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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In Remembrance: Author Nathaniel "Nati" Holmes

by Cyrus Webb

I first heard about author Nathaniel "Nati" Holmes in 2010 thanks to Facebook. We befriended each other and began to have regular conversations online that led to my inviting him to Conversations LIVE to discuss his journey and the work he was doing.

Holmes, who began Hustle Hard Publications as a way to distribute his book, was a man who understood the value of hard work and dedication. He told me that while serving three years in prison he began to reevaluate his life and realize that the life of the streets and its consequences were not going to get him where he wanted to be.

It was a short story contest that he read about in Vibe magazine, however, that would give him the push to look into writing. He had been writing poetry before he was incarcerated, so he decided to write a short story and enter the contest. He came in third, however, it was at that moment that he knew he had stumbled onto something. In an interview on the radio in January of this year he told me that through his book and the way people were responding to it he "saw the light at the end of the tunnel."

His first book CAN'T KNOCK THE HUSTLE was his way of telling a fictionized version of his life and experiences, but he told me that it was more than just an entertaining read. "Everything I do is about truth," he said. "I write from a real-life perspective." It was that perspective that built his fan-base and started him on his way.

After his release from prison everything became about the hustle. Nati Holmes could be seen toting cases of his book across the country attending book signings and other promotional events. Though it was not the easiest of roads he told me that he met some good people along the way and that helped keep him focused and grounded.

While some may see the word "hustle" as something negative, Holmes embraced it as a way of explaining his lifestyle. "Every day is a hustle," he told me. "Anyone going for their dreams is on a hustle to make it."

And making it was something that Nathaniel "Nati" Holmes was destined for in his life, but the full impact of his life on other people may not have been seen by him. Sadly Holmes was shot to death in August 2011 just one month before his birthday. He was 26 years old.

Ever a person thoughtful of those who were supporting his movement, ironically, Holmes' last statement on his Facebook Fan Page on August 20, 2011 was this: "Been such a long time since I thanked everyone for the love and support. So here goes a big thanks. 100."

May we like this talented young author and visionary who was taken too soon appreciate those who are accompanying us along our journey to fulfill the destiny ahead.

To listen to my interview with Nati Holmes on Conversations LIVE visit

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