Author D. Watkins Reckons With East Baltimore Upbringing In New Memoir ‘Black Boy Smile’ – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Bestselling author D. Watkins has released his new book, “The Black Boy Smile,” a raw, moving memoir about his experience growing up in East Baltimore.

As Watkins told WJZ, the memoir is his most personal, a memoir that he describes as the scariest he’s ever written in part because it forced him to “take off his mask.” “. He says it started with the idea of ​​being a “Black Man From an Urban Area”.

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“I want to pick certain moments when masculinity is wrongly given to me, and then I want to decipher what happened and show how it should have been. How do I get over it and how do we move forward? ” he say.

In one story from the book, Watkins recalls being a child at a funeral and refuses to accept a hug. He says that rejection comes from being raised to believe that being a man “means not being vulnerable,” which he calls “terrible advice.”

“It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to talk about things that hurt you,” Watkins told WJZ. “Becoming a man? It means understanding when to say sorry. It understands how to say, ‘I was confused.’ It understands how to say, ‘You were right, I was wrong, let’s build on that.’ “

“Black Boy Smile” is about pain and healing. Watkins describes how he met his wife and fell in love. He sent a letter to his daughter, Cross.

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“I wrote the book partly for her, partly for my wife, Caron,” he said. “But I also wrote the book for people who feel they don’t deserve happy endings. I put my story out as a suggestion to let you know that you can go through some myths and madness, but you can still have a happy ending. “

Watkins is embarking on a new chapter, currently writing for television. That includes writing an episode of HBO’s new Baltimore-based drama, “We Own This City,” and hosting the station’s official podcast.

In addition, Watkins teaches at the University of Baltimore, he serves as the editor-in-chief of Salon, and he sits on the board of The Parkway Theater.

“I almost quit smoking so many times. I have come close to stopping so many times. I’m so grateful that I didn’t give up,” he said. “I should have said to my 8-year-old, ‘He’s going to be so much better.’ I was afraid to fall in love, but I took a gamble and fell in love anyway. And you can do it too. ”

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