21st Century Poet, Writer and Filmmaker Rodney Randolph Rhodes is Today’s Honoree

By Deborah A. Culp

Rodney R. Rhodes has more experience and professional credibility in “real life” than he does on paper. On social media or anyone’s connecting fan page – “he is the real deal.” This analogy derives from the trending social media platforms becoming more and more  popular, it’s great to authenticate the real McCoy (proverbially speaking) His staunch family ties merely scratch the surface of their legacy and ongoing greatness.

Rodney R. Rhodes was born in Jackson Tennessee and spent some of his younger life in the mid-state. Later as an adult, he relocated to (Highland Park) Michigan to pursue employment opportunities in the auto industry. He never gave up on the inner talents that seemed to beckon him.

While growing up in TN he learned that his family had strong heritage. As well as strong ties to the community and had even been a part of movements, which made variable differences. His cousin Robert Lee Woods helped drive the civil rights movement and marched along side Rev Dr, Martin Luther King. His great uncle, Jewel Allen is historically recognized in the Smithsonian Museum. He was the first to make chairs from corn shucks and creative blankets.

Rodney also learned that this legacy continued after the civil rights movement when  Odell Horton (another cousin)  became the first African American Judge in Tennessee; appointed by President Jimmy Carter. There is even a Federal Building which was partially dedicated in the judges’ name. It’s the Clifford Davis and Odell Horton Federal Building.

True talent cannot be bridled or suppressed and Rodney’s talent rose to the top like refined cream. His inspiration stemmed from a myriad of sources including teachers and people in strong leadership positions. His late principal, Carl Pettiway saw Rodney’s gifts of words and encouraged him to embrace his passion. “Everyone has a book in them Rodney, so start writing”, said Pettiway.

His first poetry book was titled: “Black Man’s Society” this was to be one of many writing’s forthcoming. The book garnered much recognition and accolades from the community. That eventually led to his poetry being read as an opener for the Father of Kwanza – Dr. Maulana Karenga. He was speaking at the University of Tennessee when this took place.

Various relationships and life circumstances inspired him with new ideas and to write more. His second poetry book “Black Man’s Society.” Then his first novel was published: “Wise Man on the Corner”, a literary product with a slightly different slant.  He created a wise fictional character called Buddy Green; Green told stories of how not to get caught up in street life.

Some of the pitfalls that young black men get caught up in. E.g.; drugs, unemployment, fathering children without a plan in sight and eventually prison. He launched “Slave Stories and Drugs” in hard copy and on audio.

He continued to make a difference in society by becoming a motivational speaker and the Founder/CEO of Blackfield, LLC, and his own community organization.  Blackfield, LLC has been fertile proving ground for entertainment and meaningful community productions. Highlighting those in the areas of Jazz, R and B and Spoken Word.

Rodney went on to produce/launch his first film; “Souls of Black Men.”  It was a riveting drama about the deep inner thoughts of six black men and how they rose above their circumstances. The amazing cast hosts an interesting line up ranging from a former Ebony Fashion Fair Model (David Dorsey), Delorean Cotton (I’ll Be Home for Christmas) ,Nathan Houser (Co star in the movie Union) Shayna Hamilin (Transformers 3), Kevin Louis (Up in the Air with George Clooney), Lloyd Dewayne (Background singer for superstar KEM), Elijah Johnson (Simba in the Broadway Play the Lion King). Other talent cast in the film includes; Niceo Jenkins, Tamara Adams, Cornell Franklin, Jacinta Chevon, Evan A, Vining-Dorsey and Romelo Rhodes, his son.

The film has received acclaim at three national film festivals. Nominations include: the North Carolina Black Film Festival (2012), Detroit, MI Trinity Festival (2012) and the Made in Michigan Film Festival (2013)

Other works of Rodney Rhodes are Poetry books; “Black Man’s Society1” “Black Man’s Society 2”, “The wise Man on the Corner” (Novel and CD) and the page turning book: “Soul of a Man Edition 2.”

Rodney R. Rhodes has become an icon of his Michigan community and beyond.   Another living, breathing example that dreams can and do and can come true. “With hard work, dedication and hope – anything is possible,” stated Rhodes.

Visit  www.Rodneyrrhodes.com   for more information.

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