"Diaries of Black Men" chronicles the observations,
reflections, and life experiences of 10 Black Men.
Shared are their most innermost thoughts and beliefs.
"DBM" addresses the most overlooked member of any
body; the heart of the Black man. Intricately written,
the reader experiences -- or re-experiences -- that
which has never been written before. Each page
dynamically demystifies the myth that Black men have
always balked at the opportunity to keep written
accounts of their lives.
The collection of stories that
author Tony Brooks has assembled is unprecedented.
Apparent, is his ability to masterfully evoke the
thought processes and emotions of his readers. In
truth, there is much more to "Diaries of Black Men"
than you could ever imagine. The soon-to-be-bestseller
has received raving reviews from readers of both
genders, and all backgrounds. Recently,
eMediaCampaigns! sat down with author Tony Brooks. We
discussed his childhood, his love for writing, his
vision for an international alliance with positive
people, and of course, his latest release, "Diaries of
Afternoon, Tony. Thank you for meeting with us today.
Tony Brooks: Good Afternoon,
Fran. It's an honor to be here.
EMC: Tell us about your
background and how you became interested in writing.
TB: I am from the East
Coast, Harrisburg, PA. I graduated from IUP -- Indiana
University of Pennsylvania. My mother raised six of us
by herself. The lyrics of the song by the Temptations,
Poppa Was a Rollin Stone, exemplified my father’s
lifestyle. It is funny because, even though our father
didn’t live with us, we all loved him dearly. I
believe the love I had for my father is something that
is intrinsic to every child whether they come from a
dysfunctional or functional family environment. The
processing of that dysfunction in your life will
determine who you become as a person.
My father was not a very good role
model. Consequently, I consciously and unconsciously
acquired and inherited his behaviors and incorporated
some of his negative habits. Now that last thought
sounded somewhat confusing, but those are the only
words that I could come up with. They describe how I
am feeling when I think about my background, and
explain how I got interested in writing.
I believe it was all the confusion,
heartache, struggles and adversities that my mother
had to endure while raising six kids by herself, that
became the seed which germinated within me for a life
time. It finally blossomed -- metaphorically speaking
-- into my writing about the suppressed emotions,
feelings, and setbacks in my life.
EMC: Was there ever a time
when you questioned your ability to write?
TB: I never really
questioned my writing ability because I used writing
as an outlet and it was always from my heart. Writing
is therapeutic and cathartic for me. I write like I
feel -- or have felt -- at some point in my life.
God’s blessed me with a very creative imagination
which really makes my imagination run wild when I
write about some of the things that I write about.
What does that mean? It means that I have not lived
all the things that I write about. But, I have an
imagination that allows me to speculate and
extrapolate on things and from experiences of others
and them assimilate those thoughts into my words and
EMC: Diaries of Black Men
has received exceptionally favorable reviews from its
readers and critics. What have you personally heard
from the published authors and producers in the
industry who have read book?
TB: I’ve been very
encouraged by others in the industry. The one comment
that is indelibly etched in my psyche came from a
friend of mine, author Mary B. Morrison. She said --
and I'm paraphrasing -- “It is not a question of
whether or not you become a prolific writer, the
question is when!” She doesn’t know it but that has
stuck with me. I’ve also had people in the industry
approach me about turning Diaries Of Black Men
into a movie production. That too is very encouraging
EMC: Were there any
responses that surprised you?
TB: Yes, the fact that so
many people could personally relate to the stories. I
was surprised and excited because I really get
inspired knowing that I can evoke a collage of
emotions from the stories. A good friend of mine whom
I hadn’t seen in a while said, “Man, 'Tone,' I really
liked your book. It made me laugh and cry.” I knew
that this person was sincere. Thank you, brother T.
Walker from San Jose University for your positive and
"Diaries of Black Men" is a
raw and compelling internal look at the Black
experience . . . it is rife with poignant humor and
abundantly compassionate. Readers are in for a treat;
not only for its authentic lens to people of color,
but for illuminating the human condition."
-Ranjan Patel, Psy.D., Psychotherapist
EMC!: Was there a particular
message or theme that you sought to convey before, or
as you wrote Diaries of Black Men?
TB: Not really one
particular message because, too often, "we," as black
men, get labeled and stereotyped. In reality, we are
enigmatic and puzzling. That diversity is the beauty
of life and it makes it so unpredictable. My book
touches on many different facets of life from
different perspectives and backdrops. In reality that
collections of stories could easily be embodied in one
person. Think about all the things that have happened
to you in your life. I frequently have people say to
me “I should write a book!” Then they go on to tell me
about their life experiences which is real surprise
because I’ve listened to some incredible stories.
"... too often, 'we,' as
black men get labeled and stereotyped. In reality, we
are enigmatic and puzzling."
- Tony Brooks, Author
EMC!: Who are some of your
favorite authors, and what books are you reading now?
TB: When I was young, I
liked reading books by James Baldwin and Donald Goines.
Now, talk about differences the aforementioned authors
are like night and day (laugh). This buttresses my
argument that we are complex individuals. We can
appreciate some rap music, some types of jazz and R&B.
We can go to a party and salsa or we can go to a
nightclub pretend to be “Usher.” We like BBQ ribs and
we can also appreciate a good piece of prime rib…even
though I stopped eating meat twenty-five years ago
EMC: Most writers will
acknowledge that they struggle with occasional
"writer's block." Does the same hold true for you? If
so, how do you manage it?
TB: I’ve heard of “writer’s
block” but I’ve never really had to deal with it.
Perhaps if someone gave me a million dollar contract
to write a series of books ... then that phenomena
could become a dilemma for me (laugh). I am being
facetious; but really serious in a sense. With that
million dollars, I could see me and my family in
Jamaica “chilling” for a few days. That would
automatically eliminate a writer’s block because I
would just be enjoying the moment and not think about
deadlines or commitments.
I think most people experience
“life’s block” when there are pressures in their life.
People have different thresholds which determine how
they react to various pressures in their lives. (If
you put enough pressure and heat on a coal, it becomes
a diamond). This holds true for writers. Some writers
-- I would imagine -- work well in certain
environments which stimulate the mind and allows for
the creative juices to flow. Like lava from an
erupting volcano. I am not sure what inspires me at
times but there are certain times when I feel truly
inspired to write my thoughts and experiences down.
When I do get those moments, I can write a complete
chapter in a couple of hours because I’ve been mulling
over the topic or issue in my mind for a while.
EMC: Tony, you're a loving
husband and father of three, active member in your
church, professional speaker, businessman, licensed
real estate broker ... how do you identify, and then
balance so many priorities?
TB: The most important thing
for me right now is making sure that I provide for my
family. I am growing each and every day and my desire
is to be a better person today than I was yesterday. I
am not perfect; but I try to live the way Christ wants
us to live. It is not easy all the time. I strongly
feel that if I continue to move Christ more to the
middle of my life, I can balance all the other things
in my life. I also read a lot. I exercise regularly
and make sure that I eat healthy foods. Being grounded
physically, mentally and spiritually helps to order my
EMC: In your opinion, what
are the most important issues, or untruths facing the
American Black, male today?
TB: We have way too many
displaced, young Black men in our society. Look at the
staggering number of young men of color in our prison
system. We have more young black men in prison than we
do in colleges. I believe that they’re building more
prisons than colleges as well. Racism is still very
much pervasive in America and it has transmogrified.
AIDS is another problem that is
plaguing our communities we need to deal with that as
well. But, the one thing that we must realize as Black
Men is that not all white people are evil. We need to
look beyond color and understand life from a more
global perspective. We must realize that other people
in the world are struggling and that entire world is a
“Ghetto.” What needs to happen is that we align
ourselves with other positive people: white, black,
green and purple. Collectively, we can survive the
evil empire and rid the world of hunger, disease, war,
EMC: What are some of the
projects you are working on now?
TB: I’ve finished second
book entitled, More Than a Divorce. It is most
profound and will be out in the spring of 2006. I am
going to start on a third book which is titled, The
Incorporation of Poverty – A Poor Man’s Guide to
Building Wealth. I am also thinking about writing
a children’s book; but I need to give it more thought.
EMC: Tony, what is the most
powerful advice that you can offer to the aspiring
TB: If writing is really a
dream for you, don’t give up on that dream. Once you
stop dreaming then you are dead. Surround yourself
with people who care and encourage you to move closer
to your goal of success. Get all the negative elements
out of your life and that might mean old friends.
The other key thing is to read as
many books as possible -- especially the types of
books that you want to write about. The more knowledge
and insight that you have about the subject matter
that you wish to write on will make you a much more
credible and successful writer.
EMC: Thank you, Mr. Tony
Brooks. It was both an absolute honor and pleasure
speaking with you today. I am believing nothing but
the best for you in all of your endeavors.
TB: Thank you so much for
allowing me to share with your audience some of my
inner most thoughts and feelings. I’ll leave you with
this pearl of wisdom that was given to me by my dear
friend, Wil Cason, “Be a person of value and not a
person of success.”
eMediaCampaigns! Interviewed Tony
Brooks in November, 2005. To purchase your copy of
Diaries of Black Men, or contact Tony Brooks
personally, please send an email or visit the author's