The triumph of the Hood

A caring economy: Do you really care?
A caring economy: Do you really care?

It was a triumph for the author, for his family and relatives, for his friends and former classmates and for the Scarborough neighborhood that nurtured him.
Last Saturday, I joined the 50 other guests celebrating the publication of Straight Hood, the first book authored by Allan Brentt Hood. Each and every one of us had a personal involvement in the production of the book or in the life of the author, or in both those aspects of Brentt’s challenging journey.
That is precisely the point: we all had a personal connection that enabled us to feel the full significance of the triumph as we gathered in the spacious hall of Tropicana Community Services in Scarborough.
The significance of that collective triumph enhances the value of this soul-searching and soul-baring work. The collective nature of the triumph does not in any way detract from the achievement it represents for Brentt himself. In his own well-chosen words, Brentt uses the back cover of the book to give us a clear picture of the subject matter, his intentions in writing it and his broader aspirations as he takes it out into the community at large:
“This book is a compilation of short stories about my life and certain experiences I’ve had. They cover issues such as race, faith, addiction, the mistreatment of women, and overall degradation of moral values.
“It addresses certain immoral principles and poses questions to make people think and hold themselves accountable for their actions and the image they portray to the world. They’re meant to question some of the norms of our society, as well as give people some insight into who I am and how I developed the opinions that I did.
“My hope is that they will be a positive example for children and all people, not only of the present, but also the future. The ultimate goal is to set a better standard for the youth so that they won’t be negatively impacted by the corruption that I feel has permeated its way through the system.”
That eloquently described product, in Brentt’s mind, was what he could not confidently foresee after he had first completed his manuscript. So he kept it unused for a year or so.
In thanking his elated supporters last Saturday, he identified two persons, Tendisai Cromwell and yours truly, who boosted his morale by pointing out to him the great potential that we saw in his writing and by insisting that he have it fine-tuned for publication.
Over a period of several months, each of the two of us also edited his manuscript and encouraged him to strengthen the text by coloring it with his own personal experiences and gut feelings.
As he related the ups and downs of that process and some of the torturous events of his troubled life, the audience was moved by the powerful tribute he paid to his mother Bernadette, his father Arnold and his sister Lavonne. He praised them for their unswerving support at times when his battles with his demons had brought them hurt and grief that they did not deserve.
Straight Hood is published by Xlibris and available online from that company’s website,
I encourage all our readers to join me in enjoying this triumph of the human spirit.