ZestoNews Featured Video
Once you consider iconic Black actors, Omar Epps is bound to cross your thoughts. He’s solidified his legacy as considered one of our era’s most distinguished actors throughout many genres starring in movies like Juice, Love & Basketball, Scream 2, The Wooden, and extra just lately on the small display screen with Home and Energy Guide III: Elevating Kanan. However other than taking part in Detective Malcolm Howard, the New York Metropolis native has entered a brand new enviornment fully.
A serendipitous lightblub second at BookCon in 2019 impressed Omar Epps to return to considered one of his first loves, writing. After fleshing out a profession as a profitable actor and producer, he felt it was solely proper to delve into his different inventive passions.
“For me, there was no transition. I believe the higher phrase is evolution.” Epps advised ZestoNews. “It’s the evolution of a profession. As a result of I’m gonna direct movies, I’ve been writing movies. I’m gonna produce. Now within the literary world. The issues that I envision haven’t any label.”
Nubia: The Awakening is a narrative with a well-recognized sci-fi trope of dystopian futures however is finished in a revolutionary means that brings range, camaraderie and familiarity to the forefront. Epps says the story’s premise got here from a easy thought he toyed with whereas eager about the tumultuous world we dwell in.
“What if… What would the world seem like if love itself was unlawful? Like really unlawful, after which reborn by way of this 13-year-old child who’s love itself?”
The e book’s synopsis reads as follows
For Zuberi, Uzochi and Lencho, Nubia is a thriller. Earlier than they had been born, a large storm destroyed their ancestral homeland, forcing their households to flee throughout the ocean to NYC. Nubia, a utopic island nation off the coast of West Africa, was no extra, and their mother and father’ sorrow was too deep for them to share a lot of their historical past past the folklore.
However New York, ravaged by local weather change and sophistication division, is way from a protected haven for refugees and Nubians dwell as outcasts, struggling to outlive within the continuously flooding decrease half of Manhattan, whereas the wealthy thrive within the tech-driven sky metropolis often called the Up Excessive.
To many, being Nubian means you’re fated for a life suffering from difficulties and disrespect. However Zuberi, Uzochi and Lencho are starting to really feel there may be extra. One thing inside them is altering, giving every of them extraordinary powers. Extraordinary and terrifying powers that appear to be tied to the secrets and techniques their mother and father have stored from them.
Epps’ ardour and love for the story comes by way of each sentence he speaks when requested about his newest venture.
“On the core of the e book, it’s about unity by way of the human expertise,” he talked about when requested about his inspiration for Nubia.
To be taught extra about Nubia, proceed under for our interview, the place Epps delves into his journey from actor to writer, how his experiences encourage the story, and his plans for the long run.
Nubia: The Awakening was revealed on Nov. 8. and could be ordered immediately from Underlined. MN sat down with Omar Epps to speak additional about his e book writing journey
ZestoNews: You’ve been performing for a very long time. Have you ever wished to put in writing, or was it a more recent factor that got here to you?
Omar Epps: Effectively, to be sincere with you, my profession as an actor spawned from me writing after I was a child, round 9 years outdated. I used to put in writing poetry and write tales. I used to be all the time writing. And so, from my journey, performing grew to become an extension of writing. I realized a distinct type of expression by way of performing, and it went actually good. So, , writing takes time and self-discipline. And I’ve been working a lot, however with Nubia… I had the idea in my head for over a decade. And it was simply, , that mild bulb second for me. I wrote a memoir known as From Fatherless to Fatherhood, which talks about my rising up with out a father and turning into a father.
And after I was doing stuff like this [Comic-Con], there was an enormous BookCon in New York. I noticed all these youngsters go loopy like The Beatles had been someplace. All these youngsters simply ran over there. As a result of I used to be simply skeptical and curious, like, ‘do youngsters nonetheless learn like I learn after I was a child?’ It was lots of and lots of of children. And I used to be like, ‘who’re they going as much as’? However somebody stated, ”oh, they write younger grownup sci-fi.” And that was a lightbulb second as a result of I had been sitting with this concept. And out of the blue, it felt prefer it was time to activate now. Proper? I didn’t even know that this had such a powerful following. It took three and a half years to put in writing the e book with my co-writer, Clarence Haynes, and right here we’re. I’m excited.
MN: You stated you began out writing, was this story impressed by any of your previous work, like every motion pictures or something, or is it impressed by life–
OE: It’s impressed by life. Nubia was actually impressed by a really, quite simple thought. We dwell in a tumultuous world. Proper now, we in all probability assume the world goes to shit – it’s over. In the event you ask the era from World Battle I, they’d be like, ‘No, we thought it was over.’ I simply had this concept someday. ‘What if… What would the world seem like if love itself was unlawful? Like really unlawful, after which reborn by way of this 13-year-old child who’s love itself?’ That was the nugget of the thought for me. And it’s similar to, it’s nearly in our world now. It nearly form of appears that means. They put, , white towards black. They put tall towards quick. You realize, Christian towards Muslim and every thing like that. On the core of the e book, it’s about unity by way of the human expertise.
Then I simply began constructing the mythology and mapping it out. I got here to some extent the place I used to be like, ‘what if there was a utopian society, at one level in our existence, the place every thing was good? What if, no matter our interpretation of what heaven is, really existed the place human beings are in complete stability with not solely one another however the land, each animal, and every thing, and the reward then is that all of them have a superpower or reward?’ Every particular person has a distinct factor that brings stability to the group. Then I simply, , went into my inventive nether world and constructed this e book, so I’m actually excited. There are a whole lot of themes that I believe the younger readers, and all readers, however particularly younger readers, will connect with as a result of they’re all of those euphemisms that really feel like proper now, however the e book takes place 100 years from now. You realize what I imply? So I attempted to be as meticulous as attainable in getting all of these buckets stuffed for the reader in order that they really go on a journey.
MN: The e book clearly has science fiction and this dystopian future. Nonetheless, it additionally has themes and issues like local weather change and racial stress which are each traditional and really well timed. How do you stability all that out in order that it’s nonetheless a enjoyable journey whereas relating these necessary matters you wish to slot in too?
OE: Yeah, that’s an important query. The factor is, I simply lean into what I really feel is the reality. And that’s why the e book takes place in what I name New New York, proper? As a result of it’s 100 years from now. And that meant one thing to me as a result of I used to be born and raised in New York, and it’s additionally like a microcosm of America, proper? Or, the idealistic model of that. ‘Oh, we will all come collectively and worship otherwise, and this, that, and the opposite, however all of us eat on the similar desk.’ And we all know the world isn’t notably that means.
However rising up, I lived subsequent to a synagogue or a mosque. We stroll previous the Buddhist and Hindu facilities. Individuals listed here are from all persuasions of life, and now we’re all on the practice; I’m going to highschool, they’re going to work. You find out about totally different cultures, totally different meals… there have been the boricuas and the Dominicans uptown. I wished to pour all of my experiences of rising up into this e book as a result of the extra we alter, the extra we keep the identical.
That’s why it was necessary to me for this to be a coming-of-age story. As a result of after we’re 13, 14, or 15, our thoughts is a sponge. And also you assume all of it, however on the similar time, you don’t as a result of any person else is paying the lease, and you bought to dwell underneath their guidelines. You’re balancing that with this innate feeling solely you may really feel since you are you. You place that with you and also you; now we’re the Motley Crew going to highschool collectively, rising up on the block however having totally different familial experiences and issues.
I wished to place all of that within the story. So to your query, it’s just like the isms, proper? Whether or not it’s racism, classism, or sexism, I wished to seize what we’re experiencing within the now and unpack them in my very own distinctive means. I assumed it was necessary to place that sooner or later so it could disarm individuals. I’m a visionary as a result of I’ve all the time thought, ‘what’s it gonna seem like tomorrow?’ I don’t have a solution to the why of that, however that’s simply how I’m wired. I’m within the now. I’m conscious of the now, however I’m all the time considering forward. Issues flip over so quick.
MN: What’s it been like going from being often called this iconic actor, representing totally different sides of black tradition, to now writing a e book? You talked about you had been a author first, so what’s it been like getting again to writing?
OE: It’s been an fascinating journey. I relish the challenges of life. I say that to say it’s all in a pot. It’s gumbo. I don’t separate the elements, whether or not music, dance, sculpting, portray, or performing. It’s all artwork to me. So there was no transition in that means; the transition is within the feeling of vulnerability. I began my profession so younger; I used to be 17 years outdated. So the fantastic thing about being so younger is it shielded me from the truth of how onerous it’s to do something on this enterprise.
I used to be like, ‘Oh, that is what it’s. I dreamt this yesterday, and now I’m doing it.’ And I didn’t know that’s not how it’s. So at this level, , arising on 50 years outdated and venturing into a brand new area. I prefer it. I’m doing the identical method. With each script I’ve ever learn, I’m the viewers. I’m not me. After I learn a script, I’m watching the film. As a result of I’m like, ‘Oh, I’d go see this.’ This has nothing to do with the character they need me for; it’s ‘how am I going to expertise this?’ For each film somebody’s seen me in, there are lots of of flicks that I used to be like, ‘Nah,’ as a result of I wouldn’t wish to go see that.
However with this, there’s an entire totally different medium. To not be so New York, nevertheless it’s like Broadway. Like, that’s the factor about Broadway that folks don’t understand, like, the viewers is snobby. We’re not impressed that you just did X, Y, and Z; that is our shit. The literary world is like that. So I really feel form of snug as a result of, not for nothing, individuals know that I stroll in fact, or not less than my fact, they usually know that I give 1000% in the best way I current my artwork.
So for me, there was no transition. I believe the higher phrase is evolution. It’s the evolution of a profession. As a result of I’m gonna direct movies, I’ve been writing movies. I’m gonna produce. Now within the literary world. The issues that I envision haven’t any label. Nubia is only a explicit factor that needed to be delivered this fashion as a result of that is the way you get this out. You realize what I imply? It’s how I get this out of my head so I can begin banging it towards the wall each night time. Does that make sense?
MN: Yeah that positively is smart. As a result of I’ll have concepts of issues I do know I wish to do, and if I don’t get it achieved, or not less than write it out, it’s simply gonna preserve pulsing in my thoughts.
OE: We solely bought this one shot at this factor we all know as life, and I wish to fulfill my potential. I’ve all the time advised my household that when it’s time for me to take my final breath on this bodily kind, I wish to really feel exhausted. I don’t wish to assume, ‘oh, I ought to have. I might have.’ No. I don’t have time for that. That’s why I transfer so militantly. I gotta get it achieved as a result of that is the one shot. [If I gotta] scent the roses… what, let me plant a rose backyard proper right here whereas I’m doing this. We bought to get it achieved.
Nubia isn’t about me. It’s concerning the generations to come back. I’m making an attempt to plant seeds. Each reader will take a distinct factor and hopefully be impressed and motivated in numerous methods. And hopefully, they’ll come again collectively as a group. You may need somebody in center college learn it, then reread it in highschool. They met a buddy in highschool who stated, ‘Yeah, that was my joint. This was my character…’ After which they’re like, ‘however right here’s what I bought from it that helped encourage me or preserve me by way of a tricky time,’ or regardless of the case could also be. I transfer from that area in life as an artist.
MN: With the e book, assuming it sells effectively, do you’ve got plans for extra? Is there extra story to be advised?
OE: Completely. Completely, and in numerous types. I do know what you’re getting at. However that’s, , that’s the final word plan as a result of it’s out there to us, proper? Even in artwork, we’re not monolithic. I wished to construct the backyard from the primary seed planted into the grime. One of many hardest issues to do is develop a plant. I ain’t speaking about what you place in it, however to only put a seed into the bottom, water it, and hope the solar hits on the proper angle.
I’m doing it au-natural. Like, what I imply? You realize, I’m giving my coronary heart and soul to the world in that means, and I hope that they will really feel it. I hope that the reader can really feel it, that they are going to escape once they learn this e book. It appears like an escape, ? And it simply takes you on a journey. Primarily, I wrote a e book that I want I’d been in a position to learn after I was a child.
RELATED CONTENT: 6 Really feel-Good Books By Black Authors To Learn Proper Now