Felicia Pride is best described as an author, speaker and voice of her generation. She has a Master’s degree in writing and publishing from Emerson College and she currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
Pride’s numerous books span a variety of categories including hip-hop, pop-culture, fiction, and young adult literature. Perhaps her most acclaimed work to date is called “The Message: 100 Life Lessons from Hip-Hops Greatest Songs.” This book has been called “Chicken Soup for the Hip-Hop Soul.” This book was even profiled by USA Today.
In addition to her writing, Pride is also an accomplished speaker who has spoken at schools and venues around the country. In 2004, Pride founded Backlist. This is an organization that conducts creating workshops and seminars, and that curates community events. Backlist also consults with artists and writers. More information about Pride’s work can be found at her website http://feliciapride.com/
Urbania: How did you get started writing? Did you always know you were a writer? Tell us a little bit about your background as far as when you realized this was one of your passions.
Felicia Pride: I didn’t always want to be a writer. I got my start while working in corporate America. I wanted an outlet where I could be creative so I found an opportunity to write for free for a small newspaper out of Staten Island, NY. I did this on my downtime. I began writing about music and the first time I saw my byline on a published article, it was a wrap.
Felicia Pride: The book takes place in Baltimore and is about a family that suffers a tragedy and how they each of them deal with the pain differently. It’s told through the eyes of fifteen-year-old Avery Washington who has to embark on a quest to find out who he is in order to move on. I’ve wanted to write a book based in Baltimore about a regular family who must deal with what life throws at them. Baltimore can get a bad rap sometimes, and I wanted to show another face of the city.
Urbania: Your book “The Message” is a really unique concept and since it has been released it has clearly made a lot of waves. Can you tell us a bit about your experience promoting your book?
Felicia Pride: Overall, the experience promoting THE MESSAGE has been amazing. I’ve met so many interesting people, including a lot of smart young people who have found value in the book. Their engagement with the book has taught me a lot. I’ve had the chance to give keynotes, and facilitate workshops for them and they’ve helped me grow in many ways.
I also was able to bring my family into the mix to help me (both sister and mother are in education) and together we developed an enrichment program based on THE MESSAGE that aligns with national academic standards. So that’s been exciting as well.
Urbania; What types of books do you enjoy reading most personally. Do you have any current recommendations?
Felicia Pride: I read all types of books, but the ones that I enjoy most are imaginative, different, and make me marvel at the power of words and the talent of wordsmiths. But a current recommendation, and I’ve been recommending this book all over the place, is “The Black Book: 35th Anniversary Edition.” Originally presented by Toni Morrison, it’s a book complete with images, archival documents, and news articles that chronicles the African American experience in this country. Everyone should own a copy.
Urbania: Do you have any suggestions for writers looking for inspiration and motivation to get started?
Felicia Pride: Write. Write. Write some more. You’re not a writer unless you write. Push aside those feelings of doubt and fear and write. The more you write, the better you become. And read, read, and read some more. The more you read, the better writer you become.
Urbania: How about suggestions on getting published?
Felicia Pride: Network like your life depends on it. And well, if you’re trying to be a published writer as a career, it kind of does. Most of the opportunities that I’ve been blessed to have come into my life has been the result of the relationships I have built and nurtured.
Urbania: I noticed you and your organization Backlist have done a lot of speaking engagements on a variety of different topics everything from strategies for success to hip hop. What types of audiences and/or topics do you enjoy presenting most?
Felicia Pride: Definitely teens and young adults—high school to college students. We vibe off each other’s energy. I learn from them. They learn from me. I was them and they are me.
Urbania: What is next on the horizon for you?
Felicia Pride: I’m working on a few multimedia projects, one being about my family in Baltimore. It’s an amazing story and I almost feel like I became a writer to tell it.