DeVon Franklin is known for many things. He is a Hollywood Producer, New York best-selling author, Vice-President of the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and President of Franklin Entertainment. His new Audible Original, “It Takes A Woman,” is a personal look at his life growing up after his father died at a young age and the women who stepped in to raise and mold him into the man he is today.
Listening to the “It Takes A Woman,” you hear the actual voices and emotions of DeVon’s mother Paulette, and his five living great aunts, Aunt Nuna, Aunt Ida, Aunt Enis, Aunt Sondra, and Aunt Donna as the speak on the circumstances and events that led to them bringing the Village together to help raise DeVon and his brother.
I spoke with DeVon and asked why he decided to write this book and why with Audible Inc.
DeVon Franklin: “I wanted to acknowledge and bring awareness to the black women in my family and in our culture and community that sometimes are unsung heroes. And you know, they do so much for who we ultimately become, especially as men. And we don’t do enough to honor them and give them in a moment in the spotlight. And so, one doing this book, it called… It Takes a Woman and really allowing the voices of my mother and my five great aunts, my living five great living aunts to be heard. The youngest is 75. The oldest is 95. I wanted to make sure that their voices were preserved. They weren’t lost in the sands of time as a way to really memorialize the impact that black women have had for generations on our families and our communities.”
I asked DeVon, even though he had those women there for him, I’m sure it wasn’t all rosy. There had to be some hard times.
DeVon Franklin: Yeah. Very hard, very difficult. And when you’ve listened to us, I really get into the details of those difficulties. And what’s cool about this book is that it’s really engineered for the audio experience. This is not a book that was like written and then I’m reading it. It’s like no, every choice that was made and how I put this book together was with the listener in mind.
DeVon continues: So it’s almost like you put it on and you’re just taken into this world and the story of my family and how this tragedy of my father’s death became like a pebble in the water. And there were all these ripple effects. And so you get a chance to be involved and invested in the experience of these different ripples and hearing the different stories of my… What my aunts have gone through. And my mother went through and as families, we don’t talk enough. I believe that transparency leads to transformation. And so I really wanted this book to be my most transparent, my most honest, as a way to really reach people and share our truth with them.
I couldn’t imagine getting all my Aunts together to do something like this so I asked DeVon if was a hard task to get them to do this project.
DeVon: It wasn’t hard. I mean, I did individual interviews with my mom and my five great aunts. And to start the interview as an icebreaker, I read them the introduction that I had already written and them hearing me talk about my perspective of my father’s death. It was the first time that they had heard that. They didn’t know that I had that memory. So as I’m reading them the introduction, all six of them just started to cry because it brought them back to where they were. So my transparency then opened up their transparency. And what you hear is… Was at on some level was very easy in that it was free flowing. And so once those interviews were done, I then took those interviews and the transcription of those interviews and then rewrote the whole book and really started to put the whole book together.
It’s truly a moving experience to hear the voices of these women laughing, somber, tears, and stern in recalling various issues. They talk about everything, and I mean everything from DeVon’s father’s relationship with his mother, his mother emotional state after his father died, and even his aunts giving him the sex talk.
DeVon interviewed each of the women in his life as well as entering his own narrative. As I was listening to it, I felt as if I was sitting in the room with them, so much to the fact I wanted to ask them questions on that bond as women. It was like hearing their voices was a “Laying on of hands,” that only the women of the village can do.
I usually do not listen to audible books, however, “It Takes a Woman,” is one that I will listen to more than once. You can find DeVon Franklin’s “It Takes A Woman,” on Audible Inc.
To hear the entire conversation with visit www.mixcloud.com/bonnieseye or
It gets 4 out of 4 winks of the EYE.
Until next time, keep your EYE to the Sky!