Tag Archives: Innocence

Author Interview: Dutch

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?

Very rarely.

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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Precipice Of The Impossible

I am standing on a precipice of the impossible.

by Rafaelll90 in Manipulations

On the edge, ready to free fall into the unknown.

If you have been following my posts recently, you will know that I’ve been involved in advocating for someone who has been wrongfully convicted. I’m trying to help as best I can, but I am continually reminded of my own limitations.

This is probably the biggest test of faith I have ever experienced. This situation is like climbing the Mt. Everest. It seems impossible!

Having faith and believing God has taken on a whole other meaning.

As doubt invades my consciousness like a cancer and a war wages in my heart, I feel impotent to make a difference.

I don’t have money, I don’t have connections, I don’t have prestige.

However, I am not the first, nor will I be the last, to help bring awareness or attention to a gross injustice.

Patience is not one of my virtues. I want everything yesterday. This type of thinking comes with living and working in a fast paced city. A city where everything is dependent upon results.

Day in and day out, I’m not seeing any results. It’s beyond discouraging.

I’ll be honest, sometimes I want to throw in the towel and give up. But then I think, what if tomorrow is the day things change?

I am an ordinary servant dependent upon an extraordinary God, who has the ability to change the impossible to possible in an instant.

I would love nothing more than to see God move on this man’s behalf.

But, what I’m learning the hard way is that it’s not going to happen when I want it to. It will happen in His timing, not mine.

I am not in control, He is. I don’t call the shots, He does.

I am a co-laborer with God. (I Corinthians 3:9)  I just need to do my part and leave the rest to Him.

I’m desperate to prove this man’s innocence and have other’s see what I see. However, only God has the power to move on man’s hearts, open blind eyes and deaf ears.

It is “not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6)

As I stand on a precipice of the impossible, I may not see the results, but God sees everything. He knows this man is innocent better than I do and in His perfect timing, justice will prevail.

It’s just a matter of time. When it does happen, may the Lord receive all the glory, honor and praise.

Have you ever faced something that was bigger than you? A situation that seemed impossible? Did God come through for you?

 

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Racism, Injustice and Innocence

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had a thing about injustice. Especially racial injustice.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

I am against racism, prejudice, inequality and injustice that black and hispanics are faced with everyday.

White people turn away and pretend it doesn’t exist, but it does. You would think in 2014 we would be past all this. But unfortunately, racial injustice is alive and well.

I haven’t been blogging as I’ve been busy and advocating for a black man who was wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit. He’s sentenced for life without parole and is in SHU (Special Housing Unit, which is just a fancy word for solitary confinement).

This man is one of many who are kept in a 9 by 12 cell, (which is a little larger than your average bathroom or elevator), for 22 hours a day. He is allowed two hours of recreation daily, which he takes advantage of, rain or shine.

It pains me to know he and many others are innocent and paying for crimes they didn’t commit.

Our politicians, judges, district attorney’s, and law enforcement are all in it together to continue incarcerating the poor, blacks and hispanics. So long as they get their promotions and money. Everything is motivated by ambition and greed.

There are many in prison right now who should have been released a long time ago, but because they are trapped in a backwards and draconian system called Rockefeller drug laws, they remain incarcerated.

The average statistics show the racial disparity that exists in prisons across America. They seem to find any excuse to put a black or latino man behind bars.

Inmates across America are treated like animals, instead of human beings. Our flawed justice system is more focussed on penalization, than rehabilitation. And people wonder why the rate of recidivism is so high. There is nothing in place to help rehabilitate those who are incarcerated or programs offered when they are released.

How are things suppose to improve if there is nothing implemented for change to take place? They think they can turn a blind eye at the problem that exists. They continue the vicious cycle of putting someone’s father, son, uncle, brother, and pregnant mother behind bars. They have deluded themselves into thinking things will improve on their own accord.

The system is set up for failure.

Our society has forgotten those in prison. The mentality is “lock them up and throw away the key”. Not only by society, but by family and friends too.

How can friends and family disassociate themselves from their loved ones and act as if they don’t exist or died? Those in prison are stripped of everything, and are no longer considered human.

What happened to redemption and second chances?

Can you imagine those sitting on death row right now waiting for their execution or serving life sentences who are innocent? Imagine these same people not having the financial means to afford proper legal representation to help prove their innocence? Even when they reach out to The Innocence Project, they get no response and are ignored. What hope do they have of ever getting help?

Furthermore, how many innocent people were executed or rotting in prison?

It’s a sad situation and those who are black or hispanic are victims in this flawed and corrupt system. They are subjected to penalization and are at the mercy of “whatever”, if they don’t have the money to hire a good lawyer to help them.

I can tell you from personal experience that it’s impossible to get a lawyer willing to help. They will not get involved unless they are paid a lot of money. There is no such thing as pro bono anymore.

So, what chance do they have in a system designed to keep them there? Once they exhaust all their funds, they are stuck and unable to get out of the vicious cycle.

I agree with Fyodor Dostoyevsky: “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”

Something needs to be done to set change in motion. Those who are innocent, need access to proper legal representation, even if they don’t have the money. There needs to be more help for organizations such as The Innocence Project. There are solutions, but our government and politicians are not interested, they are only fixated on their own interests, instead of advocating for change.

How do you think we can mobilize change for those stuck in our broken justice and prison system? How can those in prison get the help they need? Please share your comments below.

 

 

 

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