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.

fightmewithrj

 

Review: Off the Ropes: The Ron Lyle Story by Candace Toft

off-the-ropes-coverOFF THE ROPES: THE RON LYLE STORY, Candace Toft. Hamilcar Publications, $27.95 (214p) ISBN-13: 978-1949590012
Publication date: Oct. 31, 2018

What you learn from a book is what really dictates its value. What the book reveals. What the book confronts. What the book asserts. Off the Ropes: The Ron Lyle Story, is the definitive biography about one of boxing’s “the most known and unknown” (homage to Three Six Mafia) heavyweight, Ron Lyle. At a time when the heavyweight division was inarguably at its height—the 1970s—Ron Lyle was unquestionably the most feared and avoided heavyweight. He has had more fights cancelled due to excuses by his opponents than any top-tier fighter in history.

Muhammad Ali only agreed to fight Ron Lyle after he (Lyle) lost to an unheralded heavyweight named Jimmy Young. Joe Frazier and Ken Norton wanted no part of Lyle. George Foreman agreed to fight him only AFTER losing his title to Muhammad Ali in the “Rumble in the Jungle,” which was fought in Kinshasa, Zaire. Jerry Quarry was only willing to fight Lyle a second time when offered a king’s ransom. Of course, as he got older, there were more suitors, (i.e., Jerry Cooney et al), however, Lyle was still a threat to any heavyweight because of his extreme punching power. Earnie Shavers, who is considered by most boxing experts to be the hardest punching fighter in history, declared that no one hit him harder than Lyle.

But, Lyle’s story is so much more than his boxing exploits. He was one of 19 children. His father was a cleric and his mother was devoutly religious. Even though Lyle’s upbringing was strict, his GPS was set to mischief, and then morphed into petty crime. Lyle was convicted of murder, learned to box in prison, served 7 ½ years, became a professional boxer, met a woman—married her—had a child, and pursued becoming heavyweight champion with a level of zeal that would be considered extreme—even for Steve Jobs or Elon Musk.

Like many boxers, Lyle had more “downs” than “ups” and managed to find trouble. However, his devotion to children was second only to his devotion to boxing. We learn that Lyle was charitable, deeply private, overwhelmingly mistrustful, and overburdened with demons. The writer, the late Candace Toft, uses plain language to tell a very complex story. Her writing style allows the reader to gain traction rather than be distracted by language that overreaches. Hall-of-Fame boxing journalist, Al Bernstein, wrote a compelling foreword. Off the Ropes is as good as any boxer-bio/memoir ever written and would be an even better feature film.

Rating: Booking Cool

Rating Scale:
Cool: Decent
So Cool: Good
Booking Cool: Excellent
So Booking Cool: Masterpiece