Jahmal Cole, born July 15th, 1983 is the son of Gloria and Leonard Cole, an author and community activist. At age four he delivered his first speech at his pre-school graduation. Actively involved in community and education, Cole holds a Masters degree in Internet Marketing and a Bachelors degree in Corporate Communications.
Often without options, inner-city youth escape the realities of a bleak future on the basketball court or by listening to hip-hop music. They accept where they’re at because that’s the only place they’ve ever been. But Jahmal Cole dared to dream for more. Hustling and grinding his way, Cole defied the odds and left the inner-city streets of Chicago to pursue college, a basketball career, and his love for writing rhymes that spoke of real life emotions and challenges. Athletes and Emcees is a compilation of the lessons he learned and how he used his two favorite pastimes to further his education and break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness which plague many of today’s urban teens.
Cole understands the obstacles and realities teens face every day. Poverty, broken families, peer pressure, and limited opportunities can break the spirit. A guidance counselor once told him to forget about college and enlist in the military, but Cole wanted more. He wanted to be a college athlete, a rapper, and a graduate. Finding a way to overcome every obstacle in his way, Cole succeeded. Along the way, he gained insight into what it really takes to turn passion into reality. Today, Cole relates the lessons he learned through the same means of self expression relied upon in inner city ghettos—basketball and rap. Motivating teens with his story, he shows them how to overcome the 50 most common excuses for not trying and how to deal with those who criticize them for daring to dream. J Cole’s been through it all, and he’s got a right to swagger after being one of the first African Americans on the Wayne State basketball team in decades and completing a college education without being able to afford textbooks.
In Athletes and Emcees, Cole portrays a life teens can really relate to. Through his driven, entrepreneurial spirit, he provides valuable lessons on how teens can get to the top of their game in the pursuit of their dreams. In his unique voice, he provides candid advice on careers, confidence, friendship, school, ingenuity and determination. On the court and behind the mic, he’s an inspiring role model who doesn’t let his heritage hold him back. Instead, he proves that with determination, imagination, and belief, teens can create a successful life while embracing their heritage.
Book Titles: "Mud Sharks" "Athletes and Emcees."
Why I write:
I decided to become an author because writing opened up more doors for me than rapping did. I'm able to reach the intellect of a more broad audience by writing.
What do I enjoy most about being an author?
I enjoy the challenge of penning an entire novel. It's not like writing a song. Writing an entire book takes persistence, long nights, humility, work-ethic, passion & love, etc. Writing a book is like being in a relationship with an exciting title. At first everything is great, but if you fail to put in the time, nurture and care, the relationship won't go anywhere.
If I could meet one author who would it be?
I would like to meet Claude Brown. His book "Manchild in the Promiseland" was the first book I ever read front to back.
How do I give back to the literary community?
At Urban Edge we do a great job at helping authors finish their books. I go to Colleges and high schools and give workshops. I tell future authors the scary yet surreal truth about life as an author.
Give one tip that you would give to new authors.
Invest in content editing. Microsoft word's spell check feature won't cut it. The more effort you put into your craft, the greater the reward.
What's the biggest lesson you've learned since becoming an author?
People don't read books that they get for free. I used to give books away because I believed the impact my writing would have on a reader would do more for them than $12.99 could do for me. I soon noticed a trend that the people that I gave a freebie to never emailed me back or called to say it was a good or bad read. Not even a thank you. It contrast, people that pay for books tend to email and call to give feedback. Thanks to all my fans. I appreciate the love and support.
What's one thing that irks you about the literary industry?
It's challenging, but getting your first publishing deal is worth it. Every synopsis you send out will pay off when you sign that deal; and I'm not even talking about money here. It just feels damn good to finally be appreciated by a publishing house. The feeling is similar to a coach complimenting a player on a game well played.
Where is your next event?
The next event I'm taking part in will be April 1st-3rd at Chicago State University, Chicago IL. I will be their alongside Maya Angelou and Nikki Giovanni. I'll have plenty copies of "Athletes and Emcees" so feel free to stop by and pick up a copy.
Preferred literary service.
Publishers Graphics for printing. They’re pretty cost efficient and their work is quality.
Where can readers find your work.
My book is available for pre-order now at www.urbanedgepublishing.com