing?
Good writing paints a picture, takes few words and makes you think.
17. How did you become the talented writer that you are?
Working hard and eating Wheaties. No really, I love life, so I see the beauty and the ugliness in it.
18. What did you do to hone your skills?
Live, love and learn.
19. What is your principle goal when you began penning books?
To make you think, challenge what you think and make you wet…
20. What is your writing process?
Listen to music and then ask what if…
21. Do you use an outline?
22. Do you write every day or only when you are inspired?
I write ten pages a day.
23. How long does it take you to write a book?
Thirty days on average.
24. How did you develop the confidence as a writer?
Because I’m confident as a man.
25. What is your vision?
To be free and free minds along the way.
26. Was there a particular book that you enjoyed writing the most?
Good question… I have a book called God that I haven’t released yet. God is my favorite.
27. Lastly, what would you tell a novice writer coming up in the industry? What advice would you give them?
Build your brand and open up the overseas market! The American market is saturated.
Bio: Hailing from Newark, New Jersey, Kwame Teague is the award winning, critically acclaimed, and Essence #1 bestselling author of the street classic Dutch trilogy. His other novels include Above The Law, the Dynasty trilogy, ? (pronounced Que), The Adventures of Ghetto Sam and the Glory of My Demise and Thug Politics under the pseudonym Dutch. With a passion for writing, Kwame is hard at work on his next novel.
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