The Wake-Up Everybody Foundation

Beginning on May 17, 2008, Essence and National bestselling author Jihad and other best selling African-American male authors, in conjunction with the “Wake-Up Everybody Foundation” (Black Men Reading, Black Men Writing Tour), will be travelling to over 20 cities promoting literacy and dispelling the age old adage that Black men don’t read.

After spending over 7 years in six different federal prisons during the 90’s, Jihad saw for himself that not only were black men reading, but that they were starving for books they could relate to. It was in those prisons where he became enlightened while sitting at the feet of several self-taught, caged Kings. Jihad saw black super men all around him. Yet, none of them wore a cape or had an S plastered across their chest. They were super-intelligent, inspirational, kinky-haired, different shades of brown, black men who had lived the same confused life of a hustler that he had. Because of the system that created the conditions that turned man to beast, the free world would most likely never hear the melodic truth that only these lions could roar, unless someone escaped the cage, grabbed an ink sword and slashed real talk from page to page. And real talk is what Jihad brings in his books to readers young and old, writing a new chapter in self-elevation through critical thought.

“I always thought I was gangsta, until I read the likes of Dr. Ben, Dr. Na’im Akbar, George Jackson, Geronimo Pratt, along with the teachings of Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey. Now, these brothers were and are truly gangsta. Anybody can pull a trigga on a black man, get money selling dope to their mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, but how many will stand up to something bigger than themselves? How many are willing to stand up to a system of oppression—a system devised and designed to keep a class and entire races of people down and ignorant?”

After listening to the words of the Martin’s, Malcolm’s and Marcus’ on the inside, and reading works from the revolutionary brotha’s, Jihad decided to write what he labels, self-help street fiction—books about the hood—books that show our sista’s and brotha’s how to rise up and retake their rightful places on the thrones that they sat on in the past.

Jihad speaks to the young urban Kings living or dreaming of living the Street Life. “I am so tired of hearing that Black men don’t read, and that the easiest way to keep a secret from a black man is to put it in a book. There are over a million black and Hispanic men in prison who will tell you different. And there are even more on the streets who would read if there were stories they could relate to. I write stories about Black men, to uplift Black men—stories that speak to our young brothers in the hardened street lingo that we use, and not some milk-toast, watered down, cookie-cutter queens English. My young urban Kings and Queens ain’t cookie cutter; they’re realer than real and you have to speak to them, not at them.”

Throughout the summer and fall of 2008, Jihad and other male authors will embark on this tour to promote their books by speaking and showing that Black Men do read, and Black men do write. For tour dates please log onto www.jihadwrites.com

Copyright @ 2008 The Wake-Up Everybody Foundation