In Ghetto Conscious: Evolution of a Rebel, writer Brandon Vega returns to the world he grew up in as he reflects on his childhood and growing up in Carol City—a neighborhood located in Miami, FL. In this memoir, Vega shares the importance of perseverance and learning from one’s environment while not letting your current circumstances determine your future. Page by page, readers get to know Vega while looking at the cartoon art that partners with his words to tell his story.
Hy-Lo News contributor, Jessika Ward, shares her in depth interview with Vega about Ghetto Conscious, his mission to have the youth learn from his mistakes and his future projects.
Jessika Ward: What inspired you to write Ghetto Conscious?
Brandon Vega: When I found out I was having a son I began to think about my childhood. While I tried to rationalize the fact that I was going to be a father, I wanted to tell my own narrative in a way that was true and authentic to me. In my mind it was kind of like Tupac’s song “Letter To My Unborn Child.” If I never got to meet or speak talk to my son, I wanted him to know me through my own words. I wanted him to know how I thought, how I felt, and how I wanted to be a better person.
JW: What first drew you to storytelling?
BV: I enjoyed stretching the truth. I loved the way it made me feel when I told stories that were completely made up and people believed me. Before I learned about the different genres in literature, I was already practicing the art of poetry, fiction, fantasy, and drama. Storytelling is a beautiful thing. It takes a working imagination to tell stories. Imagination is our greatest asset. I’ve always figured why not put it on display.
JW: How has the response to Ghetto Conscious surprised you?
BV: It has been overwhelming. At times it has not felt real. For this to be the first book I ever wrote and for it to receive the love it has, has been very humbling. In a good way. When I sat out to write it, I knew it could be good but I didn’t know in such a short amount of time it would get the type of attention it has.
JW: How long did it take you to write Ghetto Conscious?
BV: It took almost 2 years to construct it and put all the pieces together.
JW: What was the most challenging thing about writing the book?
BV: The most challenging I would say would probably have to be overcoming fear. I had a lot of anxiety at times during this process. Writer’s block was an issue every now and again. Believing I was capable of being an author was challenging. There were moments where I felt like giving in and not going through with it. There was A LOT of self-doubt. For sure. Overall, the challenging part was getting out of my own way.
JW: Where, when, and how often do you write?
BV: I can be anywhere, it doesn’t matter. When I think of something I jot it down fast as I can before I forget. I would say there aren’t many days that go by without me writing something.
JW: What are you currently reading?
BV: I’m currently reading a few different books. Great Dialogues of Plato (Allegory of the Cave), Romancing the Shadow, and Meeting the Shadow.
JW: What projects can readers expect from you next?
BV: Currently working on my next project—Ghetto Conscious: Dancing with The Shadow. Hopefully, we will have her ready for 2023. Fingers crossed.
For more information on Brandon Vega and his book, click HERE.