Rolling Out

D. John Jackson shares how to walk the tightrope as a Black man in America

D. John Jackson shares how to walk the tightrope as a Black man in America
[Photo courtesy of D. John Jackson]
D. John Jackson  has always been committed to telling positive Black stories through media.  So it was only fitting that he decided to write What About Me: Walking the Tightrope as a Black Man in America.  Through Jackson’s personal life journey, the book offers stories that can change the trajectory of your life.


What inspired you to write What About Me?


I’ve had the desire to tell my story to a broader audience for many years. I wanted to pour into the world my experiences and what my parents had poured into me. I had finished a speech several years ago on giving people respect and dignity and how important that was in life. When I was leaving, there was a lady standing there waiting on me with tears in her eyes. She told me she had originally decided not to attend but changed her mind at the last moment. She told me I changed her life. That was the seminal where I decided I had to get the book completed.

What is the story behind the title?


The title is a rhetorical question but more importantly, a definitive and provocative statement designed to elicit a reaction and to act as a catalyst for conversation. The conversation speaks to the experiences of Black men, boys, people of color, women or anyone that feels their story has been untold and they have been marginalized. The sub-title speaks specifically to my experiences and the ever-present metaphorical tightrope that I’ve had to navigate throughout life.

D. John Jackson shares how to walk the tightrope as a Black man in America

What should readers and audiences expect from the book?

Your life matters. Your dreams matter. And you can achieve them, no matter who you are or where you’re starting out.

How important is it for Black writers to tell their stories?

It is extremely important because no one can tell our stories the way we can and truly understand our experiences, challenges and our vantage point.

What was the hardest part of writing What About Me?

I had to make sure the process didn’t consume me while allowing my creativity and innovative ideas to keep flowing. I also had to make sure I didn’t let self-doubt deter me or slow me down.

What writers have piqued your interest?

Nikole Hannah-Jones, Isabel Wilkerson, Michelle Alexander, W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Michael Eric Dyson, Ibram X. Kendi, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Howard Zinn, Richard Rothstein, Joseph Turow [and] Brian Solis

What’s next for you?

I am anxious to get out on the road and promote the book, What About Me: Walking the Tightrope as a Black Man in America and the documentary film What About Me. These bodies of work are in the first phase in me unleashing my resources to fulfill my purpose. I plan to build on this momentum with additional projects [and] share my thoughts on many aspects, from leadership and history, to diversity, equity, inclusion, perseverance, encouragement and inspiration.

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