Intimate Conversation with Author Terrance Tykeem
Terrance Tykeem was born in Atlanta,Georgia, spending equal time between Atlanta and Philadelphia before becoming an NFL walk-on. Due to early injury his NFL career was short lived and Terrance deftly transitioned into the entertainment industry.
Terrance has signed with two different record labels and developed a TV show called the Players Club. [ A show whose name he eventually sold to Rapper and Director “ICE CUBE”.]
In recent years Terrance's focus has shifted to social reform which resulted in the 2013 release of "Guilty by Reason of Arrest” and his third book “Touched” in 2014. His second and third books, deal with mass incarceration and child molestation, respectively. Growing up between relatives and the Foster care system Terrance provides first hand insight into the issues plaguing our communities.
As a writer, speaker, and activist, Terrance is not afraid to challenge the system and does not shy away from asking or answering difficult questions. Terrance has founded the We Stand Up Coalition a non-profit that tours nationally providing education and awareness on such issues.
Author/Singer Terrance Tykeem releases Touched a short film music video to address the issue of Child Sexual Abuse. While in the Foster Care System a young Terrance Tykeem witnessed first hand the sexual abuse of countless boys and girls and barely escaped being a victim himself. These images have haunted him for years. This short film music video has some of today's well known actors, reality stars and personalities such as Eva Marcille, Chaz Shepherd, Ramona Rizzo, Mama Jones and many others. The music video can be found at: http://vimeo.com/99473045
BOOKS WE"RE DISCUSSING
1. Guilty By Reason Of Arrest by Terrance Tykeem
2. Touched: When Innocence is Stolen the Pain Lasts Forever by Terrance Tykeem
Books can be purchased on Amazon.com
BPM: Tell us about your journey and the beginning of your career. How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I was motivated to become an activist and advocate after my own experiences with the legal system. I also learned from my various life experiences that it was more worthwhile and important to me to help others than to use my money for selfish motives.
BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
The Guilty by Reason of Arrest book speaks to an audience that wants to better understand how the legal system is biased and places minorities and those in low socioeconomic status at a greater risk of being incarcerated than their affluent white counterparts. It also deals with the injustice that privatized prisons causes our society as a whole.
Touched speaks to adults survivors of child sexual abuse, young adult victims, and their family members that may want to better understand what it is like to be victimized.
I think some authors are role models but I don't think it applies to every author. As an artist whether I am writing a song, producing a movie or writing a book my intention is to find a way to move the intended audience. If an author can create a piece of work that pushes the audience to think differently, to challenge the status quo, or even to inspire than I think they are a role model.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book, Touched? Why now?
I was inspired to write Touched because when I was working on the song alot of individuals chose to disclose their stories of abuse to me. I just wanted to share a few of the stories as told to me.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
The song birthed the book Touched, the book in turn birthed my non-profit foundation, and the non-profit is currently working to birth an entire national movement. To see an idea that existed only in ether come to life and have a following of people behind it is pretty great. To talk with the people that are moved by the song and what we are doing makes you feel like you are building a legacy. I want to have bodies of work that really change peoples lives. I think this is what is beginning to take hold now.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven?
I have lots of ideas, they are mostly plot-driven. The news, current events, the political climate, the financial climate, it all impacts me as an artist. Sometimes it moves me to write music, sometimes I write books, other times I am working on screen plays.
BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Are your books available in digital forms?
My most recent work is a documentary also titled "Touched" that was an idea I got when I received feedback from the music video. Yes, my books are available on Kindle.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers from both books. What makes each one so special?
Guilty by Reason of Arrest references actual legal issues that affected either myself or those I knew. Touched has two stories, each told by the victim in their words. Each book is educational and can also be viewed as self help.
BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your books?
If so, discuss them. Guilty by Reason of Arrest speaks to minorities, less educated and low socioeconomic status individuals. Touched raises awareness of the pandemic of child sexual abuse. Approximately every 2 minutes a child is sexually abused.
BPM: How does your books relate to your present career path, spiritual practice or journey?
My books are a reflection of what issues are really weighing on me. These are topics that have resonated within me because of personal experiences coupled with the reality of how often these crimes are occurring in our communities.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your books? Can you share some stories about people you met while researching the books?
I have met really genuine people that are really invested in changing their communities. Conversely, I have met alot of people that verbally supported the causes but when our organization reached out to them to help with community events or cameos in the documentary it was apparent that in spite of the cause or even that they themselves were victims, some activists and celebrities were more concerned about how much we were willing to pay them for their time. I was really disappointed in that aspect.
As for the people that I met while writing my books, or the people whose stories I used, they were amazing individuals that I think were courageous. It takes alot to share your darkest secrets. It is hard for most people to trust another [person] to share such horrific details with but because they were victims and by the very nature of the crimes committed against them, these individuals already have a history of broken trust. The fact that these individuals (and others as we are touring) share their stories with me is definitely courageous.
BPM: What were your goals and intentions for crafting the two books, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
I feel like each book accomplishes what I intended. I just wanted to be able to educate others on the given topics. I can't speak for other authors but I know I can re-read my books a thousand times before they go to publishing and be happy with them but as soon as I get them back bound and beautiful I think of different ways I could have expanded certain parts of the books. I find my works are like living objects because they are created in a form I create and then as they get viewed and taken in by others and I get feedback, I feel like they take on a form of their own. I also think of how I could have done the subject matter more justice. I'm very Type A though so I don't know if I will every be completely content with any one body of work I've created. I'm always looking for how to out do myself on the next project.
BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
My current project is to complete the documentary, Touched. I also have a few television shows I also would like to do a national tour in some format.. like visiting alternative schools inspiring adolescents, speaking in juvenile detention centers and prisons. The staff of my non profit are also working on a national tour in collaboration with treatment facilities for sexual abuse. We would like to have individuals create glass tiles from all 50 states to create a national mosaic tile memorial piece dedicated to victims and families of child sexual abuse. We have a wonderful artist Susan Jablon and her daughter Emily that have graciously agreed to create the piece with us.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Follow me on social media.. like my non-profit on Facebook, We Stand Up Coalition, attend one of my events. Book me for speaking engagements.
We Stand Up Coalition Website: www.we-stand-up.org
Terrance Tykeem | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terrance.tykeem
Guilty By Reason Of Arrest by Terrance TykeemThere have been countless books, movies, TV Shows and documentaries describing the criminal justice system and the people who control it. What they all have failed to do is make clear the true motives of those behind what can actually be described as the “In-Justice system”.
The police, politicians, court and prison officials have waged war on the poor and minority citizens of this country for financial and political reasons among others, while successfully turning millions of our nations less fortunate into commodities and stock options in the process.
Each of these five step chapters will do what others have refused to, by describing in great detail who, where, when and why the self-proclaimed land of the free has become the world leader in incarcerating and disenfranchising it’s poor.
Guilty By Reason of Arrest, will not only shed light on what has become a human rights atrocity, but also provide a blueprint to assist scores of others from getting caught up in an ever expanding web.
Touched: When Innocence is Stolen the Pain Lasts Forever There will be 500,000 babies born this year in the United States alone that will be sexually molested before the age of 18 (http://cachouston.org/child-sexual-abuse-facts). This means there are more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the U.S.( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006). Children of every gender, age, race, ethnicity, background, socioeconomic status and family structure are at risk.
It isn’t strangers our children have to fear…
Most child sexual abusers are respected members of the community drawn to settings where they gain easy access to children like schools, clubs and churches. Even worse to comprehend is when the abuser is a parent, foster parent, or relative.
The two individuals that allowed me to share their heartbreaking stories of molestation are part of a fraternity of millions whose lives have been forever changed by individuals that were entrusted to be their protectors but instead would become their tormentors.
“What I do know is that sexual abuse is completely preventable. We, as parents, educators, siblings, and caretakers should bear the responsibility to take all measures to keep our children safe. When we allow our children to have their innocence stolen it saddles the victims with feelings of shame, self hatred and pain. The long term consequences can be devastating” – T. Tykeem
Books can be purchased on Amazon.com