by Taroue Brooks
What inspired you to become an author?
I’ve had the desire to tell my story to a broader audience for many years. Although I made notes, curated them with care over the years and wrote various elements for my book, life always got in the way. However, the burning desire would always come back as I made speeches in different places across the country and world. People would always ask when was I going to write about the things I talked about on stage. Or they would ask where they could read more, and I’d have to say I hadn’t published anything yet in the form of a book. Then my father passed away and I became more serious about framing the manuscript. But the seminal moment came several years ago. I had finished completing a speech on giving people respect and dignity and how important that was in life. My schedule was very tight and I needed to leave quickly. I asked the stage crew if I could use a back elevator to get to my car to save some time. When I stepped off this isolated elevator, there was a lady standing there waiting for me with tears in her eyes. She told me she had originally decided not to attend but changed her mind at the last moment. She told me I changed her life. That was the pivotal moment where I decided I had to write my thoughts down in the form of a book.
Tell us about your book.
Have you ever felt unseen, unheard, misjudged, or misunderstood?
In What About Me: Walking the Tightrope as a Black Man in America, D. John Jackson, a Fortune 50 corporate leader with over thirty years of engineering and business leadership, shares a simple, powerful message: Your life matters. Your dreams matter. And you can achieve them, no matter who you are or where you’re starting out.
Through the stories and lessons of his own personal journey, Jackson proves time and again that what you say and do can change the trajectory of your life.
Written specifically for young Black men and boys in America today, What About Me speaks to, and for, all marginalized or underrepresented voices with a call of courage and perseverance.
When young Black men and boys are fully appreciated, when we all come together through stories of success and hope, this country will finally reach its true potential.
What advice would you give someone who ia considering writing a book?
There are so many things/people we face that consume us and attempt to dampen our dreams and spirit. My goal is to tell myself and others to break the bonds of the negative thinking and surround yourself with positive ideas and people. Seek those who will encourage you and lift you up when you hit a rough patch. But most importantly stay positive and never give up! Feed your innovative spirit and creative ideas by exposing yourself to new things and new people.
Break your old habits and explore things from a different vantage point. Seek to understand things from the perspective of others and blend that thinking with your perspective to establish a fresh reference point for ideas to develop and thrive. I also apply this daily by talking to people of every demographic and socioeconomic level.
In this COVID environment, Zoom meetings have facilitated broad and far reaching discussions with a much larger audience which has been quite refreshing. The world is changing in so many fascinating ways and it is imperative to hear the voices of as many people as possible to gain a full understanding of the impact on lives. Technological and Social transformations are fostering never before seen capabilities and awareness in the world and no one or any group is immune to the changes. Therefore, perseverance to tell my stories and staying focused is essential.
D. John Jackson is a Fortune 50 leader with global responsibilities that include strategic planning, engineering, data science, and artificial intelligence. A creative visionary, he’s an executive producer of documentary films, an author, a strategist, a futurist thinker, a lecturer, and a motivational speaker. His speaking topics are diverse and range from leadership and world history to emerging technologies, economics, and competition in the global marketplace. He is also the founder of 5J Entertainment, a company committed to educating, informing, entertaining, and promoting positive images of African Americans through various forms of media. Its first film documentary, What About Me, explores the untold, unheard, distorted, and misunderstood stories of Black men in America. Learn more at http://5J-Entertainment.com/.