ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
A native of West Oakland, CA, Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell is said to be one of the greatest
basketball players never to make it to the NBA. At just 5″9′, he built his legendary street status
by slam dunking over any obstacle he could conquer
of Demetrius ‘Hook’ Mitchell
A Documentary by
Michael Skolnik and William O’Neill
Screening, Sunday, June 15, 2003, 5:30 p.m.
San Francisco Black Film Festival
Gary Payton is one of the top point guards in the NBA and arguably one of the best of all time. He grew up with Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell and says Hook is better than he is. Jason Kidd and Brian Shaw agree. Yet, most of the free world hasn’t heard of this mythic figure who only stands five feet nine inches because as legendary as he was on the court, problems off the court derailed his trip to immortality and landed him behind bars. This is his story.
Hook’s compelling story is told through the lens of filmmakers Michael Skolnik and William O’Neill. Their film made its world premiere at The 2003 Tribeca Film Festival.
The San Francisco Black Film Festival presents the West Coast Premiere Hooked: The Legend of Demetrius ‘Hook’ Mitchell.
A native of West Oakland, CA, Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell is said to be one of the greatest basketball players never to make it to the NBA. At just 5″9′, he built his legendary street status by slam dunking over any obstacle he could conquer, most notably over the top of a Volkswagen. But, it seems, the one obstacle Hook could never overcome was the street itself. His dream was to play basketball in the NBA, but since 1999, Hook’s been playing in prison.
Born on September 11, 1968, Hook’s parents, both drug addicts, abandoned him soon after his birth. While his grandmother did her best to raise him, she couldn’t stop the ever-present pull of drugs and crime that permeated the streets of West Oakland. By age 10, Hook was smoking marijuana, at 12 he was snorting powder cocaine and by 17 he was snorting heroin. Neighborhood drug dealers took notice, taking care of Hook’s addiction in exchange for entertaining them with his spectacular dunks.
Oakland is the birthplace to more NBA basketball stars than any other city in the country. Hook attended McClymonds High School with Antonio Davis where, together, they ruled the home court. Across town at the rival Skyline High, Gary Payton was a favorite. Davis, Payton and other Oakland natives such as Jason Kidd, Brian Shaw, J.R. Rider and Greg Foster all ascended to illustrious NBA careers; Hook sank deeper into his addiction. He never graduated high school but, astonishingly, Hook ended up as the star player for two different Junior College teams. The schools forged Hook’s high school transcripts (he never even enrolled in junior college classes) and, as always, Hook got special treatment as a result of his unparalleled athletic talent. Hook, his abilities and his habits were exploited over and over by schools and drug dealers alike.
On December 27, 1999 Hook was arrested for armed robbery. He agreed to a plea bargain, forgoing trial, and was sentenced to a reduced term of five years with no less than 85% time served. Hook is now clean and sober. He’s been transferred to Konocti Correctional Facility, a low-level institution without walls in Lower Lake, CA, and will be released in 2004.
His ability on the court made him a basketball star, even where his choices made him just another number, another would-be gone wrong. His childhood friends, many heroes themselves now, still talk about him-his renowned slam-dunks, his undeniable prowess and his raw, uninhibited talent-proving that even today, Hook Mitchell is still a playground legend.
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For July 1st through August 31st 2011
#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”Lisa Adkins, University of London
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By David Graeber
Before there was money, there was debt. Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systemsto relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? Theres not a shred of evidence to support it. Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goodsthat is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors. Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words like guilt, sin, and redemption) derive in large part from ancient debates about debt, and shape even our most basic ideas of right and wrong. We are still fighting these battles today without knowing it. Debt: The First 5,000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known historyas well as how it has defined human history, and what it means for the credit crisis of the present day and the future of our economy.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 6 August 2008