Interview With Elaine Halligan, Author of “My Child’s Different”!

Author PhotoBeing a parent is one of, if not, the hardest job one can have. Parenting expert of more than a decade, Elaine Halligan, had it even harder as the mother of a “different” kid. The director of The Parenting Practice shares her compelling journey of raising her son Sam and the difficulties they faced in her book My Child’s Different: The Lessons Learned from One Family’s Struggle to Unlock Their Son’s Potential. By age seven, Sam, had been expelled from three schools. In addition to acquiring a bad rep, Sam was diagnosed with various conditions.

Through it all, no matter how trying these times were, Halligan and her family were resilient. Halligan went from getting backlash from other parents to getting praise from them for opening up about her experience.

Cover-art.jpg“This book seems to be helping a lot of parents,” Halligan said. “And people are writing to say, ‘just thank you for having the courage to write your story.”

The author also confessed to being very nervous about publishing My Child’s Different. As for Sam, Halligan waited until he turned twenty-one to write her book and made sure he was comfortable with her revealing their journey. “The message that’s coming through from people is just ‘thank you for giving us hope and optimism. So yeah, I think it was worth doing.” Listen to the interview to learn more about Halligan and her family, Halligan’s insight on parenting, her advice for how to raise a child’s self-esteem, Sam’s thoughts on My Child’s Different, and more. For more information, visit The Parent Practice.

Interview With RJ Young, Author of “Let It Bang: A Young Black Man’s Reluctant Odyssey into Guns”!

rj young 3RJ Young was not fond of guns, but that changed when he was determined to build a bond with his then white wife’s father, a gun enthusiast. Young became fixated with guns, and eventually became an NRA-certified pistol instructor. The unique and riveting journey to understanding and experiencing gun culture in America as a black man is tackled in Young’s debut, Let It Bang: A Young Black Man’s Reluctant Odyssey into Guns (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). “There are people who say ‘hey, I’ve never thought about it this way. I still believe what I believe, but I appreciate you giving me your perspective,’” the YouTuber said to So Booking Cool when asked about the response to his memoir.

let it bang“There are other folks who have seen the cover of the book and decided that they know what it’s about. And then there are folks who are pushed to consider it, and it makes them very uncomfortable, and it makes them examine the way in which they walk through the world…mostly what I’m asking folks to do is examine the way the walk through the world and what influence they have that they may not have even considered until recently.”

Listen to the full interview to learn more about Young, including his upcoming radio show, Fight Me with RJ Young, which was spawned from his hit YouTube channel, in which he gives his commentary on the Oklahoma Sooners to tens of thousands on a daily basis. Young also discusses the time Natural Light Beer awarded him with $40,000 for one of his videos; his thoughts on higher learning; whether he would write another book; his advice for YouTubers and more. Fore more information, visit his channel.

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Interview With Afro-Pop Singer FATi!

fatiSome people prefer to keep their goals private. Recording artist FATi is one of those people. Despite having musical ties in her family (she is related to jazz singer Senabella aka The Bronzeville Diva and her (FATi) great-grandmother was a respected jazz artist during the 1940s), FATi chose not to disclose her musical aspirations. The reason is simple: she wanted to protect her dreams. “When something is dear to your heart, when you believe that it’s something that God gave you, you have to keep things a secret,” she told So Booking Cool.

“Sometimes you have certain people that talk you out of things and will put little hints your ear, so you’ve got to protect what God gave you. I just wanted things to be a big surprise…and then what if I did say I was coming out with a song and didn’t?”

But things have worked out for FATi and her family is proud. The Liberian-born singer released her debut single “L.O.V.E. Love,” (produced by 2B onthebeat) which has gained momentum on YouTube with nearly 100,000 views; and she continues to thrive in Ghana; she recently had a showcase and is gearing up for another one in the states; her second single “Queen” is slated for release in February, along with her debut EP.

Mr. Angelo Ellerbee, founder and president of Double XXPosure Media Relations, who chatted with us a few months ago, is excited for the world to be introduced to FATi, who he deems one of music’s most exciting young artists of today. “I have no doubt that her music, beauty, and personal style will create a sensation here in the United States, as it has across the African Continent, in no time at all,” the PR guru said.

Listen to the interview to learn about the African songstress, her thoughts on what makes a good artist; artists having a relationship with their fans; her musical influences (Beyoncé, is one of them); her love for African and Caribbean music and more! For more information, visit FATi on social media.

Interview With Jerald L. Hoover, Author of “My Friend, My Hero”!

HOOVERThough it took nine years for Jerald L. Hoover to get his book, My Friend, My Hero published, it would later celebrate 25 years of release; win multiple awards and garner accolades; become a semi-finalist in the Gotham Screenplay Contest; and make Hoover a staple in his hometown of Mount Vernon. He was awarded with the WritersCorp Award by president Bill Clinton and was among the top selling black authors in the early 90’s. The professor, motivational speaker, playwright, award-winning author and sports journalist is now excited for the new generation to be introduced to My Friend, My Hero, the first in a series.

The young adult novel tells the story of Bennett Wilson, a level-headed athlete who seemingly has it all with the top colleges lining up to sign him to their basketball roster, but life tests him in a major way when his mother falls ill and behind on the rent, forcing Wilson to consider the bad road he’s always tried to avoid in order to save his family. The novel, which Hoover began writing when he was 17-years-old, is a powerful story of friendship, education, the choices one makes.

25th 3D Light Red Shirt“My endeavor is to reach everyone, but out of everyone I want 1 million young men to read the book because I really think it will shape their thinking to be more positive and proactive,” Hoover told So Booking Cool. “And I really think that will help America going forward.”

Listen to the full interview to learn more about Hoover’s journey to writing My Friend, My Hero and getting it published; how the book is still relevant; why he champions literacy; the comment he’ll always remember from a fellow reader about his book; the marketing ideas he implemented for his book; and info on the series; and more! For more information, follow Hoover on twitter, as well as the Hero Book series.

Interview With Michelle Staubach Grimes, Author of “Pidge Takes The Stage”!

Michelle Staubach Grimes - Head Shot

Literacy has always mattered to Michelle Staubach Grimes, the daughter of the legendary record-breaking, two-time Super Bowl champion, Roger Staubach. She saw firsthand the value of determination and hard work. Her commitment to literacy was fueled after she attended the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy a decade ago. “That’s when I learned about the literacy crisis and how many kids can’t read, how many adults can’t read…it really inspired me to go back to school and study creative writing at night,” the author and mother of three told So Booking Cool. It also inspired her commitment to help increase literacy rates by teaming up with organizations and programs, as well as launching her own movement, #PidgePromise (Laura Bush and Jimmy Kimmel are among the supporters.)

Pidge Takes the Stage - Book Cover (1)The campaign, which strives to promote reading and writing, is based on Grimes’ character, Pidge from Where is Pidge? and its new sequel, Pidge Takes The Stage, both of which are illustrated by the award-winning editorial cartoonist and art director, Bill DeOre.

The series highlights themes of family, friendship, work ethic, persistence, and discipline. “One of the big lessons in the book [Pidge Takes the Stage] is when Pidge’s teacher says to her ‘unspectacular preparation leads to spectacular results,’ and I took that quote from my dad, who was a football player, when I asked him to describe training camp to me.”

“I say to kids life is a grind, we have to work hard. You may not love school, but you have to work hard at it, not skip your practices, and not give up,” said Grimes.

Listen to the full interview for our discussion about being the middle child, parenting, the dynamics of creating a children’s books, what it was like working with her editor, why aspiring authors need to be astute about their competition, and more! For more information, visit http://www.whereispidge.com/

Review: “What Truth Sounds Like” by Michael Eric Dyson

what the truth

WHAT TRUTH SOUNDS LIKE: RFK, JAMES BALDWIN, AND OUR UNFINISHED CONVERSATION ABOUT RACE IN AMERICA, Michael Eric Dyson. St. Martin’s Press, $24.99 (294p) ISBN-13: 978-1-250-19941-6
Publication date: June 5, 2018

An Acerbic Truth. A Bold Truth. An Encompassing Truth. An Unsettling Truth. A Disruptive Truth. A Troubling Truth. A Terrible (or Terrifying) Truth. A “Truth” Truth (Ruth).

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson’s latest—just happens to be his greatest (book that is). In what is a defining moment in his authorship and critique about all things “race” in America, Dr. Dyson utilizes the full power of his protruding arsenal of words, incalculable intellect, and asymmetrical compulsion for expressing complexity using simplicity as well as simplicity using complexity to tell an unfiltered, uncomfortable, uncompromising truth: An Acerbic Truth. What Truth Sounds Like: RFK, James Baldwin, and our Unfinished Conversation about Race in America is an alarming but astonishing, disturbing yet defining, and exhausting while exhilarating literary spectacle that uses a meeting between then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and James Baldwin et al (in May of 1963) as a backdrop to contextualize the current racial climate in America.

Dyson “slices and dices” and “fishes and dishes” an inconvenient, almost mean-spirited, occasionally cryptic, bushel of truth with a perfect admixture of edge and eloquence. Politicians, Artists, Activists, Intellectuals, Crackers, and Bad “Niggers” (one of the chapter titles) beware. Dyson dares to spare no one; not friend, or foe, or historic figure, or president. If you are in his analytical or conjectural line of fire, be prepared to be assailed with verbal projectiles. This book is not for the faint of heart.

Dyson lays the groundwork by recounting the events that led to this historic meeting and provides a brief bio of the major players involved (i.e., Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, Lena Horne, Dr. Kenneth Clark, Lorraine Hansberry, and the only surviving “witness” amongst the aforementioned, Harry Belafonte). However, the most compelling figure in attendance was probably the least known, Freedom Rider Jerome Smith, who did not mince words. When Kennedy intimated that Blacks shouldn’t listen to the incendiary “lyrics” of the Nation of Islam and Malcolm X because that could spell trouble, Smith said, “You don’t have no idea what trouble is,” and that’s when the meeting went downhill—or uphill (depending on your perspective) from that point.

In the succeeding chapters, Dyson uses his verbal scalpel to dissect and his barrister-esque elocution to build a case for the final chapter, “Even If: Wakanda. Forever,” which is arguably Dyson’s most powerful utterance ever. I would humbly suggest the reader to begin by reading the final chapter first to enhance the experience and to better appreciate Dyson’s indomitable genius.

At nearly 60 years old, one can sense as Dyson transitions from “old head” to “elder” that What Truth Sounds Like, is a precursor for what will be his greatest works, which will undoubtedly happen post-Trump. But for now, What Truth Sounds Like, is a Wake-up call for the Woke which is why this book is minimally 25 years ahead of its time.

Thus far, we have only “witnessed” Dyson’s intelligence; his wisdom has yet to be realized—and it is as imminent as our mortality. And, as imminent as his reconciliation with his teacher-mentor-friend-brother: Dr. Cornel West. And that’s an Acerbic Truth, Ruth.

Reviewed by Professor Clifford Benton

Review: “Authority Marketing” by Adam Witty and Rusty Shelton

authoritymarketingAUTHORITY MARKETING: HOW TO LEVERAGE 7 PILLARS OF THOUGHT LEADERSHIP TO MAKE COMPETITION IRRELEVANT, Adam Witty and Rusty Shelton. ForbesBooks, $16.95 (160p) ISBN-13: 978-1946633132
Publication date: May 3, 2018

While many modern business-related books stake claim to having the “answers” few actually deliver. An exception to this trend is the recently published Authority Marketing by Adam Witty and Rusty Shelton. The authors assert in this world of social media, branding, and hypercompetition, the paradigm has shifted from product-centered marketing and personality-centered marketing to “authority-centered” marketing; thus, they have developed the formula: Expertise + Celebrity = Authority.

In short, according to the Witty & Shelton: Effective Authority Marketing involves a strategic process of systematically positioning a person as the leader and expert in his or her industry, community, and marketplace to command an outsized influence and edge on competitors.

The authors cite seven pillars of Authority Marketing (and dedicate a chapter to each one): Branding and Omnipresence; Lead Generation; Content Marketing; PR in Media; Speaking; Events; and Referral Marketing. During the course of these chapters, Witty & Shelton provide compelling anecdotes to illustrate concepts so the reader “gets it.” The language is straightforward, not stuffy, and the authors don’t write as if they are being paid by the number of words (or syllables for that matter).

An example used to illustrate the point of personal branding made by the authors is their mentioning of David Meerman Scott who decided to insert his middle name to distinguish himself from the numerous David Scott(s) across the globe. Think noted sports journalist, Stephen Smith—I mean Stephen A. Smith. Witty & Shelton also discuss the importance of “owning” your media presence, keynote speaking, writing a book, and using Twitter—strategically!

Authority Marketing’s strongest attribute (inarguably) is its intent on being written as a “how to” instead of being a jargon-laden, academic treatise overrun by “analytics” and theoretical constructs. The book is a must-read (excuse the cliché but it applies in this case) for college students (regardless of major), entrepreneurs, and people who want to go from being “dreamers” to being “doers.”

Reviewed by Professor Clifford Benton

Interview With James Mtume About His Unsung Story!

JAMES MTUME PHOTO

Society is the thermostat. It sets the temperature. Artists are thermometers. We reflect what the temperature is.” This is among the many potent quotes that emerged from So Booking Cool‘s interview with Grammy award-winning musician, songwriter, activist, and radio personality, James Mtume. His timeless hit song, “Juicy Fruit” (the heavily sampled cut for numerous artists including the late Notorious B.I.G.’s smash hit “Juicy“) is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Not bad at all for a song that almost did not get released. The Philadelphia-bred icon has not yet penned his autobiography, but a starting point for telling his story will be covered in his upcoming episode of the docuseries, Unsung  to air this coming Sunday.

The Philadelphia-bred composer had early exposure to jazz music with his father performing the genre. Mtume created a list of the three musicians he desired to work with and ultimately was recruited by one of them, Miles Davis, who would become a cherished mentor. It was Davis who encouraged Mtume, who became the first black Middle Atlantic AAU champion in the backstroke before taking the music world by storm, to explore different sounds. “When you finish a musical genre, put it away,” the 71-year-old advises younger and aspiring artists. “Once you cross a musical bridge, burn it, so that you don’t have to go backwards.”

Listen to the full interview to learn more about Mtume’s thoughts on the music industry, the artists that impress him today, how seeing Elijah Mohammed and Malcolm X speak when he was 14-years-old changed his life, the parallels between the social movements during the 60’s and present time, the proudest moment of his illustrious career, and more!

For more information, visit Mtume on Twitter or his official website 

Interview With Dr. Ashley Denmark, Author of “Olivia’s Doctor Adventures”!

DRDr. Ashley Denmark wrote and published her first book Olivia’s Doctor Adventuresillustrated by Mike Motz, to help introduce youth to medicine and hopefully inspire them to pursue a career in the field. Her own inspiration for the picture book is her 6-year-old daughter, Olivia. In fact, it was Olivia who suggested her mother write it in the first place.

In addition to being a mother (she has three children in total), wife, and student, Dr. Denmark is also the founder of the forthcoming initiative called, Project Diversify Medicine which already has a following of more than 7,000 people.

For more details about Olivia’s Doctor Adventures, the world of medicine, her recounting the time she was turned away from helping an ill patient on a Delta flight and how she’s since flipped the incident to a positive, as well as her advice for aspiring physicians, listen to the complete interview! Visit the official website for Olivia’s Doctor’s Adventures and check out the trailer below!