W.E.B. Dubois is recognized as one of the great African-American authors. In 1903 he published a book entitled “ The Souls of Black Folks”. The book contained essays on race written by Dubois, and drew from his own personal experiences as African-American during the time-period.

One-hundred and seven years later another author has used Dubois as the inspiration for his own book, which addresses the issues plaguing African-Americans in the 21st century. Some of the issues are similar to those that Dubois witnessed but there are some differences.

Roger Porter is an author from Oakland, who graduated from Mills College. His book entitled The Souls of Hood Folk”, was released this last month. Billed as an “Literary Mixtape” the book and title could be looked at as an ode to Dubois and his book.

In “The Souls of Hood Folk”, Porter tells stories which introduce the readers to six characters who all have their individual issues. The character include, an black male in his early teens, an adult film star who wants to “give up” the business, a guy who kills a cop and finally a couple with marital issues.

The first character whose name is unknown, deals with issues that African American males growing up in Oakland are all too familiar with. He deals with peer-pressure, love, the police. Porter illustrates the world that’s Oakland at night flawlessly. He even goes are to display the slang that’s use as an language itself.

While the second character, Ms. Hershey’s Kiss deals her own unique issues. She’s an adult film star who receives a letter from a fan whose in prison. In the letter she goes into detail about her career and a guy she’s dating who isn’t scared when she tells him about what she does.

I got the opportunity to interview Mr.Porter about his book and ask some really thought-provoking questions. I was really interesting in the language of the book, which is really poetic at times. For example, “ “There comes a time in the life of the young man he realizes that nothing stands between himself and the fate of the many thousands of black men that have failed in order for him to be here.”

When I asked Mr.Porter about this specific quote from the book, his response was. ” Failure and oppression, you inherit that”. We went on to have a lengthy discuss about how African-Americans  males are conditioned to believe that we’ll be complete failures in life. This negativity directly adds to the overwhelming pressure that comes with being a black man in America.

Another interesting quote from the book was, “ ” I am now truly ready to live. I’m not trying to be a celebrity and I’m not about to run anymore”. This came from the story of Ms.Hershey’s kiss, and was the last words of her letter. “People associated being a celebrity with happiness”, that was Roger’s response when I asked about the quote’s meaning not just the character but people in general.

In all I believe that W.E.B. Dubois would be proud of Roger Porter and his book. “ The Souls of Hood Folk” address in great detail the issues that many African-Americans are faced with today, not just in Oakland but all over. Roger said, “We’re all so similar, but we focus on the differences”. I think this will readers understand that everyone regardless of color deals with the same issues. “ The Souls of Hood Folk” is a must read for anyone that wants to learn more about the issues.

You can purchase the book at



Also you connect to Roger Porter on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Roger-Porter/337529877440?ref=ts