Interview with Nkosi Ife Bandele

Published 2016-06-12.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The protagonist of my novel, "The Ape is Dead!," doesn’t wanna be a “soft brother” hooked up a white girl, but damn his white girlfriend is cool, and fine! His so-called liberal college is politicized to the extreme, with a variety of interested parties insisting that he color-coordinate-date, and so he punks out and dumps his girl, and in the process learns about love, life, and the choices we make. "The Ape is Dead!" will be published by Crimson Cloak Publishing this year.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
An agent once told me that inasmuch as my protagonists are young African American men I am writing for the "demographic least likely to read." I wasn't upset upon hearing that. I calmly informed her that I am writing for anyone who enjoys a good story and is curious to know more about his or her human experience. As Ralph Ellison rather brilliantly ends his novel "Invisible Man": "Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?"

Nevertheless, the agent did help me to understand that I was unlikely to find representation that would believe in or, for that matter, appreciate my vision. Moreover, unlike many in the industry currently, I maintain a high level of respect for readership that craves a story well told and explored. In general, I feel that the intelligence of readers is underappreciated, and even contemptuously disregarded. Thus, I came to the conclusion that I should put my most sincere efforts in distributing my best work to the best of my ability.
What are you working on next?
Back in the day, when I worked as an all-purpose reporter for The Black American weekly newspaper, I wrote a series of articles about New York City cop killer Larry Davis (subject of the biggest manhunt in New York State history) provocative enough to have Davis personally contact me while he was still on the lam in order to set up a public surrender. That story is the basis of my soon-to-be completed third novel, "The Beast," about a hip hop reporter caught up in the mix of murder mystery of a black cop killer and his subsequent assassination.
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