I feel like I interviewed D. Watkins at the perfect time. His newest book and memoir, The Cook Up was just featured in the holiest of black scriptures, Oprah Magazine. Although an amazing achievement, D. is a very down to earth guy with no plans to leave anytime soon. Coming from a place where the price for many things was death, D was able to take his love of storytelling and fear of “missing something” to give back to the city of Baltimore. Listen as he talks about his four point plan to increase youth literacy, what a bad day looks like where he’s from, and what it’s like to be fame-ish. Follow D. on social media, @dwatkinsworld. If you’re in Station North this Saturday (6/26), D. will be there reading selected passages from The Cook Up. He’s also teamed up with Taharka Brothers Ice Cream for a new ice cream flavor inspired by book, which you can sample at the event!
For a man in his early twenties, Kondwani is incredibly driven. Before the age of 25 he’s traveled around the nation giving lectures and performing spoken word pieces at various schools, and when he has the time, subs at City College, his alma mater. A graduate of Virginia State University, Kondwani grew up in East Baltimore and channeled the restless energy of inner city youth into his words and writing. I sat down with him to talk about his work, the good and bad of attending an HBCU, and how despite being proud of his debut (and self published) book of poems “Asperous Artistry”, it’s not indicative of the 2016 Kondwani Fidel. Check him out at kondwanifidel.com, or find him on social media: @kondwanifidel.