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HICKSON yells, hands at mouth: “A-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-E, YO!”
“A-I-I-I-G-H-T!!!” The GHETTOHEAT® Movement replied.


No backer, assistant, intern, tour manager, agent, editor, publicist or street team: Just HICKSON, a computer, a database & a Nextel—who’s really doin’ the business? Three years & countin’, people, worldwide, thank you all for helpin’ me keep the lights on! Because L-O-R-D knows bein’ the “ultimate hustler” isn’t easy—no sir! I’m just great at “magically” makin’ it appear to be. Yet, I’m not into performin’ wit’ smoke & mirrors, nor do I use gimmicks & tricks. What have I been doin’? Shakin’ & bakin’! It takes a great amount of effort, patience & at times, blood, sweat & tears to get to the level where I see GHETTOHEAT® bein’: at the top! Folks, I’ve been hustlin’ hard since 2003…hustlin’ hard like the rent is due—today! But it’s all good. As others are content wit’ just doin’ enough, cutely workin’ towards havin’ things easier, I’m lookin’ forward to havin’ my hustle HARDER.   




June 2003: sweat pourin’ from my forehead as I trekked in the hot, blazin’ sun in Harlem, 125th Street, handin’ out 5000 “GHETTOHEAT®” flyers by myself in Grant Projects on Broadway—only to have ignorant busters & chickenheads try to play me out; laughin’ in my face while throwin’ my promos onto the ground. Sweat then runnin’ down my face while pickin’ up those same flyers, handin’ them out to other folks on 125th Street that afternoon; migratin’ all the way across to Lexington Avenue—gettin’ rid of each flyer. Ten minutes later, jumpin’ on the number “4” train downtown to Brooklyn—handin’ out 5000 more flyers on Fulton Street, wearin’ a Harlemade “Harlem” T-shirt, stickin’ out like a sore thumb; cats on the block shootin’ me dirty looks, wonderin’ why I’m “reppin’” Uptown in BK.


T-shirt drenched wit’ more sweat that day, carryin’ ten, 42-pound boxes of “GHETTOHEAT®” books to a local distributor, before headin’ cross town to do my first book signin’ at a “mom-&-pop” neighborhood bookstore; learnin’ within the first 5 minutes that I wasn’t goin’ to sell any books sittin’ at a table wit’ my hands folded, thinkin’ I’m cute. More sweat beads appeared, solicitin’ people from off the streets, convincin’ them to enter the bookstore to buy my book. Later that evenin’, sweatin’ feverishly in front of Club Envy, handin’ out the remainin’ flyers until 4 AM that mornin’. 
I sweated in the swelterin’ heat while doin’ a book signin’ on Jamaica Avenue in Queens for 10 hours 
wit’ street vendor, Massamba, as two girls nearby, started arguin’ over some dude, as “po-po” (the cops) ignored them, bein’ more interested in harassin’ the man who double-parked his BMW, only to purchase my book for his girl. Wet wit’ sweat, meetin’ & greetin’ many folks that day, givin’ hugs & handshakes to all, even to dope fiends, cleverly avoidin’ gettin’ oozin’ pus on my hands from raw open wounds.  


Sweatin’ early the next mornin’ while quickly draggin’ a pull cart packed wit’ 100 books, racin’ to Greyhound’s bus depot to do two events in Philly, before rushin’ back to New York City to perform at a poetry open mic in Harlem at Nubian Heritage, within moments apart; finally eatin’ breakfast at 11 PM that night. Hours later, goin’ to every hair & nail salon straight across Flatbush Avenue that next mornin’, still dealin’ wit’ the unhealthy humidity, tryin’ to sell books to customers while bein’ an “unknown artist”, would definitely cause you to sweat, especially when no one cares about an unknown new jack… 




“Hello, ladies. My name is HICKSON—”
“Yes, HICKSON…I’m a new author & publisher from Harlem, & I have a new book out called ‘GHETTOHEAT®’.”
“Ghetto what?”
“‘GHETTOHEAT®’”. It’s a book of poetry—”
“Poetry? (Sucks teeth 
wit’ disgust) Don’t nobody up-in-here read no damn, poetry! Son, yo, you got that new joint by Zane?”
“Ladies, have a nice day.”
“Whatever, son!”




Costs you plenty if you don’t maintain your integrity, pride & self-respect while comin’ up in the game, as you may even be “propositioned” by “the powers that be”…in order to receive better recognition, the proper tools of trade, or to excel in your career faster. Fame also attracts low-life leaches who sometimes pose as writers/publishers, deceivingly tryin’ to befriend, wit’ goals to suck you dry like a black widow spider for your knowledge & resources, as they foolishly covert what you have. In addition, fame costs dearly when you acquire overzealous, obsessed book-groupies & stalkers, who not only show up at most of your signings, in state & out-of-state, but ones who, no matter how well you stay tight on your game keepin’ a low profile, purposely not providin’ your business cards, phone number or address, find you…late at night…. Yet you get another chance to “properly” introduce yourself to such folks: “Taser, meet stalker, stalker, meet taser…S-S-S-S-S-S!!!” 


Doin’ somethin’ positive like promotin’ literacy worldwide also has costs. See for yourself, the “love” that people send me:


Look you bastard, your fucking nigger ass better be gone by the time I'm done taken a shit; And when I get back, you better fucking wipe my ass you slave, Forever love, 
“Crispy KKK”, 7 April 2004 - Florida 
I wasn’t feeling the book dawg, a book is supposed to keep the reader involved in the reading. I read a lot and I only read African American authors, this book is by far the worse book I have ever purchased. Stay positive and work on your skill.
“Anonymous”, 11 May 2004 - Philadelphia


HICKSON, stop sending me your stupid shit! 
“Glamour Girl”, 15 June 2005 - Harlem


Standards of excellence in literary skills, like spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. are still followed by some of us who also happen to be retired history professors. And you wonder why there is a generation gap? Some of us still respect and prize the education that we struggled to obtain that got us out of “the ghetto”. That does not seem to be the case in the way that you have chosen to express yourself with an attitude of hostility and rudeness, which is “why you are where you are”.


Why is it that when you are questioned about who you are and what you are all about that you decide that the response is “negative?” That is your own point of view and if you don't get that then you don't seem to understand that a part of marketing yourself is to be ready for such questions? That emotional outburst and the poor grammar, syntax, etc. is how you are choosing to hold yourself back. The words and style with which you choose to present yourself provokes a judgment which is perpetuated by your own anger and rage.  No one has attacked or judged you. I'm still asking what you have to say that makes it worth my time and energy to pay attention to you. After living in a foreign country for several years and working in West Africa, one thing I have discovered as a major cultural difference which has not been transferred across the waters is a respect and reverence for the elders who could teach you something about how to present yourself in a positive light, but you are not willing to learn that from me, which is “why you are, where you are”.


HICKSON, you are very rude and do not seem to understand how to have an intellectual discussion or accept a question that challenges you to think beyond the limited boundaries which you seem to have set for yourself. The very fact that you don't seem to know how to spell properly indicates to me that there cannot be much of an interesting subject matter to read about in your work. Bad spelling, punctuation, lots of grammatical errors. You decide to use them, therefore, you decide to keep yourself trapped where you are. Consider me the person in the crowd who tells you that you “have spinach in your teeth” when none of your friends have mentioned it, but since you don't want to know the obvious flaws that are holding you back and have made the choice to resist any directions improving your chances to succeed, then, you are the one who has to live with the results of those decisions.
“Stephens NN”, 3 July 2005 - Chicago


Fuck off, Bitch! Remove me from your email list NIGGER!!!!!!!!! Remove me from your email list immediately if you have brains enough to accomplish this. I do not want any additional emails from you or your business. You know, I've thought this thing over and I've changed my attitude. I think the Government should continue to subsidize you folks. They should send you all back to Africa and issue you each your own Banana tree, just when you get there - Don’t come back!!! And since you think you walk on water, if you decide to come back - WALK BACK.

Everywhere in the world that blacks have governed themselves you have failed miserably. I rest my case. Bill Cosby, J.C. Watts, and several others have tried to tell you this but you refuse to listen. Look at the State prisons and you'll find an 80 to 90% black population as well as the welfare roles. My opinion is based upon the actions and lack of accomplishment of the black population in our society. Even Jesse Jackson, the absolute fool that he is, said if he saw black teenagers walking toward him he would walk on the other side of the street. I want nothing to do with you, HICKSON.
“David McMinn”, 18 April 2006 - Out of Space


Recently, I discovered that the cost of fame, also results in me receivin’ several death threats from folks. “Peace, haters!”
Payin’ lots of money on: a business license, trademarks, legal fees, accountants, book printers, 
graphic & website designers, photographers, models, hotels & travel expenses, office equipment and supplies, warehouse fees, advertisin’, promotion & marketin’, promotional items, copies, shippin’, postage, booth/table rentals, literary services, etc., etc., etc. You’ll spend a small amount on Advil headache pills, which you’ll unfortunately, begin to eat as you would M&M’s—yet, you’ll pay even more for not doin’ the proper research on business, the industry, the players, especially the bad ones, or on how to achieve the professional goals you desire, losin’ a great deal in the long run. 


Let’s not forget, payin’ your dues, makin’ appearances at places/events for free at times, at early/late hours, knowin’ that you would rather just catch up on sleep/work, or have fun elsewhere. Yet, because you’re a new artist, & “the powers that be” insisted that you show up, because if you don’t, it may ruin your business relationship wit’ them, you arrive to the function wit’ a “big smile” on your face instead, while cursin’ them out silently in your head. How about callin’ up certain bookstores to clear invoices, only to have the store owner/manager try to disguise their voice, or lie & tell their co-workers to say that “they’re not in the office today”, while you’re actually callin’ from your cell phone, lookin’ at both of them within their own establishment….


What about actually bein’ paid a large debt from a book distributor, in which they broke the checks up in two, yet they’re unsigned? You’re told to come back in an hour to pick them back up, only to return, havin’ those same two checks voided out, now bein’ presented wit’ 10 new checks…all postdated wit’ three weeks in between each check…what do you do? I’m not sure what you would do. What did HICKSON do? BLACK OUT!!! 


I raised my voice violently, called them everythin’ in the book but “GOD’S CHILDREN”, ripped up each check in their face & threw them up in the air like confetti, began slammin’ my left hand on their desks, re-arrangin’ paperwork while pointin’ my finger in faces wit’ the right. Told them to, “Print out another check wit’ the full amount postdated today, or create a problem for yourself…NOW!!! No one is leavin’ this office until I get my money—ALL OF IT!!! Oh, what? You thought I was some stupid idiot who would be more than happy to accept scraps off the table? WELL, I’M NOT!!! I make way too much money for you & yours in this piece, don’t you ever try to play me or undermine my intelligence. Disrespect me like this again, & you will feel it! People, you have three minutes to properly accommodate me: 180, 179, 178…” is what I counted down while pacin’ back-&-forth in their office, as they began to scurry. I then reached into my knapsack…


“I AM CALM!!!” I then went to unzip my bag.
“Look, no one is goin’ to shoot you! I’m diggin’ in my bag for gum, my mouth gets dry when I’m tight! …Want a piece?”     


Managin’, groomin’ & promotin’ artists, even difficult ones, dealin’ wit’ new prospective artists, tourin’ nationwide, writin’, readin’, editin’, proofreadin’ & typin’ up books, while bein’ an art director. Maintainin’ 100 e-mail accounts to date, makin’ phone calls to bookstores, both urban & chain stores from Alabama to Wisconsin, followin’-up wit’ book buyers, regional & district store managers, retailers & distributors. Maintainin’ website, payin’ royalties & expenses, executin’ administrative duties, bein’ an accountant, & dealin’ wit’ the media constantly. Makin’ drop-offs to stores & street vendors in all 5 boroughs of New York, shippin’ out boxes of books nationwide daily, maintainin’ mail-orders & online store accounts, clearin’ invoices strategically, writin’ 300 convicts to date nationwide—by hand, constant internet research, composin’/mailin’ newsletters, while promotin’ literacy worldwide. Teachin’ sales associates/managers how to merchandise products, havin’ meetings frequently, attendin’ seminars occasionally, handin’ out flyers constantly, researchin’ foreign markets, seekin’ new money, all while stayin’ “sucker-free”, & religiously dealin’ wit’ haters who attempt to make my situation HARDER.  


*HICKSON’s soakin’ wet….*

“Magically”, I’m learnin’ more & more each day, how to bob & weave from the haters, as I SKATE ON! pass them. Haters can be so troublesome, yet I fuel from their negativity immensely, oppose to feedin’ into it. Haters will always exist, they’re not goin’ anywhere—they have a purpose: to cause conflict. But what are you goin’ to do, allow them to knock you out of your game? Not I! Haters actually keep me on my toes, as well as make me want to succeed even more. Yet, they stay busy, actin’ like crackheads, some even bein’ crackheads: functional crackheads. Those are the worst, bein’ cracked out while givin’ the illusion of havin’ it all together. People, please be aware of the “haters on crack”, & remember that,  “Crack is wack!” 


“Crack killed ‘Apple Jack’!”









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


































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