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Samson Dempsey the Midtown Player Turns Novelist

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Well, I'm back in NYC :(  The bus from the airport drops me off on 125th in Harlem (Spanish Harlem technically) and I start to walk home and this Brother tries to sell me a book.  Initially, I say, "nah man," but I'm a soft touch for Brothers like this. I don't know him from boo, but he is familiar I grew up with cats like him.  So I go into AALBC-mode.  I buy a book, of course, we bargain--I did say I took the bus from the airport right? I shot the video below, with my cell phone.

I'm using at Samsung Galaxy 5 a hand-me-down from my daughter. I'm still amazed what you can do with this 3-year-old cell phone. I literally meet Samson Dempsey two hours before writing this message.

I've shot numerous videos over the years like this over the years, but I have not done one of someone, I just passed by on the street, in several years.  The first one I did was over 10 years ago, of the author Randy Kearse (have not updated his page yet).  Randy went on to publish several more books and gain a great deal more prominence. Years after I shot the video he told me he had only been out of jail for a couple of months and he truly appreciated the support I showed him. That made me feel so good, because at the time I had no clue, again he could have been someone I grew up with, or even me.  Sometimes it just helps when someone tells you've had an impact. \ :)


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  • 1 month later...

@Troy, this inspiring post made me tear -up... #verkempt.   I spotted it while reading your newsletter.  I do my best to "press this" your newsletters but this morning I stopped to read to see what part I wanted to feature. I got to this story - and got so filled up.  @Delano, is so right - your story needs to be told -in a way that's uniquely you. You are our modern-day true Griot.

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I think I see what you mean. When the brother Randy Kearse told me what the video meant to him I felt #verkempt, mainly because I was unaware of the impact it had on him.  He just struck me as an interesting Brother.

To put it in context I was still work in corporate America and living very comfortably.  I was leaving the African American Literary Award show which was held in the Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem (webpage upgrade not started) I'd spent some time talking to Doug and Jackie Christie and other Black authors and publishing professionals.

I just found the page I created after the event (which I just now upgraded) on it I wrote:

"Randy served 13 years of a 15-year sentence and is now selling a book to help others have a positive and productive life after prison.  I brought a book -- one can't help but support."

Later Doug and Jackie  (webpage upgrade incomplete) would buy quite a bit of advertising to promote their books. They were quite generous and their support of AALBC.com meant as much to me as what I did for Randy, I just never got a chance to tell them.

We all do things to support others, often without knowing it...

Mel you've been a keen supporter of AALBC.com as well. Just the idea that someone whose opinion I respect thinks my efforts is worthwhile helps a great deal.  I also know you know things I could be doing that would make me more effective, which will enable me to help someone else--these are the activities that uplift a culture.

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