Pecan Candy and Huck-a-bucks

Pecan Candy and Huck-a-bucks
The Sweetest Reading!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Interview with Author Rhodesia Jackson

Pt. II


OE:  Tell us more about the screenplay.  

RJ:  The film is called, The Tradition, a crime romance set in Post-Katrina New Orleans.

Behind the Scenes: Making of The Tradition Teaser Trailer.  Pictured above main character Jude Newman.

OE:  Come'on you've got to tell us more.  Give us the Hollywood 5-second pitch.

RJ: I have a story about that.  When I lived in Harlem, I would attend this Black Writer's Group in the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building.  I would go pretty regularly to the monthly meetings, but it never occurred to me that I should actually join.  Well, at one meeting, this Fab Five Freddy kinda guy talked to us about pitching to Hollywood.  He talked about how you need to pitch your ideas, quick, fast and in a hurry.  Anybody who knows me, that goes completely against my grain.  I do things according to my own time.  I say this to say that one day, many years later, my husband worked on a film that went on to win several Oscars.  Well, he met the screenwriter, told him about his wife's book. Impressed that he was pushing his wife and not himself, this writer wanted to meet me over lunch.  Reluctantly I agreed.

OE:  Why didn't you jump at this opportunity?

RJ:  Suspicious.  Weary that while that may happen like that for a few lucky folks, I sensed that way is not the way for me.  I was right.  Because that same writer who promised to help me whenever I decided to dive into the field was no-can-do when I contacted him after finishing the screenplay.  Cool.  When did I ever need anybody to get me where I'm going.  It's not the road I'm traveling.  It will happen when it's going to happen and how it's supposed to happen.  I realized this after my experience on the Oprah Show in '97.

OE: Let's talk about the Oprah Show.

RJ: How to make this long story Chicago for the American Booksellers Association's Book Convention. It was just like the episode with Chicana and Tiny on T.I. & Tiny The Family Hustle.  I guess I'm telling on myself that I am a fan of reality tv.  At any rate, my girlfriend was dead-set on meeting Oprah.  So she insisted that we  go on the Oprah Show.  It was also her belief that Oprah would discover my great book, "Pecan Candy and Huck-a-bucks."  We would bring her books and put them in her hands.  Wrong.  You couldn't bring anything into the audience.  All gifts were picked up before you could enter.  After they took the package, they kindly informed us that there was no more room and that they were unable to seat us.  Left out like I was in kindergarten during a game of tisket a tasket, the producer decided to accommodate my party of three and another lady.  It was miraculous.  Oprah even noticed that the audience grew. This is the show featuring the cast of Batman & Robin --George Clooney, and director Joel Schumacher.  I mention this because ordinarily, she explained, she would stay after the show to chat with her audience; but instead, she wouldn't this time to have lunch with these special guests.  My husband's hand flew up.  After all, we were in town with this great though unknown book, Pecan Candy & Huck-a-bucks. This was an opportunity to let the world know. We were on the Oprah Show with the media wizard herself.  He stood up and caught Oprah's attention. "Yes," she said to him.  Time froze.  In that split moment's second, my spirit anticipated the various possibilities and I tugged his arm. Like a deflated balloon, string pulled loose, he gestured never mind, returning to his seat. And off Oprah went with the movie stars. 

OE: Do you have any regret?

RJ: Who can really say? What if. I love the expression, It is what it is.  But in the perfect vision of hindsight (20/20), I think the consequences of fame and fortune could have been devastating on my life at that time. Iyanla Vanzant talks about her experience.  Matter of fact, she was on the same independent circuit as I was and coincidentally at this same convention. I met her later that evening at an African-American Bookstore owner's reception.  The book business made me really think about my intentions and motivation:  Was I trying to be rich? Was I trying to be famous?  Or was I seeing this precious story all the way through?  I'm clear on who I am, what I was called to do and that I do it regardless. This is a gift.  It comes with an awesome responsibility.  I've often compared this journey to Dorothy's in the Wizard of Oz.  Following this road that disappears sometimes, that brings me to fearful places where I have to find courage, heart and intelligence. Frankly, I knew whatever level of success I attained, that neither Oprah nor the wizard could get me where this was going.  After all I choose the long road, the one seldom traveled to preserve the integrity of my work and to maintain ownership of my creative property.

OE: So, did this lead you to start Orgena Enterprises?

RJ: Yes it did! As we work to overcome the setbacks of the past 8 years from the Katrina disaster, my vision for this company is to become a leader in the global multimedia market and to offer more opportunities for other talents in this industry. 

OE:  What should we expect from you in the future?

RJ:  Creativity...the evolution of my work....And, one day The Rhodesia Jackson Writing School New Orleans, Harlem and abroad.

OE: That's wonderful!  We look forward to this.  We've certainly enjoyed this time with you and hope that you chat again with us about your ideas and upcoming projects. 

To preview the teaser trailer for
The Tradition, click link below:

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