The recent ‘OG Told Me’ book signing and meet and greet was a tremendous success this past Sunday, April 2nd!
With his photographs and accompanying essays adorning the walls of our Broadway flagship, and an interview platform installed in the rear portion of the storefront, the stage was set and as 2pm came around, 1444 Broadway began to fill up.
The faces, both familiar and new, were grinning ear to ear for the opportunity to meet and speak with Pen. Pen signed the books for enthusiastic supporters, took photos with his followers, and generally took things in stride – and if you know Pen, you know this wasn’t by chance.
As the collections of attendees made their way toward the stage in the back, Pendarvis began to read two separate chapters from his book. The chapters, labeled ‘Sideshow’ and ‘Be Cool’ stuck to the memoir’s roots and transported the listeners to a time, nearly a decade ago, when Pendarvis was quite a different person. His stories of joy-riding in a borrowed car, of getting into disputes over claiming turfs, and of how a dance party mishap led to the unfortunate and accidental destruction of drywall in an apartment, all had underlying takeaways that Pen did not take for granted.
Throughout ‘OG Told Me,’ Pendarvis provides anecdotal examples of how other men gave him their perspectives on what manhood is. To build on that topic, Pen incorporated two other men into the event. Joe Brooks and Watani Stiner both contributed to the ongoing conversation on Sunday afternoon by providing background on their own struggles and triumphs surrounding institutional and systematic discrimination over the past decades. While Watani spoke to the group at large, Pendarvis did a one-on-one interview with Joe Brooks in what could be considered the highlight of the afternoon.
All in all, the event was informative, thought l-provoking and fun, all at the same time.
We would like to thank Pendarvis, Joe Brooks, Watani Stiner and everyone else for their attendance and participation. We look forward to hosting similar events in the near future.
Be sure check out Pendarvis’ Tumblr for more stories about elders in his community.