South Philly's own Damon "Amin" Meadows is striving to make a difference among the local community with his latest release of his novel "Convict's Candy". As a proud father whom is dedicated to educate others on his experiences to encourage awareness, Damon's story Bridget Papino had the chance to dive deeper with the author and discuss further why this book is creating such a buzz and impact. The book leads a much-needed conversation in support of the LGBTQ community experience in the prison system and sheds a light on HIV/AIDS awareness. These topics are definitely needed, let's see how it all began.
In what ways do you feel growing up in Philly and it's influence on you helped shape "CONVICT'S CANDY"?
Damon: Growing up in South Philly was hard because of poverty and extreme racism back in the day among Blacks and Whites. Most people don't know that blacks were the minority in South Philly. We had to fight just to walk to school. The Italian Mafia had South Philly locked down until the Nation Of Islam and a few other well known Gangsters stood up. They laid down the blueprint, which in turned made our generation conscious and stronger. So to answer your question, I was raised to address serious issues head on and the messages in "CONVICT'S CANDY" needed to be spread to the masses.
Being that the topics discussed in "CONVICT'S CANDY" are often not openly talked about, how did you overcome the hurdles of expressing what you really wanted the reader to understand from your perspective without feeling the need to dim down the overall story? Damon: Right before I lost trial with the Feds in 1993, two lovely women became pregnant with my beautiful daughters. I was determined from that day, not to allow my sentence of Life without the possibility of parole stop me from being a dad, a brother, a uncle, a son, a cousin or a friend, especially to the women in my life. So after establishing myself in prison over 13 years, at that time and witnessing the unbelievable, I knew it was time to expose the truth about what goes on in prison. Women have a right to know the signs to look out for and the questions to ask before having sexual intercourse with a man who has been formerly incarcerated. Men as well, have a right to know a woman's past dealings because we may meet that same woman. It's really deep when you truly look at it.
So far, what is the feedback you've been receiving?
Damon: The feedback has been overwhelming from both the straight and LGBTQ community. "CONVICT'S CANDY" doesn't gay bash. We entertainingly educate and expose the truth.
How did it feel when you first found out that the first celebrity read your novel?
Damon: It's truly still an indescribable feeling because celebrities like Wendy Williams are extremely busy and have a million other things they could be doing, yet instead, they took time out to, not only, read something I did but also let the world know about "CONVICT'S CANDY". But I have to be honest, more importantly are the letters I've gotten from regular people. One in particular was from a lady, who had after reading my book, went to get tested and found out that she was HIV positive. She was having sex with a man who had been in prison.
What is the number one message you wish for readers to take from your novel? Damon: For everyone who reads "CONVICT'S CANDY" to know that for every action there's a reaction. Unprotected sex, there's consequences, Sharing unsterilized needles, they're conseqences, Fighting to the point that blood is spilled, they're consequences. We have to understand that HIV/AIDS is real and still running rapidly, especially in the African American community.
If you could describe your novel to those who never read it in three words, what would they be?
Damon: Scandalous, Entertaining, Controversial
What can we expect to see coming up for you?
Damon: Under the EMBRACE PUBLISHING umbrella we have an arsenal of projects. CONVICT'S CANDY After Dark, which will be a podcast. We in talks to turn CONVICT'S CANDY into a television series. My novel BOY TOY will be released soon, which deals with Bipolar disorder. I'm very excited about "U GOTTA TELL IT" that Keyon Lee and I pinned that rhymes about child molestation. We locked in an amazon author named Christopher aka Black who literally has over 100 children books & series. These are exciting times for our EMBRACE Family!
What was the moment that clicked for you that you just knew that writing this book and committing to raising awareness among the community was a part of your purpose?
Damon: After helping and witnessing Teri Woods, who was my fiance at the time, became extremely successful with True To The Game. I always knew I could write but I didn't want to write about the drug game or the average shoot'em up bang bang books. There's so many amazing stories to write about. After rehabilitating myself in that non-rehabilitative environment, I knew I had to now help the same community that I once corrupted. So rather through writing, speaking engagements or teaching people about crypto currency, it's a way of paying my debt to society.
How can our audience find you, reach you, as well as "CONVICT'S CANDY"?
Damon: My FB and IG is: Damon Amin Meadows. Everyone can order "CONVICT'S CANDY" at www.embracepublishing.com Damon: I want to thank WE ARE JERSEY MAGAZINE for a wonderful interview and for helping spread HIV awareness to the masses through "CONVICT'S CANDY".
His Book Convict's Candy is had an Atlanta release party and red carpet event on April 24th at 5PM. Held at the Book Boutique (Atlantic Station) 260 18th St. NW Suite 10110 Atlanta, GA.
Make sure to order your copy today!