came out of left field and captured the attention of
hundreds of thousands of devoted viewers in Black communities
throughout the country. The question is, "Why?" On one level, the show
gave numerous Black actors the opportunity to showcase their talents
and to breathe life into nuanced, three-dimensional roles. " " and "Michael Lee" are two of the most compelling characters in
the history of American television. Another reason for the show's
tremendous popularity amongst Black audiences is that we love to see
ourselves excel, and The Wire gave us five seasons of stellar
performances, a mirror in which to gaze and appreciate what we saw.
Yet, as excellent as those characters and performances were, The Wire
did not always reflect back images black folks wanted to embrace.
Many of the show's best characters were drug dealers. Filmed on
location in the most blighted sections of Baltimore, Maryland, the
show's storylines tackled the maladies of urban America head-on. The
Wire's success was definitely not rooted in the feel-good, uplifting
mode of The Cosby Show. Instead, The Wire appealed to Black people
because it chose to tell the truth, warts and all, about urban life,
and it did so deliberately, but rhythmically, like an extended blues
Down to The Wire will be a collection of essays exploring the cultural
significance of The Wire, particularly to Black folks and our
communities. The collection will explain why, contrary to popular
belief, The Wire is indeed the greatest TV show ever produced by HBO.
The editor welcomes submissions from emerging and established Black
writers, entertainers, cultural critics, and other observers. We seek
well-constructed critical essays and creative nonfiction which address
such topics as:
Getting Out of the Life: The vision of Stringer Bell
Gay Thugs: Omar and Snoop
The White Perspective Still Comes Through: The death of Proposition
Joe and the skewering of Black Baltimore history
Crying Foul: White Characters and the Race Card
I'm Just a Gangster, I Suppose: , and
the New Day Co-op
Playing with the Boys: Snoop Pearson, , Marla Daniels and
Real-Life Drama: How The Wire changed the lives of individual viewers
and their contributions to the communities in which they live
The Wire as scholarship: What did the show teach us about American
society, culture, racism, classism, economics, and public policy? Can
these lessons translate into meaningful social change and exchange?
Why was The Wire so popular with black viewers, but less so with white viewers?
Does The Wire glorify drugs and violence? If so, why do we give it a pass?
Hopeful or Hopeless: Bubbles and Duquan
This is not, of course, an exhaustive list of possibilities.
Generally speaking, we are interested in original, provocative musings
and analyses which address what The Wire means to Black folks.
Take a position and defend it. Tell a well-crafted story. Make us
laugh, cry, think, shout.
Submission deadline: December 17, 2008
Length: Up to 6,000 words
We will only consider submissions of previously unpublished works and
those for which the author hold rights allowing for re-printing.
Please include your name, email address, mailing address, phone
number, and a short bio (50 words or less) with your submission.
Email is the preferred method of submission. Send essays within the
body of the email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject heading:
Down to The Wire submission. No attachments, please.
Submissions may also be postmarked by the above date and sent via
regular U.S. mail to:
Down to The Wire
c/o Roland Laird
Posro Media LLC
PO Box 585
Trenton, NJ 08604
Unfortunately, we cannot acknowledge every submission. Authors of
those essays selected for inclusion in the anthology will be notified
via email by February 26, 2009.
About the Editor:
Roland Laird is both an author and entrepreneur. His book Still I
Rise: A Cartoon History of African Americans was named "One of the
Best Books in Print" by the Readers Catalog
when it was published by W.W. Norton in 1997. He recently completed an
update of Still I Rise for a February 2009 release by Sterling
Publishing. He is also the founder of Posro Media an entertainment
company specializing in producing compelling African American images.
Roland and Posro have been the subject of numerous media stories
including in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and on NBC's
Sunday Today Show and on MTV. In 2004, the US Mission to the United
Nations recognized him as a global ambassador for his tireless
devotion to his world community and heritage.