Joey Pinkney: Let’s start at the end of your journey and work our way back to your humble beginnings. When it’s all said and done, what do you want your legacy to be? What do you want people to know and remember about you and your creative output?
G.P.A.: First, thank you for this interview. I want the world to know that a Black Man from the South Side of Chicago is the greatest combination of talent that the world has not seen.
I’m not pretty. I’m not White. I’m not light. Nothing that society deems whatsoever to be as great as I am, but I am.
Joey Pinkney: What has the South Side given you that you might not have been able to get had you grown up anywhere else?
G.P.A.: The South Side has that mixture of splendor and roughness. I lived close to Lake Michigan, so I saw the magnificent water. But it is also colder by the lake. I am the embodiment of that.
Joey Pinkney: Before I met you through your books, I met you through your name – G.P.A.. The first thing I remember about you from back in the day is your stage name G.P.A.. I can’t remember if you approached me first or someone like a publicist approached me on your behalf, but I remember reading the name G.P.A. and thinking that’s a unique name. The name became even more interesting when I found out it stood for Greatest Poet Alive. How do you think you have grown into that name?
G.P.A.: Yeah, I remember that. I believe that G.P.A. has evolved into something else. The fact that I am a champion storyteller, an actor and a host of a long-running show known as Poetry’s Love Letter, I am more than a poet. My impact is similar to Kanye West’s in a lot of ways. People don’t like it, but they can not get around it, rather me.
Joey Pinkney: It’s interesting that you mention Kanye West. Both of you are from Chicago, both of you are driven and both of you are considered to be egotistical. How do you define that energy in you that others see as being conceit, ego or hubris?
G.P.A.: Kanye said, “People who like me like themselves.” I like me. When I wasn’t considered conceited or otherwise, I was disliked, made fun of, etc. It makes sense to insulate myself with confidence and self-love. Thus, I have risen to heights that I never dreamed I would be able to.
Joey Pinkney: Before you really kicked liking yourself into high gear, you were disliked. Now that you are definitely a poster child of self-love, you are still disliked, but you don’t have to consider that because you are much more self-motivated. Right? Am I reading this correctly?
G.P.A.: Let’s take someone who is popular, like Taylor Swift. What if she was racist or hated dogs or something and, as a result, became unpopular. Could she deal? Take someone like me, who is self-reliant. That won’t mean a damn thing because all I have is me. I’m my biggest fan, supporter, etc. Me!
Joey Pinkney: In the course of living up to the name G.P.A., you have become better able to stay focused in light of all of the opinions and perspectives.
G.P.A.: No choice really, but yeah…
Joey Pinkney: Quick question. What’s your favorite Kanye West Song?
G.P.A.: I really dig “No More Parties in L.A.”
Joey Pinkney: Since she fell into this conversation, do you have a favorite Taylor Swift song?
G.P.A.: Not a fan really.
Joey Pinkney: Me, either. Before we move on from Taylor Swift, which one of your books beat out which one of her books on Amazon?
G.P.A.: It was Revenge of the Orgasm (ROTO) when I made it a free autobiography. Ha! Forgot about that.
Joey Pinkney: LOL, see I peep the scene. So, ROTO beat out Taylor Swift’s autobiography. Since the birth of G.P.A., you have taken on quite a few monikers. G.P.A., James Gordon, Pizzle, Bruce Veign, the Three Headed Monster. Now you are the entity known as The Four Horsemen. Let’s put each identity in perspective and break down what each contributes to the #TeamGPA Movement.
G.P.A.: #TeamGPA is an ideal. It simply means God, family, supporters and then the poet. James Gordon is the guy, the secret identity. G.P.A. is the talent, the do-it-all guy. Pizzle is the ladies man. Bruce Veign is the negotiator, the mechanic.
Joey Pinkney: If you had to sum up James Gordon in a sentence, what would it be?
G.P.A.: James Gordon is a higher life-form, perhaps from a future time.
Joey Pinkney: What’s Pizzle’s origin story? What was the defining moment when you knew he could come aboard and be a part of your package?
G.P.A.: While G.P.A. wrote Angelica’s Box, he told me that he had met someone. He said this someone took over the writing of Angelica’s Box and finished it. This guy was a narcissist, but they worked so well together. That guy was/is Pizzle Orgasm.
Joey Pinkney: As a ladies man, what skills do Pizzle Orgasm bring to the table in terms of your literary output?
G.P.A.: He goes over the line – both on paper and in real life. He has no issue with parameters. He is charismatic, articulate and handsome.
Joey Pinkney: Bruce Veign is the newest addition to this crew. What function does he play in this one-man-army?
G.P.A.: Very calm. Makes all the moves. Sort of a James J. Dillon of the group. Occasionally, he has a flair with the pen.
Joey Pinkney: Speaking of “flair.” I forgot to “WOOO!” at the beginning of this interview. Pardon me.
What does a persona like Ric Flair symbolize to you? And how do you take advantage of and harness that energy?