Long before I ended my celebrity entertainment site INN THE BASEMENT, I had the opportunity to attend the Charlotte Literary Festival where I met author Omar Tyree. He agreed to do an interview with me, and I have it for you right here.
What many of you didn’t know is that Omar Tyree has always had the mindset of not only writing epic books, but he has also been driven toward making movies. Flyy Girl, one of Tyree’s biggest books, has been picked up by Lionsgate with Sanaa Lathan to star as the adult Flyy Girl in a movie, and this news is fantastic. Before all that, however, I got the scoop on Omar Tyree as he was destined to have his dreams become reality.
Find out more in the 2007 interview I had with him below.
Urban Literature Mastermind. Multitalented. Is there a limit to Omar Tyree, bestselling author and now filmmaker? From books to the big screen, Omar Tyree in making his marks all around industries, and INN THE BASEMENT made the decision to follow him in his journey. We welcome you to come along on this exclusive interview.
Mirika: Omar, I am just going to dive right into your movie. INN THE BASEMENT wants to know exactly what sent you in this direction with your career, which is a great addition to your already esteemed literary livelihood. Therefore, will you please tell us what led to the decision to make a motion picture?
Omar: Are you kidding me? I love movies! That’s how I became a writer in the first place. And at this point in my career, with so many new African-American authors and books flooding the marketplace, it’s do or die to increase your marketing power. Well, theatrically released films are at the top of the marketing pecking order, and that’s the only way I can keep my book writing career profitable.
Mirika: Tell us about the movie, if you will, Omar, and what is going to set it apart as an Omar Tyree film? It is evident that you have singled yourself out with your books remarkably well. Will it be the same for film?
Omar: The strong content alone will set my films apart; the strong content and the strong execution of that content.
Mirika: From what INN THE BASEMENT has peeped, you not only have moved to movie making but acting as well. Now, do you consider yourself a natural, or have you taken to heart some lessons and training that you have received?
Omar: With The Lure of Young Women, my first small independent film, I put together a Wooden Allen type project where I’m doing everything; acting, writing, direction, producing, just to let folks see that I’m dead serious about jumping into the feature film business. But I will not become an actor. I’ll only do small cameo roles where I can be a natural on screen.
Mirika: One personal question for all the fans, can you make yourself cry because in acting, you know, that’s a big thing (LOL)?
Omar: Sure, I can become emotional enough to cry in real art, because I have the passion for real art that way, and I have come to tears with inspirational art several times before because I love the feeling that much. So crying in the right emotional screen would not be a problem for me.
Mirika: You have won a multitude of awards such as the 2001 NAACP Image Award recipient for Outstanding Literature in Fiction and the 2006 Phyllis Wheatley Literary Award winner for Body of Work in Urban Fiction. I am sure that you see many awards in your future in film. If you would name some, who are some major actors that you would like to work with and why?
Omar: I would love to work with Mekhi Pheifer, Megan Good, Tyrese Gibson, Morris Chestnut, Denzel Washington, Michael Ealy, Paula Patton, Chris Brown, Allen Payne and all other actors, musicians and actresses who fit my ideas and upcoming projects.
Mirika: Going through all of your novels, can you say which was the most difficult one to write?
Omar: Hands down, my most difficult book to write was Diary of a Groupie because I really wanted to write a masculine sports book, but was afraid to because of the lack of male readership of fiction. So I wrote the groupie book instead just to satisfy my contract. That’s why it’s my shortest Omar Tyree novel to date. I really wasn’t feeling that idea.
Mirika: Had you ever thought about giving up on writing altogether at one point in the past, or has there always been a driving force behind your creativity? Explain.
Omar: I have thought several times about giving up writing fictional books. Then I would write films and music instead. And it’s only because of the lack of versatility that is supported in African-American readership. If you’re not writing about sex, drama and the black woman, you can’t sell anything to the black readership. So after a while, I have to figure out a way of creating a more wide-ranging audience. But I’ll always be writing in some form or another. I would never waste my gift by not writing. Ever!
Mirika: Away from serious questions to more down to earth ones for the fans, we can learn much about your talents through your successes, but now it’s time to get to the nitty gritty. Fun stuff. Big time fans always want to know personal items. Feel free to not answer, but hopefully, you will. Here goes –
What is Omar’s favorite dish?
Omar: Soul food and Italian food.
What is Omar’s favorite pasttime?
Omar:Reading books, magazines and newspapers, watching sports and watching movies.
Red or Black. Pick a color?
Omar: Actually I used to like red in my youth, but now I’m a serious, jazzy blue brother (smile).
Mirika: Omar, this is a bit deep, but if you knew that today was your last, what would you want people to know about you and how would you want them to remember you?
Omar: Hopefully, I can do a few of my theatrical movies before I go, that way I can die as more than the man who wrote the book Flyy Girl. So I would just like more folks to read more of my content and understand the true value of the material I’ve been putting out for us to discuss for ages to come.
Mirika: Finally, Omar, leave some words of inspiration to all those guys and girls out there who may be afraid or skeptical to follow their dreams.
Omar: I don’t have any big words to inspire folks with. Just do what you need to get done. Period! All else is just talk. But successful people do more than talk, we act on our ideas and find out how to execute them.
Mirika: Thank you, Omar Tyree, for spending your time hanging out and checking INN THE BASEMENT. May you always surpass your goals and leave a great legacy.
To learn more about The Last Street Novel by Omar Tyree, read below.
AN INTELLIGENT, MASCULINE, URBAN CLASSIC and a riveting new tale of Shareef Crawford, a celebrated writer of romantic fiction, who returns to his roots of Harlem, New York from the sunny mansion resides of South Florida to pen a true crime book that may just end his life. Craving more respect for his craft as a writer, particularly from his peer group of urban men, Shareef allows an enticing new fan to pitch him on
writing a no-holds-barred, tell-all about an imprisoned Harlem gangster, who has admired his writing from jail. With insane courage and an iron will, Shareef, the street-smart intellectual finally gets a chance to write something more edgy and purposeful to better highlight his skills.
However, the Harlem streets that he returns to in year 2006 has changed, and the stakes of survival are higher now than they’ve ever been. Amongst the rise of high-priced condominiums, a changing population, young criminals gunning to make names for themselves, and old criminals fighting to become legitimate businessmen, Shareef finds himself caught in the middle of a real-life thriller, where past foes become friends, and trusted friends become dangerous foes.
Nevertheless, the Harlem legend is hell bent to do anything he feels he must to gain the respect on the streets that his career as a novelist has failed to
The Last Street Novel is another urban classic as Tyree, the self-proclaimed Urban Griot can write them!
The Last Street Novel, An Omar Tyree Classic
Soon to be a Renaissance Entertainment Group
film with a desired film cast narrated by Omar Tyree.
Mekhi Phifer- as – Shareef Crawford
Tyrese – as – Jurrell Garland
Jade Yorker – as – Baby G
DMX – as – Michael Springfield
Ghostface Killah- as Polo
Black Rob – as Spoonie
Some New Sinister Dude – as – Trap
Zoe Saldana- as Jennifer Crawford
A Hot New Brown Chick – as – Coffee
Nicole Scherzinger – as –
and Omar Tyree – as – The Spear
with plenty of speaking parts and cameo
roles that are yet to be filled.
FOR MORE, VISIT OMARTYREE.COM