JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Brian McClellan, author of A Love Letter to Black People: Audaciously Hopeful Thoughts on Race and Success
A Love Letter to Black People: Audaciously Hopeful Thoughts on Race and Success is a book sure to challenge and inspire those who have this type of deep affection for the Black community but also deep concerns for its future. Inspired in part by the historic political success of President Barack Obama, Love Letter explores the unique way high-achieving African Americans view race and success and why, for the love of the Black community, all Black people must apply these lessons. Love Letter is a must read for those who love Black people and just can’t help it!
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write A Love Letter to Black People?
Brian McClellan: The first seed of “Love Letter” was planted in my mind on July 27, 2004. This was the night then-state senator Barack Obama became a national figure with his inspirational speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. After hearing Obama for the first time, I sat up in my bed and said to myself aloud, “I have just seen the first Black president of the United States.”Â Obama was definitely on to something, and I dedicated myself to capture that “something” in words so the entire Black community could benefit from the knowledge.
There was something about Barack that was different. He and other successful Black people simply view success in the context of race differently. In the process of writing this book, I came the conclusion that the common thread linking these successful Black people was love – love of self, love of the Black community, love of future generations. This is why I call this book A Love Letter to Black People.
JP: Why is a book of this nature needed right now?
BM: With the historic election of President Obama, it is critical that the Black community seize this moment. We cannot afford to waste the inspiration that should be derived from the new roadmap Obama and others have written regarding race and success.
Racism is still real, but the most successful Blacks refuse to limit their aspirations due to racism. And with Obama’s success, we now have proof positive that racism is not omnipotent. “Love Letter” is a book about how we capitalize upon this historic positive momentum to transform the Black community through the power of love.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to A Love Letter to Black People getting out to the public?
BM: Love Letter was truly a labor of love. The insight of the discussion in Love Letter is bolstered by a supporting survey about race and success completed by more than 100 young, Black business and community leaders. Their opinions regarding provocative racially charged topics such as “acting white” are inspirational, thought-provoking and sometimes more provocative than the questions themselves.
After surveying so many young, successful Blacks (or “YSBs” as I call them in the book) was inspirational for me. To honor their achievements and the countless other YSBs they represent, I felt an obligation to “get it right,” to craft this message in a way that would move our Black community to positive action.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish A Love Letter to Black People?
BM: I believe it is important for authors to write all the time. I don’t wait for divine inspiration to start writing. I get inspired by writing. Therefore, I schedule time to write every day. The first manuscript for Love Letter took about three months to complete from start to finish.
Question 5: What’s next for Brian McClellan?
I believe the message of Love Letter is so important that I will spend as much of my energy as possible to bring this message to as many people as possible. Beyond Love Letter, I will continue to write books that uplift people, books that help readers see opportunities rather than obstacles in their own lives. I have many more books in my heart. The next one will be revealed when the time is right.
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