Debut Novel MAMA CAN’T RAISE NO MAN by Robyn Travis

Mama Can't Raise No Man Front Jacket

OWN IT! is proud to announce that it will be publishing Robyn Travis’ debut novel to coincide with Black History Month in October.

The novel unfolds through a series of letters between a colorful cast of characters and the main protagonist, Duane, who despite his efforts to turn his life around, once again finds himself in prison. This time it’s on charges of intent to supply drugs and domestic violence, but things are not as clear-cut as they seem.

Mama Can’t Raise No Man is a unique and eye-opening exploration of black masculinity. Brimming with intelligent and thought provoking ideas, it cleverly challenges different definitions of manhood, whilst remaining an engaging, witty and at times laugh-out-loud-funny novel.

 

OWN IT! founder, Crystal Mahey-Morgan said:

“Mama Can’t Raise No Man is an original, dynamic and accomplished novel from a fresh new voice. Perhaps most exciting of all, is that it will appeal to a wide audience, from avid book lovers and readers to those who publishing traditionally ignores. Travis’ core audience is young, BAME, working class, non-graduates who in the past might not have seen books as entertainment, but with Mama Can’t Raise No Man, Travis offers something that his audience will be able to both relate to and enjoy. This is an enlightening and honest read and I’m sure it will find an audience far beyond Travis’ core (traditionally underserved) audience.”

Mama Can’t Raise No Man author, Robyn Travis said:

“I’m really happy to be working with OWN IT! and so excited to be able to share my debut novel with the world. Growing up, I didn’t read a lot, as I didn’t feel there was much I could relate to and I definitely never thought I could become a published author. With my books, I really hope to inspire others who may feel the way I did before. I want everyone to enjoy reading and also to believe that they can be authors too if they want to be

Pre-Order your physical copy of MAMA CAN’T RAISE NO MAN here and Kinlde eBook here

 

Book Launch at Hackney Empire

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To celebrate the publication of Travis’ debut novel, Mama Can’t Raise No Man, OWN IT! will present a unique event of live music, poetry, comedy and discussion (exploring the themes in the novel) at the Hackney Empire on the 27nd September 2016. More details and line up to be announced soon. Early bird tickets will go on sale shortly!

OWN IT! signs licence deal with oolipo

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OWN IT! has signed an exciting license deal with oolipo which means MAMA CAN’T RAISE NO MAN, will be available as a multi-media edition exclusively on the oolipo platform (in addition to being available as a print and eBook through the OWN IT!’s online shop and all good digital and physical retailers),

Oolipo CPO, Ryan Mullins said:

We’re very much looking forward to working with OWN IT! and Robyn Travis on Mama Can’t Raise No Man through this exciting collaboration. Using our platform we will enhance the prose of this book by introducing and capturing additional aspects of this story using video, photos, geo-location and interactive features to bring Robyn’s story to life in a whole new way. We love the fact that Robyn is writing about relevant topics and authentic themes that will reach a new generation of readers and this is something which fits into our values and vision for storytelling for a new generation. We’re confident the oolipo community will agree.”

OWN IT! founder, Crystal Mahey-Morgan said:

“From the first time I read Mama Can’t Raise No Man, I knew we had to do something exciting in terms of a digital version which was completely separate from the eBook. The fact that the whole novel unfolds though a series of letters, that there are several phone calls as well as the odd references to social media, makes this the ideal content to think about as a digital native project, especially with Travis’ younger audience in mind. Having a print, eBook and separate multi-media edition all simultaneously available is completely in keeping with OWN IT!’s multi-layered, lifestyle approach to storytelling where we make one story available in a variety of ways to suit different audiences and entertainment experiences. It’s fantastic to be working with oolipo on the multi-media edition – this is a partnership which very much appeals to OWNT IT!’s desire to collaborate with like-minded creatives and businesses.”

 

Audley Harrison in Samaritans’ corner

Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison is no stranger to being knocked down and having to get back up again, both in and out of the ring. Now he puts the full force of his weight behind supporting the Samaritans by releasing a new song, Never Ever Give Up.

Every 17 minutes someone commits suicide, making organisations such as the Samaritans and the work that they do crucially important. With his new song, Audley Harrison aims to shine a light on this and help promote the Samaritans to those who may benefit from having them at the end of a line.

Laced with a powerful message set on an uplifting beat and with a catchy chorus, Never Ever Give Up is an anthem of defiance, hope and light. An important story, told in a effective way, for a great cause.

All profits from the song will go towards supporting the Samaritans’ work. Support the Samaritans and enjoy the song. Purchase for just 99p by clicking on the artwork.cover170x170

New Book Cover for ‘Prisoner to the Streets’

To celebrate the publication of Robyn Travis’ debut novel, MAMA CAN’T RAISE NO MAN (October 2016), OWN IT! is publishing a new edition of his first book PRISONER TO THE STREETS (originally published by The X-Press in 2013). Available from June 6th 2016, the new edition has been re-edited and given a brand new cover, revealed for the first time here.

PRISONER TO THE STREETS is a raw, honest and uncompromising reflection of Robyn’s life ‘on road’ and explores the perils of being a young black man in inner-city London, growing up between Tottenham and Hackney. Touching, at times uncomfortable to read but ultimately inspiring and uplifting, PRISONER TO THE STREETS offers a rare glimpse into an underground world. A world where disputes were settled with violence. Where familiar faces from childhood became bitter enemies in war, and misguided pride led to devastating consequences.

“We were in prisons the size of our boroughs and each estate felt like a different prison wing. The joke is we thought we owned the streets. We thought we were free.”

Prisoner to the Streets became an underground classic and garnered much support from Robyn’s peers and community. With such a powerful message from a man who almost used up all 9 lives before he even hit 17 years of age, it’s little wonder it received such wide spread praise.

“This Book changed my perspective on gangs” – Russell Brand

“Everyone should read this” – Wretch 32

You can get your copy of PRISONER TO THE STREETS here and all orders will receive free shipping. It will also be available in all good physical and online/digital shops.

MAMA CAN’T RAISE NO MAN, Robyn’s debut novel will be published in October 2016 with a special book launch at Hackney Empire. More information and jacket reveal coming soon. Line up for Hackney Empire event to be announced shortly (after which tickets will go on sale).

Shay D Using Hip Hop to Empower Women

Set Her Free – Shay D

Women and hip hop is often a controversial subject. On one end of the scale is the misogyny and hyper-sexulisation of women that has long existed across different areas of hip hop, from lyrics to music videos. On the other end of the scale is the consistent erasure of women and their important contribution to hip hop culture. But somewhere inbetween is hip hop at its best. A vehicle of expression. A statement of uncompromising defiance. A movement which both educates and empowers. For women, enjoying hip hop at it’s best is not always easy but yet the richness of the culture as a whole outweighs the negative aspects that need to be addressed. As Selma Director, Ava DuVernay succinctly articulated on Twitter:

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Despite the misogamy and erasure of women in hip hop over the years, female emcees have continued to break glass ceilings, push creative boundaries, succeed as business women and stand alongside the best rappers out there. From Roxanne Shante, Salt N Pepa, Monie Love, MC Lyte, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill, Eve and more recently the likes of M.I.A and Angel Haze to name just a few, strong women have more than held their own against their male counter parts.

So it’s more than exciting to see British female Emcee, Shay D continue in the footsteps of women who weren’t afraid to speak their mind, put a message in their music, and use hip hop as a vehicle of empowerment for women. Set Her Free is laced with an abundance of uncompromisingly honest lyrics set against the perfect beat (Cappah Beats). This powerful song alongside a well directed video (Oliver Whitehouse) and cleverly executed make-up (Keziah Waudby) leads to not only a powerful but also an important piece of storytelling.

Set Her Free is a single from Shay D’s debut album A Figure of Speech which can be purchased by clicking on the album cover below.

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HIP HOP, HOMELESSNESS and the HOUSING CRISIS

New Film by Chester P and Greg Hall 

Chester P is one of the founding members of Task Force, a Hip Hop group hailing from North London who first took the scene by storm in the 90s and have been inspiring new voices ever since.

Director Greg Hall is an award winning, critically acclaimed independent filmmaker. He exploded onto the film scene with his debut feature THE PLAGUE (2004), made on a shoestring budget of £3,500 aged 23 and received the Katrin Cartlidge Foundation Scholarship from Mike Leigh.

In HIP HOP, HOMELESSNESS and the HOUSING CRISIS, the two pair up to create this powerful and poignant documentary which is both uncompromising and vunerable in equal measures. The film follows Chester P who decides to use his Hip Hop fan base to raise money by selling t-shirts and music. With the funds he buys sleeping bags, socks, underwear and essentials and then personally hands them out to all homeless people he and his small team of volunteers come across.

But this documentary is more than just a feel good piece about people doing good deeds. It’s an examination of the housing crisis and challenges a system which systematically prevents help for the homeless. The documentary explores everything from laws which make it illegal to give the homeless sleeping bags to the scrapping of squatters rights.

Jumping between the political and the personal, Chester P also opens up about his lifelong battle with drug and substance abuse and why we should all think about how it’s easier than we might imagine to find ourselves on the streets one christmas.

While very different in terms of style and content, when watching this, I couldn’t help but to think of 99 HOMES directed by Ramin Bahrani. Films about homelessness which put humanity at the heart of them.

If you want to support Chester P‘s campaign to help the homeless this Christmas and beyond, you can do so by purchasing this Hip hop compilation (which has been pulled together by several artists from the UK Hip Hop community all of whom donated songs for free). The album is £7 and all profits go directly to buying sleeping bags and other essentials for the homeless. Just click on the cover below.

Crystal Mahey-Morgan

Real Talk

Hear the reaction to DON’T BE ALIEN

From publishing industry editors (Philip Jones, The Bookseller Magazine) to music influencers (Jamal Edwards, SBTV), authors to artists, hear the reaction to OWN IT!‘s multi-media digital release spanning across a song, a book, a film – DON’T BE ALIEN.

Buy DON’T BE ALIEN: The Song from iTunes, OWN IT! , all good digital retailers

Buy DON’T BE ALIEN: The Book from iBooks, OWN IT!

NB. The full book experience is available on any device with multi-media functionality (Desktop. iOS, Android)

DON’T BE ALIEN: Multi-Media Digital Release

DON’T BE ALIEN is one story (originating from a song written and composed by Cuba) told across multiple formats and mediums including as a film, a book and a stand-alone song.

DON’T BE ALIEN: The Film, is an animation accompanying the song and can be viewed above.

DON’T BE ALIEN: The Immersive Book Experience includes the song and animated film, the lyrics set against illustrations, plus a special behind the scenes ‘making of’ story including bonus videos, unseen sketches and insights from the makers/contributors. It is available to buy from Apple iBooks and the OWN IT! shop.

DON’T BE ALIEN: The Song is available to buy as a stand alone song for those who just want to engage with it as a listening experience from Apple iTunes and the OWN IT! shop

DON’T BE ALIEN has been tipped by The Bookseller Magazine as one of top 5 innovative books to look out for and offers a new immersive and multi-media way to experience a story across mediums.

#DONTBEALIEN

 

OWN IT!’s first multi-media product is released

Don't Be Alien Book Jacket

 

Today OWN IT! releases DON’T BE ALIEN – a digital book which weaves together lyrics, music and animation to create a multi-layered way to experience the story within a song, and a song within a book, offering a truly immersive experience.

It’s the story of two people once desperately in love but now distant strangers. One day a chance encounter prompts a montage of memories…

The book also includes a behind the scenes ‘making of’ story which gives readers a fascinating insight into how this animated songbook was created. Features include unpublished sketches, character turnaround boards, ‘storyboard to final film’ videos and insightful commentary from the animator and illustrator, Ewan Green.

Speaking about the multi-media nature of this story, Crystal Mahey-Morgan, Founder of OWN IT! commented

“Defining artistic ideas in terms of them just being a book, a song, a film or anything else is no longer relevant as we’re now able to tell stories across all of these formats simultaneously. Its been extremely exciting working with this talented collective of creatives to bring DON’T BE ALIEN to market in such a new, fluid and immersive way.”

DON’T BE ALIEN began as a song written and composed by Cuba. Soon the lyrics and composition came to be told in multiple ways. A collaborative approach to storytelling from a talented collective of artists including: Ewan Green, Call Me Unique, The Next Room and Cuba means DON’T BE ALIEN has been brought to life across animation, singing, music production and songwriting all of which is woven together in this digital book which offers something a little different.

The Book is available to buy through Apple iBooks and the OWN IT! shop

DON’T BE ALIEN is also available to buy as a stand alone song for those who just want to enjoy it as a listening experience from Apple iTunes and the OWN IT! shop

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