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GHETTOHEAT® IN BLEU MAGAZINE

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EVERYONE, PICK UP THE SPRING/SUMMER 2010 ISSUE OF BLEU MAGAZINE AND REVIEW THE ARTICLE FEATURED ON GHETTOHEAT®!

http://xa.yimg.com/k...TTOHEATBLEU.pdf

Outside the Box

The streets of Harlem are wrapped up in the Ghettoheat® wave, a movement of books surrounding urban erotica and personal triumph that is changing the literary world one novel at a time, and creating one of the largest indie publishing houses on the East Coast.

by tyrus townsend

Photographed by julie litrov

What started out as a simple book of poetry has grown into a movement boasting more than twenty authors signed and eight books on the market ranging from politics, science fiction and gay issues. Ghettoheat’s Commander-In-Chief, who goes by Hickson, seemed to be in the best of moods.

It’s not the everyday that a brother in charge of an independent publishing empire is being dumped via text message of which he says: “Hickson needs a man. Place that in the interview…! We were together for fourteen months but felt ourselves going in two different directions. Thus is life.” Nonetheless, the recent heartbreak did not stop up-and-coming book mogul from giving Bleu a firsthand account of life, success and current understanding of love.

Ghettoheat®

“My book, Ghettoheat®, allowed me to build the company. After the death of my grandfather and the devastation of September 11th, I decided to quit my job and focus on writing full-time. I lived off my savings and eventually found myself in a state of homelessness. Writing became that creative outlet to deal with the pain, the frustration and the anger I endured. After a brief stint in Delaware, I received a check on June 2, 2003 for $10,000 as part of a class action settlement from the City of New York for violation of rights; the incident involved me being strip searched during an arrest that occurred in 1996.

On June 4, 2003, the check cleared and Ghettoheat® was created. The purpose of Ghettoheat® was to gain independence and entrepreneurship. Ghettoheat® was dedicated to my grandfather who told me to make lemonade out of lemons. When the book first came out, I marketed as if it was a street mixtape. Going with the mantra ‘A closed mouth does not get fed.’ I took my first set of flyers during NYC Gay Pride 2003 and handed them out on Christopher Street from 8pm up until midnight. After those flyers were done, I got more flyers and headed up to the South Bronx to The Warehouse. I was so determined not to fail at this. A few months I would see the fruits of labor born. During a book signing in 2003 I encountered a young lady and I immediately saw trouble in her eyes; I had witnessed this look on many occasion from so many others in the community. Later that evening I received an email from the young lady stating she had contemplated suicide only moments earlier. Just knowing that I made a difference in someone’s life was priceless. …I ended up re-structuring my company in order to help others heal with my works. Hopefully it will all pay off in the end.”

Candy Girl

“A few years ago, I had the pleasure to receive a signed copy of a novel called Convict’s Candy. Published in early 2006, Convict’s Candy proved not to be just another typical street novel. One of few books on the market that addresses transgender individuals, Hickson admits, “I had a hard time selling the book because it deals with a transgender individual in the African American community and you know how we feel about the gay community. We shun them! All the major book retailers refused to have anything to do with me at all. I even had a few scuffles with people on the street.

“Back in April of 2005, I received a proposal from two convicts: Jason Poole and Damon ‘Amin’ Meadows. They exclaimed it would be groundbreaking and they were absolutely correct. I read the entire manuscript in three hours! I did not want to put it down! The concept of the book, written in a federal prison, tells the story of a pre-op transsexual who gets arrested exactly one week before her scheduled sex change operation. You have this beautiful person, who looks like a woman, forced to do ‘hard time’ with all these handsome men who become amazed and hypnotized by this transsexual. At first I thought the authors were bluffing about the story. But a few months later, I was at a book signing in Richmond, Virginia, and coincidentally ran into an individual who used to do drugs with Candy; he was her former roommate and was able to back up everything that was in the book. According to the roommate, the inmates used to fight over Candy day and night.”

Convict’s Candy, which involves the story of a well known rapper love affair with the androgynous character, has gone on to become critically acclaimed by such publications as Vibe and Essence magazine. It was also selected by Wendy Williams as her book club pick.

“(Wendy) Williams gave so much love to Convict’s Candy. I think, in part, it was because she showcased the book in a positive manner on her radio show that it gained tremendous exposure. I also learned so much about the prison population while reading and editing the manuscript. Most inmates are not tested for HIV/AIDS upon arrival and if they don’t ask (to be tested) then the prison does not have to test. Most men who engage in sex while in prison, which many participate, cannot win for losing. On one hand you have sexual activity going on and the prison does not supply them with condoms because that advocates sexual activity and homosexuality, yet it does occur. But you also have all these enormous cases of HIV/AIDS swimming in one pot and inmates have become rather crafty in protecting themselves against the disease by resorting to using latex gloves and Saran (plastic) wrap as a contraceptive.

The Ultimate Hustlery

“I first started out dressing the queen-of-the-catwalk, supermodel Naomi Campbell; I was personally chosen. For five years, I was in charge of coordinating her fast and intricate outfit changes; managing to meticulously dress Naomi amidst the fever, fierceness, and frenzy backstage at major fashion shows. Naomi is one of the most darling, determined, misunderstood business women that I know. One of the many lessons that she taught me was to never back down. Being the only black male on a team was difficult at times; I proved to be too smart for my own good and for the others. A lot of racism exists in the fashion world and (it) was one of the many factors in my decision to leave the industry on September 10, 2001. The months afterward, I sent out 472 resumes and only received one callback.

“My goal was to become the hood Andre Leon Talley. I never thought I would become a writer. Sometimes I would live off three dollars a day: a honey bun for breakfast, Doritos for lunch and rice & broccoli for dinner; thank God I am a vegetarian. It has been an extremely harsh world coming from fashion to publishing.

“Along the way, I’ve had tremendous blessings thrown my way. After watching Beyonce tumble down a flight of stairs, shake her head and proceed to hit the note higher I realized that we fall down but we get back up. Recently, I received an offer to sell Ghettoheat for an enormous sum. I told those executives that even during a recession they could never buy me out. It could have been easy money, but I am not an easy guy. I turn 40 this year, so I am learning to become more flexible in life and in love. I learned to compromise and that, my friend, is the greatest success of all.”

HICKSON: CEO of GHETTOHEAT®

Publisher of GHETTOHEAT®, CONVICT’S CANDY, HARDER, AND GOD CREATED WOMAN, LONDON REIGN, SONZ OF DARKNESS, TANTRUM, LOVE DON'T LOVE NOBODY, GHOST TOWN HUSTLERS, THICKNESS, DIRRRTY, TATTOOED TEARS, UGLY/BEAUTIFUL: ME, CLUB AVENUE, SKATE ON!, SOME SEXY, & TOUGH.

GHETTOHEAT® | P.O. BOX 2746 | NEW YORK, NY 10027 | GHETTOHEAT.COM | @GHETTOHEAT | @HICKSONHOTNESS

GHETTOHEAT®: THE HOTNESS IN THE STREETS!!!

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HICKSON: CEO OF GHETTOHEAT® APPROACHES 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF GHETTOHEAT, 6.4.13!"IT'S JUST BEGUN!"GHETTOHEAT®: THE HOTNESS IN THE STREETS!!!™

HTTP://TWITTER.COM/HICKSONHOTNESS HTTP://TWITTER.COM/GHETTOHEAT

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