Hello James, I have known you since the inception of Disilgold. You reached out to the DisilgoldSOUL fam when I had the honor of presenting national poets on stage at the Harlem Book Fair. You took the only photo of me on stage at the Harlem Book Fair against the rich culture and street environment.It was my debut year as an author. You also, took photos of my guest poets Cynthia Highsmith Hooks and Terry Anne O’neal all the way from California. I grew to adore the raspy-voiced journalist from Brooklyn who would give me a holler in the Bronx and share words of encouragement. You had a playful street savvy nature about yourself with authors and were so down to earth, but make no mistake, I detected a humanitarian if I had ever had met one and I say this with utmost respect for you. YOU ARE A GREAT PERSON JAMES!You were at Denise Campbell’s Reclaiming Life Campaign in support of battered women. You have been there for all youth functions. Your publication when in print captured my attention for hours. I grew to discover many businesses and authors on the otherside of town that I may have never known about. Your favorite line when you call Disilgold is “What up Heather B?” in homage to my rap college peer back in the day, but you know I gave up rapping years ago when spoken word art entered the scene. Finally, a home for poets and you found us all, supported us from the bottom to the top, provided venues and kept the faith. Today you are the founder of a publication that has paved the way for integral journalism over at AMAG and as a media peer, I am proud to know and call you a lifelong friend. If there are 800+ reputable black magazine and press nationwide as my publisher, Tony Rose will attest because I keep mixing up new e-zines,forums and promotional journals online with the major press to give rise to new icons, I must say, I look forward to reading AMAG ONLINE and thank you dearly for the support you have shown of DisilgoldSOUL Magazine Online. So from sister to brother I wanted to find out what you are up to and discusss some important topics because the world is more than just regurgitating news, but rather making new news and forming our own opinions as rising journalists in media who have the attention of a vast network, but people may underestimate just how many people we collectively reach so I want you to share everything James as I have witnessed.
Disilgold:What are your new plans for AMAG in 2007?
James Lisbon:Nothing particularly new…
Disilgold: James?!!! You never start an interview with the word,”NOTHING!”
James Lisbon: Okay, okay….(laughing)
Disilgold: That’s why we all adore you. You are so down to earth…
James Lisbon: ….just continuing my relationships in all aspects of media coverage and the dissemination of knowledge and opportunities to continue to inspire the masses.
Disilgold: That’s what I am taking about. Now, you have been working on several youth programs. Explain your involvement and how other authors can support the AMAG mission?
James Lisbon: Yes. Although my goal is to inspire adult entrepreneurs I also understand that the young people cannot be left out. Through AMAG’s intern program we provide experience and not just with our publication but with life. We figured if we started reaching minds at 16 and 17 year old, it could only make them stronger on the mental level and as you know, experience is key. We have been involved with several youth groups, The Fort Greene Volunteers, the Lefrak City Youth and Adults Association, The Yes I Can Program and generally are just out there nurturing minds.
Disilgold: Who have you been working with on this major projects?
James Lisbon: I am honored to be working with Tony Herbert of the Professionals, Brenda Wyche of Black Star News, Congressman Edolphus Towns and Assemblyman Darryl Towns on the Central Brooklyn Youth Summit and Expo to be held at Long Island University Brooklyn Campus on September 8 & 9th. This is geared to provide resources to over 5000 youth in Brooklyn and the other boroughs (our site has detailed info for those looking to come out support and share resources).
Disilgold: Brenda is wonderful. I loved her coverage of the Harlem Book Fair! Who is your intern program sponsored by?
James Lisbon:Our Intern Program is primarily funded by authors and publishing houses. A huge thanks to all those authors who have stepped up big time and assisted-in addition to working with the magazine, interns who go to museums, sporting events and participate in youth programs. It would be extremely difficult to do this without their help. And thank you Heather for being one of the founding authors back in 2005.
Disilgold: Well, you know I am there for the youth as a long life educator, but tell me how can people assist your program?
James Lisbon: There are many ways one can assist but we mainly work in a cooperative manner with authors exchanging books for space on our site. If any authors or publishing companies are interested they can visit the site and contact me via email or phone. (firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-413-9554).
Disilgold: Everyone is loving your AMAG online newsletter? Tell us how do you go about featuring stories?
James Lisbon:We always try to keep thing fresh , unique, positive and inspiring. We also attempt to ask the most interesting questions, and not previously asked by another publication; not just for the readers but also for the person we are interviewing.
Disilgold: I like that concept. This is how I feel about writing reviews. I want the author to know their strengths and weeknesses, so I do understand your loyalty to the author.
James Lisbon: Yes, and as you know it is not a small feat to continue keeping readers shocked, interested and committed, but we play by our own rules and are not overly concerned with opinions. Since our premier issue featuring Lorenzo Pace we held firm to be different and not just another publication mirroring what everyone else does. Since 2001, our mission was to shine light on those rising. Finding those on the come up worked and is working well, but today we get calls and email solicitations from those who have “made it”. It’s all good and shows that our individuality has paid off. There are few interviews we cannot get, from Russell Simmons to Robert Townsend who are just a phone call away.
Disilgold: Yes, we have reached that stage too, but still look for fresh talent as well. It’s nice though when successful big names give our community the time to share an interview that not only inspires others, but can lead to more support from the urban community often overlooked, but the biggest supporters. How can more businesses and authors support AMAG? We simply can’t live without our AMAG.
James Lisbon: Heather, we simply can’t live without content and readers! Support can come in many forms but the three most important forms are submitting content, spreading the word and advertising. I’ll focus on the latter. I suggest those looking for exposure to advertise and take advantage of this publication. Many do not understand the power that AMAG has. They know of us and respect us, but do not clearly understand that when one advertises with us, they are immediately on a different realm. The concept of emotional branding may not have filtered to many [which is another powerful topic altogether] but AMAG’s records speak for itself. Our community commitment, our editorial professionalism cannot be under estimated. When you advertise with AMAG you advertise with an entire support group of business and organizations who support us. Many of these are off line but huge in the community; The Williamsburg Music Center & Moshood are just two of our dynamic alliances, The Medgar Evers College Film & Culture Series, Manifest Your Destiny, The New Jersey Nets, The NY Mets, The UVCC, The New York Liberty…because we constantly promote offline with fliers and brochures. Awareness Magazine is AMAG but the Intern Program is also AMAG, Teen Awareness Day is AMAG, Dina’s Books & Crafts is AMAG, our networking sponsored events at Harlem’s Baton Rogue is AMAG. When we promote-if you remember, AMAG started as a Marketing Advertising and Promotional company in 1997,we promote all in our brochure, 65% of our readers are consumers not business owners and that’s what authors should want…someone who is going to buy their product, not say, “Oh I got a book too”. Although we represent literature and authors on the rise we are not solely literary publication. We cover the entire gamut of the arts, business and the private sector. So when folks at the Black Spectrum Theatre read AMAG Online! They are not authors, but will say, “Hey that sounds like a good book and it is in AMAG…I know how they roll, let me check it out.” I say to those looking to brand, sale and establish a press kit of substance and give us a call. Our rates are reasonable and our reputation is solid.
Disilgold:What new projects are you working on ?
James Lisbon:There are a few as always. The Youth Summit, creating more video files for our website and for authors we will also be looking to start another Authors on Tour at NY Public Libraries. The last season went ok, could have been better, but we sponsored the event and had authors like William Frederick Cooper, Renee Flagler, K’Wan, DuEwa Frazier, and Sanya D. Hudson Payne come out for book signing and discussion, so we are looking to start that up again hopefully this November.
Disilgold: What have been some obstacles you have overcome?
James Lisbon:Obstacles are on- going and honestly once you get past them I do not view them as obstacles but merely an experience. Time management however always seems to be lurking in the shadows.
Disilgold:What’s in store for readers in the next issue?
Disilgold: I have an interview with Eric Jerome Dickey on the 7th at HueMan. I thoroughly enjoyed his last two books; Sleeping with the Enemy and Waking With Strangers. A Recap of The NY International Latino Film Festival, The Sam Clay Show (Business owner spotlight), looking to complete a series on Forest City Ratner Companies and the Nets Stadium in Brooklyn, and continue our summer health watch.
Disilgold: Eric Jerome Dickey took the time to buy my book when I as just a fledgling author at the Circle of Sisters Expo. I am looking forward to this interview. How can readers subscribe to AMAG?
James Lisbon: Simply log onto www.awarenessmagazine.net and type email in appropriate spot on front page of site.
Disilgold: Well, James it is always wonderful talking with you. You are a sincere and hardworking man who deserves the best at AMAG. Keep shining.
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